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Posted 2/24/2019 11:43am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Wanted:  One ark.  A small selection of passengers is ready to go:  2 people, 2 sheep, 2 cows, 2 cats, 1 donkey, 1 dog.  If passage requires two of each, we can find one additional donkey and one additional dog.

We are kind of beginning to feel like we need to book passage on the USS Ark.  More than 3 inches of rain are in the rain gauge for the week and the forecast calls for an additional 1.5 inches by Sunday. Sigh.....


Good thing that we put up Hayhenge last week to make sure that our newly graded area for the new high tunnels didn't erode. It seemed to do the trick.

 

The good news is that there is some sun forecast for next week!  Hallelujah!

And despite the gloom and rain of the month, there are lots of signs of spring:

  

Ray was even able to do some pruning of the grapes during a break in the rain on Thursday.

It's National CSA Day!
Did you know that today is the day that more people sign up for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs than any other day?  Yep, according to research done by Small Farm Central, the last Friday in February is the big day and there's even a national celebration of CSAs.

Why so early? 
When the farm gets advance knowledge of demand, your farmer can focus on growing healthy food and getting the food to you.  You get the freshest possible ingredients from a farmer that you know and trust, and the farmer gets some up-front cash and a better understanding of how much to grow.  It's a great partnership.

In honor of CSA Day, we are kicking off the beginning of sign-ups for our PlumFresh Harvest Subscription Program!  PlumFresh is a bit different than a traditional CSA.  You aren't paying for the entire season up-front and it is very flexible.  You can skip a week if you need to and it is very customizable.  Don't like kale?  No worries!  You can substitute an item that you'd like instead.

Our members love the program -- we have one of the highest member retention rates of any CSA program in the country!  Click here for more information. We would LOVE to be YOUR farmer!

As a celebration of National CSA Day, we are participating in a "Meet Your Farmer" event next Friday (March 1st) at Wake Forest Innovation Quarter (575 North Patterson Avenue) from 11-1:30.  Stop by and say "Hello!" -- we'd love to see you!

Nesting Box Workshop -- Sunday March 17
Don't forget to register for our upcoming Bluebird Nesting Box Workshop which will be held here at the farm on Sunday, March 17 from 2-5.  Here's an opportunity to build your own bluebird nesting box and learn about the proper placement and appropriate habitat for these beautiful and useful creatures!  We'll provide all the materials necessary for building a "bluebird approved" house for you to take home.  No carpentry skills necessary!  The cost of the workshop is $35 per person.  In addition to bluebird houses, we'll also talk about native bees and have Orchard Mason Bee Houses available for purchase.  To register, please click here and complete the form.  

Another upcoming event is our Growing Ginger and Turmeric at Home workshop on Sunday, March 31 from 1-4 p.m.  This workshop will help you learn how to grow these unique and flavorful plants.  More details are coming next week -- but mark your calendar now!

That's all the news that can fit this week!  Gotta swim off to Black Mountain to pick up some of our seed potatoes!  Can you grow potatoes hydroponically?

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 2/15/2019 11:57am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

When your morning starts with a rainbow, that's a good thing, right?

Yes, today started with a rare morning rainbow -- not sure if we should view it as a sign of good luck or the foreshadowing of the 4 inches of rain predicted for next week.  Let's go with the good luck, shall we?

A busy week here at the farm as we continue in our preparations for the full-tilt farming that lies ahead.  Raz House, one of our high tunnels, has gone from a chickweed plot to a well-groomed place ready to receive snap peas and squash in just a few weeks. 

 

We are trying a new method for our snap and snow peas this season.  Now that paperpots have been approved for use on Organic farms, we decided to give them a try.  This Japanese invention lets you seed and transplant in the same container.  The "pots" consist of 264 cells connected by a paper chain of various lengths.  We'll be using 2 inch spacing which will work well for our peas. Pretty cool, huh?

   

The typical method of using the paper chain pots is with a transplanter that is specifically designed to place the pots in a precise row.  However, with the transplanter costing over $900 (!), we found a more budget-friendly tool to use (less than $100) -- we'll keep you posted on how it works.

Our greenhouse continues to fill up with seedlings and the dance of moving seed trays on and off the heatmats is well underway.  This week we got the tomatoes and cucumbers settled in their new greenhouse grow bag homes.  Fingers crossed for tasty cucumbers when Cobblestone Farmers Market begins on April 6 -- and tomatoes not too far behind!

 

Let's Help the Bluebirds! 
According to the NC Bluebird Society, prior to the 1930’s, the Eastern Bluebird was one of North Carolina’s most common songbirds.  By 1979, bluebirds were declared rare and uncommon.  Human activities and severe winters resulted in a 90% decline in bluebird populations.  The continuing loss of natural nesting sites, the introduction of invasive species, and other problems faced by bluebirds make it likely that this beloved bird will always need our help.

A great way to help these insect-loving birds is to build nesting boxes.  Here's an opportunity to build your own bluebird nesting box and learn about the proper placement and appropriate habitat for these beautiful and useful creatures!  We'll provide all the materials necessary for building a "bluebird approved" house for you to take home.  No carpentry skills necessary! 

The workshop will be held on Sunday, March 16 from 2-5.  The cost of the workshop is $35 per person.  In addition to bluebird houses, we'll also talk about native bees and have Orchard Mason Bee Houses available for purchase.  To register, please click here and complete the form.  

That's the news for this week!  Enjoy President's Day Weekend and take a moment to look up in the sky for February's Full Moon.  This is the Full Snow Moon and it will peak on Tuesday, February 19 at 10:53 a.m. although it will appear completely full the night before.

Enjoy our first daffodil blossom of the season and remember this -- just 33 days until Spring! 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 2/8/2019 6:26pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  
"There's a whole lot of farmin' going on over here..."  That's a favorite line from my cousin, Blaine.  And he knows farming -- although our approach and style of it is a bit different than what he has practiced all his life.  But hearing him say that is always comforting -- even like a borderline compliment. 

Ray's out standing in his freshly tilled field -- one of several that he has prepped this week.  He's been getting fields ready for potatoes, kale, cabbage and more.  I have no exact measure, but I believe that this week represents the longest stretch of sunny, precipitation-free weather that we've had since before Thanksgiving.  Farmers gotta make fields while the sun shines!

A major part of the week has been grading work on the area for our next high tunnel.  The plan has been to put up a 96' Gothic tunnel and maybe a smaller one as well.  Another cousin (Maurice, the son of my cousin, Blaine) is quite the expert at working a skid steer to level out an area.  By the time he got through shaving, tucking and trimming, we weren't sure if we should continue with the plan for a large and a small house or to make it two large houses or one pretty huge house.  Or maybe we should just put in a bowling alley!  Decisions, decisions...

   

The warmer weather is helping the garlic wake up.  And the weeds!  We'll tackle these first weeds next week.

And Mia is learning all about walking with a halter.  She's not so sure about this.  Some days she is really good with it and others...well, let's just say she is a little calf-bunctious!

Yep, there IS a whole lot of farmin' going on over here!

Meanwhile....Jonny is enjoying his visit with family in the Florida Keys.  He's been getting his sea-legs back as he visits his former home.  Instead of hauling potatoes, he's hauling mackerel!

The Florida-like weather we are experiencing here has awakened the spring peepers.  I first heard their lovely sounds on Wednesday evening -- I don't think I've heard them that early before!  Take a listen.

That wraps it up for this week's farm news!  Don't forget that next Thursday is Valentines Day.  Last fall, our bees gave us a beautiful early Valentines gift -- a bottle of last year's captured sunshine!  Did you know that it takes 12 bees to produce One Teaspoon of honey in their lifetime?  That means that it took over 1,100 bees to make this jar of honey.  Talk about a whole lot of farming (and love)!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 2/1/2019 1:58pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Welcome February!
BOOM!  And just like that, the first month of the year has whizzed by!  We are now at the half-way point to the Spring Equinox so the days are longer and the light is stronger. 

We are past the Persephone Period, that period of winter when there are 10 hours or less of sunlight.  This term was coined by Eliot Coleman, one of the heroes of the organic farming movement.  He characterized this concept of deep winter on Greek mythology.  If you are interested in seeing a great chart on daylength, sunrise, sunset and other interesting astronomical information by your location, this website is your source!

The longer, stronger daylight is really helping our seedlings pop.  The shallots, Tropea onions and leeks are poking up through the soil.  And the cucumbers and tomatoes will be planted next week!

 

No matter the temperature, there is always outside work to be done.  This week we are especially grateful not to be in the upper Midwest -- I'm not sure how we would cope with temperatures of minus 30 or lower.  But, as we discussed last week, the frozen ground can have advantages.  Ray was able to finish giving the garlic a topping of leaf mulch since the ground was solid.

These cold, mid-winter days continue to find us inside with our plans and seed catalogs (the Farmer's Wishbook!).  We also do a fair amount of cooking.  One of our favorite dishes is soup -- although we tend to make it very thick and chunky -- more like a stew.  Rachel Ray calls this a Stoup (thicker than a soup but not quite a stew).  One of her recipes that that has found its way into our repertoire is Stuffed Cabbage Stoup.   It's easy, filling and just the right amount of comfort for a cold winter's night.  Give it a try -- we hope you enjoy it!

Oh, remember last week's tomato?  It was delicious!

That's all we've got for this week.  Tomorrow is Groundhog Day!  What do you think?  Six more weeks of winter?  Does it count if a Donkey sees her shadow?

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 1/27/2019 5:17pm by Cheryl.

 Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Is it a good thing to have ice in your rain gauge?!  The thermometer has been doing quite the gymnastics routine this week -- from 15 to 55.  From howling winds and driving rains to dense fog.  But putting on our optimist hat, we are finding some real advantages to the lower temps -- particularly when it comes to working in the pasture.  Frozen ground means that you don't sink to your knees in mud!

Frozen ground also means that we can clear our big "poop pile" without getting a truck or tractor stuck in the mud.  This morning, Jonny and Ray were rocking it getting a pile that was w-a-y past due to be moved.  While Mia supervised (of course!)

When we're not outside, we are either in the greenhouse or in the office planning for the season.  Jonny has been a grow-bag-making machine this week. We are trying to have all of the 165 grow bags ready to go for cucumbers and tomatoes in the next week or so.

 

 We definitely have something to look forward to with our greenhouse growing.  We are down to just 3 tomato plants (our private stock) but look at this beauty we harvested yesterday!

Office work is a dominant feature of a farmer's life in the winter.  We are planning our seed and equipment orders as well as making detailed crop plans by variety.  This year we are trying out a new tool that can hopefully help us do a better job of keeping all of the balls in the air.  More on that later.

Another key part of our planning is to set our calendar of on-farm events.  Having visitors come to the farm is one of our favorite things to do!  We are blessed with a beautiful piece of land in a great location and we love to share this with you.  So grab your calendar and a pen and jot down some of the things we have planned in 2019:

March 16          Bluebird House Building Workshop
March 30          Ginger & Turmeric Growing Workshop
April 14             Plant Sale
April 19             Plant Sale
April 28             Plant Sale and Growing Brambles at Home Workshop
June 2               Northern Triad Farm Tour
September 8     Growing Fall Veggies & Season Extension
September 15    Fall Plant Sale
October 13        Garlic Workshop
November 30    Small Business Saturday Holiday Market

It's a mix of new things and old favorites!  We'll definitely be adding pick-your-own events along with some other new activities to check out on the farm.  Watch this space for more information as we get closer to each event.

   

That's all the news for this week.  Bundle up for the next cold snap (and be thankful for frozen pastures!).

And keep dreaming of warmer days ahead.  Only 54 days until the First Day of Spring!

 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 1/19/2019 6:07pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!
Last Sunday was definitely an icy winter wonderland around here!  We are grateful that we kept power through the storm and had no major damage -- we know that many of you weren't as lucky.  But the event definitely kept us on our toes -- our greenhouse and high tunnels can deal much better with a snow load than they can with ice.  Ray worked throughout Saturday night/Sunday morning checking all of the high tunnels every hour to make sure that there wasn't a build-up of ice on the surface.  Kerosene and propane heaters were set up to make sure that the inside temperatures would be sufficient to reduce any ice build up.  It worked!

Since the greenhouse is heated, Ray opened up the plastic dropped ceiling to allow heat to rise to keep the top of the greenhouse warmer.  Our decision is that it is better to burn a bit more propane than risk losing the greenhouse.

Despite the anxiety an ice storm causes, it sure was pretty!

   

The persistent muddy conditions are making it difficult for our hooved creatures so we needed to get a bit of work done on Tony and BB.  Tony has issues with his rear feet and they need to be tended pretty frequently.  Ray set up a new platform for doing hoof and other "doctoring" work and it's working great!  And a nice, sunny day made the task more pleasant.  We can't say that they sheep are happy about being there but it sure beats trying to take care of these things on the ground in the pasture.  Our backs are much happier -- and so are the sheep.

 

Greenhouse work continues.  The plan is to get lots of seeding done this weekend and next week.  Artichokes, shallots and leeks are on the menu.  And the tomatoes and cucumbers that were planted last week are already popping up!

We had a bit of a surprise when we saw a small herd of deer in the raspberry and blackberry field the other morning --  they were munching away on the new planting of raspberries.  Not good!  That definitely raised the priority level on our fencing project.  We had installed 8' deer fencing around the berry and other fields when we moved here in 2009 and it has done a good job.  But the elements (and weedeaters) have taken a toll on the fence and the time was here to replace large sections of it.  Jonny and Ray are gittin 'er done!

This section of fence had been spliced back together many times and finally broke open.  What you can't see are the fresh deer tracks going under the fence!  The orange baling twine was a temporary fix before we were able to install the new fence the next day.

A new line of well-secured fence should do the trick!  Sorry deer!

 

That does it for this week's news!  On Sunday, hopefully we are in for an astronomical treat with the coincidence of a total lunar eclipse and a full Super moon!  If the skies cooperate, we might be treated to a large full moon that looks orange-red!  This month's full moon is known as the Wolf Moon.  Let's hope that we have clear skies because this will be the last total lunar eclipse visible from North America until 2021.

Monday is when we celebrate the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.  In these difficult times, let us reflect on his words and his call for peace.  Let's be reminded of the need to take action -- go out and make a difference for someone less fortunate.

“The time is always right to do what is right.” 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr at Oberlin College's Commencement address in 1965
 
Until next week,
Cheryl & Ray
Posted 12/23/2018 10:28am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Photo credit:  Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery Facebook page

When life gives you mud puddles.... you keep on trudging on if you are a farmer!  After a bit of sunshine this week, we are back to rain.  Going on 1.75 inches...  and it's pouring now.

Unfortunately all of this precipitation has had a serious impact on one of our main crops:  GARLIC!  Since the fields are so saturated, we aren't able to get the beds formed and the garlic planted.  Ray got the fields tilled and fertilized before the snowstorm but beds still need to be formed in order to plant.  We've had about 6 inches of rain and snowmelt since then.  We hope that we can get into the fields just after the first of the year.  Keep your fingers crossed (and do a little sun dance) -- unfortunately we are seeing predictions of rain late next week.  Heavy panicked sigh...

But let's look on the bright side shall we?  Brix says that her curls really pop with all this moisture! (Work with me, folks ...I'm trying here!)

Beyond slipping and slogging along, things are getting done around here!  If we can't plant garlic, at least we got some flower bulbs in the ground!

And Mia has been giving Ray tips on milking Cara.

And the cats are most grateful for these lessons (especially RingBob!)

More hay has been mowed to keep our hay-burner (and her baby) happy.  Cara comes running when she sees the truck pull in with a load of fresh-mown grass.

4, 3, 2, 1 .... Attention Procrastinators!

We are now just FOUR days away from Christmas!  Although shipping deadlines have passed, we can still arrange for you to come by the farm to pick up any last-minute gifts. Lots of choices remain on our website -- tasty jams, delicious garlic and ginger powders, a few braids and lavender sachets and more!  Please note that if you order on the website and want to pick up at the farm, please choose the "Invoice Only" option.

 

This is our last Weekly Update for the year -- we're taking a few days off to relax over the Holidays. We are decking the halls, clearing away the clutter of the season and kicking back to watch some favorite films (Miracle on 34th Street and other Christmas classics, anything with Fred Astaire... Thank goodness for Turner Classic Movies!)  And a nap or two is probably in order.

As we close out the year, we would like to say thanks for reading this newsletter and passing it along to your friends.  We are so grateful of your support of our farm and your interest in what we are doing.  Your comments about these newsletters and our products really help us do what we do -- especially in a challenging year like this one.  We cherish your words of support and encouragement as well as your business!  And most of all, we are most grateful for your friendship and trust.

Here's wishing you the most wonderful Holiday Season ever!  Joyous Solstice, Merry Christmas and all good wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year!! 

Until 2019,

Cheryl & Ray along with Gesti, Detroit, Brix, BB, Tony, RingBob, Cara and Mia





 

Posted 12/12/2018 9:49am by Cheryl.

 

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy December!

What a beautiful Autumn snow!  It's hard to believe that it's still Fall when you have 15 inches of snow on the ground -- but it's true.  The Winter Solstice is still a week away!

The snow was gorgeous -- creating beautiful scenes across the farm.  Have a look around:

   

Even a few beautiful surprises.  Such a fragile thing as a flower can be amazingly resilient.

The good news is that even with such an incredible load from heavy, wet snow, our greenhouse and high tunnels came through just fine.  In the picture on the right, snow was piled up more than 5 feet on the side of the greenhouse and had covered the inflation fan (not good).  But Ray was able to clear it and make sure that the structure wasn't impacted.

 

It was good to have several days notice before the storm.  It gave us a chance to get ready.  No matter what the weather, we still have hungry mouths to feed.  We loaded up Mama Meow with freshly cut grasses (from areas that we weren't able to hay) as well as the cabbage and kale plants that we pulled out while clearing our Flat Shoals field.  Both seemed to be pretty good selections for our hooved friends.

   

Unfortunately the pure, clean snow has now turned to slush and even more mud... Yuck.

10, 9, 8, 7, .... The Holiday Countdown Continues!

Although Hanukkah has ended, we are just TEN days away from Christmas!  Do you need a few more gifts to complete your shopping list?  We would love to help!  We've just loaded up our website with our tasty jams, delicious garlic and ginger powders and lavender sachets and more!

 

We'll even take care of shipping your gifts to friends and family!

That does it for this week's news.  We had a great time at TubaChristmas and Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse's National Poinsettia Open House a couple of weeks ago.  And if you need more decorations or gifts, Jim and Judy Mitchell still have a lot of beautiful poinsettias left -- so go check them out!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/12/2018 7:39am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  
The weather forecast is causing some shivers around the farm!  Time to get stuff buttoned up for a freeze.  With lows predicted in the 20's over the next week, we needed to get a few tasks complete.

One of the major items on our to-do list was to get our newest high tunnel (Mama Meow) covered.  It will be the site of our Small Business Saturday Holiday Market on November 24 so the time was right to make that happen.   We got it mostly complete yesterday despite some pretty strong wind gusts.  Have you ever tried holding a 53' x 30' sheet of plastic with 15 MPH wind gusts?  NOT EASY!  Now we just need to get the back wall window sealed and the other roll-up complete and we will be good to go!

 

Testing...1-2-3, Testing
It's test time around the farm!  As part of the ongoing review of our soils and water, we get soil tests from all of our fields as well as water tests from our wells and pond.  We have to do this as part of our Organic Inspection (which got postponed to next week).  But we also do it to monitor our soil health and water quality as we improve and sustain our fields for healthy food.  It's all part of ensuring that we are doing the right stuff!  Home gardeners should also make sure to get their soils tested -- that way, you'll know exactly what nutrients are needed for your garden.  Soil tests are free until November 30.  Here is a link to the form.

We had a wonderful day at the farm on Sunday!  We held our 3rd Annual Thank You Party for our terrific volunteers and PlumFresh members.  There was lots of eating, talking, sitting around the fire and hay-riding.  But the biggest start of the show?  Three guesses... Mia!  (Of course, Cara was a star, too.)  And the walk in the Pepper Forest was very tasty (despite finding a hot pepper!)

 

Small Business Saturday Holiday Market!
It's just TWO weeks away!  Saturday, November 24 from 10-3 is our 5th Annual Holiday Market!  We have a great line-up of vendors here at the farm:  Borrowed Land Farm, Bunny's Trees, Chad's Chai, Greenberries Farm, Monteith Homestead, Mystic Wolf's Den and Scattered Seeds Farm.  More details on what folks will be bringing are coming soon.  We will also have a great food truck, Almost Home Cooking that will be serving up biscuits, burgers and more!  For ongoing updates and breaking news, please check our Facebook Event page.

Don't forget that our friends at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery will have a bunch of vendors too! Plan for a great day of FUN!  Pick up a flyer at market for all the details and get ready to Shop Small!

Cobblestone Farmers Market Update

Pink, Pink, Pink!  It's Baby Ginger season!  Just think of the wonderful creations you can have for your Thanksgiving meals with this healthy delicious crop.  Check out our recipe sheet for instructions on how to make candied ginger -- an easy and tasty after-dinner mint!

For the next to the last Cobblestone market, we'll also have Green Beans, the first of our Green Chile and Poblano Peppers, Shishitos, Sweet Red Peppers, Trick or Treat (no heat habaneros) Peppers, Kohlrabi, Kale, Daikon Radishes, Garlic, Sunflower Shoots and MORE!  All of our products are Certified Organic and we grow everything we sell.

A Note about Jam:  Several of you have asked about our jams -- where are they?  We will have a very few jars next Saturday but we will have a full selection at our Small Business Saturday event and online.

Sunday is Veteran's Day.  It is also the 100th Anniversary of the end of World War I.  We offer our thanks and deep appreciation to all of those who have served our country.  As the children of two World War II vets, we have a special connection to this day.  If you are a Veteran, THANK YOU for your service!

 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 10/11/2018 9:49am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Welcome October!
I know you aren't supposed to pick favorites but I can't help it.  October is my favorite month.  I'm just like my Poppa Johnny Ferguson -- it was his too.  That's what happens to us Fergusons on our birthday month -- we extend the celebration out for a good 30 days!  Let's call it the Birthday Interval (which is a phrase that one of my dear Albuquerque friends used).

Here's Cheryl's grandfather, Poppa Johnny, in the mid-1960's.  He is celebrating his 140th birthday in Heaven!

But it's not just about birthdays.  There's something about October that is special:  it's crisp and colorful.  The light shifts and humidity drops.  Ah, October!

But Augtober is a different story.  I just learned this word yesterday but it's apt.  It's hot and sticky and the colors just aren't there yet.  But I can't complain too much or too loudly.  We've got tomatoes, squash and beans in the fields nearing harvest so we need some nice warm temps.  And Maine has gotten frost. Aargh!

Strawberry Fields...Forever?
This week was filled with lots of driving with trailers.  On Monday, we headed over to Banner Greenhouses in Nebo to pick up our strawberry plants. 

Sourcing organic strawberries is always an adventure and this year is no exception.  We ordered our plants back in August (a bit late) -- we were getting 3000 plugs in trays.  This would enable us to expand our production so that more of you could get our yummy strawberries next Spring.  Unfortunately we got a call last week telling us that we would not be able to get plug trays but instead they had baskets that we could break apart for planting....  okay. Knowing the additional time and labor this would take, we reduced our order size.  We would need 480 baskets. Okay...

We rented the largest U-Haul cargo trailer we could get and set off for the 2 hour trip to Nebo.  Ray had rigged up some ropes so that we could hang baskets in addition to putting them on the floor so we could get as many as possible.  When the packing was done, we had a grand total of … 150 baskets.  A bit shy of our needs.  The manager offered to use some spare space on their delivery truck on Tuesday to get us some more.

By the time we got back to the farm Monday night, a couple of the rows of baskets had collapsed (the rivet popped on one of the tie-offs!), so some of the plants were a little extra squished.  We pulled out our headlamps, unloaded the trailer and placed them on the floor in the Mama Meow hoophouse.

After the Banner delivery driver left Tuesday, we had Mama Meow pretty loaded with baskets on the floor and hanging on the purlins.  But unfortunately we only have a total of 290 baskets -- instead of the 460 we needed.   And we still have to figure out a method to separate the plants and actually plant it -- the roots will not be nicely contained like a plug would be.  LOTS of extra work.

So prepare yourselves... we are likely to have far fewer berries come next April than we had this year.  And they will have come with an exceptionally challenging beginning (and Lord only knows what the winter and early spring will bring weather-wise!)  We were musing about charging by the berry -- say $1?!  Such are the realities of farming.

Monarch Update
After last week's article on the Monarchs munching on our carrots and dill, we got a very sweet note from Pat, a friend of one of our subscribers.  She kindly pointed out that we had misidentified our lepidoptera.  She wrote, "I was happy to read that you are letting the caterpillars eat some of your plants! Just wanted to point out, however, that the caterpillars on your carrot and dill are not Monarchs but are Black Swallowtail caterpillars. Monarch caterpillars only eat milkweed (Asclepias). Black Swallowtail caterpillars eat the family of plants which include dill, carrot, fennel, bronze fennel, parsley, Queen Anne’s Lace. Black Swallowtails overwinter as chrysalises in their local habitat by hanging on stems somewhere, so you have them somewhere on your farm (and unfortunately probably get rid of them if you clear out dead plants, etc.)  I’ve included pictures below for comparison of the 2 different butterflies and caterpillars.  Thanks for feeding the caterpillars!"  Thank you, Pat for educating us!  We really appreciate it!  

The images below are those of the Monarch caterpillar and butterfly (top row) and Black Swallowtail (bottom row).

Last Call!  Garlic Workshop on October 14
Just a couple of slots remain for our Growing Great Garlic at Home workshop.  It's on Sunday, October 14 from 2-5 here at the farm. The class fee is $35 and includes a 1/2 pound bag of seed garlic. To register, use our online form.

Cobblestone Farmers Market Update
We are at an in-between time with our crops -- but still lots of goodness!  Peppers of all sizes are coming in by the bucket-full.  
Picnic/Lunchbox Peppers -- perfect size for snacking or for packing in your lunchbox! Sweet Red Peppers including the Italian Roaster Marconi, Pimento, Lipstick, Red Bell and MORE!  Shishito Peppers -- great on the grill, seared in a skillet or cooked up Tempura-style.  Trick or Treat Peppers -- the sweet, not hot Habanero-type.

We'll have the last of our Muscadine and Scuppernong Grapes along with the last of the Bintje Potatoes and boxes of tasty Creamers.  We are also starting to run low on garlic -- so you had better hurry!  We'll have at least 5 varieties of Bulb Garlic along with Garlic Sampler Bags and Garlic Granules. Rounding out the table will be Daikon Radishes, Pea Shoots, Sunflower Shoots, Parsley, Okra and maybe some tomatoes.  ALL of our produce is Certified Organic and we grow everything we sell!

If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. tonight and it will be ready for pick-up tomorrow.

 

That's all we've got this week.

With all of the craziness and turmoil in the world right now, let's celebrate National Do Something Nice Day   -- deal?

Until next week,
Cheryl & Ray

Pick-Your-Own Blackberries Update

July 14 Update:

No PYO additional events scheduled at this point.  We may have one more during the season but at this point we don't know.  Stay tuned!

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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Certfied Organic by QCS since 2010

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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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