Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ginseng Fever Sale on THE Book on How to Grow Ginseng (and other botanicals)

Ginseng planting season is almost here, so this is the perfect time to buy the book that many people refer to as THE BOOK about how to grow, harvest, and sell your ginseng. This book retails for $39.95 and is currently selling through a big online bookseller for $30.54. To help you cool your ginseng fever, I am offering a lead author signed copy for $30.00 plus shipping (and tax in NC). You can choose from two shipping options: media mail for $3.57 and priority mail for $6.80. Books will be shipped starting on August 29, 2016 because I will be teaching at a Forest Farming Workshop from August 26-28 where there is no cell phone or internet service! For more information about the book, please click on the tab above that says ORDER THE BOOK.

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Who to take advice from on growing ginseng, or any crop, for that matter

The ginseng berries are ripening and that means it is about time to reserve seeds for your own ginseng gardens. Every year there are more and more people selling ginseng seeds and giving out advice on how to grow this very special plant. I have no doubt that some of these people are quite knowledgeable, but before taking advice from folks, be sure to check their credentials. They might not be quite as "expert" as you would like them to be.

Let me give you an example. Earlier this summer I was at a book signing sitting next to the author of a new book on another crop that I work with (I am going to protect her identity and not share what that crop is). It was a beautiful book with great photographs and an impressive layout. The author was very enthusiastic about the crop but as we got deeper into our discussion about it I was puzzled at some of the questions she couldn't answer. So I asked her how long she had been growing the crop, and she said two years. She had a total of two years of experience growing this crop and she wrote a book about it and was promoting herself on the speaking circuit as an expert! I was shocked to say the least.

The lesson is, anyone can call themselves an expert and anyone can write a book. So, before you go taking advice from someone on a crop as long-lived and valuable as ginseng, check them out. What is their background with ginseng? How long have they been growing it? Is there evidence to support their claims? What is their reputation? Do they have a website or a blog? How long have they been posting about it?
The same goes for ginseng seeds. Where did they come from? What region of the country are they from? Are they from artificial shade gardens or plants that grew in the woods? How were the seeds handled? Who stratified them? How have they been stored? Do they come with planting instructions? What is the expected germination percentage? What if none of them come up? Will you get a credit or a refund? Will the seller answer any questions you might have now, in a few weeks, or in a few months?

There are folks selling ginseng seed who have never grown or wild-harvested a ginseng plant in their life. They find a great deal on some ginseng seed "seconds" from a large producer somewhere, break it up into hundreds of packages, and sell them online. Many of these packages are bought by home gardeners who are thrilled if a few seeds germinate. But if you are a serious grower, you want a high germination rate and confidence that the seed are disease free and are the genus and species you ordered.
Here is an example of the kind of person I suggest you seek out for advice. My coauthor, Scott Persons, has been growing ginseng since 1979. He has supported his family all these years from his ginseng business. His seeds are shipped all over the world, he is considered by many to be the father of the wild-simulated ginseng growing method, and he is a popular speaker and consultant to growers in many countries. His first book, American Ginseng: Green Gold is a classic and highly prized by people who own an author signed copy. Without hesitation, I can say that few people know as much about ginseng as Scott Persons. Those are the kinds of credentials you should be looking for.

The Extension Service, university ginseng researchers, native plant and herb focused non-profits can also be great sources of information on how to grow ginseng. But they vary in their level and quality of expertise, too. Once in awhile I find a very authoratative looking ginseng bulletin online that was clearly written by someone who had never grown the plant before. They cut and pasted information from a variety of sources that they weren't qualified to evaluate. So even there, take a few minutes to look up the authors and see if they have grown ginseng in test plots or on-farm studies, or at least worked with ginseng growers for many years.

So, as we head into ginseng planting season and you start looking for seeds and someone to get growing advice from, take the time to check people out. Be suspicious if someone is selling seeds for much less than everyone else. And watch for those who advertise that you will make hundreds of thousands of dollars if you follow their advice, which they will gladly bill your credit card for.

I hope you all do plant some ginseng seeds this fall. Plant some for yourself to harvest in the future and some to give back to forest. Happy ginseng growing!!


Friday, May 27, 2016

We're bringing pasture-raised beef and herbs to the farmers market

It is garlic scape season and we have an abundance to share with our customers at the Mills River Farmers Market tomorrow. We are selling them in bunches of about ten scapes each. Our daughter has been cooking with them all week and froze a bunch to enjoy later in the year. Buy these now because they will only be available for a week or two.
We will also have bunches of fresh herbs for sale. I cut lemon balm, rosemary, and oregano. Cooking with fresh herbs is fun and adds a bright taste to food.
The ground beef and liver sales have gone really well at the market, so this week we are expanding our selection of retail cuts of our pasture-raised Black Angus beef. We will have steaks, roasts, stew meat, liver, and ground beef for sale. Our prices are very competitive with others in our region. So bring a cooler so you can stock up.
We will also have some of my crocheted and knitted bags, hats, bowls, scarves, and booties for sale. And Shannon promised to provide some of her handmade pottery. There will be lots of other good things for sale at this week's market including baked goods, eggs, trout, lettuce, kale, crafts,and fresh roasted coffee beans. So start your holiday out right with a visit to our market. See you there!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Buy Our Beef at Mills River Farmers Market on May 21

After many requests from our customers, we decided to try selling some of our beef retail (in the past we have ONLY sold our beef by the quarter). On May 14th, we set up our booth at the Mills River Farmers Market (at its new location in the parking lot of Mills River Elementary School). Our offerings were rather slim because we weren't really prepared for spring market sales. We had ground beef by the pound, Jeanine's Fiber Art Originals, and my book, Growing and Marketing Ginseng, Goldenseal and Other Woodland Medicinals. We had concerns about whether we would be able to sell enough to make it worth our while being there all morning. What a wonderful surprise we had!!!
People really wanted to buy locally grown, pastured-raised ground beef! So much so that Glen had to run back to the farm to bring more to the market. I was impressed that almost every customer asked us to explain how we grew our beef. We told our story over and over again. And I was so pleased at how many young families were able to use their EBT/SNAP funds to buy good quality meat for their families. They got a real sweet deal because right now there is a 2 for 1 special for EBT/SNAP customers. For every EBT dollar they spend, they get two dollars worth of food. That is good for as long as the grant and gifts funding that program last. We also sold a quarter of beef that we delivered to the customer this morning.

So, we will be at the market again on Saturday, May 21 from 8 am to noon selling frozen ground beef in vacuum-sealed one pound packages. The retail prices at the market are 1 lb for $7.50, 5 lb ($7.25/lb) for $36.25, 10 lb ($7.10/lb), and 20 lb ($6.90/lb) for $138.00. Tax is already included in the price. This week we will also bring liver for $2.55 per pound. There are two quarters left for sale, too. They are $8 per pound plus 2% tax, so the average quarter costs a total of $726.

I will also bring a few knitted and crocheted bags, hats, booties, and bowls to sell and my artist daughter might include some of her pottery Shannonmade.com  .

If sales are as brisk as they were last week, May 21st will be our last day to sell beef at the market because our quantities are limited (we only raise a few steers at a time). We will be back later in the season with garlic, honey, and heirloom popcorn.

The 2 for 1 EBT/SNAP program is a wonderful thing. The Mills River Farmers Market is the only farmers market in the county who takes EBT/SNAP. I LOVE that we are able to offer this fresh, locally grown food to these families. It also gives us an opportunity to talk to them about nutrition, food quality, and how to prepare good food quickly and easily. If you are interested in making a donation so we can continue to offer the 2 for 1 deal for the whole growing season, please contact Joe or Linda Brittain at 828-891-3332.


Saturday, May 7, 2016

Stock Your Freezer with Locally-Raised Beef for the Summer Grilling Season!

Stock your freezers with juicy, tasty, locally grown, pasture raised Black Angus beef at a great price.

Quarters (average weight of 89 lbs) for $8.00 per pound (with tax, that's $726). 20 lbs of ground beef (1 lb packages) for $6.75 per pound (with tax, that's $138). Liver for $2.50 per pound (plus 2% sales tax)

These are great prices. The lowest price for grass-fed/pasture-raised ground beef at Ingles this week was $9.28/lb.

The quarters are sold by finished, packaged weight and do not include dog bones, soup bones, or ribs (so more meat!). An average quarter contains 6 ribeye steaks, 8 NY strip steaks, 6 filets, 1 round steak, 1 sirloin steak, 2 sirloin tip roasts, 1 London broil, 2 chuck roasts, 2 arm roasts, 6 stew beef (1 lb pkgs), and 50 ground beef (1 lb pkgs). The ground beef is vacuum-sealed in one pound packages.

We are a very small farm and only raise a few steers at a time. These steers were harvested late last fall; dry-aged for two weeks, butchered, vacuum-packed and frozen at a local USDA inspected facility.  The beef is boxed and being held in commercial deep freezers at a local facility. You can pick up at the farm or we will meet you in Hendersonville or the Asheville Airport area. For more information, check our dedicated beef page.

Monday, April 18, 2016

Pasture-Raised Black Angus Beef: .50 Off Per Pound!

We are getting rave reviews on our beef, so we are offering our customers another opportunity to buy it at a reduced price. Order now, and we will take 50 cents off per pound.

The sale prices are:

Quarters (average weight of 89 lbs) for $8.00 per pound

20 lbs of ground beef (1 lb packages) for $6.75 per pound

Liver for $2.50 per pound

(plus 2% sales tax)

The quarters are sold by finished, packaged weight and do not include dog bones, soup bones, or ribs (so more meat!). An average quarter contains 6 ribeye steaks, 8 NY strip steaks, 6 filets, 1 round steak, 1 sirloin steak, 2 sirloin tip roasts, 1 London broil, 2 chuck roasts, 2 arm roasts, 6 stew beef (1 lb pkgs), and 50 ground beef (1 lb pkgs). The ground beef is vacuum-sealed in one pound packages.
We raise a few Black Angus steers at a time on Our Tiny Farm in Etowah, NC. They eat the grass on their pastures and locally grown hay in the winter. The steers were harvested late last fall; dry-aged for two weeks, butchered, vacuum-packed and frozen at a local USDA inspected facility. The beef is boxed and being held in commercial deep freezers at a local facility.
For more information or to order email jeaninedavisnc@gmail.com or visit our BEEF PAGE. You can pick up at the farm or we will meet you in Hendersonville or the Asheville Airport area.

Friday, April 8, 2016

Locally Grown Beef: 10% Off Mother Earth News Fair Week Sale!

The Mother Earth News Fair is in Asheville, NC this weekend and seems like everyone is talking about growing their own food or buying locally grown food. Locally grown meat is on the forefront this year. Much of that has to do with the success of the book, The Ethical Meat Handbook, by my friend Meredith Leigh. She will be speaking at the event and I am sure many people will be inspired by her presentation to try a new recipe with locally grown meat.
That inspired Glen and me to offer a Mother Earth News Fair week sale on our pasture-raised, Black Angus beef.

Mention Mother Earth News Fair when you order and you will receive 10% off our regular prices. Offer good through April 17.

The sale prices are:

Quarters (average weight of 89 lbs) for $7.65 per pound

20 lbs of ground beef (1 lb packages) for $6.52 per pound

Liver for $2.70 per pound

(plus 2% sales tax)


The quarters are sold by finished, packaged weight and do not include dog bones, soup bones, or ribs (so more meat!). An average quarter contains 6 ribeye steaks, 8 NY strip steaks, 6 filets, 1 round steak, 1 sirloin steak, 2 sirloin tip roasts, 1 London broil, 2 chuck roasts, 2 arm roasts, 6 stew beef (1 lb pkgs), and 50 ground beef (1 lb pkgs).

We raise a few Black Angus steers at a time on Our Tiny Farm in Etowah, NC. They eat the grass on their pastures and locally grown hay in the winter. The steers were harvested late last fall; dry-aged for two weeks, butchered, vacuum-packed and frozen at a local USDA inspected facility. The beef is boxed and being held in commercial deep freezers at a local facility.

For more information or to order email jeaninedavisnc@gmail.com or visit our beef blog page. You can pick up at the farm or we will meet you in Hendersonville or the Asheville Airport area.