The Planting Party

Twelve hundred grapevines. Thirty-five friends. Twenty-four bottles of wine. Twenty pairs of gardening gloves. Sixteen bales of peat moss. Ten gallons of vine dip. Six hoes. Four shovels. Four rakes. Two wagons. One tractor. One roast pig. What a great day!

Planting Party Photos

Thank you!  Thank you!  Thank you everyone! We had a very fun day with you all at the planting party on Saturday – with wonderful food and wine and great friends.  You turned a task into a party.  We had coffee Sunday morning and looked out at our Slim Smurf Army – aka 900 vines in grow tubes, including the 250 that got planted by our volunteers.

Blue Smurf Army – aka Raccoon Creek Vineyard

Getting started…

Deb and Jed drilling holes

The Peat Moss Men – Alan and Rich

Romy Gets Down With the Dirt

Dan and Erin

Vine planting demo

Merrie and Neil

Rich, Merrie, Alan, and Jed take a break for coffee and cornbread.

We had some great food! Thanks to our kitchen heroes who brought so much terrific food, and helped with set up, and serving, and clean up!  (Sam and Susan – those yogurt containers sure came in handy!) Sherman – great music!  Jerry and Barb – thanks for picking up the pig!

Sam and Jerry avec Monsieur Le Porc

Sherman, Shirley, Lisha, and Bill

So, there was this Jewish mother who ….

OK Gang – BACK TO WORK!

Phoebe and Paul plant a vine

Three DiVine Divas: Barb, Shirley, and Lisha

Sherman tells Sam “When you grow up you can drive a tractor too.”

‘Where’s the water boy?’

Dan, Erin, Deb, Thesou, Neil in the Blue Tube Factory

TJ and Mike dropping grow tubes

Lisabeth tackles the tubes.

Bill and Paul proving how stressful planting can be.

Karen, Emily, and Mark hit the dirt.

Pam and Karen, walking buddies, now planting buddies.

Beth and Katie proving you can plant without getting dirty knees.

Paul, Lis, and Phoebe

The DiVine Divas still at work.

‘I think we should be drinking wine by now…..’

Pam, Lis, and Phoebe

Butt Shot!

Beth, Emily, and Katie

Karen, Mark, Katie, Emily, Paul, TJ, and Beth in the home stretch.

Beth and Katie celebrate planting their last vine.

Only 300 to go til we hit the finish line.  Thanks again everyone!

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Planting Party Schedule – Updated

Raccoon Creek Planting Party
April 28th

8:00am –                  Coffee and pastries and planting orientation

8:30                          Morning planting session begins

1:00pm                    Pig roast and fixins get put out

2:00                         Afternoon planting orientation

2:30                         Afternoon planting session begins

5:00 –                      More pig roast and party!

People will be coming and going all day, so we’re putting the pig out around 1pm, and people can begin eating as they get hungry.  We’ve got a big pig, so we’ll have plenty for another round later in the day.  See you soon!

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Fiat Porcus

Those of you who are coming to the planting party will be working up a good appetite, so Jed and I have been thinking quite a lot about what to serve a hungry crowd that day.  We knew one thing would be on the menu no matter what:  pig in some way, shape, or form.

The year we traipsed all over south Jersey looking for the perfect roof we had passed a small outdoor BBQ shack, but it wasn’t open over the winter.  Once we bought the property and had begun to work in the field, we stopped back to check it out.  It was surprisingly good, and so it became a frequent Sunday lunch break. Sam Gish, char connaisseur, had tasted it with Jed after a day in the tractor, and pronounced it very good. So Jed called to see if they’d be open by the day of the party, but got a pretty non-committal response: “I’m leaving on vacation.  I’ll think about it.”

OK.  Better keep looking.  We had sampled some BBQ at a charity event over the winter from Carolina Blue, a restaurant near the farm.  The website said the BBQ was ‘smoked with peach wood from Heritage Vineyards’.  Sounds perfect!  So we headed over to sample it when Becca was home for spring break.  Nice rib, tasty pulled pork.  Excellent sides.  Plus a wall full of Palm Beer bottles.  So the following Monday I email them to see if they cater, or would at least do a big big take out order.  No response.

OK.  Better keep looking.  Our friend and neighbor Jerry volunteered to ask around on our behalf and suggested  Louie’s, a new BBQ spot in Collingswood.  We recruited Jerry to be part of this tasting.  This place had a meaty rib with a peppery rub, a fine pulled pork, and a tender brisket.  Traditional sides that were acceptable and desserts.  They had a catering menu, and a catering guy.  This could work.  But….

But I’ve never been to a pig roast, and here, finally is a chance to see what they’re all about.  Our friend/executive chef Chazz recommended a name, but he was already booked.  Jerry tracked down a caterer in Philly that mostly does big corporate functions; and they did both BBQ and pig.  And had the date, but a pretty firm cancellation penalty should it rain.  What about Anthony, our local place for lunch at work?  Jerry thought he did roast pig.  Our friend Karen thought the folks at Cork might do a pig – but they are in the middle of a huge redesign of the restaurant.  And Saturday nights are busy for restaurants.

Then Jerry suggested Cannuli’s, a butcher in the Italian market in Philly.  The website had a page just for roast pig, with different sizes, and price points.  “Ask for Charlie” said the pig page.  Charlie is Charles Cannuli, who has been doing roast pig for a long time  and had an answer for every question.  They roast the pig and you pick it up, wrapped in foil and sitting on a slab of wood and ready to go.  It comes with gravy (the south Philly Italian name for sauce) The price was right, and their cancellation requirements more or less matched the lead time for canceling the event in case of rain. I might just get my pig roast after all.  Now all I need to find out is how to carve up a whole pig!

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Almost 30 Planting Volunteers!

WOW!  We are so lucky!  Almost 30 people have told us they’re up for helping out with our little vine planting project!  Thank you to everyone – including those of you who are too far away to be there in person, but who we know will be raising a glass of merlot in support.

We’re busy making plans for how best to organize the day.  We’ve already made a shopping list and are getting our supplies on hand:

32 bales of peat moss

6 pairs ladies gardening gloves

6 pairs men’s gardening gloves

sun block

long handled claw hoe

10 soft sided plastic baskets

agricultural marker spray

one riding mower

one low sided wagon – 1200 lb capacity

one high sided wagon – 800 lb. capacity

 

Oh yeah, and a pig.   And some wine.

 

We’ve got an augur for digging the holes, and several shovels already. I’ll be making up a list of things that I’ll ask volunteers to bring if they can the day of planting.  We’re working on the game plan for food right now.  I’m thinking I may ask for help with food for lunch/grazing during the day, and we’ll host a big BBQ at the end of the day.  Stay tuned or holler if you have good ideas or know a great BBQ chef.

We’re getting excited!

 

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Hold the Date: The Vines Are Coming!

Dear Friends, Family, and Partners in Wine,

Yikes, the vineyard is really happening!  We have firmed up our order for 1500 merlot grape vines scheduled to ship the third week in April.  We should receive the vines sometime around April 18th and will be planting them for about a month with the goal of having them all in the ground by the end of May.
We are planning a grape planting party for Saturday April 28th with a rain date for the following Saturday, May 6th.  Jed bought an augur to use with the tractor for digging all the holes, and so the tasks for our volunteers will include moving grapes from their temporary trench over to the rows, positioning the vines in the holes and filling the holes back in with dirt and peat moss.  We have an irrigation system in place for watering the vines once they’re in the holes.   Of course, there will be food – and wine!
Let us know if you’re up for helping out, (or just hanging out) and if you are we’ll send you more details as we get closer to the day.  In the meantime, hold the date.  And for those of you who are out of town – we know you’ll be thinking of us!
Cheers,
Pam and Jed
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