Thursday, June 30, 2011

Three New Events To Talk About!

Yes folks, we welcome the Hop Rod to our marketing campaign. Thanks to a matching grant from ASAP and initial design from my nephew Charlie Cort with final design and assembly by Precision Graphics in Black Mountain, we proudly unveiled the creation today on my vintage 1960 Volvo 544 that originally belonged to my Grandmother with 53.000 actual miles.
This vehicle is as unique as our farm is, no question about it.

The sleek design and Swedish integrity made this America's first truly compact car for the market. It's own marketing featured this car as the best floating car on the market if it fell into a lake or the ocean (go figure)! More pictures will follow.

The second thing I wanted to talk about was ASAP's Family Farm Tour. This seemed to be a great success to our farm. We increase visitation by about 30% from last year. Most of the time it was non stop and I was able to get the point across about our farm to about 130 people. Exhausting, but most beneficial.

Here is a quote for Beth who emailed just after her visit. She bought one of my native blueberries and wanted to know how to care for it.

"Your tour was great! I LOVE the butterfly house, and I knew absolutely nothing about hops before yesterday. What an operation! We only went to 2 other farms yesterday & none were as good as yours....Anyway I really admire your trying to preserve your families farm land as well as taking some really big risks while working really hard, I'm sure, & even maintaining a great sense of humor! Hang in there!"

Now that was the only email that I have gotten so far from the tour, but she said post it by all means. How could I not!

The third and final thing on the farm is our first hop harvest coming up next week. I have been in contact with Pisgah Brewing and they are ready as well. My harvest will not be as bountiful as last year, but the "wet hop" beer will happen again with this organic and locally active brewery.

Don't miss their wet hop beer, "Burnette's Brew", named after me of course. Coming later this month.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Why We Call It The Hop'n Blueberry Farm

There is a reason we call the farm Hop'n Blueberry and that reason does happen now. In these two pictures you can see some Jersey Highbush Blueberries (what few I have) and Cascade hops. Both are getting close to harvest. The hops are unusually early, and there aren't that many. Let's look at them first.
I think, the early warm spell, the low latitude, and varieties are a major factor about how hops are going to do in this area. In my opinion, it doesn't look good, but I am just one of a growing number of those studying the possible next replacement crop for tobacco in Western North Carolina.
North Carolina State University has taken some major interest in this crop and have started hop yards in both Raleigh and at the Mountain Horticultural Experimental Station in Arden. Being in at the ground level, my small hop yard has had close scrutiny by those involved in the experimental project.
Here is my summary:
I think that the day length is a major factor in early cone production. That is an unconfirmed observation. Vines are producing cones before the mass of vine growth is finished. Every since my plantings, cone production has remained the same or has decreased.
I have pulled every Centennial vine up and replanted with Nuggets that I root pruned this year. The variety that I thought was doing the best in my yard. So far the new plantings are at best 4 feet high compared to, lets say, the cascades that I bought 3 years ago from Oregon that reached a height of 20 feet the first year.
I could go on, but for now, lets see.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Mrs. Hall's Fourth Grade Class

Mrs. Hall's Fourth Grade Returns

My sister brought out another one of her fourth grade classes to visit the farm today. There were plenty of butterflies to be seen in the flight house and plenty of fish, dragonflies, and other pond animals to see at the pond.

My mother came out to help once again as the senior chaperons along with three other men who either taught at Ira B. Jones Elementary School in Asheville, NC., or who were parents of kids there today.

We really like these eager young people when they come out and explore the farm and learn about the monarch butterflies and farming. They seem to know about as much as I do at times. I hope that they get the chance to come out this summer with their parents and learn more.
Watch the video here: