About Local Food

Qualla Berry Farm is part of a loose community of growers and marketers throughout western NC who are seeking to provide locally grown food to people who live and visit  the mountains. We are helping to develop ways to keep our rural land in agricultural production. We are listed in the Local Food Guide produced by the Appalachian Sustainable Agriculture Project. For more about U-Pick farms, tailgate markets, and community supported agriculture growers, see their website: www.buyappalachian.org

News and Blog

Karen and John's Blogs
Posted 8/30/2020 10:08pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Dear Friends-

We hope you are staying healthy and safe. We lost one of our early raspberry picking regulars to the coronavirus recently...Rest In Peace Faye Hobbs. We know several other local friends who have had the virus and we're taking it seriously and staying on the farm a lot. We are working to protect ourselves and others during the pandemic and will continue doing so as we harvest this year.

With the abundant rain our turmeric and ginger have been growing well, especially the turmeric we overwintered in the ground. A bonus with the overwintered turmeric is that they bloom in the second year!

Indira Yellow Turmeric bloom Aug 2020

We expect to begin harvesting our Fresh Baby Ginger, and perhaps some early Fresh Turmeric, in October. Our updated order form will be posted in late September. We have figured out how to do shipping and shipped orders will be available during the harvest season--but we all need to be helping support the US Postal Service. Their priority mail boxes are the most affordable for shipping small quantities of rhizomes.

Strong Turmeric Plants in the Outdoor Beds, Aug 30 2020

A note for your calendars: Karen will be teaching a 3 hour morning class at the Folk School on September 4. It's on Appalachian Plants at Home and she'll share all sorts of information about our native plants. There is still space in the class; call the Folk School at 828-837-2775 to register. See 
https://blog.folkschool.org/2020/08/12/nature-studies-workshops-summer-and-fall-2020/ And, Karen will also be doing a Zoom meeting at 6PM on the same day: September 4 • 6 p.m. • $10 
Appalachian Plants at Home with Karen Hurtubise 
Subject: Nature Studies https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_DtiKjSv-TxOoR9sMtsKquA  Karen would love to see you there!

Best to All,

Karen Hurtubise and John Clarke

Qualla Berry Farm, Hayesville, NC 28904

website: www.quallaberryfarm.com

emails: quallaberryfarm@icloud.com , jkqualla@frontier.com 


Posted 7/13/2020 10:29pm by Karen Hurtubise.

In between planting our ginger and turmeric for 2020, we got an amazing blessing on June 15 after one of the daily thunderstorms:

And the overwintered, second year turmerics produce blooms! Here's a Black Turmeric with its striking blossom:

Tonight, July 13, the first Katydids began singing. We're lucky to be here and blessed to have friends and patrons who value our farm and its work. Here's hoping we all turn the corner on the pandemic soon and step into a brighter future. Thoughts and prayers to all the patients and to the brave medical workers in hospitals and clinics all over the world...

Summer Love from Karen, Annie, and John!

Posted 5/14/2020 11:57am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Dear Friends-

We hope you are staying safe and keeping up your immune systems this spring! Blackberries are blooming so brightly white and bees are buzzing. We have been making the best of our shelter in place time making improvements to the hoop houses and the beds, planting our spring garden, and tending overwintered plants, turmeric crowns and ginger mother rhizomes. In spite of the late frosts, our soil is warmed up and we are watching for resprouting of our overwintered-in-the-ground turmeric ready. We throw a lot of balls for Annie, our farm love dog and best buddy.  She keeps us laughing. Nesting phoebes just fledged. So, there. Resilience and persistence. Keep going. Be fierce. Love.

BREAKING NEWS: We are offering seed rhizomes for sale this month. We have extras; these are certified organic seed rhizomes, Peruvian Yellow Ginger and Hawaiian Red Turmeric, from our supplier in Hawaii. We are shipping orders this May for immediate planting in your home garden because we ordered for our classes that were cancelled.  We have an easy order form for your convenience and will provide you our growing directions gleaned over the years. There's a limited supply so it will be first come first serve until we sell out.

One pound Hawaiian Red Turmeric seed rhizomes

One pound Peruvian Yellow Ginger seed rhizomes


Planting overwintered Hawaiian Red Turmeric clusters in the hoophouse April 2020

This will be a different year on our farm--the coronavirus changed things. A Lot. We've been enjoying our time sequestered on the farm and have gotten work done but wish it were over. Miss people. We had originally thought we'd be doing less production farming and more teaching this year but a new reality appeared. So, Hi ho! Hi ho! Its off to plant we go. We will be doing our usual production and have lots of baby ginger and turmeric for purchase this fall.  And do consider growing your own because its fun and these plants are worth your time and effort.


Harvest of Yellow Hawaiian Ginger and Hawaiian Red Turmeric October 2019

It's still our hope to teach folks about Growing and Using Turmeric and Ginger this year. Hopefully in person, but maybe remotely! We will keep you posted about any classes this season and if we do zoom or something.  We are grateful to everyone who came to our 2019 spring classes on Growing and Using Turmeric and Ginger! We had a lot of fun doing them. And thankful to all of you who have bought rhizomes and supported us over the years. Ginger and turmeric are important spice plants to add to your daily fare. We drink our ginger turmeric tea with black pepper daily. Yummy.  

Here's to a healthy Spring and Summer!

Karen and John

Fresh Hawaiian Red Turmeric 

Posted 3/16/2020 9:12pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.


Dear Friends,

Hope everyone is staying safe and healthy in this strange time. We are boosting our immune systems with turmeric, ginger, vitamins C and D, and using a great throat spray from Gaia Herbs which has goldenseal, echinacea, and propolis.

Thanks to everyone who ordered last year. It was great to see the interest in the "other" turmeric varieties: Black, Indira Yellow, White Mango, and BKK. For the first time we extended our harvest of Fresh Hawaiian Red Turmeric all the way into February.

February Harvested Turmeric 2020!

Thanks to everyone who came to our 2019 spring classes on Growing and Using Turmeric and Ginger! We had a lot of fun doing them. We plan to do more teaching this year and help everyone grow their own. But due to the coronavirus situation, a couple of classes are not happening as scheduled. Our evening session at Living Web Farms in Mills River NC which was going to be March 17 has been postponed, new date TBA (see http://livingwebfarms.org/workshops/growing-ginger-turmeric/ ). And Karen's week-long "Going Organic" class at the Folk School has been cancelled as the Folk School is closed at least until April 19.

As the situation evolves, and hopefully as it gets safer to travel and gather in groups, we will keep you posted about classes this season on Growing and Using Ginger and Turmeric! We will email updates to our mailing list.

Harvest of Yellow Hawaiian Ginger and Hawaiian Red Turmeric October 2019

This will be a different year on our farm. After seven years, we are going to uncover our main hoop house, let the rain get to the beds, and work on soil in those beds. As a result, we will be doing less "production farming" but should still have turmeric and some ginger available to sell in the fall. We are less certain about ginger as the farm we purchase our seed rhizomes from in Hawaii had production setbacks on ginger due to an unusually hot growing season. We have placed a late order with them and expect delivery by late March. 

We send our thoughts out to all our friends and wish everyone on Earth good health. We really believe in the healing power of good sleep, movement and exercise, community, plant medicine, and eating healthy local organic food. Thank you for joining us!

Karen Hurtubise and John Clarke

Qualla Berry Farm

Posted 11/25/2019 8:52pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Hi Folks-

Thanks to everyone who has ordered so far this season! We've had a nice harvest of four varieties of Fresh Ginger and five varieties of Fresh Turmeric. It's been a cold November so we've done a lot of work to protect our plants and keep our soil temperatures up. There's still a good supply of turmeric under cover in the outdoor beds and in the hoophouse.

Outdoor turmeric beds under hay

We are now sold out of Fresh Ginger for this year but after a Thanksgiving break will be continuing to fill orders for Hawaiian Red, Indira Yellow, and White Mango Turmerics (our BKK and Black Turmerics are sold out for this year). Please get us those orders in the first couple weeks of December! We won't be taking orders after December 15.

Still good stuff! Late harvested Hawaiian Red Turmeric

Hope everyone has a great Thanksgiving! Here's to a healthy winter with the help of our plant helpers, Turmeric and Ginger.


Karen Hurtubise and John Clarke

Qualla Berry Farm

3274 Qualla Rd

Hayesville, NC 28904



order questions: cell/text 828-557-8408

Posted 10/13/2019 7:20pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.


Dear Friends-

It's Harvest Time! We have wonderful Fresh Baby Ginger ready and we have early Fresh Turmeric this year too!

Our plants have put on strong growth this year in hoop house beds, outdoor beds, and in containers. We are beginning to harvest a very abundant crop of Fresh Baby Ginger and Fresh Turmeric this October through December. We are now taking orders and the 2019 season is on!

New Harvest of Yellow Hawaiian Ginger and Hawaiian Red Turmeric October 2019

We want you all to know that we will not be doing full production growing in 2020 as we have since 2013. We are going to travel some and work on regenerating our hoophouse soils. So this would be a good year to stock up on ginger and turmeric rhizomes, and perhaps start growing your own.

This fall, we will be selling potted starts (mostly turmeric, but also very limited amounts of ginger) in selected hours at the farm  and when folks pick up orders. We are getting more confident each year about turmeric's resilience and surprising cold hardiness. Turmeric planted in July or August can still be harvested in November all the way into January with protection. We are having success with keeping late started turmeric in the ground over winter with a cover of 6" of hay and row cover or plastic on top. The starts we planted last year and overwintered are now providing strong and early yields! The central "crown" of the turmeric can also be kept inside over the winter after the rhizomes are harvested and replanted in April and May.

Potted Black Turmeric. We also have Hawaiian Red, Indira Yellow, White Mango, and BKK Turmeric Plants.

Thanks to everyone who came to our 2019 spring classes on Growing and Using Turmeric and Ginger! We had a lot of fun doing them.


Garden Gate at Qualla Berry Farm, by Jan Muir

October is a magical time in the Western North Carolina mountains and at our farm. We were treated to a visit by some of our oldest and dearest friends and we got to go to the National Storytelling Festival with them. And our little Annie brings us joy every day!

Join our mailing list to receive updates as the season progresses and changes for news about farm open houses, market appearances, and other events. We will continue teaching and helping interested home growers and small farmers discover the magic of the plant family Zingiberaceae.


Karen and John

Posted 4/17/2019 7:48am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Hi Folks-

Our next class on Growing and Using Turmeric and Ginger at Home takes place this Thursday, April 18, from 6-8 pm at Karen's office in Young Harris, GA. You can use the easy registration form if you'd like to come and pay us by check to Qualla Berry Farm. The class is $65.00. Please let us know by Thursday morning so we can get a participant count and make final preparations. This class will have a hands-on emphasis covering varieties, planting in beds and containers, propagating, dividing, cold protection, soils, harvesting, and watering throughout the season. We will also share tea from these amazing plants with easy recipes for the home kitchen. You will leave with a garden pie plate starter set of ginger and turmeric plants, a container of coir, growing guide, and leave ready to plant your Zingiberaceae. We will also be offering bulk red turmeric and yellow ginger rhizomes for sale by the pound.

If you can't make this one we will also be teaching at Kula Wellness Center in Brasstown, NC on May 25 (see www.kula.love ) and at the NC Arboretum in Asheville on May 18 ( see https://www.ncarboretum.org/education-programs/adult-education-classes/horticulture-and-landscape-design/ ).

Thanks to everyone who came for Sunday's event! We had a great class and an amazing dinner in spite of the storms.

Happy Spring, everyone! Wildflowers are peaking now so take time to get out and enjoy them.


John Clarke and Karen Hurtubise

Qualla Berry Farm

3274 Qualla Rd

Hayesville, NC 28904





Posted 4/7/2019 9:15pm by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Dear Friends, 

Springtime!!!  We are planting Turmeric and Ginger and Thai Tulips plus taters, tomato and pepper seeds, and lotsa flowers.  And we are sending you a reminder of two QBF workshop events in Young Harris next week! It's time to sign up if you would like to learn about growing and using ginger and turmeric, plus enjoy a great Indian meal done by an amazing chef, Nanette Davidson! And we now have an easy registration form posted on the website! In other news, if you sign up with a spouse, friend, partner, or whatever, the second person is 10% off (so 2 people for $170 for April 14 and two for $124 for April 18). Someday soon we will be upscale and have a credit card button but not this day…checks still work! Please share this email with folks you think might enjoy this event…and thank you for being such wonderful supporters over the years. We are doing our best to spread the word for how to grow your own spices and food and these are our beginning workshops of 2019!

Fall harvest of baby ginger and turmeric. Start your spring gardening engines now!

Below are the April workshop descriptions; call or email us if you have questions:

Growing and Using Turmeric and Ginger at Home

Come learn about spice and everything nice with turmeric and ginger! Over the centuries, these tropical perennial gems have been regularly grown as vital culinary and medicinal plants. Learn and experience hands on planting, propagation, seasonal cold protection, soils and spacing, irrigation strategies, bed and container growing, and harvesting.  You will sample and learn to make teas, vinegars, refrigerated spice pastes, and candied ginger as well as knowing the best storage and freezing techniques and have a take-home plant of ginger and of turmeric plus some turmeric vinegar and candied ginger. This amazing spice plant family, Zingiberaceae, can become part of your everyday life and health in our Southern Appalachians, and we will show you how to do it. You will be glad to befriend and come to revere these historically significant spices into your garden and life.  There will be an extra special demo of the black turmeric which cuts blue and is used in skin healing salves.

Potpourri of Zingiberaceae

Potpourri of Zingiberaceae

This class will be offered twice at Karen’s office in Young Harris this April, with a different twist at each event:

Sunday April 14, 3:30-6:30pm: This class will be less hands-on as we will be treated at the end of the workshop to an amazing meal (see menu below!) featuring turmeric and ginger dishes prepared by Nanette Davidson. Total cost is $89 per person, register for two people and save at $170 for two! (non-refundable so we can plan quantities) Nanette’s Indian Feast Menu for the April 14 event features either ginger or turmeric or both and will be beautiful and yummy!

Starters-Onion Bahji with Tamarind Chutney, Red Lentil Soup

Main Course-Chicken Tikka Masala, Potato and Pea Somosas, Roasted Paneer with Fragrant Spinach Sauce, Basmati Rice, Cucumber Raita, Carrot and Cashew Salad , Whole Wheat Naan

Dessert-Golden Milk Ice Cream, Candied Ginger Shortbread

Everything is gluten free except the somosas, naan, and shortbread. Everything is vegetarian except the chicken tikka. Everything is vegan except the chicken, paneer, raita and shortbread.

We will have samples of Candied Ginger!

Thursday April 18, 6-8pm: This class will be the same but a bit more messy and will involve more hands-on potting and planting so bring gardening clothes! Cost is $65 per person or $124 for two participants.

We will be thrilled to have you come to Karen’s Young Harris office at 155 Murphy Street Highway 66 from 3:30-6:30 pm next Sunday April 14th or Thursday April 18th from 6:00 to 8:00 pm.  We appreciate your support of our mission to spread the goodness of learning, growing, and using food and spices on the path to health and garden loveliness. Plants have a special language if you listen and learn about their unique gifts to us. In our experience, turmeric and ginger are here to help us tackle inflammation while enjoying the flavors of the earth.  Help us let our tribe know how to add these crops and grow organic food and herbs, specifically turmeric and ginger…King and Queen of the Zingiberaceae plant family.

More workshops in May at other venues…we will keep you posted!

Blessings of blossoms,

Karen and John


Karen Hurtubise & John Clarke

Qualla Berry Farm

3274 Qualla Road

Hayesville, NC 28904


828-389-3551 home



Posted 4/1/2019 8:23pm by Karen Hurtubise.

To register for either of our events at Young Harris in April, you may now use the form on this website!

Tor register for either class at the NC arboretum: https://www.ncarboretum.org/education-programs/adult-education-classes/horticulture-and-landscape-design/

To register for the class at Kula Wellness Center: https://www.kula.love/contact



Posted 3/29/2019 8:32am by John Clarke & Karen Hurtubise.

Dear Friends,

It’s spring at Qualla Berry Farm! Our ginger and turmeric seed rhizomes have arrived from Hawaii and fortunately Biker Dude and the folks at Puna Organics escaped damage from the Kilauea volcano last year, although many of their neighbors lost homes and roads. We are starting with presprouting the new seed rhizomes and tending our overwintered pots and crowns which will begin sprouting in April and May.

Here’s some news about our spring plans with some exciting opportunities for you to learn about growing, using, and eating these amazing plants at home:

We invite you to come to our class and culinary experience in Growing and Using Turmeric and Ginger at Home on Sunday April 14th from 3:30-6:30 at Karen’s Young Harris office near the College at 155 Murphy Street.

We will teach you the principles of organic growing with these tropical perennials in our temperate climate, and how to prepare your soil in containers or your garden and how to harvest and use turmeric and ginger in your kitchen over the season. We will show you some of the many varieties of ginger and turmeric and share what we know about the many health benefits of these super power plants that have been grown for centuries throughout the world.

As a very special treat at the April 14 event we are  collaborating with our good friend and Cooking Maven, Nanette Davidson, who will be preparing an amazing Indian cuisine meal featuring turmeric and ginger which we plan to serve to you around 5:30 at the conclusion of the “growing and using” workshop. Nanette will also provide recipes to participants!  Nanette was Resident Artist for Cooking at John C Campbell Folk School and is the author of the recently published Folk School Cookbook. She blogs at https://www.brasstownpotluck.com. Nanette’s menu is included below. We will be asking about dietary restrictions when we get you registered.

You will leave with a heap of ginger and turmeric knowledge (and a handout growing guide), plus a complimentary rhizome of ginger and turmeric to eat or grow a plant of each. This will be less of a hands on workshop but we will cover growing in beds and containers as well as potting, division, harvesting, temperature and watering. We will also have limited amounts of seed rhizomes and potted starts available for purchase at the end of the Young Harris workshops. 

 Also, on Thursday April 18 from 6-8 PM we will do the same workshop at Young Harris without the supper. This will be a more hands on experience with soil prep, planting, propagation and division covered. This class is most suitable for active gardeners and farmers primarily wanting to learn more in depth about growing ginger and turmeric. You will leave with a potted start of each and all the knowledge you need to begin to successfully grow your own.  We will have teas, vinegars, spice paste, and honey turmeric ginger jam to sample. 

To register for the classes at Young Harris: Send an email to Karen Hurtubise and John Clarke at jkqualla@frontier.com and we will get back to you with a registration form. If you have questions call us at 828-389-3551. Cost is $89.00 for the April 14th date with Nanette’s Feast and $65 for the April 18th date, and includes all supplies and handouts. We have room for 20 people on April 14th and it’s first come, first serve for tickets.  They are non-refundable so we can plan correctly for supplies. If something comes up for you, give or sell your ticket so it doesn’t go to waste. 

Also note that we will be teaching at the NC Arboretum in Asheville two times in May (register on the Arboretum website):

Saturday May 18: Growing and Using Turmeric, Ginger, and Basils: https://4020a.blackbaudhosting.com/4020a/SP19-Growing-and-Using-Turmeric-Ginger--Basils

Wednesday May 29: Summer Gardening Tasks: https://4020a.blackbaudhosting.com/4020a/SP19-Summer-Gardening-Tasks

And, we have just scheduled a growing workshop at Kula Wellness Center in Brasstown, NC from for Saturday May 25th from 1:00-3:30 pm! Information and Registration at www.kula.love

Spring 2019 Class Schedule at a glance:

Sunday April 14, Young Harris, Growing and Using with Turmeric and Ginger with Nanette’s Feast (registration-email Karen & John)

Thursday April 18, Young Harris, Growing and Using Turmeric and Ginger/hands-on emphasis (registration-email Karen & John)

Saturday May 18, Asheville Arboretum,Growing and Using Turmeric, Ginger and Basils (registration-Arboretum website)

Wednesday May 29, Asheville Arboretum, Summer Gardening Tasks (registration-Arboretum website)

Saturday May 25, Kula Wellness, Growing and Using Turmeric and Ginger (registration-Kula website)

Nanette’s Feast 

Menu for the April 14 event!

(Every dish has either ginger or turmeric or both in it) 


Onion Bahji with Tamarind Chutney

Red Lentil Soup

Main Course-

Chicken Tikka Masala

Potato and Pea Somosas

Roasted Paneer with Fragrant Spinach Sauce

Basmati Rice

Cucumber Raita

Carrot and Cashew Salad 

Whole Wheat Naan


Golden Milk Ice Cream

Candied Ginger Shortbread

Everything is gluten free except the somosas, naan, and shortbread. Everything is vegetarian except the chicken tikka. Everything is vegan except the chicken, paneer, raita and shortbread.



Looking forward to seeing y'all and starting our seventh growing season with Turmeric and Ginger!

Karen Hurtubise and John Clarke

Qualla Berry Farm

3274 Qualla Rd

Hayesville, NC 28904




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