Thursday, July 28, 2011

Veraison!! (it happened about a week ago...)

The Chambourcin have turned color and the birds are starting to hover around our grapes. From the ones that I've tasted so far, I can tell that these will be delicious. The seeds are looking great as well. Unfortunately, the birds seem to have the same opinion. We are beginning the netting process today. We have ordered our nets and we're putting 2x4x5ft on the tops of all the posts to make sure that the nets don't touch the grapes. If the nets touched the grapes, then the birds could hop on the nets, stick their little beaks into the grapes, and have their way with our harvest. I'll take some pictures of this process so that if any of you out there have the Geneva Double Curtain, you'll be able to see how we protect from the birds. I know that when using the VSP, they attach a movable fruiting wire or a separate wire to keep the netting at bay. I hope we don't need to install wire that run from 2x4 to 2x4. But we'll have to see. A big shout out to our local vineyard supply (Orchard Valley Supply) and lumber yard (Morrison Bros. Lumber) for getting us the supplies we needed in 48 hrs at a very cheap cost!

The garden is going well and business is really picking up. We now have watermelons and okra (giant, mini, red, and regular). Squash vine borer has about decimated all of our squash and zucchini plants at the Poplar Tent garden, but I'm so sick of those plants that I'm ok with that. We have a second planting growing in the garden behind the vineyard and those are more than fulfilling all of our needs right now. I will probably do a final planting so we can have squash into September and October. I remember at NCSU, we planted some Zucchini in the first week of September and we were eating it until the first frost in late- November!

The deer have also made a showing in our corn. Luckily, we got most of it out before they arrived. Sadly to say, we are out of corn. We've been selling Carlos Moore's corn for the past two weeks. It's done well, but we're also out of it. If you have any corn for sell, we'd love to put it at our stand!

We suspect that our grapes will sell quickly, so if you are interested in purchasing some for your own winemaking needs, please call 704-782-2117 to reserve them.

A special thanks to Lorraine Shannon for the lovely photo at the top of our page!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

so much food!

So far this summer, I've been trying to put away food for the summer. It's pretty daunting task when you spend a lot of the day in the field. But now, we're to the point where we don't have to spend endless hours in the field and a few hours every day, you'll find me freezing corn and ugly tomatoes, drying basil and peppers, or making baba ghanoush to freeze. I don't want to be cooking in the winter!

Over the past two weeks, we've added a few items to our offerings: corn and tomatillos. Since we have so much food these days, almost everything's ON SALE!!

Tomatoes: $2.00/lbs
Arugula: Let's Haggle! 
Swiss Chard (picked on demand): $2.50/lbs
Beets (picked on demand): $4.00/ bundle
Squash: $2.00/lbs
Zucchini: $2.00/lbs
Costata Romanesca: $2.00/lbs
Cucumbers: $1.00/lbs
Basil: $3.00/bundle
Parsley: $2.00/bundle
Eggplant: $2.00/lbs
                                                                       Green Beans: $2.00/lbs
                                                                       Bell Peppers: $0.25/each
                                                                                    Hot Peppers: $0.10/each
                                                                                    Squash blossoms: PYO, Let's Haggle!
                                                                                    Corn: $0.20/ear
                                                                                    Tomatillos: $2.00/lbs

After a long wait, we finally got our disk for our tractor! My dad did a great job with the field and right after he was done, we put our pumpkins in the ground. We gave them a large dose of fertilizer so that they'll be ready by mid-October. 

The Chambourcin are starting to show the color change. I think by next week, we'll be at veraison!! That means, approximately 2 months till harvest (and two months to get our equipment, build our barn, and get it permitted). We got the drawings yesterday and hopefully we'll have our permit by the end of the week. This is very exciting and very nerve-wracking. Especially with all the financial uncertainty right now, I'm especially anxious. 

The Vidal blanc are starting to show significant signs of Pierce's Disease. According to one of my professors, Vidal blanc is extremely susceptible to PD. I wish I had known that before we planted! We'll be replanting a large portion of the vineyard as it dies with Seyval blanc and Villard blanc, both varieties which are much less affected by PD. We'll be spraying the kaolin clay once more this year. We've sprayed it twice so far this year,  and so far, it has not affected the time of veraison.

pierce's disease symptoms :(

And now, for some squash recipes:

Squash, Onion & Parsley Bread

Make a biscuit mix using the following ingredients mixed in food processor until mixture resembles coarse meal.
Makes about 7 cups. Store in a cool dry place or in refrigerator.  Keeps well for 3-4 wks.

3 C unbleached wheat flour
3 C wholewheat flour
2 1/2 T baking powder
1 T salt
1 C shortening

To make bread:

3 C biscuit mix
2/3 C milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 C fresh snipped parsley

Add the following which has been sauteed in 1 T olive oil:

1/3 C chopped onion
1/2 C grated squash

 Heat oven to 350 degrees, Grease an 8 1/2  x 4 1/2 x2 1/2 inch loaf pan.
Stir all ingredients together quickly until smooth.Pour into pan. Dot with 2 T butter.
Bake 40-45 minutes. Cool in pan 10 min.  Remove from pan and cool on rack before slicing.
Squash Pie:

1c cooked, mashed, drained squash
1c sugar + more for topping
2 T butter
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 T flour

Mix together, pour into unbaked pie crust, top with cinnamon and sugar. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes until set and lightly browned.