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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Turmeric Harvest Is In! Thanksgiving week 2013

Posted 11/24/2013 7:11pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

We are now harvesting a new crop which we have been growing all season in our high tunnel hoophouse...Organic Fresh Turmeric. We are currently taking orders! Please email us at jkqualla@frontier.com if you would like to try some.

Turmeric is a tropical plant related to ginger with a delightful flavor and aroma and a number of healthful medicinal properties according to many sources.  It provides the yellow color in mustard and is used in curries, pickles, and many other foods. It can be made into a tea and used fresh in salads and juice drinks. My friend and I already experimented with freshly grated turmeric in the cooked yolks for extra healthy deviled eggs. She says remember to always add Black Pepper with Turmeric because something about the pepper makes the healthy qualities of turmeric work the best. We added grated turmeric to mashed potatoes the other night and it gave them a warm spicy flavor that does not bite (serving suggestion for your Thanksgiving dinner!). If you know something wonderful about turmeric and have experience and recipes, please let us know.  If you would like to be included on our special turmeric mailing list within our bigger list please let us know and we will be sending out recipes and information links and also posting them on our website.

We have the fresh rhizomes for sale and they are priced at $15.00/lb. Please email jkqualla@frontier.com (preferred) or call 828-389-3551 and leave a message if you would like to place an order and we will arrange for pickup. Minimum order is ¼ lb which is $4.00; ½ lb is $7.50 and 1 lb is $15.00.

We started the turmeric seed rhizomes indoors way back in March and they have been growing all season in the east half of our 30’ x 72’ hoophouse. Harvesting our first fresh turmeric on November 9 brought smiles of joy.  The rhizomes have a beautiful orange color which pops out of the dirt as they are washed. We are brand new to this crop and are learning about growing, harvesting, and storage, with a great deal of help from Susan Anderson of East Branch Ginger in Raleigh, who got us the seed turmeric this last February.  The turmeric knew itself and grew itself and those rhizomes we dug out of the ground are fragrant, lovely golden yellow, and enjoyable to munch. We are grateful for surprises in the world that work out well when we try something so new and unfamiliar.  Small Blessings from a new plant that feels like a new friend we did not know was watching out for us, bringing renewed enthusiasm and happiness to our farm.

About our raspberries: The Drosophila suzukii fruit fly pest continues to infest our remaining raspberries and we are unable to offer U-pick. We still have some experimental rows and are watching the progress of research to see if a solution will be found that is workable on our farm.  The organic spray schedule of Pyganic and Spinosad just did not work for us,  our pocketbook, and our pollinators. We did receive a ray of hope at the recent Carolina Farm Stewardship Association Conference in Durham when an entomologist friend suggested we try Hb and Sf beneficial nematodes which prey on the overwintering adult fruit flies in the soil. We have just applied these and will be watching for the results. We will also be doing more intensive trapping in our scaled-back rows in 2014.

About our hoophouse and our tomatoes: We had great organic hoophouse heirloom tomatoes in a rainy season.  We canned, roasted, and sold tomatoes and thank our friends Frances and Steve Juhlin of Candy Mtn Farm for helping us distribute the end of our tomato harvest at the Murphy Cedar Hill Farmers Market.  We have been enjoying their amazing CSA vegetable boxes this fall. Favorite new tomato for us was Georgia Streak and the Chocolate cherry tomato.

Flocks of robins have been migrating through the farm and winter is arriving with the prospect of rest and time to count our many blessings. Growing onward with plant allies and our many wonderful friends of agriculture...