April showers... we want as many as we can get!  The early onset of spring is here in Arkansas, with warm temperatures and early growth.  Carlos (bronze) muscadines are blooming this week!  We love the green grass and trees and look forward to the growing season!  

"Early spring."   Sounds wonderful at first blush!  When farmers use the term, there is a tinge of anxiety connected.  Has there been enough dormancy to impact overwintering insects?  Will we get enough rain to fill the ponds before summer heat sets in?  And the ever-present drama, will a late freeze, more impactful with early budding and flowering, threaten the peach/plum/pear (pick your fruit!) or grape crop? As muscadine farmers, we worry a tad less about late freeze, since muscadine bloom typically is quite late.  Also, muscadines will put on a second, smaller crop if the first freezes.  Still, all eyes are on the threatened freezing temperatures for this weekend.  Fingers crossed, especially for those peach farmers!

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Here is the release featuring Fay Vineyards Muscadines. It's always a pleasure to work with Winemaker Steven Dollar and with John Trickett at Circle T Winery and Vineyards.  We also cannot contain our excitement about such an excellent new muscadine offering!

 

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With the Christmas season past and some blasts of cold weather, we are back in the vineyard!  The first round of pruning is complete.  Now, back for a closer pruning, which involves going through each row on foot.  Additionally, we will check each muscadine vine for any extra attention it may need.  One always feels better after being among the vines, feeling the sun on the back, enjoying the breeze against the face... especially on mild winter days.  Pruning of plants is joyful, no matter!  

What a wonderful time of year!  We reflect upon each of you, your friendship, and your support throughout the year.  We wish you peace, blessings, a Merry Christmas, and a joyous and prosperous 2017! 

The Journey

Yes, we love 'most everything about vineyard work.  Now that Harvest 2016 is over, all starts again.  Ground work includes mowing with the brush hog and berming up the dirt to prepare the vines for cold weather.  The irrigation pipes must be drained. The leaves turn and fall, exposing the bushy manes that need pruning and trimming.  Securing the vines anew for wind, snow and ice is a process that spans the Ozarks' winter.  Then, with the arrival of spring begins another growing season.  This time of year, we are reminded of the other aspect of vineyard work that we only really get to experience during harvest-- our customers, and getting the fruit into your hands!  As a performer needs an audience, farming is less than satisfactory until we are able to provide our juicy, flavorful Arkansas muscadines to those who appreciate them!  Thank you for participating in our endeavor, whether you are a customer, family, friend, or fan.  We appreciate you more than you can ever know!

How do you celebrate the completion of muscadine harvest?   

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BFF at the ZOO

Last week of harvest is upon us!  The Noble muscadines are the last to come off the vine, and it is gratifying to hear all the exciting plans our buyers have for their muscadine purchase.  We hope everyone will keep us updated with their muscadine products-- we love to see and hear about our buyers' creativity and to know that our berries have special purposes, whether simple or grand!  

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Harvest is underway!  The harvester is in good shape from the winter months, and we ran it this evening to harvest some Carlos Muscadines. The excitement is hard to describe, and the intoxicating fragrance of the ripe fruit cannot be surpassed!

 Harvest 2016 Underway

Harvest 2016 Underway

Mucadine time is here!!!  Our first variety is Sugargate, and they are abundant this year.  Jam and jelly- makers love the large, flavorful muscadines.  Please let us know if you want some, and make arrangements to get yours.  Carlos (bronze) and Noble (red) are yet to ripen.

 Sugargate Muscadines in Arkansas! 

Sugargate Muscadines in Arkansas! 

We love this time of year-- anticipation of harvest continues to build.  We love when our customers contact us, and it is fun to discuss their needs and hear about their projects.  We are making our lists and checking them, making sure harvest equipment is prepped and ready to go!

This week we have some color in the muscadines, although these are early varieties, and not the Carlos or Noble yet.  Still, that means some munching and jam and cobbler-making is in our future!  It is not too early to plan and reserve needed fruit, whatever your muscadine passions! 

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Honeybees have made their home in a walnut tree this summer.  

We are busy training young plants this week.  All in all the previous week has been dramatic.  A mama bear and two cubs visited off an on for about a week, making our cats very nervous.  We had a somewhat surprising storm form to our northwest and barrel through, with big winds and torrential rain.  Now we are back to normal, enjoying the new blooms of the "butterfly bush" wildflower and anticipating a return of a hot, dry spell.

 In the Ozark foothills, Butterfly Bush in early bloom beside vines-in-training  

In the Ozark foothills, Butterfly Bush in early bloom beside vines-in-training  

We always enjoy hay season! We like the fragrance of freshly-cut meadow, the soft green of mown grass, and the artistic array of bales across the landscape. Makes us think about ceiling fans, lemonade, and watermelon, the other highlights of high summer!

Happy July 4th from all of us in the vineyard!  May your day be joyful and celebratory!   

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Summertime!  Watermelon, peaches, and blackberries are sure signs of summer in the Ozarks!   And now the muscadines are set nicely to enjoy the sun, heat, and occasional rain shower.  Our tasks this week include weed badging through the rows, tying up new growth, and training new plants.  Bear sightings have us on alert.  Mockingbirds, bluebirds, and buntings serenade us.  What better way to spend a day?

Tomorrow is our first major chance of severe weather this spring season. We are thankful for such talented, diligent weather forecasters who keep us abreast of weather developments. We will have our devices ready to alert us throughout the day. We will welcome any rain this time of year!