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Posted 7/9/2017 11:40am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! Welcome to July! 

The familiar heat and humidity of the month are settling in -- ah, summer in the South!  But the cicadas have started their sweet summer song and the okra, sweet potatoes and peanuts are enjoying their favorite kind of weather.  Let's make the best of this, shall we?

What's Going On?

The garlic harvest is over (yay!!!) and the potato harvest has begun.  Yesterday we started harvesting the LaRatte fingerling potatoes from Ruth's Field.  The conditions were perfect -- the soil was dry so it just fell off of the potatoes.  A pretty respectable yield so far!

 

Farm life challenges one to become creative.  There are always machines that need to be fixed and work-arounds to be engineered.  I think the term "hack" must have come from a farmer.  We are quite adept at farm hacks.  Our most recent challenge has been with our truck, Farmy.  It seems that the transmission is failing so it will not go into reverse.  Do you know how many times you need to back up a farm truck??  So we are learning how to position the vehicle so that gravity will do the trick for us.  Pretty impressive, huh?  Here's Jonny getting a trailer into the barn -- that's stunt-driver worthy!

Red, White and Blackberries!

We celebrated the 4th in true Plum Granny Farm style -- with a blackberry pick-your-own!  It was a perfect morning and the berries were plentiful.  Close to 100 pounds of berries found their way home with our happy customers.   Thanks to Dorothy for sharing this great photo of her daughter!

Market Updates

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem Saturday from 9-noon.  You will find lots of Certified Organic produce including several varieties of FRESH GARLIC and hopefully some of the first cured garlic, BLACKBERRIES, Shishito Peppers, Caraflex and Napa Cabbage, Kale, Swiss Chard, Cucumbers, fresh Green Chile, Poblano Peppers, Jalapenos, bunches of Italian Parsley and Basil, along with our everlasting garlic flowers.  We'll also have our heavenly-scented Stargazer Oriental Lilies!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

That's it for now!  Enjoy Sunday's Full Moon rising at 12:07 a.m.  This is the Full Buck Moon because at this time of year, a buck’s antlers are in full growth mode. This full Moon was also known as the Thunder Moon, because thunderstorms are so frequent during this month.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

A moon-flooded prairie; a straying 

Of leal-hearted lovers; a baying 

Of far away watching dogs; a dreaming 

Of brown-fisted farmers; a gleaming 

Of fireflies eddying nigh, — And that is July!

–James N. Matthews (1852–1910)

Posted 7/3/2017 3:40pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Wow!  We are still amazed at our terrific turnout for last Sunday's Northern Triad Farm Tour!  And probably a bit dazed as well.  We had nearly 200 people visit the farm!!  Thank you so much for sharing a bit of farm life with us -- lots of familiar faces and bunches of new folks too -- it was great seeing you enjoy our farm.  We are still trying to put away the errant sign or hay trailer but we are slowly getting back to our so-called normal around the farm.

Extra special THANK YOUS go out to our amazing volunteers -- Orville, Annette, Jenny, Bob, Millis, Matt, Katie, Rett, Thor and Jonny along with Debbie and the Plum Granny Pickers!  A million thank yous to all of you for helping us pull this event off!

There was a terrific article in today's The Stokes News about the tour -- many thanks to Amanda Dodson for coming out to visit the farm and for spreading the word about how farms build community!  The participating farms logged in more than 600 visitors.

Enjoy a few of the photographs from one of our volunteer photographers, Rett Alsbrook, shared.

       

What's Going On?

As we try to stop our head from post-tour spinning, we've been trying to concentrate on getting garlic harvested, trimmed and hung.  This is the time of year when we play "Trailer and Curver Rubik's Cube."  Garlic seems to be EVERYWHERE!  We've had garlic spread out on trailers in any protected space that we can put them.  But then we need the trailers for other things (like hay).  We use curvers (aka bulb crates) to store garlic while we are waiting to grade it for size or after it has been graded and is waiting to be hung -- but we need the curvers for potato harvest.  And sometimes you find yourself trying to squeeze a trailer out of a very tight space (how did Ray get this thing in here?!) to make sure the garlic is sheltered.  So we unload, reload  -- twist and turn.  It can be a rather difficult game to play -- but somehow we make it work (by the hair on our chinny, chin, chin!)! 

Photo Note:  Objects are MUCH closer than they appear!!  We had about an inch to spare on either side of the trailer as Ray pulled it out of the barn.

Last Friday night and early Saturday morning, we had some pretty heavy winds.  We had been having some challenges with the cover on our new caterpillar tunnel, so Ray ventured out at 1:00 a.m. to check it.  Not good news.

The cover had completely blown off -- but the good thing is that the ropes that hold it on were intact, so the plastic had just collapsed on one side.  I'm really glad that it's summer and we don't have to worry about cold temperatures!

We got the cover back on yesterday -- all's well!  But we will be using a different cover attachment method for our next caterpillar, for sure!

Blackberry Summer!

The blackberries are starting to come in -- some of you were able to snag a pint of Ouachita berries last weekend.  Our largest planting, Triple Crown, is just starting to ripen.  To celebrate the 4th of July, we are planning a Blackberry Pick-Your-Own on Tuesday, July 4 from 9-noon.  We hope to have several blackberry PYO days this season, so don't worry if you can't make this one!

Hey, Hey, Hay!  Yay!

I guess the third time is really the charm!  After a couple of unsuccessful attempts, we finally got the rest of the hay up yesterday.  We need 4 good, dry days in a row to make hay, and this week the weather and timing was perfect.  It's a beautiful and fragrant crop.  Is that Tony I hear...?

Harvest Help Wanted! If you (or an interested and responsible teen child) are looking for a part-time job, we are looking for a couple of folks to help us with berry and other crop harvest.  Contact us for more details.

That's it for now!  May you have a fun and safe Independence Day weekend!  Make sure your pets are well-secured during fireworks displays.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

 

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Posted 5/28/2017 1:02pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Thursday!

Okay -- if I start talking about how dry it is again, please stop me.  I think I may have wished a flood upon us.  Since we last spoke, we have gotten over 4 inches of rain.  Yesterday we were spared as tornadoes moved through our area.  We were very lucky -- far luckier than many of our friends and neighbors.  Our friends at Felsbeck Farm (Connee and J French) did get hit by the tornado -- they are about 3 miles away.  There were lots of downed trees and power lines with some damage to buildings and crops -- but it could have been a lot worse.  Just down the road from them, the tornado destroyed the home of Chris Overby's mom and her husband (Chris is our employee) -- thank goodness they weren't home at the time.  We count ourselves very fortunate and are trying to help our friends where we can.  Please keep these folks in your thoughts and prayers.

Crop Update

Despite all of the rain, we have been harvesting a lot this week.  We actually began the garlic harvest with the early Asian varieties -- Shandong and Pyong Yang.  They are huge.  And never say that garlic farmers are put off by some rain and mud.  Our credo is "Neither rain nor gloom of day shall keep these farmers from their appointed harvest.  Garlic waits for no man."  Sorry, U.S. Postal Service....

 

Market Updates

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market Saturday from 9-noon.  You will find lots of other Certified Organic produce including lots of GARLIC SCAPES, Snow Peas, Sugar Snap Peas, Florence Fennel, Escarole, Fancy Pants Salad Mix with edible flowers, Kale (Dino/Lacinato and Vates Curly) and Swiss Chard.  In smaller quantities: Strawberries, Artichokes, sweet and crunchy Cucumbers as well as garlic powder. Our beautiful hanging Strawberry Baskets would make a nice hostess gift for your Memorial Day gatherings.  These everbearing Seascape strawberries will produce until frost -- they would love to hang out in a sunny spot at your house.  Several of them already have ripe berries! 

We will also have a nice selection of Certified Organic transplants (peppers, herbs, edible flowers, eggplant, tomatillos, kale and more). 

Wishing you the best on this Memorial Day weekend.  The weekend always holds special meaning for us since both of our fathers served in World War II.  Ray's dad, Bill, was a career Army man and also served in Korea. Cheryl's dad, Holt, enlisted in the Army at the beginning of World War II and was stationed in the Philippines. The photo below was taken at the World War II Memorial in 2004.

Our deepest appreciation goes out to all those who have served our country -- in wartime and peace.  Take a moment this weekend to say "Thank You" to a veteran -- and if you are one, our special thanks to you.

Until next week,

Cheryl and Ray

 

Posted 4/24/2017 4:07pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Seeing that wonderful orb of sun on Wednesday was such a balm for the soul!  I'm not sure I've ever been so happy to see sunshine!  After 5.5 inches of rain since Saturday night, we (and the crops, and the animals) were quite delighted for a dry day!  I know that our totals don't touch the larger rainfall amounts that others got.  We heard reports of 8 inches and more. Our hearts and prayers go out to the farmers that are having to deal with that aftermath.

Despite all of the rain, we had a FANTASTIC turnout for the first day of our Open Greenhouse and Plant Sale!  It was raining all afternoon and people just kept on coming!  Thank you so much for your show of support (and fortitude!)  We especially thank our wonderful volunteer, Annette Helsabeck for donning her rain jacket and boots to help us!

And we are doing it again THIS Sunday (4/30) from 1-5 p.m.!  We have restocked our inventory and have LOTS of Certified Organic plants including many heirloom and hard-to-find plants!  We've got tons of tomatoes (39 varieties), piles of peppers (sweet & hot -- 13 varieties), eggplant, herbs (21 varieties) as well as veggie transplants and dwarf sunflowers.  You'll also find strawberry hanging baskets (everbearing - fruit all summer!) along with ginger and turmeric plants and some seed potatoes.  To keep your plants healthy, we'll have a selection of our favorite organic soil amendments.  We'll even have some fresh produce!  The weather forecast looks pretty good for Sunday, so take a drive up to beautiful Stokes County!

Once things dried out some, we were chomping at the bit to plant!  We got the first of the tomatoes in along with some kale in South and seeded the first succession of beans (bush and pole).  We are updating our Demo Garden beds and planted the Salsa Garden yesterday.

     

Once the sun came out, evidence of future crops are emerging -- apples, snap peas, and peaches...morning glory, dock, sedge, bermuda grass, poison ivy,...

    

In last week's newsletter, I forgot to include a really cool photo of the queen cell from one of our top-bar hives.  Ray recently split the hive and went back to check the status of the new queen in one of them.  He found it!  See the enlarged cell in the circle?  That's the cell for the baby queen bee.  Cool, huh?

Market Updates

The rain has done a number on our asparagus and strawberry production this week, so we will have less available.  Despite that, we will still have lots of Certified Organic spring goodness including Spring Garlic, purple and green Asparagus, Salad Mix with Frissé and edible flowers, Swiss Chard (baby and full-size), Curly Vates Kale, our sweet and crunchy Cucumbers, Shallot Flowers, some strawberries, beautiful head lettuce (red and green), Pac Choi, Tat Soi and some Microgreens Mix along with garlic powder and granules and ginger powder!  And don't forget the jam!

That's it for now!  Today is Arbor Day which has been celebrated since 1872. It began in Nebraska, a largely treeless plain back in the 1800's. It is a day to plant and dedicate a tree to help nature and the environment. Millions of trees are planted on this day. Take a moment to appreciate your favorite tree or make plans to plant one.

The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The next best time is today.                                                                                                   ~African proverb

Until next week,

Cheryl and Ray

Posted 4/14/2017 9:32am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Busy, busy, busy!  That's the buzzzzz that's going on in our heads this week!   

Trying to keep the balance of planting, seeding, weeding, setting up irrigation takes some doing, for sure!  There are definitely days where we come to the end and see as many unchecked items on our to-do list as we do the ones with check marks.  We LOVE check marks -- and wish we could see a full page of them at the end of the day.

But there are always good reasons -- irrigation glitches, ornery tractors, rescuing lost dogs, splitting up a hive of bees that are ready to swarm... Interruptions seem to be the norm -- or as we call it, Always Something Farm (ASF)!

Weeding has been high on the priority list for the week.  Despite having been weeded three times already, the garlic looked like it had never been touched.  We all jumped in to tackle that project -- with Chris and Jonny doing most of the heroic efforts.

But at the end of all this hard work came a rainbow at the end of the day -- Klondike Bars!!

Another major task for the week was getting the potatoes planted .  There are now 16 rows of potato-y goodness tucked into Ruth's Field!  Look for them to start showing up at market in late June and early July!

     

Our snacking cucumbers were a big hit at market last week!  There will be more this week and hopefully for weeks to come.  We have 30 more plants to set out!

Our ginger and turmeric are very near being ready for planting.  The seed pieces are still in the milkhouse in the pre-sprout stage -- there are lots of roots and active growing tips.  And there are even some that are saying "Plant Me!" now!  Don't forget that we will have Ginger and Turmeric plants available at our Open Greenhouse and Plant Sale NEXT Sunday, April 23 and April 30.

Chris and Ray got the sites for the next two caterpillar tunnels, Mama Meow and Ajo, set.  Perhaps it was the fact that we decided to use our cat names for these tunnels or it was just the excitement of the measuring string, RingBob decided that this was a fun task to get involved in!  Kittens can make it tough to make precise measurements!

Market Updates

We had a GREAT opening weekend at Cobblestone Farmers Market last week!  Thank you!  It was wonderful to see our friends (you!) back at market!!

It will be busy in Old Salem this weekend.  On Saturday they will be hosting their Easter Festival from 9:30-4:30 complete with an Easter Egg Hunt at 11:00 a.m.  Take this into consideration as you travel to market tomorrow.

We will have lots of Certified Organic spring goodness including Spring Garlic, purple and green Asparagus, Salad Mix with Frissé, Swiss Chard (baby and full-size), Kale, Snacking Cucumbers, Beets, Shallot Flowers (try these with your eggs for Sunday Brunch!), Collards (a few), garlic powder and granules, along with our new ginger powder and some bunches of tulips!  And we will also have our delectable jams -- check out the Raspberry-Cranberry to go with your Easter Ham!  We hope to see you on Saturday -- should be a nice day for market.

That's it for now!   We wish you and your family a wonderful Easter and Passover season.  Take a moment to look around you at all of the amazing signs of Spring and the rebirth that the Season brings.

Until next week,

Cheryl and Ray

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Posted 3/31/2017 3:17pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

If March came in like a lion, it's going out like a trout! Wow!  We had a LOT of rain overnight and this morning.  Nearly 1.5 inches so far with more predicted this afternoon.  After a fairly dry winter, we have been making up our precipitation levels over the past couple of weeks.  Right now the fields are saturated -- the garlic almost looks like it is growing hydroponically!

But the fields dried out enough from the earlier rain so we were able to shape beds.  Thanks to Ray, Chris and the NC A&T bedshaper, we got 45 beds shaped (and some covered in plastic) before the latest deluge began. We've got a whole lot of planting to do now!

 

And speaking of planting, we've been doing that too!  Lots of lettuce, pac choi, bok choi, tatsoi and some kale have moved from their trays and into the field.  The new caterpillar has one bed of lettuce -- looking good!

 

We have continued to work on the caterpillar -- shaping beds and adding irrigation -- along with tweaking the plastic cover.  Now it doesn't flap so much in the wind.

 

Thanks for the suggestions for names for the new caterpillar hoophouse!  We decided that since we were calling it "Cat #1," we would go with the cat theme.  So we are naming the tunnels after some of our cats:  the first one is "Wally" and "Mama Meow" and "Ajo" will be the next two.  Maybe butterflies after that.

Market Season is Almost Here!

This is NOT an April Fools joke!  The Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem will start next Saturday (April 8) from 9-noon.  With market on the horizon, "vacation time" is over!!  It's time to step up our game even more to get everything ready for show-time!  Markets really are a lot like a theatre or musical performance!  We'll have some great early season crops for you -- more details next week!

We will also be doing a market at the farm this year starting in late May-early June.  It will be on Wednesday afternoons in conjunction with our PlumFresh pick-up time.  This market will take the place of our participation in the King Farmers Market (which will start on April 19).

Only 3 memberships left for PlumFresh!!

The opportunity to participate in PlumFresh is quickly disappearing!  If you've been thinking about it but just haven't gotten your application in, NOW is time!  For more information and an application, please click here.

That's it for now!   We'll leave you with some of the signs of spring that we've spotted this week.

     

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

P.S.  Just as I was ready to hit "send" on the newsletter, the trucking company came with a load of 4 pallets of soil amendments from Seven Springs Farm Organic Farm Supplies.  Yikes!  This is our big annual bulk order that we coordinate to help fellow farmers in the area get better prices on soil amendments.  With no helpers scheduled today, no pallet jack, and rain starting, it was a scramble!!  Thank goodness that Jonny lives close by so he could give us a hand!  It's all done!  Whew!

   

Posted 3/24/2017 7:49pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

The calendar announced the beginning of Spring on Monday and we are ready to see it!  Now if it will only stay with us a while.  We are getting a bit weary of taking the field blanket on and off the strawberries (just took it off again this morning!).

Our transplants are saying they want to get in the ground but our heads kept saying that we needed to wait a bit.  Based on the forecasts for the next week, we are out of the woods in terms of low temps for a while(?)  Let the planting begin!!!

But before plants go in, fields must be prepped.  Ray has been working on tilling the fields and getting the fertilizer incorporated.  We were able to borrow a bedshaper from NC A&T which lets us form the bed, lay the irrigation tape and cover the bed in plastic (or not) in one step.  This will help us speed up the process of getting the fields ready for planting.

We are still spending a lot of time in the greenhouse.  Cheryl has been a tomato transplant tornado this week -- over 1,200 seedlings are now in larger containers where they can stretch out their roots and g-r-o-w!

And the really exciting greenhouse news is that the hose trolley is now complete!  No more kinked hose on the floor and wrestling with winding up the hose!  Hooray!

 

Part of this project has included plumbing so that we could add a water treatment method for our irrigation water.  We have known for a while that our well water had a pH that was too high for our plants.  It has taken a lot of research to figure out how to correct this problem and then it was a matter of finding the time to make it happen.  Ray's plumbing skills (and about 25 trips to Lowes Depot) have really been put to the test -- but the results are terrific!  Now we just have to work on getting the pH corrected -- we are using food grade citric acid to lower the pH.  In an organic system, we don't have as many options as conventional growers.  And of course, citric acid is more expensive than their chemical choices!  We are always amazed at how much it costs to be Certified Organic.

The most exciting news of the week is that the first of our caterpillar tunnels is up!  We've been working on getting the site prepared (measuring, putting down landscape fabric on the edges and adding leaf compost to the soil).  Today the bows went up and, despite the wind, we were able to get it covered.  It's going to be a fine spot for crops -- first in will be lettuce and other greens.  Hip, hip hooray!  Now we have to find a proper name for the tunnel -- we are thinking caterpillar or butterfly types...any suggestions?  Check out the pictures!

     

Ginger Workshop is Full!

Thanks so much to those of you who have registered for our class next Saturday.  The workshop is now full!  Stay tuned for more workshop opportunities soon -- we'll be doing a small fruit growing class in May.

Only 5 memberships left for PlumFresh!!

And we are filling things up left and right around here!  Just a few more slots left for PlumFresh!  If you've been thinking about it but just haven't gotten your application in, NOW is time!  For more information and an application, please click here.

That's it for now!   Gotta go plant some stuff!  And rescue Ray's coat from Detroit.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

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Posted 2/18/2017 5:33pm by Cheryl.

 

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Ah, March Madness!  The highs and the lows!  The pounding heartbeat.  The excitement and the despair.  The ups and the downs -- always running.  Oh yeah, there's that basketball thing going on too!

The March Madness that we are dealing with is the crazy weather teamed with an insanely long list of things to do.  Our to-do list is complicated by the swings in the weather.  We go from planting transplants to covering strawberries in a matter of days.  From a high of 74 yesterday to predicted lows of 21 for Wednesday and Thursday, we are scrambling to once again winterize everything.  Oh well, Spring is less than 2 weeks away!

Despite the weather, there's a long list of things on our to-do list and we are getting some things done!  Seeding continues in the greenhouse.  We are getting ready for our own planting as well as for our Open Greenhouse Plant Sales on April 23 and April 30.  We'll have more than 30 varieties of tomatoes (lots of heirloom and hard to find varieties) plus peppers, herbs and lots more.

We've been pruning grapes and the apple trees and the onions will getting a haircut as well.

 

The asparagus is nicely weeded (no more spears yet) and the shallots are clear of weeds too!

 

Yesterday we unloaded the parts for 2 new high tunnels that we'll be building soon.  These high tunnels are not as structured as Raz House but they will be great for a wide variety of crops including tomatoes and possibly strawberries next year.  Stay tuned to see the construction!

Cheryl got to spend part of this week at the Women in Agritourism conference.  This conference was sponsored by NC State University.  It was great to connect with about 50 other women from across the state who are inviting people to their farms -- there are so many great venues out there!

Our last shipment of ginger and turmeric came in from Hawaii yesterday!  The rhizomes are beautiful!  We'll now be cutting them into seed pieces for pre-sprout. If you'd like to grow some for yourself, don't forget about our workshop on Saturday, April 1 from 1-4 to give you the basics of how to grow ginger and turmeric.  This hands-on class will give you the opportunity to plant your own ginger and turmeric seed to take home and learn how to care for it.  The class size is limited to 15 people.  The registration fee is $35.  Click here for a registration form.

Cucumber Update!  These plants are amazing!  They seem to grow about 3 inches every day.  Jack might have met his match with these -- faster than a bean stalk!  We may have cukes in a few weeks.

 

And if you'd like to get in on some of these cucumbers (and our other crops), check out PlumFresh, our Harvest Subscription program. PlumFresh is different than traditional CSAs -- no big up-front payments and it is completely flexible.  There's no requirement to get a box every week and we'll even deliver.  Each week there are 7-9 items in the box.  We have filled 2/3 of our available slots -- so if you are thinking about signing up, better do it soon!  Click here for more information.

This weekend will be a Full Moon.  On Sunday, at 10:54 a.m., the Full Worm Moon will rise.  This name was given by the Native Americans because at this time of year, the ground begins to soften and earthworm casts reappear, inviting the return of robins. This is also known as the Sap Moon, as it marks the time when maple sap begins to flow and the annual tapping of maple trees begins.

That's it for now!   Don't forget to Spring Forward on Sunday (before the Full Moon!) as Daylight Savings Time begins.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

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Posted 2/3/2017 7:32am by Cheryl.

 

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

The calendar has flipped its first page of the year and we find ourselves in February!  Yikes!  How did this happen?  And not only that, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so we have six more weeks of winter (I think I hear a cheer from the raspberries!)

Oh well, we best get over our disbelief regarding the passage of time and get to work!. And that's what we have been doing. We've been taking advantage of these nice days to get a lot of work done at the greenhouse.  There are several projects on the Greenhouse To-Do list but one of the most important is to replace the rotten baseboards along its length.  As a structure, greenhouses are difficult to manage.  They bear the brunt of everything the elements can throw at them -- snow, sleet, wind, hail, rain, intense sun.  And by nature, they are warm, moist places -- the kind of place that plants want to live!  This continuous moisture creates trouble for things like baseboards -- wood doesn't like to be perpetually wet.  In most situations like that, there is a solution:  pressure treated wood.  However, on an Organic farm, we cannot use pressure treated wood where it touches the soil or plants or it could contaminate our veggie beds.  Think about the chemicals in pressure treated wood....not exactly chemicals that you would want to find at an organic farm -- or any farm for that matter -- although many do use it!

When our greenhouse was constructed in 2011, we used baseboards that had been sealed with linseed oil.  Nice idea in some applications but unfortunately, the baseboards started rotting several years ago. So this time, Ray came up with a solution that allowed us to use as little pressure-treated wood as possible while maintaining a strong base for the structure.  Using metal conduit and recycled billboard fabric, Ray and Chris were able to fashion an elegant solution that keeps the the treated wood well off the ground and still does the job!

Chris & Ray working on baseboards

The greenhouse has also been a very busy place for seeding!  Nearly 6,200 onions, 1,400 leeks, artichokes, cucumbers, herbs, blackberry and black raspberry plants and more now fill a large portion of the benches in the cozy "Inner Sanctum."  We told you there would be a lot more seed trays when you saw this space again!

Nearly full benches in greenhouse

We've also been out of the greenhouse too!  Chris and Ray worked on the initial grape pruning last week and Ray got a chance to visit the bees.  We are happy to report that all of the hives are looking good and that the girls are already harvesting nectar (maybe from the early bloom of dandelions).

Ray visiting the bees

Coming Attractions!

One of my joys of the new year is to take the brand-spanking new calendar and put all of our plans and special days on it.  Now we have several special days for you to add to your calendar!  We've planned at least NINE on-farm activities for 2017 -- in addition to our Pick-Your-Own events!  We hear from so many of you how special it is to come to the farm.  Experiences such as these create lasting memories for you and your family!  We are offering more classes, an additional day for our HUGE plant sale as well as our popular Farm Tour.  Make 2017 the year to visit Plum Granny Farm!

  • April 1        Growing Turmeric & Ginger Workshop
  • April 23      Open Greenhouse Plant Sale
  • April 30      Open Greenhouse Plant Sale
  • May 21      Growing Brambles at Home (Part 1)
  • June 25      Northern Triad Farm Tour
  • Sept. 17     Growing Brambles at Home (Part 2)
  • October 8   Growing Garlic Workshop
  • October 22  Pumpkin PYO Plus!
  • Nov. 25       Small Business Saturday Holiday Market
Lisa at the Farm Tour showing off the plants

So we are very excited about all of the opportunities to host you here at the farm!  We love having you come out to see where and how your food is grown.

Next week we'll tell you about some other plans that we have in store for you -- so stay tuned!

If you enjoy football, hope you have a great Superbowl Sunday -- and if you are not football fan, it's a great day to curl up with a book!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

P.S. Rejoice!  Spring is less than 6 weeks away!
Early crocus
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Posted 1/14/2017 11:02am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Saturday!

Brix saying Happy New Year!

Happy New Year from Brix -- and from us too!  We hope your Holiday Season was delightful and that 2017 is off to a great start!

Here at Plum Granny Farm, we are looking ahead at the season, making our plans and dreaming our dreams.  Unfortunately one of the humans here had a rocky start to the year with a flu that morphed into pneumonia but antibiotics are working their magic and hopefully we'll be full-steam ahead soon!

And how about that weather? Dealing with last weekend's deep freeze kept Ray running all over the farm to make sure that everything was tucked in, protected and warm.  From the lambs to the cats to the donkey to the wells to the greenhouse to the strawberries, everything had to be battened down, insulated and heated.  The cats weren't quite sure what to make of the space heater when it went into the house!  And the lambs got to have their first snow-splattered meal of the year (they LIKE this weather!)

BB eating dinner in the snow

But yes, in true North Carolina winter fashion, we went from 4 degrees on Monday to 65 degrees on Thursday. Here's sunrise on Tuesday:

Snowy porch sunrise

Compared with sunrise on Friday:

No snow sunrise

The beautiful icicles on the porch kept growing and growing (almost touching the porch floor) and tried to hold on as long as possible but they finally gave up on Wednesday afternoon.

But while the snow was short-lived, Ray decided to take advantage of it with a quick ski.  The conditions were perfect powder -- much like the great snow we'd get when we lived in New Mexico.  Although no turns were earned on the outing, it was a great chance to see the farm under the beautiful 8" blanket of fluff.

Making tracks at Plum Granny Farm  Seasonal porch scene

Since the snow was fluffy, we hoped that it would provide insulation and protection to the greens in the field that weren't covered.  A thick layer of light snow is so much better than an icy, sleety slush for plants (and all else!)  The strawberries had their winter blanket but we weren't able to cover the greens. 

Flat Shoals strawberries & greens under the snow

The snow did its magic.  We just checked the kale, collards and other greens and we are happy to report that they look (and taste!) great!

Rosie Pac Choy in the field  Collards after the freeze

Only one thing on the farm didn't make it --the water hydrant at Raz House blew (we had opened up the sides to let the frigid air in to help with our process of cleaning out the high tunnel).  But Ray had an excellent helper as he replaced the hydrant.

Detroit the Plumber's Helper

That pretty much wraps things up here at the farm. We've missed being in touch and hearing from you -- but we are back on track for our weekly communiques!  And it's time to get back the seed catalogs and spreadsheets for planning!

2017 seed catalogs

There are lots of special days to celebrate over the next several days starting with  "Dress Up Your Pet Day" today to "Ditch New Year's Resolutions Day" on Tuesday.  More importantly, let's celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday and honor his memory by doing something to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Pick-Your-Own Update!

Come and get some berries before they are gone!  Last week was the peak of production for our incredible blackberries -- but we still have lots.  So come out to the farm for a Twilight Pick-Your-Own on Monday, July 17 from 4:30-7:30 p.m.

These delicious blackberries are Certified Organic and are No-Spray! And they are even thornless!

Price is $5.50 per pound.  Please bring a container to take your berries home as well as a cooler.

Other produce will also be available.

We are located at 1041 Flat Shoals Road outside of King.  Take US Hwy 52 North of Winston-Salem, Exit 122 RJR - Moore Rd.  Turn left at the ramp and continue straight on Moore Road (which then becomes Mountain View Road).  Drive 4.3 miles to intersection with NC Hwy 66.  Turn left and drive 4.3 miles to Flat Shoals Road which branches off to the right.  Take Flat Shoals Road – parking for the PYO field is the first driveway on the right – across the road from the farmhouse.  Look for signs.  

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USDA Organic logo

Certfied Organic by QCS since 2010

Watch Us!

Ray talks ginger with Lisa

Check out the terrific feature that Flavor, NC did on Plum Granny Farm!  You can view the episode at http://video.unctv.org/video/2365069548/  They did a great job showing our garlic, ginger & berry production - plus a few other surprises! We are paired with Chef Jay from Lucky 32 Southern Kitchen who makes some wonderful garlic recipes!  Enjoy!

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