5/20/09 Vol. 6 #9

These weeks are all full right now, between harvesting nearly everyday so we can deliver Mondays and Thursdays to Weaver St. Market and sell Wednesdays and Saturdays at the market it would be a full enough schedule.  In between we still need to mow and weed and plant and trellis and and and.

Good progress this week on all projects with this last great stretch of spring weather before the temperatures inevitably rise.  The peppers went in the ground under maybe the most ideal conditions I can ever remember, overcast with a bit of rain and no wind, they look great.  More plantings of sunflowers, zinnias and even some late late spring lettuce.  The tomatoes are growing with abandon now and need to be tied up almost every week.  Betsy’s prized lisianthus beds get fine toothed attention as the tiny plants are four inches apart in the rows and need careful weeding before the support netting is suspended over the rows making it hard to impossible to get in and weed later.  In most respects a solid week.

One major flaw in the season though.  Our friend, colleague, student, fellow farmer Ristin Cooks died on Sunday.  Ristin, with her partner Patrick Walsh, are Castlerock Gardens and produce wonderful stuff.  Ristin had battled various cancers for many years now and was determined to win but in the end couldn’t, she at least was at home, on the farm, looking out over the greenery of spring.  I first met Ristin at least ten years ago when she took my Vegetable Production course at Central Carolina Community College, from the first class you knew she would be the one asking the probing questions.

When they started at market in 2003 she immediately became involved and a voice for the new small farmers in the market.  Those who knew Ristin knew she wasn’t afraid to say what she thought about some issue and then help to work to make it better.  She and Patrick also raised livestock and we worked together on trying to band together poultry producers and on the guidelines for meat producers at the Carrboro market.  What I like to remember most though is a picture of her swaying to the music of Patrick’s band, Kickin’ Grass; or sitting quietly, in the rain, at a pizzeria in Italy writing postcards to friends at home.  She will be remembered well.

Picture of the Week
Ristin with friends at an Italian Farm feast last fall, listening, learning, having a great time
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