Cheryl Ferguson held a clipboard near her chest Sunday afternoon at the 3rd Annual Northern Triad Farm Tour when leading a group of a dozen or so around her farm, but never once looked at it. She spoke with ease about the joys and challenges of farming at Plum Granny, a farm on 54 acres just south of Hanging Rock State Park. Ferguson, alongside her husband Ray, are carrying on the tradition her grandfather and great-grandfather began more than 140 years ago.
The Plum Granny Farm grows raspberries, blackberries, strawberries, ginger, specialty vegetables, herbs cut flowers, but may be best known for their garlic.
As the largest garlic producer in the Triad area, they offer 24 varieties and plant 18,000 bulbs annually.
“We ship all over the country,” Ferguson said. “There’s very few garlic growers that do seed garlic in the south because most seed garlic comes from the northwest.”
Ferguson has been part of the annual farm tour since its inception and said she’s enjoyed watching it evolve. The farms featured in this year’s lineup included Apple and Green City Farm in Winston-Salem, Armstrong Artisan Farm in Walnut Cove, Borrowed Land Farm in Pinnacle, Buffalo Creek Farm and Creamery in Germanton, Minglewood Farm and Nature Preserve in Westfield and and Sungold Farm in Winston-Salem. Throughout the afternoon more than 600 people visited area farms.
“I think it gives people a sense of where their food comes from and that it doesn’t just come from a bin in the grocery store. It’s very real and it takes a lot of work to get it to that point.”
Ferguson provided an array of boxed gardens on Sunday, demonstrating what grows best in the area. Children were offered a station to plant seeds, pet sheep, stroll through the remaining remnants of a strawberry patch and enjoy a tractor tour led by knowledgeable farmhand Jonny Scoble.
“It’s just a great place for people to come. We enjoy opening the farm. It’s a lot of work, but we’re used to it,” Ferguson said with a smile. “We’re in a unique environment because we’re very accessible to Winston-Salem and Greensboro and we have the backdrop of Cook’s Wall.”
Ferguson realizes in the hustle of everyday many often overlook the value farming brings to communities.
“People can get whatever they want, whenever they want. We serve a lot in Winston and Greensboro, but I’m really thankful for our local customers and the support we receive.”
Amanda Dodson may be reached at 336-813-2426.