Hmmm, let’s see what’s the news? HEAT!!!! Talk about a rude start to the summer, bang, here I am. The 100′s really pushed the blueberries and Friday we could only get two out of six rows picked there were so many and turning blue in front of our eyes. So Monday we called in the troops and had eleven of us out there going hard. We did manage to get through those four unpicked rows and the fruit quality was really good. Thank goodness they are blueberries and not blackberries. When it gets that hot blackberries actually get sunburned and get white sections on the berries where the color has cooked out of them, technically it is called “leaking” (I am not making this up). So now we are caught up and Monday was the peak day of the season. We can now easily manage the rest of the season (only another ten days or so) with four additional pickers. Whew! As is our standard practice we do not work out in the fields after noon and this week it has been hard to stay out there until noon. Betsy and I have been out early letting the turkeys out, irrigating and picking other crops before the blueberry picking begins at 8:00.
Two interesting extra curricular activities this week. The first was a Slow Food co-sponsored event at Meredith college with the Durham-Chapel Hill Dieticians group. Two short films about local food were viewed and then a panel discussion followed. It is always interesting being the farmer on a panel of other food related folks. Great questions about our local food system but barely enough time to just begin to scratch the surface. Yesterday I went to the State Legislature to speak to a group of legislators about organic agriculture in North Carolina. This Organic Legislative breakfast was just that, it started at 7:30 a.m. in the cafeteria, in the basement of the Legislature building. While they ate organic food brought in from North Carolina farms, myself and three other farmers told them about our experiences as organic producers. This is the second year that Carolina Farm Stewardship Association and other sustainable ag non-profits have put on the breakfast. The idea is not to really press them for anything in particular but to just make them aware of organics and sustainable farming and hopefully more comfortable with the idea. As I went to get coffee I overheard several of them saying to each other “Who knew we had organic pigs here in North Carolina?” Nothing like a pork product to get a politicians attention.