Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #10, 5/25/11

What’s been going on?

Looks like another monumental blueberry crop, last years was so small it hardly registered. This year there are a lot of berries and they are big starting out. We have had five or six folks each day picking and have not made it all the way across the planting yet. We knew this heat would push them hard and make them ripen fast and it has. A good group of folks picking which usually adds new interesting conversations to our usual mix but this group is timid so far and we will need to loosen them up, maybe they are concentrating so hard on picking that they can’t talk at the same time.

The first real week of irrigation this year and we are trying hard to keep the last of the spring greens happy. We use little micro-sprinklers in the lettuce and spinach and other spring vegetables. They put out a fairly fine mist so we try and water mid afternoon so they get some evaporative cooling but don’t go into the night too wet underneath the plants. There is a fine line between enough moisture and too much. Too much gives us bottom rot in the lettuce, too little and the plants wilt and the stress causes them to get bitter and go to seed. We usually end up losing some to bottom rot but it is better than having it all get bitter. This last week of May is always a dance before we just give in and say it’s time for summer crops.

The daily search is on for the first ripe tomato. I slip by the early tomato tunnels several times a day, ostensibly checking irrigation or some other excuse but really I am looking for some pink color. It happens fast and we have been able to eat the first one this last week of May for several years now. The plants look as good as we have ever had and there is a lot of fruit set on them. I usually take the first one around the blueberry field and cut slices off for the pickers to savor if it is large enough, otherwise Betsy and I will quickly consume it down at the packing shed or out in the field where ever I find her at the time. Come on now, we are ready for a real tomato!

Picture of the Week

There is a lot of picking to be done

What’s going to be at the market?

The first summer flowers are starting with some really nice Sunflowers and the first Snap Dragons. More beautiful Larkspur (annual delphinium). The Day-Glo Temptress Poppies in ethereal oranges, reds and yellows, probably the last week. Betsy will have mixed Bouquets as well.

One word, Blueberries. The last week of our Sugar Snap Peas, vegetable candy, get them while they are here as we only did one planting. The replacement for Broccoli 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 sautéed with pasta. Looks like the last of the Spinach. This will be it for the big Lettuce array it is still beautiful and huge; Green and Red Boston, Red and Green Leafs and Romaine and some Hearts of Romaine too. Another week or so for the spicy Shunkyo Chinese long Radishes and Easter Egg Radishes. The tender, sweet Japanese Turnips march on but are running out too. Beautiful Escarole and Radicchio both the round red and the tall, green Sugarloaf, great for grilling. More Cucumbers. The first Beets and Carrots, finally. Leeks are back for the next month and we will pull some more green, Red Onions.

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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