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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Winter berry news

Posted 2/7/2009 7:27pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Robins have already passed through. They sing really loud when migrating and land in the hundreds in our field and forest edges start in December.  Magical! Weather has been really cold, down to nine degrees this week.  Our garden is looking great early in the season with paths already mulched with sawdust and ready to plant.  John and a helper have been digging up extra strawberry plants and stray raspberry plants for relocation.  Today was much warmer.

We have new hiking trails out of formerly impossible to traverse dead pines and blackberries.  These new trails will help me(Karen) as I rehabilitate my right leg from having ruptured my achilles tendon.  John and I were in Trout Lake Washington playing hockey with friends at their local school parking lot. Working off the turkey and dressing plus pie the day after Thanksgiving I was sprinting for the puck when thwack! I heard a Pop! then hobbled off in agony thinking I had been hit hard by a stick.  Getting home one week later still stumping around and getting worse bruising and swelling by the day, I had an x-ray and then MRI and was off to the Resurgens Orthopedics in Atlanta.      Dr John Gleason and his Physician Assistant Jeannie Kopacka have been wonderfully helpful.   I am currently in a boot and kind of walking again after two months in a wheelchair and on a scooter.  I gave up crutches after I cracked my head open.  The healing process is slow but I have settled in by reading seed catalogs, books, and petting our four dogs this winter.  I have continued working doing one or two massages a day, but the berries, greenhouse, fruit trees, trails, and garden have been off limits until now. Even my hand scooter ATV rollabout is not much for crossing soft wet fields and vole tunnels. We have had a lot of rain, for which we are grateful but it was awful with the crutches. I am still not allowed to drive but enjoy being home.  This injury has slowed me down and now I relish the quiet time of winter.

The raspberries are dormant. Our fruit trees need attention and I am starting seeds for spring and summer.  I intend to offer a seed starting afternoon and will post the details for anyone interested.  We are signing up for the Growers School and the Georgia Organics conference March 19-21st, same weekend.  We hope to catch some of both great events.  Michael Pollan, of The Omnivores Dilemmas book fame, is at the Georgia Organics Conference this year as keynote speaker.  Its all good.  I would love to become a soil scientist and the science of dirt is my current passion.