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Plum Granny Farm Weekly Update -- Hail? Yeah!!

Posted 4/29/2016 9:58am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

The past 24 hours have been a whirling dervish!  What started as a calm, cloudy Thursday ended in a roar with a huge hailstorm and lots of rain. 

Huge hailstones  Shoveling hail off the shadecloth

The storm packed a one-two punch and dumped 1.1 inches of rain in less than an hour along with the biggest hailstones I've ever seen here.  The surge of water created some pretty serious erosion in the Flat Shoals field.  Our other fields fared just fine.  We have been working on stabilizing Flat Shoals for several years and have implemented erosion control practices to improve it.  This was caused by a rookie plowing error that allowed the water to flow at a different (bad) angle -- oh, the things you need to know to farm!  We've got to deal with this soon as we have more significant rain predicted over the next few days.

Channel in Flat Shoals field  Debris from Flat Shoals

Andrew had been planting beans in the field right before this hit -- we're not sure where those beans ended up! 

The good news is that we are all okay and there was no significant property damage.  We just have some beat-up plants and fruit...  We haven't started picking strawberries today but given the hail, we are sure that the fruit suffered damage.  That will likely limit what we bring to market this week.

Speaking of strawberries, did you know that strawberries are the #1 item on the Environmental Working Group's (EWG) Dirty Dozen? Conventionally grown strawberries are loaded with pesticides and the soil is fumigated with toxic gases.  In a new report, the EWG cited data from California showing that in 2014, nearly 300 pounds of pesticides were applied to each acre of strawberries – an astonishing amount, compared to about five pounds of pesticides per acre of corn, which is considered a pesticide-intensive crop. 

So what should you do?  Well, we know where you can get berries that don't have these issues!  But we cannot supply the strawberry needs of our area -- our 2,000 plants are working hard but can't produce enough for everyone to get as many berries as she wants.  When you explore other options, ask questions about the strawberries you buy.  Learn about the growing practices: fumigants? pesticides? herbicides?  Buying Certified Organic is your assurance that your food is safe but unfortunately there are not many local options.  If you go to the other strawberry growers in our area, encourage them to adopt organic practices and seek certification.  Customer pressure is a key reason for growers to make the switch to Certified Organic.

The week hasn't been all about hail and strawberries!  Take a quick tour to see what we've been up to:

The LaRatte fingerlings and other potatoes are really starting to pop up!

LaRatte potatoes  Row of LaRatte fingerling potatoes

Getting more beds shaped and covered has been a key task for the week.  Since we are moving into warmer weather, we're using white plastic on the beds to keep the soil cooler than black plastic would.

Covering the beds in North 2

Our little orphan tomato plant is now very huge and has a permanent home in the greenhouse -- and is starting to produce RIPE fruit!

Ginormous tomato plant in the greenhouse


Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including Spring Garlic, purple and green Asparagus (limited amounts), a limited supply of Organic & No-Spray Strawberries, Sugar Snap Peas, Snow Peas, Swiss Chard, Kale, Garlic Powder and Granules, Blackberry and Black Raspberry Plants, lots of transplants (tomato, veggie, herb) and Strawberry Hanging Baskets (with fruit!)  We will also have our tasty jams and popular Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Sauce (it's grilling time!)  We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and King from 11-1.

Pick-Your-Own Update

Our planned Strawberry PYO on Sunday has been postponed due to the forecast of heavy rain & thunderstorms.  Our current plan is to hold one on Sunday, May 8.  Stay tuned!

Hope to see you at market -- and the lambs ask that you not buy any peas...that means more for them (not!)

BB & Tony with pea vines

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Plant Your Victory Garden Now!

Interested in planting your Covid-19 Victory Garden?  Plum Granny Farm is happy to help!  We'll be holding our 7th annual Spring Plant Sale the first weekend in May.   Four terrific days to find those perfect plants for your own Victory Garden – Friday, May 1 (10-4), Saturday, May 2 (10-4), Sunday, May 3 (1-4) and Monday, May 4 (10-3). 

On Friday and Saturday, we will reserve the first 2 hours of the plant sale to seniors and those at-risk.  We will also have procedures in place to ensure adequate social distancing such as limiting the number of people in the greenhouse at any time, asking visitors to bring and wear masks and maintaining 6' spacing in checkout lines, etc. Other preventive measures will be in place as well for hand sanitation, etc. 

Hundreds of plants will be available!  For a complete list, please click here.

PlumFresh Registration Is Open NOW!

Sign-ups for our popular PlumFresh Harvest Subscription Program have begun.  This program is our own twist on a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program.  It is flexible and customizable -- and you don't have to pay for the entire season upfront.  Click here for more information!  Ready to sign up now?  Click here!

Our Online Store is Ready to Serve You!

We've been really jammin' so now our online store is fully stocked and waiting for your orders! Click here to go right to the shelves.  You'll find our popular fruit-forward Jams (regular and gift-size jars), Garlic Powder and Granules as well as our new Ginger Powder and Lavender Sachets!  

NEW!  Local customers can order online and arrange to pick up their items at the farm or at the Cobblestone Farmers Market Winter Market.


Do you want the latest news from the farm? How about the opportunity to reserve items for pick-up at market? Join our mailing list for our "Plum Granny Farm Weekly Update"!