About Local Food

Qualla Berry Farm is part of a loose community of growers and marketers throughout western NC who are seeking to provide locally grown food to people who live and visit  the mountains. We are helping to develop ways to keep our rural land in agricultural production. We are listed in the Local Food Guide produced by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. For more about U-Pick farms, tailgate markets, and community supported agriculture growers, see their website: www.buyappalachian.org

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Farm update/May 6th 2008

Posted 5/6/2008 10:15pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Our Raspberry plants are beginning to flower and our rows in dire need of weeding.  Email us if you are interested in helping us weed and mulch the rows in exchange for raspberry plants and the opportunity for special picking privileges. We will be emailing the date and time of our community raspberry weeding events so let us know now if you are interested in helping.  This will help us decide whether or not to open the berries up to general public picking this upcoming June.

Mulberries, cherries, blueberries, strawberries, asian pears, and apples are really looking healthy and beautiful. Compared to last year, we were very lucky and missed the last two frost periods with a low of 34 degrees each night.  Close but whew!  Fruit blossoms missed damage. Abundance in 2008!

Karen taught a weekend berry class at John C Campell Folk School and made new friends.  In researching unusual fruit, she had discovered the Ribes family, ie gooseberries and currants. Unfortunately they are illegal to grow in North Carolina.  We are planting several varieties of Ribes in Young Harris Georgia where they are legal and will be very happy.  Currants have more vitamin C than citrus and more antioxidants than blueberries.  Their illegality appears based on outdated almost 100 year law and old science that is still afraid of the Ribes family being a dangerous threat to white pine forests.  Given the current catastrophe with hemlock wooly adlegids, I understand the nervous tension about imported bugs and disease on plants by the Foresters and Timber business. After careful study, the Federal Government released the ban in the 1966 but around 17 states still make gooseberries and currants illegal to grow.  The varieties I chose were specially developed and bred so they are not a secondary host to the fungus Cronartium ribicola.  Europeans are crazy for currants and gooseberries.  This U.S. Timber industry vs. Agriculture industry debate will be an interesting story to investigate further when we are not so busy. This winter I will look more deeply into the story.  I invite any discussion/advice on the experience of growing/loving/hating the Ribes family.

 Hope everyone in North Carolina voted today.  We did.

Enjoy Spring, 

Karen and John