2016, Week 13: Classes, Cankerworms, and A New Email

Hello farm friends!

Yesterday’s rain was desperately needed, and the greens and garlic in this field will continue to grow quickly now. Our very first bunches of kale and collards will be available at the hardware store this Wednesday and Saturday! We are still a few weeks away from being ready to offer produce boxes, but I’ll start updating the list of items available at the hardware store each week.

We have two gardening classes on our calendar  tomorrow – Tuesday morning (10am-12pm) and Tuesday evening (6:30pm-8:30pm). Led by Jeff Rieves, these 2-hour classes focuses on garden planning for the complete beginner. Click here for more details. Walk-ins welcome!
Meet us at Renfrow Hardware – morning session will walk up to farm and evening session will be held inside the store.

Cankerworm Season

You’ve seen them before – massive amounts of green inchworms dangling from every tree in your yard, consuming every young and tender leaf from your favorite shade and fruit trees. They turn up at this time every year. This isn’t really farm-related, but I’ll just call this plug a PSA that will help all tree-owners.

I started seeing several of the lime-green tiny cankerworms on the farm late last week, but was also very excited to find this large beetle, pictured above. Called a Fiery Searcher Beetle, this is a cankerworm predator – so definitely don’t squish them, they’re on our side!!  
It’s time to take the tree bands down as these beetles will climb trees to get to the cankerworms at the top and we don’t want them to get stuck on the bands. 

Also please consider spraying all of the foliage that is being demolished with the organic spray called Thuricide (we carry it at Renfrow’s), which is bacillus thuringiensis (Bt), an organic pesticide that only kills soft-bodied caterpillars like the cankerworms. Come see us and we will explain what to do and why it is important to eradicate as many worms as possible and decrease the pressure next year.
***The next two weeks or so is the most critical timeframe for spraying.


David and Pressly with some of their backyard chicks, circa 1992.

There was literally a CHICKEN RUN on Friday morning, with dozens of folks waiting out front before we opened with our first batch of the year. Our friend David Johnson from Silent Images came out and took some footage for a fun little video about the chick days at Renfrow’s, which we will share here when he finishes it! Day-old chicks will arrive every Friday morning till late May or early June.

My dad and I are teaching a SkillPop class on Backyard Chicken Basics at 6:30pm on Thursday, April 14th at the hardware store. There are still a few spots available.

On the other hand, tickets for the Outstanding In the Field dinner hosted by our farm on October 8th have already sold out!! WOW! We know how highly this reflects the reputation of Chef Clark Barlowe of Heirloom Restaurant, who is creating this meal with his known commitment to 100% NC-sourced ingredients, and we are so excited to have several of y’all join us in dining here, as well as make many new friends that day!

Meet the “Renfrow Family”

Sid Winecoff has been at Renfrow’s for six years. He and David met in Boy Scouts back in the seventies.  Sid is an Eagle Scout and still uses his scout knowledge today. 

Before coming to Renfrow’s, Sid was a welder for twenty years. He got his start with us by fabricating all of the carts and racks we use in our greenhouse, which extremely increased our capacity and productivity.  Sid also makes the fire kettles that he sells here periodically. 

Sid loves being outside and works so hard on the farm, especially with the tractor, lawn mower, skid steer, and other machinery. He is an invaluable part of our farming operation and is as loyal as they come. Sid was very instrumental in clearing the land before we could even start farming. He and Jimmy Polk spent many months removing trees, grading the land, and doing lots of the “grunt work” before we could even think about growing lots of vegetables. Renfrow Farms could not be where it is today without Sid’s diligence and commitment to the farm’s goals and mission.

These two shots are of the same portion of one of our farm fields, the first from 2012 and the second from 2015!

We still have several more introductions to make throughout the next month or so, so stay tuned.  PresslyRuth, and Gaspar were introduced in the past few weeks and they’re on our website in our three most recent newsletters.

And in case you missed it, the Charlotte Agenda featured a very flattering article about the farm and hardware store this past week. If that article is how you found out about us and this newsletter, WELCOME! Thanks for joining us in this wild and beautiful journey of sustainable agriculture!

~Pressly Williams & the farm crew