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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

News and Blog

Karen and John's Blogs
Posted 6/6/2009 3:31pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.
Berry Lovers!

With all the rain our berries are in really good shape and very productive this year. They are all weeded and mulched and the berries are starting to ripen.

Barring changes due to weather we expect to be open for picking on Saturdays June 13, 20, and 27 from 9AM till noon. There may be other weekday picking hours too; we will keep you posted.

We will also have a number of vigorous new raspberry plants for sale at $5/pot.

Due to an April frost, we will not have enough sour cherries to sell this year. There may be some early blueberries ready overlapping with the raspberry picking dates. The asian pears got hit by the frost too.

But it looks like a good raspberry year and we'll look forward to seeing pickers the next few Saturdays.

Fruitfully,
John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise
Qualla Berry Farm
3274 Quallla Rd
Hayesville, NC 28904
828-389-3551
jkqualla@verizon.net
Posted 5/17/2009 9:25pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

John and David just finished weeding so we are already mulched and now are digging plants for potting up to sell at the upick and farmers markets.  Bees are busy pollinating the raspberry flowers and the wet weather and cool spring after that blast of heat has been helpful.  Plants are looking happy and it looks like a good crop.  Our strawberries are not strong enough for a upick but I may sell some at the farmers market if I am organized and the slugs dont take our crop.  Mulberry tree has green dangly fruit and cherries are green and prolific.  I am planting our regular garden veggies and flowers and experimenting with gooseberries and currants at our Georgia property where the Ribes family is legal to plant. We lost some blueberries in the last freeze but will have a gracious plenty, just not like last year which was super abundant.  All is well and it looks like mid-June will be a good raspberry picking time. 

  I am teaching a Folk School class in Organic Gardening this August 2009 and will be teaching about fall/winter gardening and growing berries also.  Contact the John Campbell Folk school if you are at all interested.  We will be preparing beds for fall and winter greens, sowing seeds for perennial herbs and flowers, dividing bulbs, and sowing cover crops. Late summer has lots of wonderful food to be harvested, planted and grown throughout the winter.  There is also a June 7th-12th permaculture class with Chcuc Marshall and another class on creating wild plant sanctuaries with Jennifer Cordier the same week.  Go to www.folkschool.org for more information on the many wonderful classes in gardening being offered, as well as all their great craft courses.  My friend stayed for two different weeks and had such fun and learned a lot about kaleidoscopes and then making amazing colored clays.  So much to do in this world.  Hope everyone is enjoying the season and we will see you soon.

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.

Posted 10/27/2008 5:56am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Monday October 27,2008 FREEZE COMING!

Dear Raspberry Lovers-

We have had only light frost so far but a freeze is predicted tonight and Tuesday night so today will be the last chance to pick raspberries for 2008. There are still a number of good berries left.

We both have to work today but will leave the canopy set up for self service U-Pick.

Thanks to all of you for your patronage this season!

Peace,

John & Karen

Qualla Berry Farm

3274 Qualla Rd

Hayesville, NC 28904

828-389-3551

www.quallaberryfarm.com

 

Posted 10/10/2008 7:29pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Berry Lovers!

We will have our final U-Pick of the fall season on Saturday Oct 11from 9am til 1pm or whenever we sell out. Gate opens at 9 AM sharp.

The one day of rain didn't hurt things too bad and we still have some nice raspberries. For directions and other details see our website.

Thanks to everyone for another enjoyable season!

John & Karen

Qualla Berry Farm

3274 Qualla Rd

Hayesville, NC 28904

828-389-3551

www.quallaberryfarm.com

 

Posted 9/28/2008 8:06pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Dear Berry Lovers-

Due to (A) Popular demand, (B) Lots of beautiful berries that are still peaking, and (C) the fact that we will be away next weekend, now therefore:

We will be open for Raspberry U-Pick on Wednesday Oct 1 from 5:00 till dark (about 7:30).

There may be some some weekday picking hours the week of the 6th also.

Happy Fall,

John & Karen

Qualla Berry Farm

3274 Qualla Rd

Hayesville, NC 28904

828-389-3551

www.quallaberryfarm.com

Posted 9/6/2008 11:04am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Dear Raspberry Lovers!

Fall raspberry season is here again and we have a nice bloom happening. We expect to have U-Pick openings on Saturdays this September on the 13th, 20th, and 27th from 9AM to 1PM or until we sell out. We also have sourwood honey for sale and a limited amount of Organic Asian Pears.

Tropical Storm Fay bailed us out with a nice soaking rain after an alarming dry August. We will hope the rest of the hurricanes bring us some rain but not too much!

Thanks again to our Work Party weeders who helped make this season possible by doing the May weeding.

If you are receiving this email you are on our mailing list and will get a weekly confirmation email regarding our U-Pick openings. More details on our farm are posted at www.quallaberryfarm.com .

Peace to All,

John and Karen

Posted 5/28/2008 9:45pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.
On Saturday May 24th we held our first Weeding Work party and it was very successful and fun. We weeded more than half the rows! Thanks to Jim, Robin, Bob, Sue, Ted, Kate, Amy, and Karen C for pitching in.

We will be holding a second Weeding Work Party to be held this Saturday May 31st from 10 to 3. We’ll continue to blitz through the raspberry beds and have them weeded and mulched so there is plenty of room for the new growth coming on. This time we will be working earlier in the day for cooler temperatures and less chance of showers.

 We intend to barter for weeding labor this year and give our community an opportunity to participate in the work of growing berries. We will trade a $5.00 share coupon for every half-hour of work, redeemable for products from our farm as listed below. Any time this Saturday that you have available from a half hour to a half day for weeding and mulching is fine. Please come between 10 AM and 3 PM on May 31st with sunhat, sunscreen, gloves, and your favorite weeding tool or hand clippers.  

The following are items we have to offer in exchange for helping us with the raspberry beds. Quantities are limited; everything is organically grown.

Available for redeeming your coupons this Saturday:
Raspberry plants
Wildflower and Sourwood Honey
U-Pick Strawberries
U-Pick Pie Cherries

Redeemable later in the season (we’ll write share coupons):
U-pick Mulberries (June)
(The cherries, strawberries, and mulberries are exclusively available to Work Party participants)
U-Pick Raspberries (June or September)
U-Pick Blueberries (July)
We-Pick Asian Pears (September)

In addition we will place workers who come to the Weeding Work Party on a special mailing list for first notification of openings for U-Pick Berries. (With a smaller berry crop, there may be times we will open by invitation only and not open to the public)
Please email us at jkqualla@verizon.net if you can come, or call 828-389-3551 for more information.
Remember that we have a new and improved website at www.quallaberryfarm.com where people can add their names to the mailing list and get directions, picking updates, and recipes.

Happy Gardening!
Karen Hurtubise and John Clarke

Posted 5/19/2008 9:54pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.
Dear Friends of Qualla Berry Farm,

Spring is hitting its peak here in the North Carolina Mountains and it looks like we have the beginnings of a very good fruit year. We luckily missed the two late frosts in April so our blueberries, cherries, mulberries, and Asian Pears are full of fruit. The raspberries are still recovering from the past two hot dry summers but we will have a small June crop this year.

If you have not seen our website lately please go to www.quallaberryfarm.com to see our new format including our blogs (we are still learning about blogs), picking updates, photos, easy directions, email list signup, and event calendar.

We would like to invite you to participate in our Weeding Work Party to be held this Saturday May 24th (this Saturday of Memorial Day weekend). Our hope is to blitz through the raspberry beds and have them weeded and mulched so there is plenty of room for the new growth coming on.

 We intend to barter for weeding labor this year and give our community an opportunity to participate in the work of growing berries. We will trade a $5.00 share coupon for every half-hour of work, redeemable for products from our farm as listed below. Any time this Saturday that you have available from a half hour to a half day for weeding and mulching is fine. Please come between 12 noon and 6PM on May 24th with sunhat, sunscreen, gloves, and your favorite weeding tool or hand clippers.  

The following are items we have to offer in exchange for helping us with the raspberry beds. Quantities are limited; everything is organically grown.

Available for redeeming your coupons this Saturday:
Raspberry plants
Wildflower and Sourwood Honey

Redeemable later in the season (we’ll write share coupons):
We-Pick Strawberries (May-June)
U-pick Pie Cherries (June)
U-pick Mulberries (June)
(the first three above are exclusively available to Work Party participants)
U-Pick Raspberries (June or September)
U-Pick Blueberries (July)
We-Pick Asian Pears (September)

In addition we will place workers who come to the Weeding Work Party on a special mailing list for first notification of openings for U-Pick Berries. (With a smaller berry crop, there may be times we will open by invitation only and not open to the public)
Please email us at jkqualla@verizon.net if you can come, or call 828-389-3551 for more information.

Happy Gardening!
Karen Hurtubise and John Clarke
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