News and blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 2/4/2018 2:46pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Welcome February!
Kerchunk!  Did you hear it?  That was the sound of another page of the calendar being flipped.  We are now in Month 2 of 2018!  The good news is that we are even closer to Spring but the bad news is that we are even closer to Spring!  So much to do! 
But this morning Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow, so we are in for another 6 weeks of winter. :- (

Photo:  accuweather.com

Even before we got Phil's tweet, we knew that more winter was on the way.  This morning we covered the strawberries again before the winds really started wailing later in the day.  If the wind didn't get us, the frozen fabric did!  

The fabric had frozen together in spots which made stretching it out without tearing (as shown above), quite difficult.  After getting one section covered, we decided to take our chances on the wind and let the fabric thaw out a bit before covering the last part.

The plan for this week was to get Wally reconstructed.  Oh well, the best laid plans...  We got a call Monday from our Organic Certification Inspector saying that she would be here on Thursday morning.  We really couldn't defer the inspection so we wrapped our heads around the new schedule!  While we had our records in good shape, it takes a while to organize them to make it easier to audit.  Ease of review is important when you are paying the inspector by the hour.

From the inspector's comments, it seems that everything was fine and that we passed.  We'll be getting their final determination in a month or so.

The on-site inspection is very thorough and involves a complete farm walk as well as reviewing our documentation -- half a day at least.  One of the parts that we have to be prepared for is to show our all crops from seed to sale -- a complete audit of seed purchase receipts, empty seed packets, when and how much we seeded, when and how much was planted, when and what was harvested and how much we sold.  

For the newer readers of our newsletter, you may ask, "why do you do this?"  Great question.  We believe it provides an important assurance to our customers regarding how we grow our crops.  Unlike vague terms like "naturally grown" or "no spray", what we produce is regulated through an extensive Federal certification process. From the seed we plant to our tent at market, we have specific requirements that we must meet to ensure that the food you enjoy from us is grown in a way that nourishes the land (and you!).  We deeply appreciate your trust in us and thank you for supporting a Certified Organic farm!  

Of course, farms and their equipment don't seem to care about human concerns like inspections.  They have their own cycle and agendas no matter what the weather or appointment book says.  On Tuesday, the heater in the greenhouse decided to go out.  Not a good time -- they never seem to break in June. 

With colder temperatures heading our way, we needed to do something and fast!  Mr. Fix-It to the rescue!  Thank Goodness for service manuals on the internet.  Ray diagnosed the problem and got it running again!  It's now blowing hot air to keep the plants warm.  ASF (Always Something Farm).

Ray says that the farming is the absolute dream job for a Mr/Ms Fix-It.  And that is so true!  From electrical to plumbing to carpentry and mechanics, farming requires so many skills.  We are very fortunate that Ray has such a broad skill set.  Unfortunately my repertoire is quite limited in that area. 

So I'll go back to doing something that I like to do -- and can do well:  seeding!  It's time to get more of these tiny promises of Summer and tastiness on their way.  Something new we are trying this year is to grow shallots from our own seeds.  We saved some shallot flowers from last season and are using the seeds from the flower stalks as a trial for transplant production.  We are moving away from planting shallot bulbs and instead will grow transplants from seed.  Our French Red shallots grown from bulbs produce a large scape or flower that when cut, can create a perfect environment for mold and decay.  As a result, they don't cure properly.  Seed-grown shallots don't form a scape.  We have lost nearly half of our shallot crop for the past couple of years to bulbs that didn't completely dry.  Maybe now we can grow a few of these shallots from bulbs to produce seeds and grow the rest of the shallots from transplants!  We'll keep you posted on our progress.

That does it for this week's news!  Have fun watching the Super Bowl this weekend or enjoying some time on your own if the rest of your family is caught up in the game.  You'll find us in the nice, warm greenhouse!

Until next week,
Cheryl & Ray

Posted 1/28/2018 7:14pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!
It's pay-back time.  This is the time of year that we always refer to in summer.  "Don't have time to do it now, we'll do it in the winter!"  Well now it's time to pay up -- all of those projects, deferred maintenance and other tasks that must be completed at this time of year come due.  They might not be the most sexy but they are pretty critical to making sure things move smoothly in the main season.

And of course, equipment always breaks...

And roofs must be attached (in 15-20 MPH winds...)

These are on top of the other building and repair projects that we already had on the list.  Whew!  So what does a farmer do in the winter?

One of our big projects this winter is to rebuild our caterpillar tunnel, Wally, and turn it into a more structured and durable hoophouse.  We are doing this by giving it a peaked roof -- called a Gothic style -- which sheds snow better than a rounded roof.  We are also putting in end walls instead of the gathered plastic "beak" that it had originally.  We are also adding roll-up side walls inside of slide-up ones.  By making these modifications, we will be able to have a high tunnel that will meet our needs better and will be less frustrating than working with the original design last year.  Plus it will stand up to the rain and wind and snow much better.

The photo below shows Wally with one of the new top gothic bows with the peak in front of the original rounded bows. 

By getting Wally rebuilt, it is giving us the opportunity to determine exactly what we need for the next 2 tunnels we are building this winter -- another 50' one and a 100' one.  It was actually a good thing that we never got the other tunnels built last year because it means that we don't have to rebuild them!  Do-overs can be more challenging than building something from scratch!  We hope to have Wally finished next week.

We continue to get the fields cleared in preparation for spring planting.  The field that had all of our kale, lettuce, chard, etc. is now totally clear. Thanks to Chris and Jonny for getting up the plastic and drip tape!  A messy but essential task!  We are going to give this field a rest this year and will be planting alfalfa there as a cover crop.  Here's the before and after.

 

The greenhouse has been the hub of a lot of activity as well.  We are in major seeding mode!  It's time to seed all of the onions, leeks and shallots along with beets, greenhouse cucumbers and tomatoes.  Our heat mats are almost full already and we are just getting started!

We were off to an early start this year with artichokes and cucumbers in trays by January 14 but unfortunately the mice decided they really wanted to eat these seeds (and they were quite expensive ones too!)  Now we have implemented our "Mouse Taxi" program.  We have some great traps that catch the mice unharmed and then we release them about 2 miles away.  That's far enough that they won't come back.  Seven mice relocated so far!

The good news is that the mouse population seems to be declining (knock on wood!) and our replacement seeds are beginning to emerge.

The mice may also be deterred by the increased presence of the cats in the greenhouse.  Detroit and RingBob really enjoy spending time in here while we are working.   Pretty energetic mousers, eh?  They say are just resting in case a mouse decides to walk by!  ;-)

 

That does it for this edition.  Here's a cheering thought:  we are just 53 days away from Spring!  Keep your eyes open for signs of the coming season!

 

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 1/19/2018 4:45pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Brix says, "Do you know what today is?"  It's National Popcorn Day!  She's sniffing the air in hopes of scoring a handful of the fluffy white treat.  Don't you think today is a good day for a big bowl of popcorn?

Meanwhile, we are watching the snow melt away from the first snow of the year.  It was far from Snowpocalypse  -- we only got about 4 inches but had some drifts that were much deeper as a result of heavy winds.  Have a look at the farm under a fluffy blanket of snow...

       

The snow really changes the critters' behavior.  BB loves the snow -- she was laying outside her hutch all day on Wednesday as the flakes came down.  I thought she was a snow drift until I saw her mouth move!  Meanwhile, Tony stayed snug inside.  Brix's paths change a lot.  Normally she wanders every corner of the pasture but since the snow, she hasn't set hoof in the front pasture along Flat Shoals.  Maybe she wants to stay near her shelter since we've been feeding her more hay!  Smart donkey!

One of my favorite things about snow is how it reveals nature so clearly.  In today's walk, I could see where exactly the cats go and how the deer move through the farm.  No matter how stealthy we are, in snow we are no longer able to pass through unnoticed. 

Coming Attractions!

Since today is National Popcorn Day, we popped up a big ol' bowl and have been doing LOTS of planning!  Here are some of the events that we have up our sleeves for the coming season:

  • March (date TBD)    Ginger and Turmeric Workshop
  • April 7                      Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem starts
  • April 22 & 29            Open Greenhouse & Plant Sale
  • May 13                     Mother's Day Strawberry Pick Your Own (PYO)
  • June 24                    4th Annual Northern Triad Farm Tour
  • July 4                       Annual July 4th Blackberry PYO
  • October 14               Growing Great Garlic at Home Workshop
  • October (date TBD)  Fall Festival & Pumpkin PYO
  • November 24           Small Business Saturday Holiday market

Mark your calendars now and stay tuned for more details!  We hope to do several blackberry PYOs -- our Monday evening twilight events were popular last year!  And we are likely to add another workshop or two.  Of course, things like Pick Your Owns are subject to fruit availability and weather...

That does it for this week's news!  There are lots of activities this weekend -- Cobblestone Farmers Market Winter Market begins on Saturday at 9 and the Old Salem/Slow Food Piedmont Seed Swap is Saturday at 11.  Just a few things to shake off the winter blues and get us dreaming about Spring!  

And in answer to last week's question, "So what DO farmers do in the winter?,"  they bundle up a lot and take food and water out to their animals!  And yes, Ray IS smiling!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 1/12/2018 12:19pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday
Hope you made it safely and warmly through the polar plunge earlier in the week!  Our low was 3 on Sunday.  Don't recall getting that cold before.  We're not complaining though -- our sales rep at High Mowing Seeds was at -30 earlier in the week!  But as our wacky NC winters do, we're up to 65 right now.  Our ice bucket sculptures in last week's newsletter are now completely gone.  But we are looking to drop 40 degrees by tomorrow night down to 24.  It's enough to make your head spin!

 

So what DO farmers do in the winter?  We get asked this question a lot.  Many folks think that we nap a lot, read books for fun and watch a bunch of movies.  Of course we did do some of that in December.  And I'm reading Instagram posts (with some envy) about farmers taking vacations in Ecuador, Mexico and even just the beach.  But now for us, as Ray says, "Break time is over!"  We are flat-out in gear and preparing for the season ahead.  And we've are planning a great one for you!

The warmth this week has given us the opportunity to get some fields ready for spring planting.  Although we don't want to shape beds yet, prepping the soil now will make it easier to get things in the ground come March. 

Jonny is learning how to use the Grillo walk-behind tractor and is using it here to prep the beds in Raz 1.  There are 6 empty beds there now -- we removed fall-bearing raspberries a few years ago once the fruit flies (spotted wing drosophila) became such a problem for late fruit.  We'll be adding 2 more rows of blackberries and 2 rows of raspberries here along with trellised peas and beans.  Plants are ordered and they'll get planted in late March!

We are also doing lots of clean-up of the field margins to remove low hanging branches and to clear trees that have fallen.  That generates a LOT of debris that we need to burn.  We've had a couple of great days to do that -- no wind makes for perfect conditions.  Here's Chris with what is left of several trailer loads of brush!

Since we have so many downed trees and brush to get rid of, we are researching making bio-char as a possible soil amendment. Stay tuned!

We are also tending our overwintered crops.  Unfortunately several field crops didn't make it with the frigid temps.  We hit the point of no return with our chard, kale, broccoli and even collards.  Most of these will take a pretty good freeze uncovered but it appears that 3 degrees is just too darn cold!

   

But the good news is that plants in the hoophouse and even under cover in the field are doing pretty well!

   

Farming in the winter is a bit like having your home remodeled on one of those HGTV shows -- waiting for the "reveal" can be a bit nerve-wracking!

So see, farmers do a LOT in winter!  We haven't even talked about putting together crop plans, ordering seed and planning events -- ALL of which we have been doing!

So the next time you hear someone wondering aloud about "What DO farmers do in the winter?," you'll have an answer!


That's about it for the news from the farm for now.  We'd better get back to more crop planning and then over to the greenhouse to start seeding onions!

Have a great weekend!  Let's celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. on Monday and honor his memory by doing something to make a difference in the lives of our neighbors.  It seems like we need something positive now more than ever.

Until next week,
Cheryl & Ray

Posted 1/5/2018 11:36am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! Happy New Year!
Boy, 2018 knows how to get our attention, huh?  Call it the Bomb Cyclone or Deep Freeze of the Century, this stretch of cold weather is quite memorable.  The lowest recording was 8 on Tuesday but the wind chill has been much, much colder.  This weather even has Gesti enjoying a blanket!

And as tempting as it might be to stick inside all day, every day during this wintry blast, we still have chores to tend to outside.  We pile on as many clothes as possible (at times I feel like the kid brother in "A Christmas Story" -- I sure hope I don't fall down because I'm not sure if I'll get back up!).

Having even a few animals requires us to venture out for their comfort and health -- I can only imagine what someone with a large herd does in conditions like this.  Twice daily, we have to dump out the ice in the buckets and fill with fresh water.  We are amassing quite a collection of ice sculptures, don't you think?

And the water trough has turned into a glacier -- even with daily chopping!

And we are trying to keep some of the wind off of Brix in her shelter. She's not quite as cold loving as BB and Tony.  The pallets went up before the end of the year and on Wednesday Chris & Jonny covered them with a tarp -- which unfortunately ripped off in Thursday night's wind.  Next try -- Ray installed a wood panel.  If this blows down, we've got a LOT to be worried about!

 

But despite the cold conditions, we try to keep a smile on our faces and count our blessings.  That's easy to do when the sun comes out and the wind lays down.  And stopping for a sausage biscuit snack during farm clean-up doesn't hurt either!

The cold creates new scenes of beauty all around us...

These cold days do make it easier to get our year-end wrap-ups done and to begin our crop planning for the new season.  We have some wonderful things in store for you and we'll be sharing them soon!

As we close this edition of the year's first newsletter, we want to share a photo collage with you.  This is from our Top 9 posts in Instagram last year -- obviously carrots, garlic and ginger were a hit!  If you don't follow us on Instagram, please do -- we post several times each week about the goings on here at the farm.

That's it for this week.  Stay warm!

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 12/23/2017 12:19pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy Winter!

The shortest day of the year has passed.  As farmers, we are particularly attuned to day length and light.  It is always good to have the days get longer -- but as they lengthen by minutes, we'll be using this time of winter to plan for the long summer days ahead.  And rejuvenate ourselves for the coming year.

But just because it's now officially winter, doesn't mean that the task list gets any shorter.  Here's a quick tour of some of the things going on at the farm this week...

The Baler Barn project continues.  The more we get into it, the more damage we've found.  All of the beams had to be replaced and nearly all of the upright posts had to be repaired.  And getting this 80-year-old building level and square is a challenge.  But good progress is being made -- even though it's hard to see. 

But we have found some interesting graffiti!  The JHF must be from Cheryl's dad, Johnnie Holt Ferguson!  And the face is composed of drill holes.

 

Other tasks this week included weeding and clearing the dead leaves from the strawberry plants.  You can really see a huge difference in before and after!

 

This is our last Weekly Update for the year -- we're taking a few days off to relax and enjoy the Holidays  We so much appreciate you reading this newsletter and passing it along to your friends.  We are so thankful 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.  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, Happy Kwanzaa and all good wishes for a Happy & Healthy New Year!! 

Cheryl, Ray, Chris, Jonny and all of the Plum Granny Farm Family

              

Posted 12/8/2017 5:51pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

As I sit here writing this newsletter, swirls of snowflakes flutter down outside my window.  It's Snowing!! The weather forecast has been a-l-l over the place so we're not sure if it is just a flurry or if we really are going to get some accumulation.  But it is nice to watch the snow fall.  Even if some things didn't get the memo.

     

But Brix, BB and Tony  definitely read the weather forecast and were making sure that we knew that they needed some hay to keep them well-fueled.

Field Report

It's done!!!  Hooray!  The garlic is planted!

Monday afternoon we finished planting -- a record finish.  Nearly 18,000 cloves tucked into the ground in under 3 days.  Wow!  Kudos to Chris and Jonny for getting it done so quickly and so well!  All done by hand.  No mechanical planters here (although these 2 guys move as quickly as some machines we've seen!)

Oh, excuse me.  Detroit wanted to make sure I mentioned that HE planted too!

Now the field is adorned with dozens of tags marking the garlic varieties and sources and we await the emergence of the first plants.  

After knocking that task off our to-do list, we turned to get things prepped for the upcoming cold weather.  The forecasts have bounced around like crazy but regardless, we knew that we needed to prepare for some pretty cold temps.

A key task was to make sure that we had row cover at the ready for the strawberries and in the hoophouse.  Even though we won't have to actually cover things for a few days, it's good to be prepared so we aren't trying the find the right piece of fabric while the wind is whipping and the thermometer is heading into the teens (been there, no fun).

So now we have things staged for the Polar Express -- whether or not it decides to come into town.

 

With the garlic planted, we've been cracking the remaining garlic for powder and granules -- the aroma of dehydrating garlic wafts across the farm for days!  We'll be well-stocked!

Getting into the Season

With markets behind us and garlic in the ground, we can start to breathe a bit (but not totally until our Organic Inspection happens!).  We've been trying to get out and enjoy some of the special things that the Holiday Season offers.  Last Friday we went to TubaChristmas and on Sunday we went to Mitchell's Nursery and Greenhouse for their amazing Poinsettia Open House.  They grow 80 varieties of poinsettias and more than 10,000 plants.  Each year, they host an open house where visitors can vote on their favorite cultivars.  Mitchell's is one of 33 commercial growers in North America to participate in the trials and this information is provided to the breeders association.  Even though the open house has passed, Mitchell's still has an outstanding selection of poinsettias for your home or office!

 

Shop Local -- Without Leaving Home!

Speaking of well-stocked -- the shelves of our online store are filled with jams, garlic and ginger powder, gift boxes and more!  And new for this year, we just added our fragrant Lavender Sachets!

So don't head out to the Big Boxes! We make it easy to shop local without leaving your house!  Our hand-made, farm-grown items are perfect as a hostess gift, a teacher, or even for yourself!  Looking for a custom option?  Give us a call (336-994-2517) or send us an email (farm@plumgrannyfarm.com) and we can put something together for you! We'll even take care of the hassle of shipping them!  Check out our updated online store and see what we have to offer. 

Hopefully you got to see the amazing Supermoon on Sunday!  Wow, what a sight!  The cold night skies will have another special treat for us next week.  The Geminid Meteor Shower began this past Monday but will peak next Wednesday night/Thursday morning.  The great thing about this meteor shower is that is becomes visible just a couple hours after nightfall -- you don't have to wait until after midnight to see them.  So bundle up and check out the heavenly view!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

P.S.  It's STILL snowing!  Glad we don't have to plant garlic today!

Posted 12/2/2017 3:02pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!  Happy December!

Once again the calendar has flipped and now we are on the last month of the year.  Wow!  It seems that we just started 2017 -- but as they say, time flies when you are having fun -- or at least when you are busy!  And boy, have we been!

We've been reclaiming the greenhouse and putting things back together after our terrific Small Business Saturday Holiday Market.  Thanks so much to so many of you coming out to support small, local businesses!  We had well over 200 people attend and we could not have asked for a more beautiful day. Check out some of the pictures taken by our friend Matt Blalock as well as this article in The Stokes News.

     

Field Report

With our last market event of the year behind us, it is time to get the garlic planted!  It's not just a matter of planting, it's the cracking, sorting, counting, planning, prepping the field, and then planting.  And we jumped right on the task this week!  The weather has been great, so we will plant garlic while the sun shines (isn't that how the saying goes?!).

The end of one season's garlic...

...and the beginning of another.

Crack, crack, crack that garlic!

Have you ever tried counting garlic while petting a cat?  It's NOT easy!

 

Chris and Jonny getting the garlic in the ground!  Gittin' 'er done! We have over 6,000 cloves planted already and hope to be done by Monday (just before the rain!)

Just saw this picture from December 1, 2009.  Our methods have definitely changed and our soil has greatly improved (and we sure miss Mocha!)

Plum Granny Elves are at Your Service!

If you're looking for gifts for the foodie on your list, something edible is always a great choice.  Our jams, garlic and ginger powders and gift boxes are ready for giving!  We'll even take care of the hassle of shipping them!  Check out our updated online store and see what we have to offer.  All of our jams are back in stock -- including our new Raspberry-Lavender!  A gift from Plum Granny Farm is always in good taste!

This weekend marks the December Full Moon -- the Full Cold Moon.  It is also called the Long Nights Moon by some Native American tribes because it occurs near the winter solstice.  This moon is also a Supermoon.  It crests on the evening of Sunday, December 3 and reaches perigee -- the point in its orbit at which it is closest to Earth -- early morning Monday, December 4. When a Full Moon rises at perigee, the Moon appears larger and brighter than usual which is why it is called a Supermoon.  Get out there and enjoy it!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/20/2017 9:27pm by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Last weekend's freeze hit pretty hard -- it's always difficult to say goodbye to all of the plants that we've been carefully tending over the summer and fall.

But one clear lesson you learn as a farmer -- there are life cycles.  The Seasons dictate what we can do and grow (although we do cheat a bit with season extension and greenhouses).

Before the freeze, we harvested all of the peppers, winter squash and tomatoes.  They are now tucked into the greenhouse to ripen or are hanging to dry.  So all is not lost!

 

This week we have been cleaning up the dead plants -- the compost pile has a LOT to work on now!  One of our more interesting finds was a hornworm in the tomatoes!  And it was still alive!

  

Speaking of cheating a bit with the extending the seasons....we now have our hoophouse (Raz House) finished and ready to plant!  It is completely covered and we've added vents at the top that can be opened or closed as needed (instead of just cutting a hole in the plastic in the summer!).  Chris tilled in the new leaves and formed some absolutely beautiful beds!  We are going to have some mighty happy plants!!

     

Our Holiday Market Is Just 1 Week Away!

Don't forget to mark your calendar and set your clock for NEXT Saturday, November 25 from 10-3!  Gifts, fresh veggies, Holiday decorations and more will be found right in our greenhouse!  You'll even be able to get a tasty, fresh lunch.  Join us and our 9 vendors and our partners at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery and their 14 vendors!  Pick up a flyer at market and stay tuned for more details!  For profiles of the vendors that will be here, check out our event page on Facebook.      

               

Last Old Salem Market Tomorrow

Yes, that sad day is upon us.  Saturday will be the last day of the Cobblestone Farmers Market in Old Salem!  But it is going to be a great one!  We'll be there tomorrow with lots of Certified Organic tastiness to keep your Thanksgiving tastebuds happy! 

And did I say JAM?  Yes, we've been jamming this week and it's back!  Just in time for the Holidays, we'll have several of our yummy raspberry jams on the table!  This week we'll have Old Fashioned Raspberry, Raspberry-Baby Ginger and Raspberry Cranberry.  They are available in regular and gift-size jars.

 

Make sure you are well-stocked with GINGER! We have a new batch of Powdered Organic Ginger (it's NOT your typical grocery store stuff!).  We also have FRESH BABY GINGER!  Better make sure you have lots in the freezer for your Holiday cooking needs and warm tea in January!  We are happy to provide you with care instructions and recipes.

Did you say "More Carrots, please?!"  We'll have bunches of them along with Kale, Swiss Chard, Lettuce, Pac Choi, Frisée, Radicchio, Kohlrabi and Freshly cut Herbs (Rosemary, Garlic Chives, Dill, Italian Parsley)!

In the Garlic Department, we'll have Garlic Powder and Granules and maybe a few Garlic Sampler Bags.

Think you'll have leftover turkey?  Make a big ol' pot of Green Chile Stew!  Grab a bag of our fire-roasted green chile and we'll give you a recipe to bring a little bit of New Mexico to your kitchen!

All of our products are Certified Organic and are grown by us!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

As we get closer to Thanksgiving, we want to let you know how thankful we are to you for your business, your encouragement, your cheerfulness and your friendship.  We could not do this thing we call Plum Granny Farm without you -- and we are most grateful.

Until next Tuesday,

Cheryl & Ray         

 

Posted 11/12/2017 8:17am by Cheryl.

Hello Farm Friends! Happy Friday!

I think Jack Frost finally located us on Google Maps.... All reports show that we should expect a visit from him Saturday morning -- and he's not being too subtle about it!  The projected low is 26 degrees.  So we are definitely doing the Hustle around the farm trying to get things tucked in, protected and harvested before a freeze.  And digging out our woolies for Saturday market! (BB? Tony?!)

One of the problems of farming in NC is that we get a lulled into thinking that really cold weather and freezes will come...eventually. Our average frost date is October 15 but it seems like we haven't been anywhere near that date since we've been back.  Farming here is a bit like our approach to life when we lived in New Mexico.  There we could put off outside tasks because we always knew that the weather would be nice and wouldn't be raining.  Car needs to be washed?  We can do that tomorrow.  Leaves need to be raked?  Manaña.  Well, just like in New Mexico, the rain or freeze eventually comes.  Better hustle!

Chris at Well #1 all tucked in for the freeze.

Despite the forecast for sub-freezing temps, the good news is there will be sunshine!  This has been a very challenging week with clouds, fog and drizzle for days on end.  Our personal solar batteries are drained!  The clouds and rain made for some beautiful pictures with nicely saturated colors, but it sure has been bleak.

 

Little Black Cat Update

We are happy to report that our temporary feline boarder has found a home!  Our customer Karen and her daughter Katie Rose decided pretty soon after they read about our little black cat that they were interested in him.  On Tuesday, we made the transition a reality.  Karen reports that he "sang all the way home...then slept at the foot of Katie Rose's bed, motor running."  They are still getting used to one another (and the the other 4-footers in the family) but these transitions take time.  Fare thee well, our little panther -- we loved having you with us for a short while.

   

Field Report

A key part of organic farming is building the soil and that's what we've been trying to do.  Increasing our use of cover crops over the winter is part of that.  Planting crops like winter wheat, oats, peas and rye helps the soil build organic matter, inhibits weeds and reduces erosion over the winter.  All good things for soil health.  Here's a shot of the winter wheat in Bee Field starting to emerge.

This year we trialed a small planting of peanuts in our Demo Garden.  Back in June, we planted Carolina Black peanuts which are a heirloom variety that we got from Southern Exposure Seed Exchange. Today we harvested the crop -- very exciting!  They need to cure for about 2 weeks and then we can sample!  We are looking forward to planting a lot more peanuts for 2018.

Holiday Market Countdown!  Just 2 Weeks Away!

Saturday, November 25 (10-3) is the B-I-G day!  It's our 4th Annual Small Business Saturday Holiday Market here at the farm!  Find everything from Holiday decorations to that perfect gift to delicious items for a festive meal.  And you can shop in the stress-free environment of our greenhouse (sure beats the mall!) all while supporting local farms and vendors. Join us and our 9 vendors and our partners at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery and their 14 vendors!  Pick up a flyer at market and stay tuned for more details!  For profiles of the vendors that will be here, check out our event page on Facebook.

What's Under the Purple and White Tents?

Only TWO more days to shop at Cobblestone Farmers Market this season!  Yes, it's going to be a cold day but bundle up and head out for some GREAT organic produce! 

'Tis the season for all things GINGER! We have our first of the season Powdered Organic Ginger!  It will make your Holiday cakes and cookies sing with a great ginger flavor (it's NOT your typical grocery store stuff!).  We also have FRESH BABY GINGER!  Better make sure you have lots in the freezer for your Holiday cooking needs and warm tea in January!  We are happy to provide you with care instructions and recipes.

Oh, and those Carrots!  We'll have bunches of them along with Kale, Swiss Chard, Daikon Radishes, Lettuce, Pac Choi, Frisée, Freshly cut Herbs (Dill, Italian Parsley) and maybe some Peppers and Heirloom Eggplant!

In the Garlic Department, we'll have Garlic Powder and Granules, Garlic Sampler BagsSeed Garlic and a limited amount of culinary garlic (supplies are running VERY low!).

As the weather gets colder, it's time to make a big ol' pot of Green Chile Stew!  Grab a bag of our fire-roasted green chile and we'll give you a recipe to bring a little bit of New Mexico to your kitchen!

All of our products are Certified Organic and are grown by us!  If you would like us to hold an item for you, please let us know by 10:00 p.m. tonight.

That's it for this week!  Join us as we pause to salute our Veterans on Saturday.  We are deeply grateful to so many Americans who have served our country -- and for many who made the ultimate sacrifice.   For 98 years, Americans have remembered those who served our country in uniform on 11 November – first as Armistice Day, and then, since 1954 as Veterans Day. Take a moment, remember and thank a Vet today. 

Until next week, 

Cheryl & Ray

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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