Peregrine Farm News Vol. 7 #16, 6/23/10

What’s been going on?

So what else is there to talk about other than the heat!!!! We are looking at the hottest June on record unless some wild cold front blows in next week. Luckily we are at that point in the season where there is not a lot to do as far as planting, or greenhouse covering or other hot jobs. It can really be strategic early morning harvesting or weeding and watering and then slip back into the shade or the house. It is a little hard on the staff because they are not getting as many hours in as they would like but then their quality of life is probably better for it. So far the heat has not affected any of the crops, just the attitude of the farmers. It might sunscald some tomatoes in the little tunnels if it keeps up but we’ll just have to wait and see.

Tourist season has begun at Peregrine Farm National Park. Last week we hosted the summer interns from the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro. Folks from all over the country and Uruguay here to learn about sustainable ag. Only one of them really thought they might want to be a farmer, the rest were interested in some kind of work in agriculture or “food systems”. I find it encouraging and interesting that they are now studying food systems in college as just a few years ago it was a new concept and phrase in the farming community. Maybe change is upon us.

Betsy also met and toured with an Afghani woman who was here to see small farms and marketing examples to take back to Afghanistan. She works with mostly women growing vegetables on small farms near Kandahar and selling to all the foreign workers there as well as the local population. Like politics, sometimes all marketing is local, you have to work with the situation at hand.

The new turkeys are, so far, the healthiest batch we have ever gotten. After a week they are all happy and growing like crazy, haven’t lost a one. The older Bourbon Reds, now ten weeks old, seem to have hit their stride and are now running around one of Betsy’s “recreational” flower beds, waiting for the first batch of Zinnias to be finished so we can move them into their first real production field to eat bugs and spread manure for us. As long as they have shade and water they handle the heat better than the humans.

Picture of the Week

Brilliant Celosias

What’s going to be at the market?

Summer is here for sure with Zinnias and new this week the beautiful Crested Celosia (crazy, felt like, “brain” flowers). Still plenty of Hydrangeas, both white and the brilliant Nikko blue. Betsy’s beautiful bouquets. Plenty of yellow Asiatic (non-fragrant) and fragrant Oriental Lilies in white and pink. Lots of late Dianthus, intense reds and purple/pinks. Might see the first of the big Lisianthus crop this week too.

There is a growing supply of tomatoes with our new early red- Ultrasweet, Cherokee Purples and the great early season yellow/orange variety, Orange Blossom. A few German Johnsons and Italian Oxheart sauce tomatoes too. A few more Sungolds coming along. Still some Summer Crisp lettuce, for maybe two more weeks, that crispy sweet cross between Romaine and Leaf lettuce that is hot weather tolerant, in green dappled with Red and intense Red. A few more Cucumbers but they are slowing down. Probably the last of the spring Leeks. Some more Basil too. The first of our red onions even though they are very small this year, more like shallots. The aromatic, green fleshed Galia Melons are here this week with a bang, the heat must have really moved them along.

Hope to see you all at the market!

Alex and Betsy

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