Tag Archives: Sandy Mush

Bee Branch Farm Featured in WNC Magazine

Yes, we have honey!  We are excited that WNC magazine chose to feature Bee Branch Farm’s Sandy Mush honey in their July/August 2017 issue.

We love our honey customers, and we are looking forward to meeting new honey customers.  Currently, we are not able to mail our honey.  However, you may arrange a time to visit the farm, or we also deliver to a North Asheville location on a regular basis.

Our first spring honey harvest sold out in two days!  But we are currently harvesting summer honey and will continue through sourwood bloom.

If you do not receive Bee Branch Farm emails about honey, please get on our honey list.  We look forward to seeing you soon.

 

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First Honey Harvest of the Season

Glenn harvested the first honey of the season Saturday, May 20th.  We have it bottled and ready to go!  Get in touch if you want our wonderful Sandy Mush honey; our bees are healthy and happy in our beautiful Sandy Mush valley where they have plenty of forage to enjoy.

683-1683 or beebranchfarm@gmail.com

Hike to Hundred Acre Field and Mike’s Knob

We had a stunning and memorable hike, and many thanks to Betty and Robin Reeves for their conservation efforts in preserving this beautiful farm.  This is a community and agricultural heritage asset.  You will notice the cows grazing in the summer mountaintop pasture; this is Robin’s beef herd, some of which originated from my father’s beef cattle stock many years ago.

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March Sandy Mush Hike with Dort and Charley

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We enjoyed a leisurely four hour hike with several ascents to an almost 360 degree view of Little and Big Sandy Mush, and then back to Dort and Charley’s for a picnic lunch in the warmth of sunshine and friends.

The blooming, buzzing adventure continues…

We are having a busy but good year on Bee Branch Farm, hence the lack of communication.  We doubled our veggie deliveries from last year, and I am taking on additional farm connected activities.  I am helping out with Cycle to Farm as it grows; there were four events this year with the final Cycle to Farm being in Sandy Mush October 11th.  I am also serving on the Farmer Support Cluster of the Asheville Buncombe Food Policy Council, and I am excited to soon have the opportunity to start serving on the Buncombe County Agricultural Advisory Board for Farmland Preservation.  As you all know, I am passionate about this.

As for the veggies this season, this is what makes all the long hours and hard work worth it.  A few comments our farm families have shared with us.  First of all, it does my heart good when I hear how much the children are enjoying their veggies.  We have children fighting over who gets the last bite of chard, asking for those french radishes, and loving  purple potato salad.  In the words of Finney,  “It is good to know your farmer.”   Our families have also shared stories of improved health and vigor, better gum health as noted by dentist and healthier skin.  Yeah for eating your veggies!

We are especially happy that we have a bountiful crop of tomatoes that haven’t succumbed  to late blight as they did last year, and we were able to stave off the rascally racoons who love sweet corn as much as we do, at least for the first couple of weeks and then while we were away for the weekend they figured out how to circumvent the electric fence.  I do give them credit for their tenaciousness.  It was also fun growing artichoke from seed for the first time.  I have let a few go to bloom, and they are stunning.  I enjoy seeing which bees are attracted to which blooms.  We have continued to incorporate beneficial zones in our garden to attract and nurture these insects, and we feel that it is one of the reasons that we have had good success without spraying even organically.

Life on the farm is a blooming, buzzing adventure…..

Sandy Mush Cycle to Farm a Success!

Farmers, cyclists and volunteers all agree that we had a fabulous time and our first Sandy Mush CTF was a great success.  Everyone is already asking about 2014!  A huge thanks to everyone who helped.

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Photo Journal of setting up for Cycle to Farm

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It was a lovely evening with much laughter.  We are ready!

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Meet your farmers for cycle to farm

Jen Billstrom, Cycle to Farm Event Director, and I made final pre-event farm visits this week.  Cyclists will have a fresh variety of food to sample and purchase:  fresh picked blackberries, homemade jam, pastured pork and turkey, beef as well as other tasty food, and Addison Farms wine.  Additionally, some of the farms will have their own crafted items for sale such as scarves, purses, hats.  The farmers are ready and excited to welcome the cyclists on Saturday the 28th.

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Springtime Inspiration on Ostara Farm in Big Sandy Mush

Meet Sunflower, Petunia and baby on the way will make three – (three pumpkin-loving Jersey cows that is) and a flock of cackling hens and a strutting rooster, and, of course, Tara and Sean, the farmers of Ostara Farm.  Now before someone looks at the photos and then questions if I know the difference between pumpkin-loving cows and winter squash-loving cows, let me allay your concerns.  These cows really prefer pumpkins, but the pumpkins were gone and they were just going to have to settle for winter squash during my visit.  I believe Sean mentioned that this was good for their digestive system.  They are 100% grass-fed with additional treats of yummy homegrown veggies, and the milk is organic jersey milk that per NC law is only sold for animal consumption.  My mouth watered thinking about the “real” milk I enjoyed as a child.  No wonder our homemade ice cream was creamy, yummy growing up; the richness makes all the difference.  I must have Tara and Sean over for ice cream this summer; they bring the milk and I do the rest.  Either that or I get our own Jersey cow…hmmm.  After they reminded me of the milking schedule, I think I’ll hold off adding a Jersey to our farm household.   

Tara fell in love with growing her own food and Sandy Mush while interning for Joe Allawos on his farm on Sugar Creek.  She realized that the organic vegetables and the physical exercise she was getting were lessening her fibromyalgia pain.  Tara reflects “ I later came to understand that my body is highly sensitive to chemicals in food.  When I eat conventional foods for any length of time, my body starts to hurt.  So the more I produce my own food the better I feel- it gets me out moving around in the sunshine and the food is clean.  Years later, I read that Fibromyalgia is associated with a buildup of chemicals in the fascia of the body, causing pain and that people who have it cannot process all of the chemicals our environment is laden with, and my own personal experience seems to back this up.”

Tara graduated with a biology and environmental studies background from UNCA, and she and Sean utilize biointensive and permaculture practices on their farm; they use a no till system with a whole lot of mulch.  They do have good looking garlic, which is what inspired my visit; that and wanting to see for myself if they really don’t have to weed due to the heavy mulch.  (I’ll be back in June to check on those weeds or lack thereof.)

Farming has been a natural progression from her internship, growing for herself, then surplus to friends and faculty, to starting a CSA for UNCA faculty, and now selling at the French Broad Coop on Biltmore Ave.  Ask for Ostara Farm’s garlic, and later this season their produce and eggs will be available there as well.  They will also be selling starts at Fifth Season Gardening in Asheville.

After living in a few other places, Tara and Sean made their way back to Sandy Mush and carved out a special home for their farm, Ostara, named for a goddess of spring solstice.  Springtime on a farm holds such promise!  Before I took my leave of Ostara, Petunia let me pet her and I had one more question for Tara: “What do you love about living in Sandy Mush?”.  Tara was quick to articulate the depth of her feelings:

“It is one of the most beautiful valleys on Earth and I feel very close to Spirit here.  I also love that it is still a farming community- we have lots of farming neighbors that we like and can share common interests and experiences with.  Farming can be isolating, but not quite as much in this valley as some of the other places we’ve lived and farmed.  It feels nice to support each other in our work, makes it feel like what I am doing is more magnified, having a larger impact.”

Tara is also passionate about her work with the Asheville-Buncombe Food Policy Council.  

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New Farm Adventure

Welcome to Bee Branch Farm.  We are excited to share our new adventure with you as we explore the family farm and create our own small, sustainable farm utilizing natural and healthful practices.  You can learn a little of our farm’s history by viewing the video below.  We will be sharing daily adventures, recipes, photos, and what’s growing, blooming and buzzing.

With gratitude,

Terri and Glenn