Farm

Dahlia Bouquets | September 28, 2017

Our dahlia field is in full bloom, and we’ve been busy harvesting!

We have dahlia bouquets available for on-farm pick-up tomorrow morning; 10 stems for $25. Brighten up your weekend with some pretty blooms!

We can also create a more elaborate arrangement in one of our signature vessels for $125. Call ahead before stopping by to make sure we haven’t sold out!

POSTED September 28, 2017 | Farm, Flowers
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Chestnut Pre-orders | September 14, 2016

We are excited to announce that chestnut pre-orders are now available! As we wait for our newly-planted chestnut trees to mature on two of our farms, we currently have chestnuts available from a third farm we are working on (and learning from!).

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We start harvesting soon, and in the meantime we are taking pre-orders. Please contact us if you are interested in purchasing our chestnuts; we are expecting to sell out of this first harvest.

Follow us on Facebook and sign-up to receive our newsletter to find out which grocery stores our chestnuts will be available in, and to get chestnut recipes and cooking tips.

Of course, one of the most traditional ways to cook chestnut is to roast them! Preheat your oven to 425 degrees, and set chestnuts on a cutting board, flat side down. Cut an “x” into each one, which allows steam to escape as they are cooking. Place the chestnuts in a foil-lined pan with the “x” facing up, and cook for 20-25 minutes. Peel while still warm and enjoy!

A Brief History of the American Chestnut Tree | August 1, 2016

The American chestnut tree has a fascinating history. These beautiful trees once populated over 200 million acres of eastern woodlands until succumbing to a lethal fungus infestation, known as the chestnut blight, during the early 1900s. Within 40 years, over 30 million acres of chestnut trees were destroyed by the blight.

According to the American Chestnut Foundation, the American chestnut tree was an essential component of the entire eastern US ecosystem. It was a late-flowering, reliable, and productive tree, unaffected by seasonal frosts, and was the single most important food source for a wide variety of wildlife from bears to birds.

More recently, blight-resistant chestnut species have been used in breeding programs in the U.S. to create hybrids with the American chestnut. These blight-resistant hybrid American Chestnut trees have been successfully bearing nuts in orchards across the United States, including North Carolina.

This resurgence of the chestnut tree is exciting, and we are looking forward to our first crop. Our trees are Dunstan chestnut trees, which were actually first crossbred in Greensboro (love having that North Carolina connection!)

The trees on both of our farms are still young, having just been planted this past spring. But all are doing well, and many are already producing the distinctive spiny chestnut “husk”:

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A “Buzz'”worthy Hive Update | July 21, 2016

Our hives are doing beautifully. In fact, they are doing so well that we were able to split one into a new hive, which means that we now have three very active and healthy hives on the farm! Our overall goal is to add two more hives to the apiary each spring until we have 10-20. Hopefully our hives will stay healthy and active, and our farm’s honey bee population will continue to thrive and grow.

Our amazing partner, Bee Downtown, was recently featured in a fantastic Triangle Makers + Doers video. Check it out below (and you’ll even see a cameo of our hives in the very beginning of the video!)

POSTED July 21, 2016 | Bees, Farm
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Soil Blocking | May 24, 2016

As we begin to establish our flower farm, I’ve been researching quite a few different approaches to seed starting, including soil blocking. Although this year we’re only starting around 1,000 plants from seed, in the upcoming years we’ll be growing many more, and I want to make sure I give all those little flowers the best possible start!

In Europe, free-standing blocks of soil, rather than peat pots or seed flats, are almost universally used for starting vegetable and flower seeds. Soil block makers (I bought mine here) are used to form sets of blocks that serve as the container for starting and growing seedlings.

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Not only does this eliminate the expense, waste, and storage issues associated with plastic pots/trays, but seedlings started in soil blocks reestablish themselves more quickly after being transplanted (and with minimal transplant shock) due to increased root surface area and “air-pruning” of the root systems.

This idea of less plastic waste (plus healthier seedlings) really appeals to me, so I decided to give soil blocking a try!

It’s important to start with good soil. You can make your own, or there are several excellent mixes that you can buy. Either way, before starting to form the blocks, make sure you get the soil medium nice and wet…the consistency should be similar to oatmeal.

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Once we had the right consistency, we started to form the blocks. Soil blocking is easy and fun, and both kids had a blast getting dirty and “playing” in the soil!

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Just work the block maker into the soil, really pressing it back and forth until water starts to come up through the top. Once that happens, pick it up and scrape off the excess soil from the bottom (we started off by using a butter knife to get the bottom nice and flat, but quickly decided to just use our hands, which worked just as well).

Then, you set the soil blocker down in a tray, squeeze the lever, and release the blocks. It took one or two tries to get it right, but once we did, we were able to make over 900 soil blocks in just a few hours!

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The soil blocks are formed with a small indentation in the top, making it really easy to just drop the seeds in. For the larger seeds, the kids were able to do that themselves, but for the smaller seeds I used a toothpick.

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All the seedlings seem to be doing really well, and I’ll update soon with more photos. So far, the soil blocking method has really been a success for us!