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Posted 1/8/2011 7:35pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Amazing.  I’m standing in the kitchen cutting open a beautiful Long Island Cheese Pumpkin.  I’m finally ready to turn this beauty into a stuffed pumpkin for a cold winter’s night.  This pumpkin is almost a friend.  It was given to me by one of the farmers who sells at the King Farmers Market as I was gathering items for our market’s booth at the County Fair.  After the fair (in September), the pumpkin has been gracing our farm as a bit of a stately decoration -- but I have always known that its destiny was for a wonderful dinner.  Well, that day has finally come.  So I heft a large knife to ready it for stuffing with rice and lentils.  As I scoop out the seeds, I notice there are sprouts among the seeds.  Then, upon further inspection, there are not only sprouts, there are leaves!  So as the winds are howling outside the window and the temperature plummets, it is comforting to see that the herald of spring comes within a humble (and tasty) pumpkin!  Here’s to enjoying winter -- which is a bit easier when you see such harbingers of spring!

Sprouted pumpkin seeds on a plate

Posted 12/26/2010 9:45am by Ray.

Cheryl takes Yam a Christmas dinner

The house is clean and decorated, with food for a party of 50.  It’s time for our annual Christmas Open House! 

We hosted it once many years ago for Cheryl’s parents and all their friends and relatives around here, and those folks looked forward to it so much that we’ve just kept it up every year since.  But right now there’s 5” of snow on the ground & some more on the way with 15-20 MPH winds.  The roads aren’t bad, but they sure aren’t going to get any better.  So in deference to all those older folks who would have to miss it, we’re postponing the party to Valentine’s Day.

BUT.....

Everything’s tucked in ...

The propane tank is full ...

Yam is warm and dry in her barn with plenty of hay and chop ...

And the house is clean and decorated, with plenty of food ...

Time for music and raspberry cider and cookies by the fire, and a walk in the snow and a hot bowl of posole and a fresh tomato sandwich.

(Yep, we’re still getting some tasty toms ripening up from that last mass harvest before the hard frost in November.)

When life hands you wintry weather ... make snow cream!

Posted 10/25/2010 3:25pm by Cheryl & Ray.

Crop Mob comes to PGF!

Yesterday a whole bunch of folks came to the farm to split bulbs of seed garlic into cloves for planting.  It’s not hard labor, but it sure is time consuming when we’re talking about 650 pounds of garlic bulbs needing to be split, or as garlic growers say, cracked or popped or clove.  So some raspberry and garlic fans from Krankies Framers Market and Slow Food Piedmont and other friends of Yam came to the rescue!  We set up straw bales, cooked up some green chile stew (with Plum Granny organic green chile and onions, and Gary & Kay Owen’s Naturally Grown potatoes), put on some music, and enjoyed a beautiful Sunday afternoon in the NC Piedmont chatting and cracking garlic.  The kids worked on elephant garlic the size of softballs, and they loved having bigger garlic than the grownups.  Then they were off to play Duck Duck Goose and run in the raspberry rows and devour berries wherever they stopped while the rest of us talked and turned bags of bulbs into bags of cloves.  A bit of a farm tour rounded out the day.  Come evening, we were pretty tired and very thankful for that big dent in our pile ‘o seed garlic.  A bushel-full of thanks go out to:

Kay Bergey

The Brockenbroughs

David Brown

Blaine & Pat Ferguson

Don & Paula & Sophie & Ana Jennings

Andrew & Fill Lloyd

Anne Long

Kathy & Matt & Vivian & Nic Mayers

Susan & Harvey Moser (Moser Manor)

Kenneth & Dawn Nelson

Sara Nutter

Jennifer & Lucy Ong

Kay & Gary Owen ((Gary’s Produce)

Pat Sisson

Ken Van Hoy (Rail Fence Farm)

Jim & Michelle & Katherine & Elizabeth Walter (Walter Farm)

Cerole Zellmer

Carol Zerner

 

Tags: Garlic
Posted 10/2/2010 8:47am by Ray.

A lot of rain.  It was heaviest along the coast.  Wilmington got something like 12” in 5 or 6 hours.  We only got 5.5”.  It helped some and hurt some.  Tomatoes split when they get a bolus of water.  The raspberries’ flavor gets watered down a bit.  Their brix reading dropped from 12.5 to 10.5, but never a bland 7.5 like the supermarket raz.  And mold can become a problem.  But the rain also really helped a couple of our fields which we’re trying to prep for winter cover crop or garlic planting.  We’re still in the process of building the soil, so these newer fields are like cement when they’re dry.  We managed to get them opened up with a monster chisel plow before the rain.  So the rain soaked in rather than running off.  And now the soil is soft enough for us to pick rocks out of the new garlic fields.  We’re pulling about 4 cubic yards of rocks out of each half acre field.  That’s 3 to 4 tons.  One rock at a time.  Folks here think we’re crazy.  “What are you doing all that work for?  They’ll just come back!”  At night we dream of rocks in the pile sprouting little legs and trotting across the road to settle in their home field again.  I check the pile each morning.

But we know we’re making a difference, short term anyway.  We picked rocks from a couple of fields last year and planting was easier, weeding was easier, rocks didn’t stab our knees, our digging forks struck far fewer rocks at harvest, we dodged less flying rocks from the mower, ... .  We’ll go through the process with each field a couple of times to get the remaining ones that tilling brings to the surface and the smaller ones we missed last time.  Maybe after a few years we’ll have all the fields cleared.  Maybe not.  Meanwhile, we’re putting a lot of the rocks in some small ravines and packing soil on them.  We tell the Conservation Service agent that we’re doing it to control erosion.  Secretly, we’re trying to bury the rocks so they can’t come back to the field.

Posted 9/5/2010 7:32pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

It’s been a tough summer weather-wise here in northern piedmont North Carolina.  All the crops have had to work a little harder than usual to get themselves growing and producing in the extreme heat.  None of our crops have been more challenged than our raspberries.  The varieties that we grow -- by nature – enjoy cooler weather.  They obviously weren’t able to enjoy much of that this summer.  As a consequence, they weren’t very productive and even ended up with some nasty beetles preying on their stressed state (sap beetles are now one of our most hated insects!).

But now as things are starting to cool down a bit, the berries are starting to show new energy and productivity (aren’t we all?)  The new raspberry field is beginning to put on lots of berries and we picked our first ones from that field this week.  Hurray!

So thanks to all our loyal, raspberry-loving customers who have patiently heard us say week after week – “we hope the berries will be coming back in a few weeks!” – well now that finally seems to be more accurate than ever!  And just in time – Raspberry Day is at Krankies Farmers Market on September 14th!

Posted 9/5/2010 7:32pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

It’s been a tough summer weather-wise here in northern piedmont North Carolina.  All the crops have had to work a little harder than usual to get themselves growing and producing in the extreme heat.  None of our crops have been more challenged than our raspberries.  The varieties that we grow -- by nature – enjoy cooler weather.  They obviously weren’t able to enjoy much of that this summer.  As a consequence, they weren’t very productive and even ended up with some nasty beetles preying on their stressed state (sap beetles are now one of our most hated insects!).

But now as things are starting to cool down a bit, the berries are starting to show new energy and productivity (aren’t we all?)  The new raspberry field is beginning to put on lots of berries and we picked our first ones from that field this week.  Hurray!

So thanks so all our loyal, raspberry-loving customers who have patiently heard us say week after week – “we hope the berries will be coming back in a few weeks!” – well now that finally seems to be more accurate than ever!  And just in time – Raspberry Day is at Krankies Farmers Market on September 14th!

Posted 8/23/2010 6:02pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Well, actually, it’s a green letter day - - as in

Plum Granny Farm is now certified USDA organic for ALL our produce except raspberries and blackberries, which are still in their transitional period.

   47 pages of application

plus

   10 pages of extra notes and explanations

plus

   56 pages of attachments

plus

     2 rounds of questions and additional information

plus

     1 site visit / inspection

 

Equals  one HUGE sigh of relief  and an ear splitting cheer!

(Did you hear it?)


 

Posted 7/24/2010 5:51pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Today the President declared July 7th to be a National Day of Celebration in honor of the completion of the garlic harvest at Plum Granny Farm!  The President noted that the bountiful harvest of beautiful bulbs of 16 garlic varieties deserved such a meritorious honor.  In prepared remarks, the President noted that the freshly harvested bulbs are currently nestled in 3 barns and are curing nicely.  As part of the President’s Eat Smart program, garlic has been featured as an important part of a healthy diet.  Hey, not bad for a crop of dirt farmers in Stokes County, North Carolina!  Rock on Plum Granny Farm, rock on! 

[Please note that the President referred to in this blog refers to the President of Plum Granny Farm and should not be mistaken for the President of the United States.]

 

Plum Granny Farmers toast this special Holiday with Gatorade (of course!)

 

Did we mention that it was a bit warm when we finished harvesting??

 

Posted 7/24/2010 5:16pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Well...for today anyway!  This week Team Plum Granny wrestled some monster weeds in the new raspberry field and got it squeaky clean – no easy task when the temps were in the miserable upper 90s and the humidity matched it.  We wrangled with sequoia-size pig weed and kudzu-like morning glories to give our new little plants some much needed breathing room.  Did I just hear a plant say “Thank You!”?  I’ll bet they pay us back in early fall with some sweet and yummy berries.

Posted 6/29/2010 7:14am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Greetings!

A heavy downpour helped cool things off around here but may interfere with our raspberry picking for tomorrow’s Krankies Farmers Market --   we’ll see.  It’s up and out early in the a.m. to finish picking raspberries and harvesting oriental lilies.  We will also have 5 different varieties of freshly dug garlic to add to the mix.

We'll also be at the King Farmers Market on Wednesday (11-1) and the Reynolda Village Market on Friday (9-1)

So stop by our table this week and check out the fresh goodness from Plum Granny Farm!

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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