Peregrine Farm News Vol. 7 #21, 7/28/10

What’s been going on?

And the skies opened. Wish I had carried my camera with me yesterday afternoon as I drove into town, I have never seen flooding on the Old Greensboro Hwy. like that, several places where you had to slow to a crawl to get through the water. Of course I started the day irrigating as I have gotten to the point where I just don’t believe the forecast unless it is for 70 percent chance or better and then I need to see it on the radar. When it is really hot, it is hard to catch up on soil moisture with drip irrigation if you skip a day. It started to rain lightly around 11:00 and I turned the pump off, 3.2 inches later and I can rest for a few days, irrigation wise.

This heat and extreme swings in rainfall have many of us farmers beginning to think about how are we going to change our operations to meet the challenges of climate change, both practically (how do I continue to grow the crops I am used to) and quality of life (do I really have to grow crops in the summer?). Yeah I know, some think climate change is not happening, what ever. I can tell you after thirty years of wrestling with what nature throws at us, the climate is changing and the extremes are getting more extreme. It is those extreme events that determine the success or failure of a crop year, not if the average temperature has gone up .1 degree. We all know there is no such thing as normal or average weather anyway. Betsy and I do have a firm rule, make no big decisions in July!

The good news is we have almost made it to our summer break. As many of you know we take the first week of August off, a tradition we started many years ago. It has been 22 straight weeks without a break or hardly a day off, a long time to run. So after market this Saturday we will change gears for a few days including not going to market on the 4th or the 7th. Always timed for when the early tomatoes have finished up and before the peppers really hit full stride. The staff gets a week off with pay so they will actually rest up too. We have no real plans other than hiding out here and going out to eat. There are still turkeys to feed and crops to water but that doesn’t take too much out of a day. So no newsletter next week and look for us back on Wednesday the 11th.

Picture of the Week

A wet morning, at least the cover crops are happy

What’s going to be at the market?

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 but with less gusto . A good amount of Zinnias. Betsy’s beautiful bouquets. Plenty of fragrant Oriental Lilies in white and pink and Asiatic (non-fragrant) Lilies in yellow.

The early tomatoes are winding down just in time for our summer break. In Reds there is a small supply of Big Beefs and a few Ultrasweets, making a comeback. A better supply of Cherokee Purples from the last planting. The last 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.

The Peppers are looking really good- 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. A good supply of Anaheims, Poblanos and Passillas. Looks like the first of the Corno di Toros this week too. More of the awesome Italian heirloom Eggplant. Basil to go with tomatoes. The last of our red onions.

Hope to see you all at the market!

Alex and Betsy

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