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Posted 7/29/2016 6:01pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

97.7  103.3  101.3 101.7  102.2  102.4  98.2  Nope, this isn't a listing of the top radio stations in the area.  These are the actual temperature readings on our weather station for the past 7 days.  And yes, it is the ACTUAL temperature, not the heat index (and the thermometer is on the north side of the house!) YIKES!

Even the bees have been forced to seek comfort on their porches with the fans going at full tilt -- good thing they have some shade.

Bearding bees in the Topbar hive  Bees on the front of the Langstroth hive

We've been guzzling copious amounts of water this week and starting even earlier in the day (6 or 6:30 a.m.) to try to beat the heat.  But it has been picking us off one at a time.  Hopefully we will be getting some relief from the blast furnace -- now if we'd only get some rain.  Our last real rain was nearly 3 weeks ago.

Despite the heat, we've still be getting some things done.  The blackberries are done for the year so it is time to get the canes that bore this year's fruit (floricanes) off of the plant.  Today Andrew worked through the Ouachita and got them cleaned up and weeded.  Looking good!

Andrew cutting out the floricanes in the Ouachita

 Our fig tree has borne the brunt of two very cold winters (that sounds REALLY good right now!) and had lost most of its canopy.  We finally got a chance to clear it out and support the remaining branches in hopes that we can keep it going -- it has produced a LOT of excellent figs!  While we won't get any this year, we are hopeful for 2017!

Ray working with the fig tree

We had a great Twilight Pick Your Own last Sunday and some of our guests had a special visit from BB!  She is getting much better with her halter and lead -- and she is so good with kids!

BB and her new friend

Although BB likes to go out on these adventures, Brix isn't so sure about it.  She is very protective of her little charge and must give her a good sniffing when she returns.

Brix is checking out BB after her PYO visit

Things continue to grow like crazy (especially the pigweed and grasses) and the PYO Pumpkin Patch continues to fill out -- perhaps the Great Pumpkin will be found here this year! You'll be able to come pick out your own great pumpkin -- mark your calendar for our Fall Festival scheduled for October 23!

PYO Pumpkin Patch

The sunflowers that our young visitors planted at our last big event, the Northern Triad Farm Tour, are really growing and some of the transplanted ones are starting to bloom!

Sunflowers from seed planted at Farm Tour  Transplanted sunflowers from Farm Tour

The Pause That Refreshes...

We are doing it again.  Last year we took a break mid-season -- a "market pause" -- not a vacation but rather a "pause."  This break was invigorating so we are making it a tradition (at least a 2nd Annual!).

So here's the deal:  we are taking a break from markets for the next two weeks.  Our crops say they are not ready for prime time so we will listen to them.  We will not be at Cobblestone Farmers Market for the next 2 Saturdays (8/6 and 8/13) and we will not be at King Farmers Market on 8/3 or 8/10.

Despite the market pause, we will be doing lots of things around the farm to get it (and us) ready for the busy fall season.  There are fields to ready, plants and seeds to plant, berries to tend, equipment to maintain and our annual Organic Systems Plan to submit.  But it will be different.  We will be a bit more on our schedule and not be driven by market preparation and market days.  It will actually be a break!  Expect to see more cheerful, less stressed and rested farmers when you next see us at market on August 17 or 20!

Market Updates!

But before the pause, we will be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem tomorrow (7/30) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including beaucoup LaRatte and Amarosa Fingerling and Standard Potatoes (German Butterball, Nicola, Russet and Bintje), freshly CURED GARLIC (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Georgian Crystal, Lahontan and Lorz Italian). French Red Shallots, Leeks, Okra, Tomato Fruit Boxes, Beets, and Kohlrabi. We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto -- pasta salad with fresh Chocolate Drop tomatoes! Sounds like a homerun!  And you better stock up since we won't be there for TWO weeks!

Stay cool, Friends!  We'll be catching up with you soon!

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 7/22/2016 9:40am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

One potato, two potato, three potato, MORE!  Hooray!  We have finished our potato harvest and we are happy to report it was a great success!  On Monday, the last of the spuds came out of the field and were weighed, boxed and tucked away into the walk-in cooler for safe keeping. 

Chris, Andrew & Ray finalizing the potato weights

Once we tallied up all of the harvest numbers, we were blown away by the total -- more than TWO TONS of potatoes came out of the field!  That's a new record for us!  In case you are interested in precise numbers (we LOVE people like you!), the grand total was 4,462 pounds (2,269 fingerlings and 2,193 standards).  And coming off of 2 years of crop failures, it feels really great to have a good harvest.

Yesterday we took 500 pounds of LaRatte fingerlings to our friends at The Produce Box.  Our little bundles of potato love will be wandering all around the Triangle and the Triad next week!

Brandon unloading boxes of potatoes

Yesterday we hosted another great group of Leaders in Training from YMCA Camp Hanes.  As part of their community service week, they came to help us prep our French Red shallots for market.  The group consisted of twelve high school sophomores from around the state, students from South Korea and their great counselors, Caitlin and Andrew.  Thanks for coming out to the farm and lending your hands!

Working on shallots  2nd Session Camp Hanes LIT

Twilight Blackberry Pick-Your-Own on Sunday

Our delicious Triple Crown blackberries are still doing well!  They are loving this heat (as long as we keep irrigating them!)  So we're having another pick-your-own on Sunday (7/24) from 5-7.  Since Sunday is going to be hot, we'll give you the opportunity to pick in the evening when it's a bit cooler -- the blackberry field is really nice at that time of the day.  We provide picking containers but please bring a container to take your treasures home -- plus a cooler!  You can't get any fresher than berries you pick yourself and the great thing about our berries is that they are THORNLESS, Certified Organic AND no-spray!

Happy blackberry picker

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including boatloads of fingerling and standard potatoes (don't forget the Bintjes!), the first of the CURED GARLIC (Red Toch, Music, Chesnok, Georgian Crystal, Lahontan and Lorz Italian). French Red Shallots, Leeks, Baby Kale, Okra, Tomato Fruit Boxes, Fennel, Kohlrabi, and a few green beans. We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto -- have you tried it with potatoes?  Nom-nom!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Pint Clamshell Containers, Please?

Do you have any of our pint clamshell containers hanging around your house from berries or tomatoes?  If so, we'd love to get them back!  We typically can't use clamshells from other farms because the labels won't come off but we can recycle them if you want to bring them to us.

Today's special holiday is something that your tired farmers could really get into:  Hammock Day.  It's appropriately celebrated right in the middle of the Dog Days of summer (July 3 though August 11th). The creators of this event say that you are supposed to spend as much time as possible in your hammock on this day -- it is not a day for work. Hmmm... that makes it hard to harvest veggies for market!  Guess it's a good thing that we don't have a hammock so we'll still have great fresh produce on our tables tomorrow!  See you soon!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 7/15/2016 3:02pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

We had some really special visitors this morning!  Yes, they were a bit flighty but we can overlook that.  They didn't hang around very long -- actually they took off as soon as they could.  And we didn't consider it rude.  Our visitors were two female American Kestrels along with their rehabilitator, Anne Steinert, and her family.  Anne is a customer of ours from the King Farmers Market and she is also a certified wildlife rehabilitator who works with birds, especially falcons.  She volunteers with Wildlife Rehab Inc. of Winston-Salem. 

American Kestrels are the smallest falcon and are considered at-risk due to climate change.  They prefer open fields and are ready to pounce on grasshoppers and mice.  She has had these 2 fledgings, and their 2 siblings, for the past two weeks getting them ready to live on their own (including mouse school).  The birds had been rescued from a nest that had been destroyed in the Raleigh area.  When she felt they were ready, she contacted us to see if they could be released at our farm.  And that's what we did this morning. What an amazing privilege to watch their initial flights of freedom.

Anne with the Kestrel travel box  Anne with one of the kestrel fledglings  Off she goes!

Lots of other things (maybe not as breathtaking as releasing kestrels) have been happening around the farm this week.  We are closing in on the potato harvest -- just a few hundred pounds remain in the field.  And the walk-in cooler is really starting to fill up with potatoes!  There are several stacks of boxes behind the ones you see in the photo!

Boxes of potatoes

 Speaking of potatoes, we've harvested one of our favorite varieties, Binjte.  This potato originates in Belgium and/or the Netherlands (depending on who you believe!) and is known as the potato that made Belgium famous for frites. It is considered the best variety for french fries, and the Belgians should know since their per capita consumption of french fries exceeds even America's!  Come check them out at market this week!

Bintje potatoes

We are starting to see lots of growth in our PYO Pumpkin Patch -- so exciting!  Pumpkins cover a lot of ground FAST!  We finished putting out the rest of the pumpkin plants yesterday and the corn has already started tasseling.  Dreaming of our fall PYO!

Corn and pumpins in the PYO Patch  First flowers on the pumkins

Our Three Sisters Garden, with corn, pole beans and squash, is really taking off as well with these hot summer days.

Three Sisters Garden

And we are starting to get some tomatoes!

Slicer tomato harvest

Ray gave Raz House, our hoophouse, a little extra ventilation this week to keep the tomatoes happy but unfortunately we have to put up fencing on the roll-up sides since the rabbits have discovered our new planting of lettuce.  :-(

Raz House with new windows

Blackberry Pick-Your-Own Update

We had a great time with lots of people at our first blackberry Pick-Your-Own last Sunday!  So much fun that we're doing it again!  Although we don't have as many berries as last week, there are still quite a few to be had.  The farm will be open Sunday (7/17) from 1-3.  We'll provide picking containers but please bring a container to take your treasures home -- plus a cooler!  You can't get any fresher than berries you pick yourself and the great thing about our berries is that they are Certified Organic AND no-spray!

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including boatloads of fingerling and standard potatoes (don't forget the Bintjes!), the first of the French Red Shallots, Swiss Chard, some okra, some tomatoes, the last of the fresh garlic, and bags of recipe-ready basil.  We'll also have a new batch of our Garlic Scape Pesto, a few Basil Pesto and the lovely and fragrant Stargazer Lilies!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Today is Cow Appreciation Day (which I just learned!).  And there's no cow that we have ever appreciated more than our beloved Yam.  We miss her so much but hopefully a new cow will be joining Brix and the lambs in the pasture soon.  Our pasture needs a cow.

Yam

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 7/8/2016 12:08pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! 

Woo boy!  It's been hot and humid and the daily dousing of rain has become commonplace!  After an unseasonably cool 4th of July, we have definitely kicked into high summer.

And what does summer mean to a farmer?  Harvests!  This is especially true for garlic and potato farmers.  We are happy to report that the last bulb of garlic is out of the ground!  Harvest total was about 20,000 bulbs - plus or minus a few!

On Wednesday, we finished up the harvest of one of our favorite softneck garlics (and braid star), Nootka Rose.  This is always the last garlic to come out of the field and that's when we can let out a sigh of relief.  All the rain we've been having over the past couple of weeks has wreaked havoc with harvesting.  Getting muddy bulbs out is no fun.  Overall the harvest has been good -- some of the largest bulbs that we've ever grown for many varieties. Unfortunately the work doesn't stop once it's out of the ground.  Now comes the all-important step of trimming the roots, grading the bulb for size, cleaning off the outer layer, and hanging it for curing and storage.

Chris and Andrew celebrating the last of the garlic  Sizing garlic bulbs    Hanging garlic on the net in the Yam Barn

Once the garlic was out of the field, it was time to turn our attention to the fingerling potatoes.  More than half of the potatoes we plant are the yummy LaRatte fingerlings that so many of you love (as do we!).  We've had a couple of pretty disappointing years with them but this is not one of them!  Hooray!  We got the first row out of the field on Thursday and got about 300 pounds -- and we have a total of 7 rows!  Okay, math majors, and that would be...yep, about 2,100 pounds of fingerlings!  Over a TON! Break out the olive oil and garlic, boys and girls, 'cause we've got some mighty fine eating ahead!

Harvesting taters  Andrew with about 30 pounds of LaRattes  Tasty LaRattes ready for market

Triple Crown Blackberries are here!

Talk about a reliable crop.  You can almost set your watch by our Triple Crown blackberries -- they start ripening up around the 4th of July and this year is no exception!  They are back and boy, are they delicious!  We'll be having our first blackberry Pick-Your-Own of the season this Sunday (7/10) from 1-3.  We'll provide picking containers but please bring a container to take your treasures home -- plus a cooler!  You can't get any fresher than berries you pick yourself and the great thing about our berries is that they are Certified Organic AND no-spray!  Hope you'll be able to join us!

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including FRESH GARLIC, POTATOES -- fingerling and standard, Baby Kale, Swiss Chard, ESCAROLE, Salad Mix (plain & Fancy Pants), blackberries, a few black raspberries, and the last of the Garlic Powder.  We'll also have a new batch of our Garlic Scape Pesto and lovely Oriental Lilies!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

A quick note of thanks to the great group of students from YMCA Camp Hanes who volunteered last week as part of the Leaders In Training program at the Camp.  Fourteen students and two great counselors hung out with us and helped us clean and hang garlic.  Thanks so much!

LIT campers from Camp Hanes

Stay cool, drink lots of water and remember that it's just 76 days until Autumn begins! 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 7/1/2016 2:11pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy July!

We are slowly trying to come back to normal (what does that mean?) after the fantastic farm tour on Sunday.  It was a smashing success -- nearly 500 visitors walked through our "door" and hung out at the farm for a while.  WOW!  We were completely amazed by folks' interest in what we do here and in farming in general.  Our colleagues also had really good visitor traffic as well.  Thanks so much to all of you who supported your local farms by participating in the 2nd Annual Northern Triad Farm Tour!

Extra special THANK YOUS go out to our amazing volunteers -- Chris, Summer, Jen, Sandy, Orville, Annette, Kirsten, Maggie, Suzanne, and Laura along with Debbie and her great band.  A million thank yous to all of you for helping us pull this event off!

Have a look at some photos from the day:

Learning about garlic at the Tobacco Barn  Cornhole rules  Getting to know BB  Planting sunflowers together  Great Old Time music!  And the tours go on as the band plays  Time to go home

We continued our harvesting of garlic and potatoes after putting away all of the tour stuff -- we've gotten all of the garlic out of the ground except for Nootka Rose and have dug about 900 pounds of potatoes this week!  Whew!  I think we are dreaming of an Independence Day nap!

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including FRESH GARLIC, POTATOES -- fingerling and standard, Fennel, Radicchio, Baby Kale, Swiss Chard, ESCAROLE, Salad Mix (plain & Fancy Pants), a few black raspberries, carrots (small amount), Garlic Powder, and decorative Allium Flowers.  We'll also have our Garlic Scape Pesto and lovely Oriental Lilies!

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

More pictures next week...trying to learn all of the particulars of a new phone -- like how to save pictures in a smaller format that can fit in the newsletter!

Have a wonderful Holiday Weekend!  Be safe and celebrate the joys of our Nation!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 6/24/2016 8:14am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Company's coming!  Better get the place spiffed up!  That's the way we are feeling here at the farm as we get ready for the 2nd Annual Northern Triad Farm Tour on Sunday, June 26 from 1-5 p.m.  Trying to get our house (aka farm) cleaned up for company is a rather daunting task. But we have used this as an opportunity to get a few lingering projects done...like clearing the roof of the Tobacco Barn shed!  Yay!  Way to go, Chris and Andrew!

Removing the roof of the Tobacco Barn shed

Like anytime we have guests, things are not likely to be perfect but we have planned a lot of great things to do while you're here including:

  • Meet the lambs!
  • Farmer (Emeritus) Jen's Hayride tour
  • Farmer Cheryl's walking tours
  • Live music starting around 2:45
  • Information stations on topbar beekeeping, growing ginger & turmeric
  • Kids' seed-planting area
  • Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center information tent
  • Market tent where our products will be available for sale
  • Snowcones with Plum Granny Farm berry syrups
  •  and much more!

There are 7 farms on this FREE tour -- we are all very different and focus on a wide variety of products.  The other farms include Borrowed Land Farm, Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery, Minglewood Farm & Nature Preserve, Sanders Ridge Farm, Sungold Farm and Truffles NC at Keep Your Fork Farm.  We have gotten some great media coverage on the event including Briana Conner's story on WXII on Tuesday and Amy Dixon's article in today's Winston-Salem Journal

The tour is self-guiding -- start with any farm you'd like.  For driving directions and more information on the farms, visit this interactive map

Brix says that you better come visit her!

Brix sez hello!

And Tony says "Bring Food!!!"

Tony eating hay

In addition to the Farm Tour prep, the garlic and potato harvests keep marching on!  We've gotten several more varieties of garlic out (including everyone's favorite, "Music" and the biggest "Chesnok" we have ever grown - see picture below) and over 500 pounds of potatoes!

Fresh Chesnok garlic  Nicola potatoes  Potaoto harvester with Huckleberry Gold

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday), here at the Farm (Sunday) and at the King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including FRESH GARLIC, NEW POTATOES, Baby Beets, Baby Kale, Swiss Chard, ESCAROLE, Salad Mix, ROMAINE LETTUCE, Garlic Powder, decorative Allium Flowers, and Triple Crown Blackberry Plants.  And we just made up a big batch of our famous Garlic Scape Pesto!

Garlic Scapes ready to go in pesto

We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon, at the Farm (1-5) and at King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at all markets.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Today is "Take Your Dog to Work Day" and Gesti says she's ready to tackle whatever challenge we give her -- like mowing the yard, perhaps?  Did you know that this special day was created by Pet Sitters International -- and that they are headquartered in King?  Whodathunk?!

Gesti on the mower

Hope to see you on Sunday!  Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 6/17/2016 7:22am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Good Golly Miss Molly, we've got Gobs of Garlic!  Sounds like a catchy song, eh? Well, it has been a part of our mental soundtrack this week as we have been moving through the harvest of garlic and shallots.  To date, we have harvested 5,914 bulbs of garlic and about 200 pounds of French Red Shallots (from 1,406 plants)!  This is the time of year when vampires give our farm an extra wide berth!

The crop is looking really good with lots of large, beautiful bulbs.  Check out this handsome Lorz Italian:

Fine looking Lorz Italian

And we haven't been alone in our harvest!  We had a terrific group of volunteers come out to the farm on Tuesday to lend helping hands -- and it was great!  We got the French Red shallots and Red Toch out of the ground - and even got it all stored in the barn!  A HUGE thank you goes out to Jack Stack, Maggie Monteith and Sandy & Orville Woodard for coming out on a hot summer day! You make these tasks FUN!

Harvesting shallots  Trimming roots on garlic  Covering the shallot pallet  Sandy and a bunch of shallots    Red Toch garlic hanging in barnThe happy garlic crew

In addition to the garlic harvest, we were also trying to finish the hay. Check that one off the list, too!  All of it is under shelter, be it square or round bales. 

Raking hay for round bales  Tucking the hay into the Star

And we are happy to report that our hay received a 5-hoof rating from the team of picky judges.

BB & Tony inspect the first bale of hay  Tony digs in for the flavor

We've also been getting more seeds in the ground -- our 2nd succession of beans has been planted and transplants of summer squash, cucumbers, ornamental corn and pumpkins are ready to get in the ground!  We're starting to get color on the tomatoes in Raz House too - won't be long!

Won't be long!

2016 Farm Tour - Just 1 Week Away!

Things are really coming together for the 2nd Annual Northern Triad Farm Tour on Sunday, June 26 from 1-5 p.m. There are 7 farms on the tour -- we are all very different and focus on a wide variety of products.  The other farms on this FREE tour include Borrowed Land Farm, Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery, Minglewood Farm & Nature Preserve, Sanders Ridge Farm, Sungold Farm and Truffles NC at Keep Your Fork Farm.  Check out this interactive map for details. 

We'll have lots of activities here: hayrides, music, farm stand, snowcones (with syrup from our berries!), guided tours, kids' activities, meet the lambs and MORE!  Mark your calendar and plan to head out to visit us and some of the other farms on the tour - it's gonna be a great day!

Scene from 2015 farm tour

And just a reminder:  we are also looking for a few volunteers to help us with the event as well (greeters, parking helpers, photographer, set-up/take-down) so if you'd like to lend a hand, it would be greatly appreciated!

Farm tour 2015

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including FRESH GARLIC, Garlic Scapes, NEW POTATOES, Artichokes, Baby Kale, full-sized kale bunches, Swiss Chard, Escarole, Salad Mix, Garlic Powder, decorative Allium Flowers, and Triple Crown Blackberry Plants.  And you'd better hurry to snag one of the few remaining jars of Raspberry-Chipotle Molé!  We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at the Wednesday market.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Happy Father's Day to all of you great Dads out there!  Enjoy your special day -- kick your shoes off, prop up your feet and sip on a nice cold drink!  It's YOUR day! 

And don't forget that we officially move into Summer on Monday with the Solstice --at 6:34 p.m.  And this is a rare one as it occurs the same day as the Full Moon. This hasn't happened since 1948!

Oh, the summer night

Has a smile of light,

And she sits on a sapphire throne.

                 Barry Cornwall, English poet (1787–1874)

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 6/10/2016 8:04am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

So much for those lazy, spring days (when WAS that?!) -- it's June and things are moving into overdrive.  For some reason, we can never quite get things to sequence correctly so we end up with garlic harvest and hay making at the same time! Aargh!

With this nice stretch of dry weather, Ray has been mowing our hay fields and we will start baling this afternoon.  The grasses are really beautiful this year -- fescue, orchardgrass, lespedeza, clover -- and they combine to make a tasty mix that animals love.  We have about 10 acres of hay -- and we are one of a handful of farms with Certified Organic hay -- so it is very much in demand.  And there's something about haying that brings out the highest temperatures of the year -- upper 90's and even 100 degrees are predicted for this weekend and early next week!  Whew!  The good news is that our friend, Laura Pallavicini from Riverwood Therapeutic Riding Center will be getting a lot of the hay straight from the field.  Thanks, Laura & crew!  And if you see some soggy, sweaty folks over the weekend, be kind -- it may be us!

Hay field

On the garlic front, it seemed that in the blink of an eye, the garlic was ready to come out of the ground NOW!  We always gauge readiness by the number of green leaves remaining on the stalk -- we aim to harvest at around 5 green leaves.  Late last week, most plants had at least 7 or 8 and now, we have a lot that have very few green leaves remaining!  How did that happen?  We were very worried and started the harvest yesterday with Inchelium Red expecting the worst.  I am happy to report that we were pleasantly surprised -- the bulbs look good and have nice tight wrappers. Day #1 harvest yielded 1,980 bulbs -- 10% of the crop -- not a bad start. Yay!

Cleaning the Inchelium Red garlic

Speaking of garlic harvest, it's time for a Crop Mob!  We need some volunteers to help us harvest, trim and clean our bulbs of allium joy!  We are tentatively planning a mob for Tuesday, June 14 starting at 8 a.m.  Work ranges from picking up garlic in the field to sitting (under shade) trimming and cleaning bulbs.  It really is a lot of fun -- and we'll treat you to lunch.  Send us an email if you'd like to be part of the fun!  We'll confirm the details with you then.

Garlic Harvest Crop mob

Farm Tour!

Mark your calendar for Sunday, June 26 from 1-5 for the 2nd Annual Northern Triad Farm Tour! This is a great opportunity to visit not only our farm but 6 other farms in the region to learn a bit more about their operations -- learn where your food comes from and how it is grown!  The other farms on this FREE tour include Borrowed Land Farm, Buffalo Creek Farm & Creamery, Minglewood Farm & Nature Preserve, Sanders Ridge Farm, Sungold Farm and Truffles NC at Keep Your Fork Farm.  Check out this interactive map for details. 

And just a reminder:  we are also looking for a few volunteers to help us with the event as well (greeters, parking helpers, set-up/take-down) so if you'd like to lend a hand, it would be greatly appreciated!

Farm tour 2015

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including FRESH GARLIC, Garlic Scapes, Sugar Snap Peas (bunches!), Baby Kale, Vates & Lacinato/Dino full-sized kale bunches, Swiss Chard, Frissé, French Red Shallot Flowers, Spring Onions, Salad Mix, Chives, Garlic Powder, decorative Allium Flowers, and Triple Crown Blackberry Plants.  And you'd better hurry to snag one of the few remaining jars of Raspberry-Chipotle Molé!  We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at the Wednesday market.  If you'd like us to save something for you, please send us an email by 10 p.m. prior to market.

Folks frequently tell us that they enjoy the pictures in this newsletter -- thanks!  If you'd like to see even more photos of Plum Granny Farm happenings, check us out at our Instagram account -- @plumgrannyfarm. We post several times a week - random pictures of farm life!

Enjoy Iced Tea Day today -- with the predicted heat wave, it's important to stay hydrated & cool!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 6/3/2016 11:47am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

As the temperatures have started to rise into the 90's, our minds have been on one thing:  the very thick wool coats that BB and Tony have been wearing!  So when Shearing Day rolled around, it was very exciting!  But now we're not sure where our sheep went -- they look so different!  And the lambs weren't not quite sure if they recognized each other either!

Before the shearing  After

A huge thank you to Laura Frazier of FarmGirl Arts (BB and Tony's 1st Human) for doing a terrific job of shearing along with giving them their shots.  The whole process went amazingly well for a first shear -- both of the lambs were well-behaved and Brix monitored the situation closely to make sure her charges weren't being harmed.  Tony's fleece was exceptionally nice -- Laura is considering entering it into a competition.  Hope you enjoy some pictures:

   BB looks on as Tony gets sheared  Checking out Tony's fleece  Rolling back the fleece on Tony  Yes ma'am - 2 bags full! 

But the week hasn't been all about fun and lambs, we have been getting some serious work done.  Thanks to Chris and Andrew, the onions feel like they have had their grass coats sheared (did I hear an "Ahhh...!"?)

No weeds onions

The garlic finally started producing scapes in quantity -- today we harvested 67 pounds! 

Lots of garlic scapes  Ray and Andrew with some of the scape harvest

And the asparagus got weeded and tucked in for its summer ferning -- see you next year!

Asparagus after weeding  Chris covering the asparagus beds with leaf mulch  Asparagus starting to form ferns

Farm Tour!

Mark your calendar for Sunday, June 26 from 1-5 for the 2nd Annual Northern Triad Farm Tour! We'll be joining 6 other farms for this terrific FREE event.  More info to come but just wanted to make sure you got this date on your calendar!  We are also looking for a few volunteers to help us with the event as well (greeters, parking helpers, set-up/take-down) so if you'd like to lend a hand, it would be greatly appreciated!

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including Garlic Scapes (plus recipes!), Baby Kale, Vates & Lacinato/Dino full-sized kale bunches, Swiss Chard, Frissé, French Red Shallot Flowers, Spring Onions, Salad Mix, Lemon Basil, Chives, Garlic Powder, and Triple Crown Blackberry Plants.  And our jam and Raspberry-Chipotle Molé stocks are getting VERY low, so hurry!  We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at the Wednesday market.

Interesting coincidence that the month designated as National Fresh Fruits and Vegetables Month also holds National Donut Day (today!).  There's a great article by Tim Clodfelter in today's Winston-Salem Journal about the origins of the day in World War I.

Enjoy your veggies with a side of donuts -- or whatever you wish!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 5/26/2016 12:14pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Thursday!

Firefly up closePhoto Credit:  http://bestofbicolandia.blogspot.com

They're back!  No matter what you call them, fireflies, lightning bugs -- they are back flittering over our yard and fields in the evening.  What a wonderful sight!  But I must confess... these little guys have been back for about a month now -- but I keep forgetting to mention it!

Lots of sun and warmer temperatures this week -- and what does that mean?  Weeds and irrigation!  Getting the irrigation going after all of the rain we had has been a challenge.  The pond pump was working fine before, but now there seems to be a problem.  So what do you do? Get out the backup pump and cross your fingers.  And then you find out that the housing is cracked on the backup pump so then you swap the housing... and cross your fingers!  No wonder it feels like we can't get anything done!

Ray fixing the pond pump  Pump heading back to the pond

Irrigation or not, lots of plants are telling us that it won't be too long until it's their turn to shine!  Raspberries, tomatoes and more are starting to show their colors!  Won't be long!

Hand full of Prelude raspberries  Coyote currant tomato in Raz House

We had fun this past Sunday being part of the Competition Dining kickoff round in Winston-Salem!  Our peas (snow and snap) along with carrots from The Specialty Farmer in Lincolnton and New Town Farm in Waxhaw provided the ingredients for Battle Peas and Carrots!  It's always amazing to see what these talented chefs create out of the featured ingredients.  Here's Cheryl with the giant gourmets from Team Phoenix of Brevard (left) and Team Miller Time of Graze Restaurant in Winston-Salem (right).

Cheryl with Competition Dining teams

Brix's Friend Jenny

Brix has a very good friend, Jenny Bates, who comes and visits her every week or so.  Jenny (aka The Donkey Whisperer) quietly comes up for a visit and brings Brix a carrot, a bit of brushing, and lots of kind words of encouragement.  We got to catch her in the act today!  Brix really loves her friend.

Brix and Jenny

Market Updates!

We'll be at Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem (Saturday) and King Farmers Market at the Stokes Family YMCA (Wednesday) with lots of Certified Organic tastiness including Garlic Scapes, the last of the asparagus (limited quantity), Kale, Swiss Chard, Frissé, Pac Choy, Easter Egg Radishes, Chives, Garlic Powder and Granules, Triple Crown Blackberry Plants, and lots of transplants (tomato, tomatillo, herb).  Our jam stocks are getting low, so you better make sure you don't miss out.  And since grilling season is beginning, don't forget that our Raspberry-Chipotle Molé is perfect for grilled shrimp and meats!  We hope to see you at Old Salem from 9-noon and King from 11-1.  Please note that we may not always have every item at the Wednesday market.

Wishing you the best on this Memorial Day weekend.  The weekend always holds special meaning for us since both of our fathers served in World War II.  Ray's dad, Bill, was a career Army man and also served in Korea. He was buried at Arlington National Cemetery.  The photo below was taken during the Memorial Day weekend dedication of the World War II Memorial in 2004.

Our deepest appreciation goes out to all those who have served our country -- in wartime and peace.  Take a moment this weekend to say "Thank you" to a veteran -- and if you are one, our special thanks to you.

Bill's marker at Arlington National Cemetary

Until next week,

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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USDA Organic logo

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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