News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 9/2/2019 11:35am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  
A Labor of Love...  Yesterday I received an email from Organic Valley with that title and it got me to thinking about how much love it takes to farm -- especially the type of small-scale organic farming that we do here at Plum Granny Farm. 

You truly need to love the land -- to care for it, nurture it, repair its wounds.  You need to love the work -- no, not everything nor everyday--  but you need to love the physicality of the labor, the mental challenges and problem-solving.  You need to love the results of your labor -- the vegetables, the animals, the flowers.  And you need to love the community -- the community of co-workers, farmers, neighbors, and families that you feed.  

So on this Labor Day weekend, think about the farmers you know and about what they do every day.  The next time you eat a ripe tomato that might not be cosmetically perfect or savor the aroma of fresh garlic or roasted chile, see if you can taste the love that has gone into it.  For indeed, it is truly a Labor of Love.

Lots going on around the farm this week!  We are getting our 4th hoophouse ready for planting.  The bows went up earlier in the spring and now we are getting an opportunity to get it finished so we can plant snow peas in it.  It's leveled up and the baseboards are attached -- the last piece is to get the center purlin in place.  We won't be covering the house until it gets colder -- since we are growing snow peas and other cool-loving crops, we don't want it to get too warm for them.

 

Virtual Field Walk
Let's see what else has been going on, shall we?

Okay, I know we have been silly excited about our bean planting this year -- but we bet you will be too when you get a chance to taste 'em!  And it won't be long!  Do you see what I see?

And the plants just keep on growing and growing.  We need to trellis them at least once a week.

Remember the blister beetles we told you about last week?  Jonny did a run through the eggplant, dropping the beetles into soapy water.  That's a LOT of beetles in about 60' of plants!

Flowers Everywhere!
Even though we aren't a flower farm, it's always such a pleasure having flowers around the place.  They are especially delightful when you haven't planned them! These are volunteer sunflowers that grew from discarded media from our sunflower shoots.  After we harvest, we dump the spent trays into a field to help improve the soil there -- and sometimes you get beautiful surprises!

And the flowers on these eggplant -- contrasted with the ladybug -- were just too striking to ignore.

Cobblestone Farmers Market Update

We'll have LOTS of tasty peppers under the tents tomorrow!  Like it hot?  We've got you covered!  Prefer it mild?  No sweat.  We'll have New Mexico (Hatch-type) Green Chile -- fire-roasted or not, a wide variety of hot peppers (Jalapeno, Cayenne, Chinese Five Color, Calabrese/Devil's Kiss, Aji Amarillo, and Serrano) as well as the mild Fushimi and Shishito Japanese Frying Peppers.

The Potato Bar will have lots of LaRatte fingerling potatoes along with Elba, Caribe and Creamers. And the Teeny Tiny Taters are BACK!

We'll also have a variety of other Certified Organic veggies including Pea Shoots, Sunflower Shoots, Tomatillos, Arugula, freshly cut herbs (Basil, Garlic Chives, Greek Oregano), Garlic (Chesnok, Lahontan and Sampler Bags) and maybe some okra and eggplant. We'll also have Ginger Powder as well as our pure Garlic Powder and Granules.

As usual, if you'd like us to hold an item for you, please email no later than 7:00 p.m. Friday night and we'll have it waiting for you. 

That's a wrap for this week!  We're keeping our eyes on the weather forecast as Hurricane Dorian approaches.  For now, it doesn't appear that we will get much impact but it's a rapidly changing picture.  Sending our prayers to those who have been affected by the storm.

A touch of Fall is definitely in the air -- the cooler air this week along with the shortening day length let us know that Summer is winding down.  Enjoy those last glorious days of Summer and your Labor Day weekend!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 8/11/2019 3:12pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  

The Dog Days of Summer officially end Sunday and Gesti seems to be a bit sad about it.  We keep trying to tell her that she and her fellow canines will still be celebrated after Dog Days are gone.  Gesti doesn't look convinced.

The term "Dog Days" is used a lot but do you know what it means?  According to The Old Farmer's Almanac, the Dog Days of summer are traditionally the 40 days beginning July 3 and ending August 11.  This coincides with the dawn rising of Sirius, the Dog Star.  And July 3rd is just a couple of weeks after the Summer Solstice --  which means that summer's worst heat will soon set in.

In a farmer's world, this is when we need to start getting fall and winter crops seeded and in the ground.  It's hard to imagine cold and crisp winter days (and the accompanying kale!) when you are filling seed trays in a 110 degree greenhouse!  That takes some serious imagination!  But now is the time to get these things going before it gets too late.  It's definitely a race to beat the clock!

Going Buggy!
For the current crops in the ground (and actually even in the greenhouse!), pests have been a HUGE problem this year!  We have been swarmed by harlequin bugs, cabbage loopers, armyworms, flea beetles, stinkbugs and many more.  We are taking preventive measures to protect plants from the chewing varmits and when that doesn't work, we have to use organic pesticides such as insecticidal soap and Bt.

We've never seen harlequin bugs on radishes before!  Yikes!

Not sure what made this The Year of the Insect but I am guessing that all of the rain over the winter combined with warmer temps contributed to the onslaught.

But we have found some helpers in our fight against pests. This Praying Mantis was spotted on the ginger (where there are army worms).  

This spring, we put out several egg casings in the greenhouse and high tunnels in hopes that we would hatch a boatload of helpers!

And speaking of Things That Eat Plants, the deer are still enjoying sweet potato leaves.  They discovered the ones in the Demo Garden and Ray shooed out 3 last night from our Flat Shoals field. [Insert sad face here]  Time to install the second fence around the field.

Lots of other things going on here at the farm this week.  Trellising snap beans, trellising the Osage blackberries, clearing brush, weeding -- all in a day's work!

Ray's tomato grafting project is going well -- just a couple plants didn't survive.  These will be transplanted into the greenhouse in a couple of weeks.

Cobblestone Farmers Market Update
It's still National Farmers Market Week and we are celebrating by bringing the first of our GREEN CHILE to market tomorrow!  We'll even have the roaster on hand to create that wonderful aroma of roasting chile.  We'll have fresh and roasted green chile (frozen) available.

We'll also have a variety of other Certified Organic veggies including Hot Peppers (Jalapeno, Cayenne, Chinese Five Color), Cured Garlic (Elephant, Inchelium Red, Chesnok),  Elephant Garlic Flowers (Fireworks on a Stick! -- last week!), Pea Shoots, Tomatillos, Ground Cherries, Arugula, freshly cut herbs (Basil, Garlic Chives, Rosemary) and a few cucumbers.  Our popular Potato Bar will be well-stocked with 5 varieties of potatoes and creamers including LaRatte Fingerling Potatoes and the potato that made Belgium famous -- BintjeWe'll also have Ginger Powder as well as our pure Garlic Powder and Granules.

As usual, if you'd like us to hold an item for you, please email no later than 7:00 p.m. Friday night and we'll have it waiting for you. 

This weekend marks the beginning of the Perseid Meteor Showers. Monday and Tuesday offer the best times for viewing this wonderful astronomical event. 

And as we move into fall, it's time to start thinking about State Fairs!  We are BIG state fair fans and have enjoyed a number of them across the country (New Mexico is still our favorite!).  The famous Iowa State Fair started this week and it boasts the world famous Butter Cow (and a few dozen Presidential Candidates).

Cheryl got the thrill of a lifetime by getting the opportunity to go to the Iowa State Fair in 2007!  Mia says she wants to go this year -- she thinks she would make a cute Butter Cow (she doesn't quite understand the concept...).

Get out there and do the things that make you happy!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 7/14/2019 3:28pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 
Mother Nature decided that we hadn't had a good storm in a while so she decided to send us a special edition.  BOOM!  And boy did she ever!  The bottom fell out yesterday afternoon.  All this fell in about 15 minutes. 

On top of the deluge, there was a lot of very close lightning.  In fact, so close that lightning took out half the circuits in our breaker box -- or so we think (the electrician is coming this afternoon).  When Cheryl went to put up the cats for the night, no water came out of the hydrant.  And neither of the pumps had power.  The good news is that we still had power to the walk-in cooler and the greenhouse fans. And we are praying it is just the circuit that needs to be replaced and that it is not the entire pump controller (times two).

A Visit from the Sunshine State
On Sunday, we had the pleasure of hosting a group of 4-H and FFA (Future Farmers of America) students and their sponsors from Central Florida.  The group was travelling through the area on their way to the Southeast Youth Dairy Retreat in Orange, Virginia.  They were interested in visiting us because we are Certified Organic and are an agritourism farm.  Our diverse crop mix was a plus too!

After a quick tour, they got to pick blackberries!  This was a new experience for some of the kids  -- and their sponsor said that a few had never even tasted them before!

A cool thing was that most of the youth have and show dairy cattle.  And several had Brown Swiss!  Meeting Cara and Mia was the icing on the cake (blackberry?!) before they left.

Meet Team Plum Granny!
In the second of our series of introductions to our terrific team, we'd like to introduce Sarah Peak.  She joined the team in March 2019 and has become a valued part of the crew.  Sarah is very observant and always asks insightful questions.  Her interest in herbs and plants is leading her to pursue a certificate in horticulture at NC State this year.  

She also brings some great photography skills.  We'll frequently see her snapping a picture of a flower or insect or animal with her phone.  Her Instagram account always has some great shots!

Virtual Field Walk
LOTS of weeding this week!  A key goal was to get the sweet potatoes cleaned up and it happened!  I sure wish I had taken a "before" picture -- but here's the "after"!

We got the first harvest of our Summer Red Pippin apples for our PlumFresh members -- this wasn't a bumper crop year, for sure.  The Grimes Golden crop looks promising though.

The field tomatoes are doing well and got some serious pruning and trellising work.

And we are starting to have some microharvests of crops -- shishito peppers and one of our new seedless table grapes.

 

Cobblestone Farmers Market Update
Sounds like it is going to be a hot one at market tomorrow -- don't forget that we now open at 8:30 a.m. so you can get the goods before the heat comes in.  The closing time is still the same -- noon.

We'll have our Certified Organic, No-Spray Blackberries again (although not in the same quantity as last week!).  Our popular Potato Bar is back featuring at least 4 varieties of potatoes and creamers.  We'll have BASIL (think pasta salad and caprese), Freshly Cured Garlic, Elephant Garlic Flowers (Fireworks on a Stick!),  Swiss Chard, Sunflower Shoots, Pea Shoots, freshly cut herbs (SPEARMINT, Dill, Chives, Garlic Chives, Greek Oregano, Catnip), and the very last of the Fresh Turmeric crop.  We'll also have our pure Garlic Powder and Granules and Ginger Powder and Granules.  

In the plant department, we'll be bringing some potted Ginger and Turmeric Plants as well as Triple Crown Blackberries and Black Raspberries.

As usual, if you'd like us to hold an item for you, please email no later than 7:00 p.m. Friday night (NOTE:  NEW time!) and we'll have it waiting for you. 

That's a wrap!  Don't miss the Full Buck Moon on Tuesday (7/16).  Oh, and Cara and Mia wanted to let you know that we forgot to mention that last Tuesday was Cow Appreciation Day.  They haven't stopped letting us hear about it all week.  Here's Cheryl giving Mia a little extra appreciation this morning after Mia's breakfast.  Our little baby calf is growing up!  Sniff, sniff!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 6/30/2019 2:05pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! Welcome to Summer!
No middle-of-the-night visitors to report this week but we did have a very wonderful surprise!  Thanks to some of our eagle-eyed farm friends who subscribe to Our State magazine, we found out that we were mentioned in the July issue!  How cool is that?

What a wonderful surprise and honor to be mentioned in their Quiz feature on North Carolina Century Farms.  Check out the quiz and see if you can get the correct answer!  As readers of this newsletter, we're sure you can ace the test.  Run out and pick up your copy of Our State today!

Ginger?  Check!
Last week we told you about getting the ginger and turmeric planted in Mama Meow.  I am happy to report that it is DONE!  Three hundred and twenty-four bags full (yes sir, yes sir!).  Now on to finishing the task of planting our trial in-ground ginger as well as turmeric in the greenhouse. 

 

Lots of planting, seeding, and weeding going on this week.  With the extra rain and heat, the weeds are really beginning to pop.  

 

But our summer crops are looking good.  The sweet potatoes that were planted 3 weeks ago are getting big!  Ray was able to get them cultivated with the tractor but that will probably be the last time since the plants are really starting to spread out.

All of the cucumber plants in the greenhouse have now been replaced.  Sad to lose the old plants but we will have a strong crop going into late summer and fall.  It really doesn't take long for them to start producing!

And we started harvesting potatoes this week.  We'll have a great new variety for you at market on Saturday!

Cobblestone Farmers Market Update
It will definitely feel like summer tomorrow at market!  The good news is that there will be some clouds to give us some relief.  Don't forget that market now begins at 8:30 a.m. 

Come get some Certified Organic delights for your Holiday Celebration under the Purple and White tents:  Lots of beautiful living BASIL for your Holiday pasta salads, Fresh Garlic, Elephant Garlic Flowers (Fireworks on a Stick!),  Freshly Dug New Potatoes, Beets, Swiss Chard, Sunflower Shoots, Pea Shoots, freshly cut herbs (SPEARMINT, Dill, Chives, Garlic Chives, Greek Oregano, Catnip), some Blackberries, Tomatoes and the last of the Fresh Turmeric crop.  Last call for Jam!  We'll have Raspberry Baby Ginger and Old Fashioned Raspberry Jam along with Garlic Powder and Granules and Ginger Powder and Granules.  

In the plant department, we'll be bringing some potted Ginger and Turmeric Plants as well as Triple Crown Blackberries, Black Raspberries and a nice selection of perennial herbs (Chives, Spearmint, Sage, Greek Oregano, Catnip) for your garden.

As usual, if you'd like us to hold an item for you, please email no later than 7:00 p.m. Friday night (NOTE:  NEW time!) and we'll have it waiting for you. 

Just a note -- we typically have been hosting a July 4th Blackberry Pick-Your-Own but unfortunately this year, the berries are just not working with that schedule.  Stay tuned for PYO updates!  

Enjoy your Independence Day celebrations -- and be safe out there!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 6/20/2019 3:39am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy Flag Day!
For a garlic farmer, June is the World Cup.  Unlike that other World Cup, the Garlic World Cup is played every year.  The Asian teams have already been eliminated and now we have moved on to the bigger teams:  Red Toch (Georgia Republic), Lorz (Italy), Inchellium Red (Washington State, USA) and Music (Italy via Canada).  They stood tall and held their ground but they too have been eliminated.  The remaining teams are pretty much from the former Soviet Union and points north -- the real hardy stock!  Who knew there was such a strong sports tradition in garlic?!

We have considerably less garlic this year.  Remember how rainy and wet last fall was?  Our planting was significantly delayed and reduced.  This year's harvest seems quick miniature and like a real walk in the park.  Instead of a trailer load (or two) of some of our mainstay varieties, like Music, we only fill half a trailer.  Sad.  But the good news is that the garlic is good-sized and healthy.  Can't ask for more than that.

We're getting it trimmed, graded and hung in the barn as we go.  Keeping the harvest organized is essential when you have 20 varieties.  A new challenge this year is working in a more active barn -- adding cows and hay to the mix keeps it interesting!

     

Outside the world of garlic, there is much more happening on the farm.  Fall (!) crops are being seeded in the greenhouse (brussels sprouts!) and we are having to replace all of the greenhouse cucumbers (heavy infestation of spider mites).

The blackberries are starting to show signs of ripening.  These are a new variety that we are trialing, Osage, which is a slightly earlier variety than our Triple Crown.  They should be ready in a couple of weeks.

And our crop of plum grannies are starting to pop!  The first blooms are appearing and the front yard is starting to resemble a plum granny lawn!

 

We have a new flower around the farmhouse this year -- the Outhouse Hollyhock.  These heirloom flowers were traditionally grown around outhouses to screen the view of the privy -- they will grow up to 9 feet tall!  And ours is getting near that point!

 

Did you think I would forget the weather report?  Hey, we're farmers and that's all we talk about!

Yep, we got a lot of rain -- nearly 5 inches but it could have been much worse.  At least the sweet potatoes got planted just before the rain and now they are very happy (as were we when we finished planting!)

Cobblestone Farmers Market Update
We are back at market this week -- and we look forward to seeing you there.  It is supposed to be a beautiful Saturday morning -- Hooray!

Here's what Certified Organic delights we'll have under the Purple and White tents this week:  Fresh Garlic, Garlic Scapes (end of the crop!), Elephant Garlic Flowers, Beets, Kohlrabi, Swiss Chard, Zucchini, Yellow Squash, Bunching Onions, a bit of Curly Vates Kale,  Fresh Turmeric (almost gone!), freshly cut herbs (dill, chives, catnip) and more.  We'll have jam (Dads Love Jam!) and don't forget the Garlic Powder and Granules, Turmeric Powder (almost gone!) and Ginger Powder.  

And last but not least, we'll have some beautiful, healthy plants:  Triple Crown Blackberries, Black Raspberries  and a nice selection of perennial herbs (Chives, Spearmint, Sage, Greek Oregano, Catnip) for your garden.

As usual, if you'd like us to hold an item for you, please email no later than 7:00 p.m. Friday night (NOTE:  NEW time!) and we'll have it waiting for you.  Just a reminder, you still need to wait in line to get your preordered items.

That does it for this week.  Wishing all of you Dads out there a wonderful Father's Day!  May you get all the relaxation, barbequeing and everything else you deserve on your special day.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 4/14/2019 3:39pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 
Although the raindrops are falling, that's not going to stop Team Plum Granny from planting, harvesting and just generally getting things done!

 

Like the old adage goes:  "Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night stays these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds."  In our case, the "couriers" are carrying plants!

It's been a beautiful week here at the farm and we've been able to knock a number of items off our to-do list -- especially planting and field prep.  All of the potatoes are in along with cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, arugula, bunching onions, beets, more snap peas, beans and broccoli!  The asparagus beds were weeded and topped with compost (boy, are they happy!)  We got lots of weeding done too!

   

And the stuff already in the ground is looking mighty good!

   

Trucker Ray
Did you know that Farmer Ray moonlights as a truck driver?  Just kidding!  But he did wrangle Cheryl's cousin's dump truck up to Seven Springs Farm Supply on Wednesday to pick up another co-op order of organic soil amendments.  Three pallets of good stuff to help improve our soil and that of fellow farmer friends.  With that size load (5,000 pounds!), it's a good thing he didn't have to deal with the snow and fog like Cheryl did on her visit!

 

Mark Your Calendar:  The Grand Palooza of Plants!
Speaking of soil amendments, you'll be able to find them at our huge plant sale that will be held here at the farm on Saturday, April 27 (10-3), Sunday, April 28 (1-5) and Monday, April 29 (10-2).  Since we are a dealer for Seven Springs, we keep a number of fertilizers such as Harmony and fish emulsion in stock. 

In addition to the stuff to make your plants grow and thrive, you'll find a great selection of beautiful Organic transplants including heirloom and hard-to-find varieties of tomatoes, peppers, other veggies, herbs and flowers.  We will also have farm-grown blackberry and black raspberry plants as well as potted ginger and turmeric.

Shear Delights!
Yesterday was Spring Shearing Day for BB and Tony.  Our dear friend. Laura Frazier of FarmGirl Arts, came by to give the sheep their twice-yearly trim.  We have been working on getting this done earlier in the season -- it's better for the quality of the fleece and much better for the sheep.  You try wearing a thick wool coat when the thermometer registers 90 degrees!

 

PlumFresh Is Sold Out!
Thanks so much for all of your support for our PlumFresh Harvest Subscription Program! We have sold out this year's slots in record time -- even after increasing the number of spaces available!  We do have a waiting list and would be happy to add your name to it.  You just need to register for the program on our online registration form -- no deposit is necessary until we know that we will have a space available for you.  

Cobblestone Farmers Market Update
Thanks so much for a terrific Opening Day at Cobblestone Farmers Market last weekend!  We really enjoyed seeing all of you that stopped by and shopped with us.  So many of you have been customers since we first came to market in 2009 -- back when the Krankies Farmers Market was still inside Krankies Coffee (for you newcomers, that market was the beginning of the current Cobblestone Farmers Market).  We are so honored for your support and trust in us.  And it is so great to meet new folks each market day as well!  We look forward to building that kind of longstanding relationship with you, too.

Our new location is working out well -- we are just across West Street from where we used to be (Shore Farms' former location) but we are still near the intersection of West Street and Old Salem Road.  Under the purple tent you'll find lots of Certified Organic spring goodness including Snacking Cucumbers, Sunflower Shoots, Pea Shoots, Parsley, Chives, Elephant Garlic, Fresh Turmeric, Teeny Tiny Taters, Bunching Onions and Microgreens.  And don't forget our delectable Jams, Garlic Powder and Granules, Turmeric Powder along with Ginger Powder and Granules.

Looking forward to seeing you Saturday!  Bring your rain jacket just in case -- although the forecast seems to have a break in the rain during market hours.

Traffic Update: Remember that Business 40 is still closed but Broad Street is now open.  Be sure to check out alternative routes -- this link can provide some options (and there are several!)

As usual, if you'd like us to hold an item for you please email no later than 10:00 p.m. Friday night and we'll have it waiting for you.

That does it for this week's edition!  If you are looking to do something after market, check out the 2019 Piedmont Earth Day Fair at the Winston-Salem Fairgrounds (indoors at the Education Building).  It's a great place to learn about options to reduce your impact on our precious Mother Earth -- and have a lot of fun while you are at it!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

 

Posted 4/7/2019 3:27pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy April!
We've been busy little bees around here this week.  In fact, there is so much that needs to be done that we needed to find some more bees to help out!

Ray got our package of Italian Honeybees last Saturday from The Beez Needz in Sophia.  What a nice, small family-owned business!  On Sunday he got the girls moved into their new home.  Welcome!!  Hope they are well-rested -- they've got lots of flowers to pollinate.

 

The people side of the farm has been buzzing around too.  Planting, thinning the blackberries (and burning the canes), potting up tomatoes, tending the tomatoes and cucumbers and more.  It's always so exciting as the growing season kicks into gear and green pops up everywhere!

    

And how was the weather in your neck of the woods?  It was pretty squirrely here on Tuesday!  We were wondering if it was an April Fool's Day joke -- on the wrong day.  But we persevered!  Jonny said that a little snow wasn't going to keep him from planting spinach! 

We've got a great video of the scene on our Instagram or Facebook feeds -- check it out!

Tater Time
A big item on the week's task list was getting the potatoes planted.  We've had them cut for a couple of weeks now -- actually that was a bit too long -- so they were raring to go.  We were finally able to get the field prepped and beds shaped this week so most of the potatoes got planted on Thursday!  Hoorah!  Nearly 400 pounds of potatoes are tucked in the ground and are waiting on a nice rain to settle them in.

 

Astute newsletter readers might notice a "new" tractor in the field.  We got this 1968 Cub from Cheryl's cousin, Stanley Smith.  His grandpa, Herman Smith, bought it in 1969 and it eventually ended up with his father, John Smith.  Now it has transitioned to Stanley's mother's side of the family, the Fergusons (Carolyn Jones Smith was Cheryl's 1st cousin).  It's great having a piece of equipment with such a rich history.  People tend to think of a tractor as just a tractor -- but they are almost like members of the family.

Last Call for PlumFresh!
Just a few slots remain for Wednesday afternoon pick-ups here at the farm or at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton.  Find more information here and sign up today -- don't procrastinate and miss the boat (or bag!)

Cobblestone Farmers Market Starts This Weekend!
And now for the moment that many of you have been waiting for... Opening Day at the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem is Saturday (4/6) from 9-noon!   The market is located adjacent to the Single Brothers Garden at the intersection of Salt and West Streets in Old Salem.  For the latest updates on the market, check out Cobblestone's Facebook page.

We'll be in a new location -- just across West Street from where we used to be (Shore Farms former location) but we are still near the intersection of West Street and Old Salem Road.  Our purple tent will be packed with lots of Certified Organic spring goodness including Snacking Cucumbers, Cabbage, Sugarloaf Radicchio, Daikon Radishes, Pea Shoots, Parsley, Chives, Elephant Garlic, Fresh Turmeric, Baby Ginger (vacuum packed and frozen) and perhaps a few Microgreens.  And don't forget our delectable jams.

We'll also have tons of Garlic Powder and Granules, Turmeric Powder along with Ginger Powder and Granules -- time to stock up!   These powders and granules aren't just a substitute -- they are the real stuff.  Only pure garlic, ginger and turmeric without any additives.  They are great to use in cooking in their own right!  

We hope to see you there on Saturday -- it's supposed to be a nice day in Old Salem!  Please stop by and say "hello!" -- we've missed seeing you over the winter.  Remember that Business 40 is still closed but Broad Street is now open.  Be sure to check out alternative routes -- this link can provide some options (and there are several!)

As usual, if you'd like us to hold an item for you please email no later than 10:00 p.m. Friday night and we'll have it waiting for you.

In closing, let's take a look at a few other scenes from around the farm this week -- so much stuff is popping out!  Spring is definitely here (barring any unforeseen snow squalls).

       

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 3/31/2019 2:00pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 
What a week!  The nice weather has made our heartrate race as we run from task to task around the farm.  We get a g-o-o-d workout around here, fer sure!

Taking care of critters has been high on the list.  Brix's hooves had gotten really overgrown during the course of the winter.  All the mud had taken its toll and we could tell she was having some issues with them. 
We don't know if she had ever had her hooves trimmed before but she hadn't in the 4 years that we've had her.  We were told that Brix had never needed to be trimmed.  That wasn't true anymore!

Finally we found a farrier who would work with donkeys!  Then came the hardest part -- tying up Brix so that she could be trimmed.  This required some animal juijitsu -- moving the cows to where Brix stayed and vice versa.  Then we needed to get her into the proper position for the farrier.  Many thanks to our friend, Jenny Bates for her help.  Jenny kept whispering to Brix the entire time and rewarded her with carrots and peppermint treats afterwards.  

If you are looking for a great farrier, we highly recommend Dave Ogburn!  He is very helpful, careful and respectful.

Meanwhile, Tony and BB had their spa day with much less fanfare (and anxiety!).  Their reward was pretty good too -- fresh pasture!

 

Cara and Mia are having fun exploring the new digs -- they found lots of tasty green things to eat (where have we been keeping this stuff?!)  And Mia got to make a new friend.  Interspecies pastures are the best!

There was tending of tinier creatures too.  We got a loaner beehive from Jimmy Fulk of Monteith Homestead.  These bees will help take care of the strawberries and blackberries -- just in time too!

 

Even tinier critters abound!  Predatory mites and green lacewings were released in the greenhouse to take care of some of the critters that we really don't care for!

It wasn't all about the fauna -- flora also has been getting its due!  Ginger and turmeric are now cut into proper seed size and they are tucked into the warm and steamy milkhouse dreaming of Hawaii.  The grapes and apple trees are getting pruned and blackberries are all weeded!  And the greenhouse is exploding with growth!

   

Your PlumFresh Window is Closing!
Tick-tock!  Time is running out!  Both our delivery and Cobblestone Farmers Market pick-up options are SOLD OUT!  We still have a few spaces left for Wednesday afternoon pick-ups here at the farm or at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton.  Find more information here and sign up today -- don't miss out!

Mark Your Calendar!
April is going to be a very busy month!  Check out some of the coming events:

  • Opening Day for Cobblestone Farmers Market will be on Saturday, April 6 from 9-noon!  We'll be in a new location -- just across West Street from where we used to be (Shore Farms former location).  Next week we'll give you the scoop on what we'll have on the table.
  • Another workshop, Growing the Jewels of the Garden at Home will be held on Sunday, April 14 from 2:00-4:30 p.m.  You'll learn how to plant and care for blackberries and raspberries and even get to explore our berry plantings to see trellising and more.  The cost of the workshop is $25 per person.  A registration form can be found here
  • Our huge Plant Sale will be a three-day extravaganza on April 27 through 29!  Mark your calendar for Saturday (10-3), Sunday (1-5) and Monday (10-2).  We'll have hundreds of beautiful Organic transplants including heirloom tomatoes, peppers, other veggies, herbs and flowers -- ready to make your garden the best ever!

That wraps up all we can fit this week!  Here's wishing you a great weekend as we bid March farewell!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 3/22/2019 7:31pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy Spring!
Building, seeding, weeding, planting, clearing, cutting....  This is what
Farm March Madness is all about.  It's our version of shooting, guarding, passing, fouling...  The noise volume isn't as loud but the intensity is just as great.  Let's take a look at some of what our winning team has done this week!

Plants are getting into the ground!  Woo-hoo!!  Here's Jonny planting lettuce in Wally, one of our high tunnels.  He also planted more kale, Asian greens and bunching onions out in the field.  It will be so good to see plants popping out of the fields instead of mud!

 

Our new Bagster Raised Beds in the Demo garden are coming along nicely. Tesla and Sarah got the frames ready for the Bagster bags and have installed them.  Hopefully these will be filled by this afternoon and planted with pollinator crops.

Have been continuing with the program of Farmstead Maintenance days.  This week's task was to clear out the old corral which was overgrown with wild blackberries, roses and all manner of thorny, prickly things.  Now that it's cleared, it looks amazing!  Cara and Mia are ready to give it a try!

   

It was also a week for potatoes (just a wee bit late for St. Patrick's Day!).  Cheryl drove up to New Sprout Organics in Black Mountain to fetch a few hundred pounds and the remaining arrived from The Maine Potato Lady mid-week.  Sarah and Tesla were potato cutting fools -- getting about 450 pounds into properly sized planting portions.  The plan is to get these babies planted on Monday!

We had a terrific time at our Bluebird Nesting Box workshop on Sunday!  A great group of people came out to the farm to enjoy a beautiful (blue-ti-ful?!) day and to learn about the birds and the bees (in our new "theatre"). Plus they got to build some pretty awesome nesting boxes.

       

Interested in PlumFresh? Better Hurry!
We have had a great response to our PlumFresh Harvest Subscription Program mailing last week!  So good, in fact, that we have only ONE slot remaining for delivery and TWO slots left for Saturday pick-up at Cobblestone Farmers Market.  Spaces are available for Wednesday afternoon pick-ups here at the farm or at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton.  Don't delay!    Checkout the details and sign up today -- don't let this opportunity pass you by!

Event Updates
We've had to make a few revisions to our April calendar of events.  Update your calendar for some farm-fresh fun!

  • Growing Blackberries and Raspberries at Home will be held on Sunday, April 14 from 2-4:30 p,m.  You'll learn how to plant and care for these wonderful jewels of the garden.  A link to a the registration form and more information on this class will be in next week's newsletter. 
  • Our huge Plant Sale will be a three-day extravaganza on April 27 through 29!  Mark your calendar for Saturday (10-3), Sunday (1-5) and Monday (10-2).  We'll have hundreds of beautiful Organic transplants including heirloom tomatoes, peppers, other veggies, herbs and flowers -- ready to make your garden the best ever!  Stay tuned for more information!

That's all the news we've got time for today!  Maybe we can take in a game during that other March Madness over the weekend.  We're hoping for a Final Four of the Cats, Donkeys, Cows and Sheep.  Who are YOU cheering for? 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 3/10/2019 5:31pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 
Sorry this week's news is a bit late -- some days, the call of the road is just too strong...or you've just run out of planting mix for seeding a ton of flats!

Yeah, it wasn't the best day for a drive to Floyd, Virginia but we had needs!  It was great to visit our friends at Seven Springs Farm Organic Farming & Garden Supplies.  It was Cheryl's first trip to the farm and she was impressed!

Seven Springs is our source for nearly all of our soil amendments and more -- and we are also a dealer for them and keep several popular items in stock.  Let us know if you need something to kick start your garden!

But meanwhile, back at the farm, it's been busy, busy, BUSY!  We got some weeding done and cleared several beds with overwintered crops like carrots and escarole.

 

Jonny & Tesla also harvested black raspberries and blackberries from our bramble nursery and potted up the plants for our upcoming plant sale days (April 14, 19 and 28 - hint, hint!)

 

The Greenhouse has been a beehive of activity, for sure!  Our dropped ceiling was removed so that we could let in more light to the plants.

 

The tomato and cucumber plantings are now trellised.  Check out these tiny baby cukes -- won't be long!

 

But Detroit says that this place is getting very crowded...

Growing Ginger & Turmeric at Home Workshop -- Rescheduled to May 12

Our last shipment of ginger came in from Hawaii this week so we are now able to cut the large rhizomes into seed pieces for pre-sprout. Our shipment was delayed so we need a bit of extra time to get these rhizomes to wake up and get ready to grow so we are postponing our workshop until May 12.

The workshop will
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.

Last Call for Nesting Box Workshop!
We only have a few spaces remaining for our upcoming Bluebird Nesting Box Workshop. The workshop is on Sunday, March 17 from 2-5.  Come build your own bluebird nesting box and learn about these beautiful and useful creatures!  In addition to bluebird houses, we'll also talk about native bees and will have Orchard Mason Bee Houses available for purchase.  The workshop fee is $25 per person. To register, please click here and complete the form.  

That's about all we've got for this week.  Don't forget that Daylight Savings Time begins on Sunday -- yeah, it's that time of year that we lose a full hour of sleep! :- (  But the good news is that we get so much more daylight in the evenings.  Stay alert out there, friends!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Growing Garlic at Home!

People ask us all the time about how to grow garlic.  Here's your chance to learn from our 11+ years experience of growing this essential crop.  If you have always wanted to grow garlic but need some advice to get going or want to improve your skills, this is just the ticket!  Register now for our Growing Great Garlic at Home workshop.  It will be held here at the farm on Sunday, October 13 from 2-5 -- just in time for planting. The class fee is $35 and includes a 1/2 pound bag of seed garlic. To register, use our online form.

PlumFresh is Now Open for Sign-Ups!

UPDATEWe now have a waiting list for the season.  If you are interested, please register using the online form noted below -- no deposit is necessary until we know that we have a space available for you.

Our popular PlumFresh Harvest Subscription Program is now open for sign-ups for the 2019 season!  Get Certfied Organic veggies and fruit delivered or pick up at the farm or at Cobblestone Farmers Market.  PlumFresh is not your typical CSA -- flexibility is our watchword.  You can trade out items you don't like and skip a week if you need.  For more information, click here.

Our Online Store is Ready to Serve You!

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.

 

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"!




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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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