Peregrine Farm News Vol. 7 #20, 7/21/10

What’s been going on?

Big day on Monday, the cousins finally met each other. The Broad Breasted Bronze turkeys turned five weeks old and graduated to the field. Most turkey moving days are fairly quick as we just open the fence between them and the next field and they just head in there with a little herding. This one is always more complicated. It takes extra fences, multiple groups and shelters to be moved farther than just the next paddock.

In general the pattern is to move the flock from the bottom of the farm to the top, always trying to move up hill into clean ground. Hard to do sometimes when the cash crops are in the ground. The Bourbon Reds have been hanging out the last two weeks in the lowest production block with the first zinnias of the season (no longer being cut) for shade. They were going to meet in the Blueberry field. First we set up two net fences, in a U shape, around half the Blueberries to herd them into. Next open their existing fence and herd them past the basil, through the “Stand” and Betsy’s flower beds, across the driveway and into the new enclosure.

Next take down the net fences that have surrounded them and erect them around the rest of the Blueberries and the open end of the U now holding the Bourbon Reds. They are so happy rooting around under the bushes for new eats that they don’t even know the “door” is actually not there! Onto the Bronzes, we take the big truck with shell and back it up to their temporary paddock in front of the brooder and catch the 66 little fat birds one by one and put them in the bed of the truck. Slowly we drive across the farm and back up to the net fence surrounding their half of the Blueberry field and grab them again, one by one, and set them down into their new “big” home.

Finally we drag the shelters from their respective locations to the end of the berry block, move all the feeders and waterers up near the shelters, set up the water hose and fill waterers. The Bronzes, being totally wide eyed at the big world have just hunkered down under the first blueberry bushes, far from their shelter and waterers. It is quickly headed to the 90’s today so we slowly herd them up the field to their food and water so they can find it, “OK now we are home” they say. Done. For several weeks now, the country cousins and the city cousins will run up and down the blueberry field with a net fence between them, staring and talking to each other. At some point we will run them together and hope that it will be a happy family reunion and not a gang fight. We’ll see.

Don’t forget the next two Peregrine Farm tomato/food events this coming week. First up on Sunday afternoon is the A Southern Season Cooking class, Tomatoes From the Vine with Marilyn Markel and heirloom tomato guru Craig LeHoullier. Craig is the one who introduced Cherokee Purple to the world and is a wealth of tomato knowledge. These classes are always fun, relaxed and the menu looks great.

Monday night is our Panzanella Farm dinner, still working with Jim on the menu but it will feature both tomatoes and peppers in special dishes that will be in addition to the regular Panzanella menu. This is always a nice evening with lots of locals and market regulars coming into the restaurant. Maybe we’ll see you there.

Picture of the Week

Good fences make good neighbors

What’s going to be at the market?

Yep, another hot week, come on out, we’ll be there.

The great Limelight Hydrangeas are here with gusto, these late season dense headed, hydrangeas are maybe the best of the bunch. The Crested Celosia festival continues, the colors are so vibrant they almost pulse. A good amount of Zinnias. The Lisianthus is slowly winding down, it is one of the great cuts, lots of colors, and very long lasting. Betsy’s beautiful bouquets. Plenty of fragrant Oriental Lilies in white and pink and Asiatic (non-fragrant) Lilies in yellow. As usual other interesting cuts that Betsy will conjure up.

The early tomatoes are winding down just in time for our summer break. In Reds there are plenty of Big Beefs. A better supply of Cherokee Purples from the last planting. A few very nice bi-colored, fruity Striped Germans. A fair amount of the Italian Oxheart sauce tomatoes and some nice Roma’s. In cherry types there is a pretty good supply of Sungolds, with a few pints of Grape tomatoes.

Peppers are beginning to become more abundant- Jalapeno and Serrano. Padrone and Shishito, the Spanish and Japanese snacking peppers, just quickly coat them in a pan with some hot olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and eat the whole thing.. Purple Bells and lime green Cubanelles. The first of the Anaheims, Poblanos and Passillas. Looks like some Italian heirloom Eggplant too. Basil to go with tomatoes. A few more our red onions even though they are very small this year, more like shallots.

If you haven’t been there yet, or stopped by lately, check out the website and blog for lots of good info about the farm and what we are up to. You can also subscribe to the blog there and receive the newsletter that way, along with other updates.

Hope to see you all at the market!

Alex and Betsy

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