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Posted 12/18/2015 12:10pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Yep, a White Christmas.  That's what we'll have this year!

Field blanket on strawberries

Well...PARTS of the farm will be decked in white, while most of the rest will be in winter brown and green.  But Bing Crosby's crooning was drifting through our heads this morning as we were putting the field blanket on the strawberries.  With temperatures predicted in the low 20's this weekend, it was time to tuck in the little guys.  The plants are looking really good and we want to keep them that way!

Strawberry plant in December  Stretching out the row cover  Holding down the edges with rock bags

The original plan for the day was to put a new cover on the greenhouse but the high wind prediction scrubbed that idea.  We'll try to get that done after Christmas. But this schedule shift allowed us the opportunity to take care of more pre-cold weather tasks (cover the wells, drain and move the pond pump, install heat lamp for the cat, etc.)

Most of the week has been spent on..wait for it...GARLIC!  With the beds all prepared, we were planting fools this week!  The three of us (Ray, Chris & Cheryl) got all of the bulb garlic in by Tuesday (18,088) and made a great start on spring garlic on Wednesday (6,539).  We have to crack a bit more garlic today in order to hit our goal of about 10,000 for spring and we'll get it planted on Monday!  YAY!!!!  And a HUGE shout-out goes to Chris Overby -- this guy can plant garlic faster than anyone, any where!  And he does it right!  Thanks, Chris!

Ray and Chris pulling the dibbler to mark the row for garlic  Chris the garlic planting machine!!  Ray laying out garlic  Detroit helps too  Garlic all tucked in and labeled

Last Minute Jam Needs?

If you find that you need a few more gifts to round out your lists, give us a shout - we are available for on-farm sales by appointment and we are happy to ship any of our jam or garlic products to your out-of-town friends.  Check out our website to order.  In addition, you now have a new place to pick up some of our gift-size jars of jam in Winston-Salem.  Organix Juice Bar (1318 S. Hawthorne Road) is now stocking several of our jams.  Stop by and get a terrific juice (The Dash features our turmeric!) and peruse the great gift items that George has stocked!

 

Jams at Organix Juice Bar

 

And to all a Good Night....

This will be our last edition for the year -- we're taking a few days off to relax over the Holidays.  Thank you for supporting our farm and for sharing what we are doing by reading our newsletter.  We really appreciate your words of support and encouragement as well as your business!  And most of all, we are grateful for your friendship and trust.

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

Until 2016,

Cheryl & Ray along with Gesti, Detroit, Brix, BB & AB

Posted 12/11/2015 10:26am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday! (We're back on schedule)

It's a foggy morning here at the farm...

Foggy morning at the farm

With the temperatures this week feeling more like October than December, it has been a great week to get field work done.  Most of the focus has been on garlic (surprise!) but we also are getting other areas ready to planting.  We added leaves to the hoophouse in preparation for some of the winter greens we'll be growing there.  It's a tricky process -- we have to cut away part of the covering and dump in the leaves with the tractor bucket.  Since the tractor can't go inside the hoophouse, we have to rake out the leaves from one end to another.  We didn't need any help sleeping on Monday night, for sure!

Adding leaves to Raz House

For the garlic, we decided to use the beds that tomatoes were in this summer.  It gave us some ready-made planting beds in some fairly good soil.  We had planned on having that field in cover crops for about a year but it is so difficult to come up with open land for such a large crop like garlic.  It is especially difficult when you are trying to rotate crops and fields and not plant the same crop in a field more often than every 3 years. 

To get the field ready, we added leaves to the beds, amended with organic fertilizer and tilled with the walk-behind tractor (the Grillo).  Since we had such problems with grass in that field this year, we needed to burn down the grass in the aisles with the flame weeder before we added amendments.  The result?  Beds that are fluffy, gorgeous and easy to plant!  Take a peek!

Burning down the grass in aisles  Adding leacves in the beds to South  Chris tilling up the garlic beds with the Grillo

So now with the beds nicely prepped, all we have to do is finish cracking garlic and plant!  We've already got about 5,000 in the ground (only 14,000 plus the spring garlic left to go!)  Easy-peasy!

Holly Jolly Jam-boree! 

Don't forget!  One last chance to pick up a few last minute farm-fresh Holiday gifts at our Pop-Up Market at the farm greenhouse tomorrow (12/12) from 9-noon.  We'll have lots of Jams (Old Fashioned Raspberry, Old Fashioned Blackberry, Raspberry-Baby Ginger, Raspberry-Chipotle, Raspberry-Cranberry, Yam's Jam Sweet Potato Butter - several in stocking stuffer sizes), our Famous Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Sauce, Jam Gift Boxes, Garlic Lovers Gift Boxes, beautiful garlic braids, and fragrant Paperwhite Narcissus.

Close-up of paperwhite narcissus flower

We'll have a few veggies including Sweet Potatoes (Garnet and Covington), fresh Baby Turmeric and Garlic Powder & Granules, Garlic Sampler bags and culinary garlic.  

Fresh Organic Baby Turmeric

So mark your calendar and take care of your Holiday shopping list at the farm.  This is our last event until January.  We sure appreciate you shopping local!

And remember that we are happy to ship any of our jam or garlic products.  Check out our website to order and let us take care of the hassle of shipping your gifts.  A taste of Plum Granny Farm is a mighty tasty way to send Holiday greetings to your loved ones. Jam ready to ship

We know the Holiday Season is an especially crazy time of the year but make sure that you take the time to celebrate the traditions that are important to you.  Ray and I have been trying to do a few more things this year to make the Season more real. Last night we were fortunate to be able to attend the Candle Tea in Old Salem. It was Ray's first visit and I hadn't been since elementary school. Very special service in an incredible place.  The volunteers do an amazing job!  This is the last weekend for the Candle Tea - go check it out!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 12/5/2015 2:53pm by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Saturday!

It's been a busy week here at the farm and we are running a bit behind.  It took a couple of days to clean up and recover from our Small Business Saturday Holiday Market.  We had a fabulous turnout -- thanks to so many of you for coming out to support small, local businesses!

Greenhouse after Holiday Market

One of our main tasks as 2015 winds down is to get the garlic planted. After spending a couple of days cracking garlic (while it rained), we started planting on Friday. Hurrah! We are going to be a bit squeezed for space this year and we will be planting a bit less than last year.  You'll just have to make sure that you don't wait until the end of the season next year to get your garlic since we may run out sooner!  Here are a few pictures of the process to date:

Ray smoothing the tops of the garlic beds  Detroit gets a scratch from the dibbler   Ray and Chris planting garlic

BB Update:  Our new addition arrived last week; BB's brother Abernathy joined the herd on Wednesday.  They've settled in pretty well together (barring a post-dark breakout of the pasture last Friday night -- VERY scary!)  AB is definitely a big boy and we have to keep coming up with ways to make sure BB gets her fair share of food.  We did a weigh-in yesterday (probably AB's first and last with us!) -- BB was 43 pounds and AB was a whopping 58!  Enjoy a few pictures:

Laura & AB checking out the hutch on Day 1  Ray makes sure that both lambs get a meal  Chowing down on tasty Plum Granny Farm hay

Holly Jolly Jamboree! To give you a chance to pick up a few more last minute Holiday gifts, we are having a Pop-Up Market at the farm on Saturday, December 12th from 9-noon.  We'll have lots of Jams (Old Fashioned Raspberry, Old Fashioned Blackberry, Raspberry-Baby Ginger, Raspberry-Chipotle, Raspberry-Cranberry, Yam's Jam Sweet Potato Butter and Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Sauce) - several varieties will be available in stocking stuffer sizes.  There will be Jam Gift Boxes, Garlic Lovers Gift Boxes, beautiful garlic braids, fragrant Paperwhite Narcissus, and Mistletoe (each bunch tested and guaranteed to work!)

We'll have a few veggies including Sweet Potatoes (Garnet and Covington), fresh Baby Turmeric and Garlic Powder & Granules, Garlic Sampler bags and culinary garlic.  

So mark your calendar and finish your Holiday shopping at the farm.  Come shop small, ya'll!

Annette with garlic braid

If you have family and friends out of the area, we are happy to ship any of our jam or garlic products.  Check out our website to order and let us take care of the hassle of shipping your gifts.  A taste of Plum Granny Farm is a mighty tasty way to send Holiday greetings to your loved ones.

 Jame gift boxes

In closing, we have some sad news to share.  Our wonderful farm cat, Ajo, was killed by a car on Tuesday.  He was such a loving and sweet cat.  Many of you had the opportunity to meet him at various farm events -- including last Saturday.  Ajo was part of the litter that was born here 2 1/2 years ago to Mama Meow. We are going to miss our fluffy buddy so much. May you find many sunny nap spots, our friend.

Ajo in the garlic planting crate  Ajo on Small Business Saturday

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/24/2015 10:29am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Tuesday!

Since many of you receive your newsletter at work, we wanted to make sure that you got all of the news before you head out for your Thanksgiving holiday.  We aren't trying to confuse you!

What a busy week it's been already. We're trying to do the juggle of getting real farm progress made with getting things ready for Saturday's Small Business Saturday Holiday Market!  Clearing and rearranging the greenhouse, harvesting vegetables and turmeric, making jam, setting up the deer fence for the strawberries and getting ready for garlic planting, the week has a very packed to-do list.

Before we dive into a sneak peek at our Small Business Saturday event, we wanted to pause for a moment to say a heart-felt Thank You!  Thanks for being a part of the Plum Granny Farm family. Together we’re building a community that shares a passion for sustainable, organic agriculture and together, we CAN make a difference in our food system. Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours.   

BB Update:  More of an update next week but BB's brother, Abernathy (soon to be called AB) will be coming to live with us on Wednesday.  Keep your fingers crossed that all goes well with the transition!

Here are the details of our 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday event on Saturday, November 28 from 10-4 at the farm greenhouse.  We've got a terrific line-up of vendors offering beautiful, handcrafted products that are perfect for your Holiday giving:

    • Bunny's Trees will provide beautiful and fresh white pine roping perfect for decking the halls
    • Chad's Chai and Tea Company will be making his delicious hot chai.  Have a cup while perusing the market and check out his packaged teas to take home -- extra special gifts for the tea lover on your list!
    • FarmGirl Arts will offer a variety of gifts and hand-sculpted art made from her homegrown, handspun wool including yarns, hand knit bracelets, animal sculptures and ornaments, and wool Dryer Balls. 
    • Greenberries Farm has upcycled wine cork birdhouses, trivets and coasters, window herb boxes, framed farm prints on canvas, and delicious packaged dried veggies.
    • Jewelry by Wonder creates affordable, handcrafted earrings for every style and budget!  From simple gemstones to more elaborate designs, you'll find the perfect gift for the earring lover on your list.
    • MW Herbs will bring an array of handmade soaps, candles, pain relief and healing salve, lip balms, lotion bars and more.  She'll be offering special Holiday pricing on her soaps and gift boxes.
    • Rail Fence Farm will provide beautiful wreaths made from Norway Spruce trimmings - with or without a bow! Perfect for gracing your door for the Holidays.
    • Truffles NC will bring all things truffle for the foodie on your list -- truffle salt, honey and butter.  Both the regular and stocking stuffer sizes will be available.

What's on our Table?  In addition to the great products that our guests will be bringing, we'll have gift items and fresh veggies for your Holiday and home needs.  In the gift department, we'll have lots of Jams (Old Fashioned Raspberry, Old Fashioned Blackberry, Raspberry-Baby Ginger, Raspberry-Chipotle, Raspberry-Cranberry, Yam's Jam Sweet Potato Butter and Raspberry-Chipotle Molé Sauce) - several varieties will be available in stocking stuffer sizes.  There will be Jam Gift Boxes, Garlic Lovers Gift Boxes, garlic braids, fragrant Paperwhite Narcissus, and Mistletoe (each bunch tested and guaranteed to work!)

Since we know you also need to eat, we'll have lots of fresh veggies including Sweet Potatoes (Garnet, Covington and Sweetie Pie), greens (Salad Mix, Friseé, Senposai, Kale - baby & bunches, Swiss Chard), Powdered Turmeric along with fresh Baby Turmeric and Thai Ginger (Galangal), Garlic Powder & Granules and Garlic Sampler bags and culinary garlic.  There will also be HorseradishKohlrabi, Fresh & Roasted Green Chile -- all Certified Organic!

Come shop small, ya'll!

SBS image

 

Wishing you a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family and friends.  We have many blessings to count as we begin to close out 2015 - and you are among them.

In appreciation,

Cheryl & Ray

Posted 11/20/2015 10:26am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

The sun is out and it's a beautiful day!  Yesterday the clouds and gloom gave way to a clearing sky -- it's always so gorgeous when Cook's Wall starts to break out of the cloud cover and shine through.

Clouds lifting over Cook's Wall

What's Been Going On?:  Our first order of business in the week was our organic inspection on Monday.  Even though we didn't have all of our records as neat and transcribed into electronic files as we would have liked, we were still had it together for our meeting.  The inspector said that our audit was the best one she had ever done -- so I guess we did okay.  Thanks for all of your well wishes!

Once we passed that milestone, it was off to get shallots planted and fields prepped before the rain came in.  We are excited about our shallots -- we have more than doubled our planting this year -- so all of you shallot lovers, keep your fingers crossed!

Shallots ready to be planted

We did get several more beds amended with leaves and fertilizer and shaped for planting.  They are now ready for garlic -- they are quite nice this year.  A far cry from the heavy, sodden (frozen) stuff we planted in for our first couple of crops.  We'll be able to start planting next week!

Ray disking the garlic field  Beds ready for garlic

And our leaf piles are starting to shrink a bit! (Thanks again to all of you leaf-rakers in Winston-Salem!  We LOVE your leaves!)

Shrinking leaf piel

BB Update:  Well, it finally happened -- BB moved outside.  She spent her first night in the pasture on Tuesday and did quite well.  Brix has really connected with her and has determined that taking care of BB is her job.  Just what we wanted!  Although she didn't have a weight gain this week, BB definitely looks a bit different than when we got her in August.

Baby BB  Not so Baby BB

Small Business Saturday is just a week away!!  We are SO excited about our 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday event here at the farm on Saturday, November 28 from 10-4.  We've just added one more vendor -- Chad's Chai.  You'll be able to get great gifts from jam to jewelry, soap to sheep's wool, truffles to tea and cork birdhouses, wreaths and roping and so much more!  Watch for your email next Wednesday with more details about what all of our vendors will be bringing.  You can also check out our Facebook page for more details.  Shop Small, Ya'll!

Small Business Saturday

Market Updates:  Hard to believe, but tomorrow is the LAST day for the Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem (9-noon).  And we've got the goods for your Thanksgiving Feast!  We'll have lots of Sweet Potatoes (Garnet, Covington and Sweetie Pie), lots of green for your side dishes and salads (Salad Mix, Friseé, Senposai, Kale - baby & bunches, Swiss Chard, Pac Choy, & Tatsoi).  For cooking, there's our Powdered Turmeric and our new Powdered Ginger along with fresh Baby Turmeric, Baby Ginger (last of the crop) and Thai Ginger (Galangal).  Here's a hand of the pine-scented Galangal -- an essential for Asian cooking.

Thai Ginger

In the garlic department, we've got Garlic Powder & Granules and Garlic Sampler bags and culinary garlic.  There will also be HorseradishKohlrabi, Fresh & Roasted Green Chile, and Aji Dulce (sweet habanero) peppers - and maybe some green beans.  For hostess and other gifts, we'll have our jams, Jam Gift Boxes, Garlic Lovers Gift Box and Garlic Braids.

We are happy to hold an item for you -- just let us know no later than 9 p.m. Friday evening.

And in the spirit of 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.

In appreciation,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 11/13/2015 9:58am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

We always enjoy putting together these newsletters for you each week.  It's great to take a minute or two to reflect on the week and write about some of our activities.  But did you know that it was a whole farm activity?  Here Brix and Ray review a draft of last week's edition!

Ray and Brix reviewing the newsletter

Orange is the New Black:  The moment that SO many of you have been waiting for has finally arrived!  Turmeric!  Yes, we have started our harvest of gorgeous, juicy and healthful turmeric and can't wait to share it with you at market!  What is it about turmeric that makes it so good for you?  Turmeric's active ingredient, curcumin, is an antioxidant and anti-inflammatory compound.  It is a great pain reliever and has been studied for the prevention of Alzheimer's Disease and cancer.  Stop by our table tomorrow and check out the orange!

Baby turmeric

What's Been Going On?:  All the rain this week gave us some serious desk time to get ready for our organic inspection next Monday.  This is our 6th inspection and it always brings with it a lot of intensive effort to get all of our paperwork in order.  This year is made more difficult by the fact that we had a computer crash in April but had no back-up since early December (that won't happen again, thanks to the cloud back-up now!).   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 when we seeded, when and how much was planted, what was harvested and how much we sold.  

Paper, paper, paper!

So why do we go through this every year?  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!

BB Update:  The lamb is on the loose!  Sort of.  She is now exploring her new pasture and hutch -- at least during the day.  And much to her dismay, her bottle feedings are becoming less generous.  She weighed in at 34 pounds yesterday and she is really starting to look more like a sheep and less like a lamb.

BB's new pasture  Chwing down in her new digs

 

Just 2 Weeks 'Til Small Business Saturday!  Plans are really coming together for our 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday event here at the farm on Saturday, November 28 from 10-4.  Here's our vendor line-up:  Greenberries Farm, Jewelry by Wonder/Tree of Life Crafts, MW Herbs, Truffles NC, Farmgirl Arts and Rail Fence Farm.  And once again we are teaming up with Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery to make your Holiday shopping so much more pleasant!

Shop Small Welcome mat

Help Us Find T.K a Home!  One rainy night about 2 months ago, we found a starving, frightened kitten here at the house.  We took him in and built his trust in humans but now he needs a home.  Unfortunately the barn cats don't like him and Gesti isn't good around cats.  If you are interested or know someone who would want an affectionate, shy kitten (with a purr like a semi!), please let us know.  

T.K. playing with a pen   T.K.

Market Updates:  Tomorrow is supposed to be a beautiful day for market -much better than last week! Only 2 more markets remain for Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem on Saturday (9-noon).  Oh the bounty we'll be bringing!  That beautiful Baby Turmeric will be there along with Baby Ginger (nearing the end of the crop!)  We'll have more Sweet Potatoes (Garnet and Covington).  There will be lots of greens (Senposai, Kale, Swiss Chard, Pac Choy, & Tatsoi) for your stir-fry and salads.  We'll also have Salad Mix and FriseéIn the garlic department, we've got Garlic Powder & Granules and Garlic Sampler bags and there's still time to stock up on our culinary garlic -- although some varieties are running out.   There will also be Kohlrabi, Fresh & Roasted Green Chile, and Aji Dulce (sweet habanero) peppers - and maybe some green beans -- all Certified Organic.  And don't forget our tasty jam -- think about the upcoming holidays!

Bounty o' sweet potatoes

We are happy to hold an item for you -- just let us know no later than 9 p.m. Friday evening.

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 11/6/2015 10:04am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

November brings two challenges for farmers.  The first is the end of daylight savings time -- even though it happens every year, it does always seem to catch us by surprise when it is getting dark at 5 p.m.! 

The second is the weather (isn't it ALWAYS the weather?).  November is always such an unpredictable month weather-wise.  In my head the month is beautiful, sunny and cool -- but in reality, we get a lot of rain.  And this year is no exception.  All this rain makes for challenges in getting the garlic in the ground.  We always want to have it planted by mid-November but it seems the fates conspire against us.  I guess we need to make the best of what we are given (it's great weather for harvesting or organizing!) and enjoy the sunshine when it comes (like Detroit - although we can't exactly lounge around!)

Detroit lounging in the sun

But we do not stand still on rainy, cloudy days -- we are getting our seed ready to go for planting.  We have a nice batch of seed garlic this year -- most of it is ours but we did order some from other organic farms.  Our final order of seed garlic came in this week -- got some beautiful, big bulbs and BB inspected each one!

BB inspecting the seed garlic

BB Update

And speaking of BB, she has finally passed the magic 30-pound mark which signals when we will start weaning her.  Today's weight is 31.6 pounds!

BB is also transitioning to becoming an outdoor lamb.  Ray has been working on a shelter for her-- a simple Quonset-hut style that will be covered with a tarp.  The fencing arrived yesterday and she is starting to get used to the whole idea of NOT touching the fence - that might take a while.  She will also be getting a companion in addition to Brix - her brother will come to live with us in the next week or so!

Setting up the BB shelter  First time in the fence

Mark Your Calendar!

We are getting really excited about our 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday event here at the farm on Saturday, November 28 from 10-4.  We have our list of vendors finalized and it's a great line-up:  Greenberries Farm, Jewelry by Wonder/Tree of Life Crafts, MW Herbs, Truffles NC, Farmgirl Arts and Rail Fence Farm.  Even Gesti is getting in the spirit for the event!

Gesti with her Small Business Saturday bandanna

Help Wanted!  We are looking for a few volunteers to help us put new plastic on our greenhouse.  We anticipate taking care of that task on Thursday, November 19 in the morning. If you are interested in helping, send us a note at farm@plumgrannyfarm.com.  We need about 10 people for a couple of hours.

Market Updates

We had a great time at Cobblestone Halloween last week -- we even decided to go in costume!  And we had a great visitor at our tent -- a beautiful Golden Retriever with the same costume idea as us!

Ray and the Golden Bee

Even though the weather forecast isn't great for tomorrow, we will be at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem on Saturday (9-noon).  Our tables will be brimming with goodness!  We'll have even more Sweet Potatoes (Garnet, Covington, Sweetie Pie and Stokes Purple).  There will be lots of greens (Senposai, Kale, Swiss Chard, Pac Choy, & Tatsoi) for your stir-fry and salads.  We'll also have Salad Mix and FriseéIn the garlic department, we are restocked with Garlic Powder & Granules and have garlic sampler bags and still have good supply of most of our garlic -- although some varieties are running out.  We are getting near the end of the crop for our Baby Ginger. There will also be Green Beans, Kohlrabi, Fresh & Roasted Green Chile, and Aji Dulce (sweet habanero) peppers -- all Certified Organic.  And don't forget our tasty jam -- Old Fashioned Raspberry is back!  Come on out and support your local farmers!

We are happy to hold an item for you -- just let us know no later than 9 p.m. Friday evening.

On Wednesday, please take a moment to remember our veterans and say a word of thanks. Both Ray and Cheryl's fathers were part of the Greatest Generation, serving their country during World War II. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to all of our veterans.  Thank you for your service!

Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 10/30/2015 9:39am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

And Happy Halloween Eve!  Your farmers won't be out trick or treating tomorrow but we are getting ready for a scary good market for you!  More details below!

We had a pretty good rainfall this week -- 1.25 inches -- so things rehydrated and settled in.  And Brix got her curls back.

Brix and the curly coat

Knowing that the rain was coming, on Monday we prepped the area for the shallots.  We removed the remaining grass, added fertilizer and lots of leaves.  Ray was able to get out on Tuesday morning to form the beds  -- just in time before the rain began to dump.  Now the beds are all ready for planting shallots.  We added more French Red shallots to our seed order this year so hope to have a bigger crop in 2016!

Loading leaf mulch for the shallot beds    Spreading leaves in the field  Shallot beds all prepped and ready

After the rain, Chris and Amy tackled the older strawberry field to clear out the weeds and the old leaves and runners.  Check out the before and after shots -- Great job, guys!

Strawberry Field Before  Strawberry Field After

Garlic Planting

We had a great time yesterday at Old Salem Museum and Gardens talking to a group of about 30 garlic lovers on how to grow garlic at home.  Thanks so much to Vonnie Hannah for making this possible!  We have a VERY limited amount of seed garlic available.  If you are interested, please email us and we can bring it to market.  We will not be bringing seed garlic to market for general sales.  

BB Update

BB is turning into quite a young lady.  Today's weight is 29.6 pounds! And as she edges near the 30 pound mark, she is closer to weaning.  Yep, these bottle days are coming to an end, girl!

BB and the bottle

She got her ear tag this week (required of all sheep and goats through the National Scrapie Eradication Program, coordinated by the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.)  Scrapie is a terrible disease similar to mad-cow.  It is a fatal, degenerative disease affecting the central nervous system of sheep and goats for which there is no cure or treatment.  BB is now enrolled in this tracking program and has the pink tag to prove it!

BB's new ear tag

Mark Your Calendar!

Plans are firming up for our 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday event here at the farm on Saturday, November 28 from 10-4.  Once again we are teaming with our friends at Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery for the event. We have 4 vendors confirmed and are working on a couple more.  Stay tuned for more information!

Market Updates

Looks like we'll have a nice day for market tomorrow!  We will be at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem on Saturday (9-noon).  

Baby Ginger

Lots of delights of the season on our table.  Our fresh, Organic Baby Ginger is looking really good and is available.  You'll be able to see a sample of our Baby Turmeric -- it isn't available for sale yet because we want it to grow out a bit more before full harvest in mid-November. 

We'll have the first of the Sweet Potatoes - we have 4 varieties:  Garnet, Covington, Sweetie Pie and Stokes Purple.  There will be lots of greens (Senposai, Kale, Swiss Chard, Pac Choy, & Tatsoi) for your stir-fry and salads.  We'll also have Salad Mix and FriseéWe are restocked with Music Garlic Powder and have a good number of packets of Garlic Granules.  We have a new mixture in our culinary garlic sampler bags and still have good stock of most of our garlic -- although some varieties are running out.  We'll also have Green Beans, Kohlrabi, Tomato Fruit Boxes, Fresh & Roasted Green Chile, Aji Dulce (sweet habanero) peppers, and  a wee bit of Okra -- all Certified Organic.  And don't forget our tasty jam!

We are happy to hold an item for you -- just let us know no later than 9 p.m. Friday evening.

Happy Halloween -- be safe out there!

Scary cat in ttreeUntil next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 10/23/2015 10:05am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Just a reminder that you're receiving this email because you have expressed an interest in Plum Granny Farm -- you either signed up at a market or on our website.  We are glad to have this brief opportunity to share some news of the farm with you!  If you no longer wish to receive these weekly newsletters, please see the "unsubscribe" information at the bottom of this email.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

Tomato plants after the frost

We had an early visit last weekend from our friend, Jack.  Yes, Jack Frost planned his fall trip to the farm a bit earlier than in the past several years.  We have been a bit lucky because frost hasn't really hit until later in November for the past 3 years but the dice rolled up a frost last Saturday morning.  Three mornings of frost and a low of 31 really knocked down some plants -- the tomatoes (pictured above) have very few leaves anymore.  It will be a while to see the complete impact -- warmer temperatures may help us stretch out the harvest a bit longer.

It's funny how some plants are so much more frost tolerant -- the sunflowers just keep on smiling!

Sunflowers after the frost

The frost gave us a good excuse to dig the sweet potatoes.  Wow, what a harvest!  We got over 720 pounds of the prettiest sweets we've ever grown!  This year we have 4 varieties:  Garnet, Covington, Sweetie Pie and Stokes Purple.  They will start coming to market next week -- the sugars really develop once you let them cure, so they are warming themselves in the greenhouse.  Get your recipes ready! 

Here's a tour of the harvest process:

Sweet potato vines after the frost -- blackened top leaves -- okra plants are to the right

Mowing the sweet potato vines

Mowing the vines and raking them out of the way so we can plow

Sweet potato harvesting  Amy mowing the sweet potatoes

The potato plow did a great job of raising the tubers

Potato plow and the potatoes

Sweet potato roast, anyone?

Big sweet potato

Some of the bounty on its way to the greenhouse for curing

Crates of sweet potatoes

Garlic Planting

We've been busy selling our seed garlic and helping others learn about growing one of our favorite crops.  We donated seed to the Stokes Extension Master Gardeners Volunteers' SEED Garden in King.  Cheryl taught them about planting and helped get their bed ready for winter.

Planting garlic with Master Gardeners

And the garlic from the Workshop here at the farm has started to emerge!

Garlic sprouts

Don't forget we will be doing a lunchtime talk on growing garlic at Old Salem Visitors Center on Thursday, October 29 at noon as part of the Old Salem Horticulture workshop series.  The session is free and attendees may bring a lunch; beverages are provided.  To pre-register, please email vhannah@oldsalem.org or call 336-721-7357.

 

BB Update

Maybe BB stands for Bigger and Bushier!  Today's weight is 27.5 pounds! Perhaps all of the sweet potato vines she ate helped this week!

BB and the sweet potatoes

Mark Your Calendar!

We are working on plans for our 2nd Annual Small Business Saturday event here at the farm on Saturday, November 28.  We'll have more vendors than last year and hope to have a few surprises!  More to come!

Market Updates

Looks like a another good week ahead for market weather!  We will be at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem on Saturday (9-noon) and at the LAST of the season King Farmers Market at the YMCA on Wednesday (11-1).

For those of you who have been asking -- our Garlic Powder and Granules are BACK!!  Also in the garlic department, we are taking orders for seed garlic and have our popular culinary garlic sampler bags.  We still have lots of greens -- Senposai (a Japanese hybrid of cabbage and komatsuna), Kale, Pac Choy, & Tatsoi for your stir-fry.  We'll also have Salad Mix and Friseé.  There are still a good number of green beans (Jade round pod, haricot verts, Romano, and beautiful cream & purple-streaked Dragon Tongue), winter squash, kohlrabi, tasty Muscadines and Scuppernong Grapes, Baby Ginger, Tomato Fruit Boxes, Fresh & Roasted Green Chile, and  Aji Dulce (sweet habanero) peppers -- all Certified Organic.  And don't forget our 6 varieties of jam -- just made a batch of Old Fashioned Blackberry this week!

We are happy to hold an item for you -- just let us know no later than 9 p.m. the day before market (Friday evening or Tuesday evening).

Enjoy the sunshine -- Until next week,

Cheryl & Ray 

Posted 10/16/2015 9:42am by Cheryl Ferguson.

Hello Farm Friends!  Happy Friday!

I love October.  Maybe because it's my birth month, but I think it is mostly because the days are so beautiful.  The air is clear and crisp and the sky can be a deep, piercing blue.  October's beauty is a wake-up call to me to enjoy the colors and smells of this special time of year -- enjoy it before it fades into winter's cold and grey.

On my way to the pond yesterday, I noticed that the persimmon trees were completely bare save a few persimmons hanging on at the top.  This little grove of very tall trees is quite interesting.  When Ray was bushhogging last year, he noticed that there were wild blackberry bushes encircling the grove but there was a small area where it was clear -- almost like a door.  When he went into the clearing, there was nothing but grass that was bent down like bedding.  This is where the deer sleep!  We imagine that they roll over in the morning and open their mouths, waiting for a nice juicy persimmon to drop in.  Funny thing that we haven't gotten any fruit for the past several years -- hmmm...

Bare persimmon trees

It has been a week filled with lots of miscellaneous tasks -- some seeding, some planting, clearing, weeding, lots of harvesting -- a bunch of little but important things.  We had a great find this week when we were in the strawberries and found our fall treasure!  This post on Facebook created quite a flurry of activity!  We thought about having an auction of berries at market! ;-)

Handful of strawbberies in fallHere are some other photos of our week's activities:

Chris planting onions in the bagster  Ray with a nice hand of baby ginger  Sunflowers in test bed

It's garlic planting time!  We had a great time on Sunday at our Garlic Growing Workshop here at the farm.  Twelve folks came out and explored the wonders of garlic and then got to plant some!  We will be doing an abbreviated version of this talk at Old Salem Visitors Center on Thursday, October 29 at noon as part of the Old Salem Horticulture workshop series.  The session is free and attendees may bring a lunch; beverages are provided.  To pre-register, please email vhannah@oldsalem.org or call 336-721-7357.

Growing Great Garlic Workshop at the farm

BB Update

BB seems to be on a steady growth pattern, gaining about 3 pounds per week.  Today's weight is 24 pounds!  This week BB got to go back to visit Farmer Laura and BB's twin brother, Abernathy.  We were expecting a grand reunion with lots of play -- but not so much!  It is obvious that BB has been with dogs and people a lot more than she has been with sheep.

Laura and Abernathy with Ray and BB

Market Updates

Looks like a good week ahead for market weather!  We will be at Cobblestone Farmers Market at Old Salem on Saturday (9-noon) and at the King Farmers Market at the YMCA on Wednesday (11-1). New this week is powdered turmeric!  We will still have lots of green on the table.  Try some Senposai -- a Japanese hybrid of cabbage and komatsuna -- or Kale, Pac Choy, or Tatsoi for your stir-fry.  We'll also have Salad Mix and Friseé.  There are lots of green beans (Jade round pod, haricot verts, Rattlesnake pole, Romano, and beautiful cream & purple-streaked Dragon Tongue), tasty Muscadines and Scuppernong Grapes, lots of cured garlic along with Baby Ginger, Tomato Fruit Boxes, Roasted Green Chile, and a few Summer Squash, Snow Peas, Aji Dulce (sweet habanero) peppers and Shishito Peppers -- all Certified Organic. And don't forget our 6 varieties of jam!

We are happy to hold an item for you -- just let us know no later than 9 p.m. the day before market (Friday evening or Tuesday evening).

Today is Dictionary Day in honor of Mr. Noah Webster's birthday.  What new word will you learn today?

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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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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