Farm Happenings, 2015 Week 50

There have been many foggy and eerily beautiful mornings out here lately!

This weekend I had the pleasure of driving down to Great Falls, SC to help my friends Eric and Cathy McCall of Hot Pepper Herb Farmput the plastic on their new hoop house. They have multiple unheated greenhouses like this, in which they grow tomatoes, peppers, greens, and other crops directly in the ground. They have two other propagation greenhouses, which look similar, but are heated in the winter and used for growing transplants in pots and trays, some of which they sell at their Matthews Farmers Market booth at various points in the year. (Their specialty is peppers – if folks can’t find a certain variety at Renfrow’s in the spring, we always recommend checking with Cathy, as she grows so many ones!) We hope to eventually have both kinds of these structures at our farm, but must first drill a well that we may have a water source for irrigation.

Lemons, grapefruit, and kumquats (the tiny orange fruit) are only a sampling of the citrus trees that my father has been growing for 15+ years in a heated greenhouse in his backyard. Just this week we formed an agreement with Heirloom Restaurant, which is run by chef Clark Barlowe and his team over near Mountain Island Lake. This restaurant is committed to using 100% NC-grown ingredients. Thus, they have a hard time finding citrus to use in their 12-course dinners, desserts, and at their bar, and were ecstatic to learn that we can help fill this gap in their ingredients acquisition. We are going to be ramping up our production of these fruits from now on to grow exclusively for Heirloom (sorry, folks).  We are so excited to have this partnership with a restaurant who so deeply cares for NC farmers and the food that we grow, turning local ingredients into culinary masterpieces!!

But never fear – we will still be taking cuttings off of our beautiful lemon tree to sell young trees for you to grow your own – it’s super easy and only requires 3-4 years of patience before you’ll have significant harvests! Ask us how. We have a couple dozen lemon trees at the hardware store for sale right now – a super unique Christmas gift idea for your favorite gardener!

Two other bits of exciting news – my sister Martha is home for the holidays, and she’s standing on our new and improved path up to the farm stand! No more muddy feet, uneven paving stones, and fears of falling that have concerned some of our customers in the past!