Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #9, 5/18/11

What’s been going on?

Well it looks as if the honeymoon is about over. This fantastic run of 70 degree weather and the near perfect spring run up to summer looks to be ending this weekend, had to happen sooner or later. We have been searching our now not so nimble brains to remember when we ever had such a marvelous spring in the 30 years we have been farming and can’t. You know we usually have crazy swings up and down in temperature and rainfall from March to May which wreaks havoc on the cool season crops like lettuce and, if too cool, the same to the nascent warm season crops struggling to believe it will actually ever get warm. We vaguely recall one six or seven years ago that had a smooth rise in temperatures but was irregular in precipitation so I will have to find that stone I etch important things on and scratch Spring 2011 on it.

The warmer weather coming next week will be just in time to sweeten up the blueberries which are hanging heavy on the bushes. We have been trying to get in and get the field all mowed up so the picking conditions will be comfortable, the regular rains have made the grass very happy and the broken tractor mower has not helped. Finally got the mower fixed yesterday so we are trying to get caught up on some really overgrown areas. Fortunately Betsy’s riding lawnmower has kept our heads above the grass so far. She reports that as she has been mowing by the blueberries that she has had to stop a few times to eat the first ripe ones!

Now that the peppers are all in the ground we are into the busy but steady season on farm chores. Tying up and suckering all the tomatoes, trellising flowers, taking out the earliest of the spring crops to make way for later season ones, cultivating and weeding when the soil gets dry enough to do so. This is the time of year that between harvesting and all the rest we feel really good if we can just barely keep up, we feel OK if a few things slip past us for awhile. We are teetering between really good and OK.

Picture of the Week

If we lived in the Salinas Valley (the nations salad bowl) it would look like this everyday. Spring giving way to summer.

What’s going to be at the market?

This is a case when more sun and heat would be helpful, a slow period in the flower department. The first of the Larkspur (annual delphinium) is finally blooming. It is Spuria Iris season, the huge beautiful iris with multiple buds in a range of colors, a great flower. Some more fragrant Stocks. The simple but satisfying Bachelors Buttons. The brilliant flower of the week is Temptress Poppies in ethereal oranges, reds and yellows. Betsy will have mixed Bouquets as well.

One of the best Sugar Snap Pea seasons in a long time, vegetable candy, get them while the are here as we only did one planting so they will only be around for another week or so. The replacement for Brocolli Raab is the Lacinato Kale (Toscano Kale, Black Kale, Dinosaur Kale, Cavalo Nero) more flavorful than the regular kales, we have used it in risotto and sauteed with pasta. Some more of the best Spinach we have grown in years. Lettuce is still beautiful too; Green Boston, Red and Green Leafs and Romaine. A great supply of the spicy Shunkyo Chinese long Radishes but fewer Easter Egg Radishes. The tender, sweet Japanese Turnips march on. The first of the Escarole and maybe even some Radicchio. We slipped the first Cucumbers in last Saturday with more this week. I swear that we will have Beets and Carrots next week.

As a reminder if there is anything that you would like for us to hold for you at market just let us know by e-mail, by the evening before, and we will be glad to put it aside for you.

Hope to see you all at the market!

Alex and Betsy

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