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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

Posted 8/16/2013 2:45pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Update:  August 16, 2013 

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!

Everywhere you go, people are always talking about the weather!  What a strange wet, cool summer it has been!  Cheryl just got back from South Dakota and the same is true there -- so we aren't alone!

It appears that our raspberries peaked a week or so ago but we are going to have one more PYO day for raspberries.  If you don't mind doing a little "hunting and gathering," there are berries out there!  The raspberry field will be open tomorrow (SATURDAY, 8/17) from 9 a.m. to noon.  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!

   Raspberries on the canes
 
 
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, Lorz Italian, Elephant)
  • Shallots (French Red and Greeley)
  • Fingerling Potatoes  (a few)
  • Heirloom Yellow Pippin Apples (last of the crop)

We have a new batch of of the Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Grilling and Cooking Sauce and Raspberry-Extra Baby Ginger Jam as well as Old Fashioned Raspberry and Blackberry jams! 

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 these cool strange days of Summer!

Cheryl & Ray



Posted 8/9/2013 9:30am by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Friday, August 9, 2013

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!

Another week of berries around the farm!  The raspberries are doing well -- even the Heritage berries are starting to ripen. To help us with this abundance, we have scheduled another pick your own tomorrow (SATURDAY, 8/10) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.  We provide containers and the price is $7 per pound for raspberries.  
   Pick your own raspberries at Plum Granny Farm
Picking raspberries in the shadow of Cook's Wall.  Photo courtesy of Randy Fulk.

 
Did you know that this is National Farmers Market week?  The number and quality of markets across the country has been exploding!   According to the USDA, there was a 3.6% increase in farmers markets nationally between 2012 and 2013!  We can definitely see that trend here in the Piedmont!  We love going to market each week and having an opportunity to interact with you, our loyal customers.  We know that we can count on you to tell us if something is wrong with a product or the latest recipe you've tried with one of our items.  You can trust us to bring high quality, certified organic produce that you can feel good serving to your family.  What a wonderful partnership!
I Love My Farmers Market
Speaking of farmers markets, here’s a preview what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King):

Certified Organic Produce: 

  • Blackberries (a few)
  • Raspberries 
  • Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Persian Star, Georgian Crystal, Lorz Italian, Elephant)
  • Shallots (French Red and Greeley)
  • Baby Kale
  • Heirloom Pippin Apples
    Fingerling Potatoes 

We have a new batch of of the Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Grilling and Cooking Sauce and Raspberry-Extra Baby Ginger Jam as well as Old Fashioned Raspberry and Blackberry jams -- we've been jamming with fresh berries! 

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 last full month of Summer!

Cheryl & Ray



Posted 8/2/2013 7:12am by Cheryl Ferguson.

 

Just a reminder that you're receiving this email because you have expressed an interest in Plum Granny Farm -- you either signed up at a market or on our website.  We are glad to have this brief opportunity to share some news of the farm with you!

 

Happy Friday, Farm Friends!   And Happy August!

Despite the rather unfavorable, damp (shall we say drenched?) conditions last Saturday, we still had several groups of berry pickers with smiles on their faces!  And the berries just keep on rolling!  Let's do it again, shall we (the picking, not the rain) - we'll have another pick your own on SUNDAY (8/4) from 1 to 4 p.m.  We provide containers and the prices are $4 per pound for blackberries and $7 per pound for raspberries.  This will be the last opportunity for blackberries, so pick 'em while you can!

  Ray and Cheryl insepct the Triple Crown Ray and Cheryl checking out the beautiful Triple Crown blackberries.  Photo courtesy of Flavor NC.
 
Markets are in full swing with summer bounty!  Our fellow farmers and producers are bringing some beautiful things to market.  Here’s a preview what we’ll have on our table on Saturday (Old Salem) and Wednesday (King):

Certified Organic Produce: 

  • Blackberries
  • Raspberries 
  • Garlic (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Persian Star, German Red, Lorz Italian, Elephant)
  • Shallots (French Red and Greeley)
  • Baby Kale
  • Heirloom Pippin Apples

We'll have a new batch of Old Fashioned Raspberry and Blackberry jams as well as our other flavors.  The last (for a while) of the Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Grilling and Cooking Sauce will be available - hurry up before it's gone!! 

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.
 
Happy Summer Eating!

Cheryl & Ray



Mark Your Calendar! Holiday Market on November 25!

It won't be long until our 4th Annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Market!  Mark your calendar for Saturday, November 25 from 10-3.  This event, now in its 4th year, has become the destination for many visitors to kick off the Holiday Season.  We'll be teaming up again with our friends from Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton.  There will be lots of vendors at both locations who will offer locally grown and produced items for the perfect gift for Holiday giving.  Feel good about supporting your local small business owners!


 

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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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