News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 10/25/2013 1:16pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Happy Friday, Farm Friends! 

Brrrrr!  Welcome to winter, everyone!  Yikes!  It sure has gotten cold the past couple of days (not to mention the long-underwear inducing chill of tomorrow morning at market!!)  We saw this coming and earlier this week we got the plastic cover on Raz House -- our high tunnel.  It used to hold our Prelude Raspberries but now there are only a couple of plants and a smattering of tomatillos and tomatoes.  We hope the cover will give them enough protection to hang on a bit longer as the temperatures drop!  All the plants are nicely tucked in now and are enjoying the extra warmth.  Here's Ray and Chris attaching the plastic top cover to the end wall.

Covering the hoop house with plastic

Colder weather has also meant that the deer are returning to browse among our fields even more than usual.  We had deer fencing up around the strawberries but I guess they were just too tempting for the deer to ignore -- let's say that now the deer are in for a shocking dining experience if they decide to wander in for a snack.  We sure hope the plants recover!!

Deer damage to strawberry plants

A shout-out to our great volunteers who came out to help crack 200 pounds of garlic on Sunday!!  Thank you SO very much for your assistance!! Small farms like ours really appreciate the help and support of our volunteers!!  

Here's a quick roundup of what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King).  This will be the LAST week of the season for the King Farmers Market -- thanks to all our great customers there!  The Cobblestone Old Salem Farmers Market will run until November 23.  

Certified Organic Produce:

      -- Powdered and Granulated Organic Garlic (Music, Spanish Roja, Lorz)

    -- Garlic (Red Toch, Inchelium Red, Nootka Rose, Lorz Italian, Gesti Jumble and Elephant)  We are nearly out of stock for MOST varieties so you better get it while you can! 

    --  Seed Garlic Cloves (variety: Music) 

     -- Garlic braids -- and we are also taking orders for braids for the Holidays!  Better hurry on these too -- don't have that much garlic left for braids either!      

    --  Tomatillos and Salsa Kits  

Our Baby Ginger-Strawberry-Mint jam was a hit in last weekend's tasting so we'll have it available for sale this week.  The shelves are stocked with our seasonal Raspberry-Cranberry Jam and we'll also have our other yummy jams and Raspberry-Chipotle Molè Sauce! 

Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.   Take good care and bundle up for market,

Cheryl & Ray

 

 

Posted 10/18/2013 6:47pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 Happy Friday, Farm Friends!  

Whew!  Getting this weekly newsletter out a little late -- been a busy one!  On Monday we were able to get the fancy-schmancy all-in-one bed shaper-drip tape layer-plastic layer from NC A&T (thank you, Grace!).  This amazing piece of equipment will help us make beautiful beds for our garlic (no plastic) and our greens (with plastic).  It has taken some time this week to get it on the tractor, figure it out and test in the field.  Today Ray was able to make some trial beds -- they are wide, flat and the plastic mulch actually is pretty well covered!  These are just incredibly beautiful (we farmers get awfully excited about stuff like this!)!
Planting bed with plastic mulch and drip tape

But of course, we can't do anything in the field these days without the help of our boys....

3 cats sittings in the bed-shaping equipment Cats on tractor equipment   
   
We had a great time at Old Salem yesterday talking about growing garlic!  Thanks to those of you who came out to hear it!  And thanks to Old Salem Horticulture and Vonnie Hannah for organizing it!  We always enjoy doing talks like this so if your garden club or other group is interested, just let us know!
 
 
Here's a quick roundup of what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King).
 
Certified Organic Produce: 

    -- Grapes (Muscadine) - just a few -- the absolute VERY last of the season!

    -- Powdered Organic Garlic (Music and Spanish Roja)

    -- Garlic (Red Toch, Inchelium Red, Nootka Rose, Lorz Italian, Gesti Jumble and Elephant)  We are nearly out of stock for MOST varieties so you better get it while you can!  

    --  Seed Garlic Cloves (variety: Music) 

     -- New batch of Garlic braids -- and we are also taking orders for braids for the Holidays!  Better hurry on these too -- don't have that much garlic left for braids either!
 
    --  Tomatillos and Salsa Kits
 

Stop by for a sample of our newest jam that is still in the testing phase -- Strawberry-Baby Ginger-Mint!  The shelves are stocked with our seasonal Raspberry-Cranberry Jam and we'll also have our other yummy jams and Raspberry-Chipotle Molè Sauce! 

 
Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.

 
Take good care and enjoy the Hunter Moon,

Cheryl & Ray



Posted 10/11/2013 2:34pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!  
This has been another garlic-focused week here at the farm.  We have been pulling together bulbs from our various storage areas, cutting off the tops if necessary, weighing and logging the amount so we'll know how much we have for planting.  We now have bags of garlic hanging in the garage waiting to be cracked into cloves.  It takes a LOT of garlic to fill up nearly one acre -- how does about 50,000 cloves sound?!!  That's a bunch of little guys placed into the ground, one-by-one, by hand!

Here's a before and after shot of our main barn with, and without garlic!
   
Picture of garlic barn with garlic       Garlic barn with no garlic
 
Don't forget about our talk on growing garlic at home next Thursday, October 17 at noon at Old Salem. For more information, go to our website or pick up a handout from us at market.
 
Here's a quick roundup of what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King).
 
Certified Organic Produce: 

    -- Grapes (Muscadine and Scuppernong) - VERY last of the season!

    -- Powdered Organic Garlic (first batch of the season!)

    -- Garlic (Red Toch, Inchelium Red, Lorz Italian, and Elephant)  We are nearly out of stock for MOST varieties so you better get it while you can!  

     -- New batch of Garlic braids -- and we are also taking orders for braids for the Holidays!  We'll have some Lorz Italian Braids tomorrow in addition to the Nootka Rose.

    --  Tomatillos and Salsa Kits
 

To ring in the upcoming fall and Holiday season, we now have our popular Raspberry-Cranberry Jam back in stock!  We'll also have our other yummy jams and Raspberry-Chipotle Molè Sauce! 

 
Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.

 
Take good care and enjoy good food,

Cheryl & Ray



Posted 10/4/2013 2:21pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends! 

With the strawberries all nestled in the ground, we have turned our attention to garlic.  Getting the field prepped for our signature crop is a huge endeavor.  A major part of the process is spreading composted leaves.  Thanks to all of you wonderful people in Winston-Salem who put your leaves out at the curb each fall!  Your fallen foliage helps provide tilth to our soil as well as nutrients and happy microorganisms to make the garlic grow!  Thank you so much!!

The leaves are spread using an old manure spreader of my cousin's -- wooden bottom with a chain that moves the paddles.  Unlike many even older models, this one does use a tractor PTO to move the chain.  Ray has been spreading leaf mulch in Ruth's Field for 3 days this week.  He probably has about 25 tons on it by now.  Happy garlic!!  Here's Ray doing a little spreading at dusk - gotta squeeze as much out of the day as possible, no?Spreading leaves at dusk in Ruth's Field     
Speaking of planting garlic, now is the time for you to start thinking about planting some at home if you are so inclined.  The "official" start of garlic planting in this area is October 12.  If you are interested in learning more about growing garlic at home, Ray and I will be doing a free talk at Old Salem on Thursday, October 17 at noon.  We'll give you the basics about growing great garlic at home and will also have seed garlic available for sale.  For more information, go to our website or pick up a handout from us at market.
 
Here's a quick roundup of what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King).
 
Certified Organic Produce: 

  • Grapes (Muscadine and Scuppernong) - last of the season!
      
     
  • Garlic (Red Toch, Inchelium Red, Music, Persian Star, Spanish Roja, Lorz Italian, and Elephant.)  We are getting VERY low on stock for MOST varieties so you better make sure you have your favorites on hand!  

    *  New batch of Garlic braids -- and we are also taking orders for braids for the Holidays!
     

We'll also have our yummy jams and Raspberry-Chipotle Molè Sauce! 

 
Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.

 
Enjoy this GORGEOUS Fall weather!!

Cheryl & Ray



Posted 9/27/2013 1:05pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

 Happy Friday, Farm Friends!  And Happy Autumn!

We've been working on our strawberry field this week.  Decided to use longer lasting landscape fabric on the beds and aisles instead of the 1-year plastic sheeting.  We feel better about being able to reuse the material for 4-5 years instead of just throwing it away after a year.  Makes much more environmental sense!  We are also using our own strawberry plugs that we dug instead of buying new ones - trying all kinds of different technicques for our 2014 crop!  That's the art of farming!

Another new trial is to use hay in the aisles for the strawberries.  We are using the large round bales of hay and rolling them out on the aisle to give a nice cushiony padding and additional weed suppression (we hope!).  Here are Ray and Chris rolling out the bale (with a little help from Wally, the kitten!  Don't worry, no kitten was harmed in this process!):
   Rolling and the hay bale in the strawberries  
Here's a quick roundup of what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King).
 
Certified Organic Produce: 

  • LOTS of Grapes (Muscadine and Scuppernong)
      
     
  • Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Spanish Roja, Lorz Italian, and Elephant.  We are getting VERY low on stock for some varieties so you better make sure you have your favorites on hand!  

    *  New batch of Garlic braids -- and we are also taking orders for braids for the Holidays!

  • Shallots (French Red and Greeley -- the last of them for the year!) 
  • Strawberry plants (now is the time for planting!) in 4-packs and a few gallons.  Chandler and Sweet Charlie are available.  


    We have replenished our supply of Old Fashioned Raspberry and Blackberry Jams as well as the Raspberry-Baby Ginger and Raspberry-Chipotle Molè Sauce -- so if you have been disappointed the past couple of weeks, they are back! 

 
Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.

 
Enjoy this GORGEOUS Fall weather!!

Cheryl & Ray



Posted 9/20/2013 1:08pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!
It is planting time here at Plum Granny Farm!  Contrary to what many people think about farms, fall is actually when we do a lot of our planting.  We start with planting dozens of seed trays in the greenhouse, then move on to strawberries, transplants (from those seeds we started), cover crops, and the grand finale of garlic and shallot planting. So fall is a very key time for us!  Thankfully this fall has been drier so we have been able to get into the fields -- much better than this spring or last fall.  Here's a peek at some baby kale that may make its way to your plate in a few weeks!
  
Kale in greenhouse

Here's a quick roundup of what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King).  An important note for our Old Salem customers, tomorrow there will be a lot of activity in Old Salem.  The Undy 5000, the 5K for Colon Cancer Awareness, will be going on during the first hour of market. The race begins at 9am. The police will do their best to let cars through efficiently but do be aware that the main route goes through Old Salem and some roads will be temporarily blocked. The gravel parking lot remains reserved for market patrons and the grass lot (officially the Brewery lot) at Old Salem Road and Academy Street will also be available.  In order to avoid delays, you might want to arrive at market after 10.
 
Certified Organic Produce: 

  • LOTS of Grapes (Muscadine and Scuppernong)
          
  • Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Spanish Roja,      Lorz Italian, and Elephant.  We'll have the last of the Persian Star      and Nootka Rose too)  
        
         *  New batch of Garlic braids -- and we are also taking orders      for braids for the Holidays!
  • Shallots (French Red and Greeley -- hurry they are      going quickly!)
  • Strawberry plants (now is the time for planting!) in 4-packs and a few gallons.  Chandler and Sweet Charlie are available.  
        

We have replenished our supply of Old Fashioned Raspberry and Blackberry      Jams as well as the Raspberry-Baby Ginger and Raspberry-Chipotle Molè      Sauce -- so if you have been disappointed the past couple of weeks,      they are back! 

For those of you who came looking for us at market last Saturday, we were sorry to have missed you.  Mama Meow, the cat who brought her 5 kittens to live with us was hit by a car and killed on Saturday morning. We found her as we were loading up the van for market.  Even though we had only had her with us for 3 months, she had become a real part of the farm.  Thank you for your understanding.
Mama Meow at the walk-in cooler drinking milk 

Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.
 
Just two more days until Autumn!!

Cheryl & Ray

 


Posted 9/13/2013 8:43am by Cheryl Ferguson.

 September 13, 2013 Post:  Spiders, spiders, everywhere!

 

 

Spiderweb on power line
Last week it was butterflies -- this week it is SPIDER WEBS!  I think it must be a banner year for them!  It seems that late summer always brings out the extra-industrious nature of these crafty spiders.  Big ones, little ones and all those in between are spinning furiously to catch all the food they can before winter, I guess!  We've taken to walking to the barn with our hands beside our faces to plow through the webs that seem to hang from air!  Maybe the spiders are trying to help us add a ghostly Halloween touch to the farmhouse -- more than a month early (kinda like retailers!).  Now we won't have to buy any of that fake webbing!  ;-)

Spider webs on boxwoods in front of farmhouse
    
And breaking news -- we just learned that our episode of Flavor NC will be aired on November 14, 16 and 17.  Exciting!!!

Here's a quick roundup of what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King):

Certified Organic Produce: 

  • Grapes (Muscadine and maybe Scuppernong)
     
  • Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Spanish Roja, Lorz Italian, and Elephant.  We'll have the last of the Persian Star and Nootka Rose too)  

    *  New batch of Garlic braids -- and we are also taking orders for braids for the Holidays!
  • Shallots (French Red and Greeley -- hurry they are going quickly!)

We'll also have a very few Brown Turkey figs -- not certified organic but not sprayed. 

We have replenished our supply of Old Fashioned Raspberry and Blackberry Jams as well as the Raspberry-Baby Ginger -- so if you have been disappointed the past couple of weeks, they are back! 

Next week, we will have our Certified Organic Strawberry Plants available (4-packs and 1 gallon containers).  Now is the time to plant them for delicious strawberries in the spring!  We will only have the plants available for 2 weeks (9/21-9/28).

Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.

 
Here's to the cooler weather that is on the way!!

Cheryl & Ray



Posted 9/6/2013 10:57am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Butterflys Galore!! 

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!
Thanks to all of you who sent well-wishes and good vibes for our big organic inspection this week!  It seemed to go well, so hopefully we will be getting confirmation that we are USDA Certified Organic again -- 4th year!!  Woo hoo!! 

I've been thinking of butterflies a lot lately -- they seem to be everywhere!!  It seems that others are thinking about it as well!  Debbie Roos, an amazing Extension Agent in Chatham County (and phenomenal nature photographer as well!) just posted a blog on "Is this the year of the Butterfly?" (http://growingsmallfarms.ces.ncsu.edu/2013/09/the-year-of-the-butterfly/).  Here she interviews a couple of NC butterfly experts that note that this is indeed a boom year for eastern tiger swallowtails but is actually a smaller than normal year for most other species. Interesting article!  Here's a photo of a beautiful visitor hanging out on the muscadine grape leaves:
Butterfly on grape  
Now for the roundup of what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King):

Certified Organic Produce: 

  • Grapes (Concord, Niagara & possibly Muscadine)
     
  • Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Persian Star, Nootka Rose, Lorz Italian, and Elephant)  
    *  New batch of Garlic braids, too!
  • Shallots (French Red and Greeley)

We'll also have Brown Turkey figs -- not certified organic but not sprayed.  The yummy raspberry jams will be available as will our Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Grilling and Cooking Sauce.  The Blackberry Sauce is back as well -- ready for a big bowl of ice cream! 

Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.
 
Here's to enjoying the goodness of organic food!

Cheryl & Ray



Posted 8/30/2013 1:14pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Plum Granny Farm Weekly Update - August 30, 2013

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!
Can you believe it is the end of August? Where did the year go? It really seems like it was just a few weeks ago that I was thinking that it was too early to plant some crops...now it has become too late for some and just right for others! Ah, the cycle of farming!

Our attentions have been focused on slighly more adminstrative tasks this week.  We learned last week that our annual organic inspection had been scheduled for next Wednesday.  This is when our organic certifying agency sends an inspector in to spend about 3-4 hours with us to review all of our records, conduct crop audits, and do a thorough walk-through of the farm.  Even though this is our 4th annual inspection, it is pretty intense and we spend a lot of time getting prepared.  This is on top of the hours that we spend preparing our annual report.  Organic certification is serious business -- but what it means is a very clear standard that all farms who are certified organic must follow.  The rules and regulations are very clear and thorough.  For example, a farm cannot call its products "organic" unless they are actually certified organic (or make under $5,000 on the sale of these products).  As customers, you need to ask to make sure that the products you buy are what you think they are.  You should always ask the farmer!  And keep your fingers crossed for us for the audit!

Moving on to lighter subjects, it seems that the farm has been designated as a safe haven for all types of creatures.  First it was Mama Meow and her 5 kittens. Now we seem to have been adopted by a chicken!  Her favorite place just happens to be under the bird feeder...no surprise there!  We think she fell off of a Perdue truck and wandered around in the neighborhood for a while before finding "Chicky Heaven"
 Chicken by bird feeder   
  

Here’s a quick preview what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King):

Certified Organic Produce: 

  • Grapes (Concord & Niagara)
     
  • Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Persian Star, Georgian Crystal (end of crop!), Nootka Rose, Lorz Italian, and Elephant)  
    *  New batch of Garlic braids, too!
  • Shallots (French Red and Greeley)
  • Heirloom Yellow Pippin Apples (they keep on coming!)


    We'll also have Brown Turkey figs -- not certified organic but not sprayed.  The yummy raspberry jams will be available as will our Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Grilling and Cooking Sauce.  The Blackberry Sauce is back as well -- ready for a big bowl of ice cream! 

    Hope to see you at market!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.
     
    Here's to enjoying the goodness of organic food!

Cheryl & Ray



Posted 8/23/2013 9:35am by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!

As school gets ready to start and the dogwood tree starts to show a hint of color, we are starting to think about Fall.  We are seeding our kale, chard, lettuce and frissé to get ready for fall planting.  The greens field will be more than twice as big as last year, so we'll have even more kale and other good greens than ever!

We are also trying a different approach to our strawberries.  Instead of buying new plants (expensive!), we are starting our own from runners in the field.  There are LOTS of nicely rooted baby plants out there -- all we have to do is lift them out of the soil, trim them from the "mother" and plant them into trays.  Voila! New strawberry plants!  We have more than enough to cover the empty slots in the strawberry field so we will be able to sell the plants in about 4 weeks -- just in time for you to plant strawberries at home!  Here's a glimpse of what it looks like in the greenhouse:

Strawberry plants in greenhouse   The raspberries decided to hang on for another week -- so we can offer one more PYO day for raspberries.  Just like before, if you don't mind doing a little "hunting and gathering," there are berries out there!  The raspberry field will be open tomorrow (SATURDAY, 8/24) from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  We provide containers and the price is $7 per pound.  So bring your best hunting skills and patience and snatch up the last berries of the year.  There are Caroline, Josephine and Heritage berries available.  If you want to make sure you get berries, you'd best come on the earlier side of the morning!  We can probably handle about 6 groups of pickers.      Here’s a quick preview what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King):

Certified Organic Produce: 

  • Raspberries (very few)  
  • Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Persian Star, Georgian Crystal, Nootka Rose, Lorz Italian, Elephant)   *  New batch of Garlic braids, too!
  • Shallots (French Red and Greeley)
  • Heirloom Yellow Pippin Apples (last of the crop)

We'll also have a bunch of Brown Turkey figs -- not certified organic but not sprayed and grown organically.  The yummy raspberry and blackberry jams will be available as will our Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Grilling and Cooking Sauce.  The Blackberry Sauce is back as well -- ready for a big bowl of ice cream! 
Hope to see you at market or at the farm for the PYO!  You can always contact us if you'd like to have an item saved.   Here's to enjoying the tastes of Summer and early Fall!

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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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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