4/16/08 Vol. 5 #5

Welcome to last frost/freeze day!  28 degrees this morning and by the look of the forecast this should be the last night below freezing this spring (don’t borrow money based on this prediction).  In Chapel Hill most folks use April 15th (April 11th is the official date at the RDU airport) as the average last frost date but out here along the Haw river we are always three to five degrees colder and I use April 21st as our safe date. We’ve had too many close calls in the early years, sleepless nights worrying about tender plants.  Polar Cap Farms we call it in the spring, our staff always complains about how much colder it is out here in the mornings as compared to their houses in town.  Now it’s safe to plant the tomatoes outdoors.  It’s not that we are risk averse, hell we’re farmers after all, but we just don’t roll the dice the way we used to in the past.  I guess it’s the benefit of having weathered so many growing seasons, might as well not fight it and just wait until it’s right for the tomatoes needs, not our calendars.

The construction of the Big Tops is going well.  We did get all the legs screwed into the ground last week except a dozen.  Monday we rented the BIG jackhammer and busted up the parts of the planet that stood in the way.  Having done this before, I was not looking forward to it but it actually went well and only took a morning to do.  This years staff, Cov and Dan, had never had the pleasure of running such a beast so after I worked the first six holes I turned the last six over to them.  They started the morning in their early 30’s and ended it in their late 30’s.  So now the legs and anchors are all in and most of the attendant braces.  By the end of today the frame should all be finished and maybe we can pull the plastic over by the end of the week.  Right on schedule to get the tomatoes planted early next week, whew!  Late last week we turned our attentions to getting caught up on planting and managed to get almost all the backed up plants into the ground.  We even got a little rain to help water them in but I am afraid I will have to get the irrigation set up this week too.  Why does it happen all at the same time?

Farm Tour this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1:00-6:00 each day (who added an additional hour?).  Our annual opening of the doors to the general public to come see the farm.  Many of you have been on the Farm Tour before and it is a great opportunity to see many of the folks who sell at the Carrboro Market.  Now in it’s thirteenth year, thousands of people go on the tour and it raises thousands of dollars for the work Carolina Farm Stewardship Association does.  Sponsored by Weaver Street Market, who does an incredible amount of work to promote the tour and local agriculture, it is easy to go on the tour.  Just pick up a map at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market or Weaver St. Market or many other local businesses and go to first farm that you want to see.  The best deal is to buy a button ($30) which will be your pass for as many people as you can stuff into one vehicle, for as many farms as you want.  35 farms this year so you will have to choose, it is hard to do more than 3 maybe 4 farms in a day.  In the mean time we will be mowing and picking up around the place, nothing like have hundreds of house guests all at once to make you buff up the joint!  Come on out and see what we have been up to, the weather looks to be a bit mixed but it goes on rain or shine!

Picture of the Week
As they say, this is a “file” photo from the last time but you get the idea
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