Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #11, 6/1/11

What’s been going on?

Welcome to June, ugh! I thought June was the gentle transition to summer and July and ugh. The forecast has it dropping to 89 next Tuesday, the average high for July, woohoo! Alright too early for the bad summer weather attitude, I knew if I waxed too much about how perfect the spring had been that it would jinx the whole thing.

So let’s find the silver lining. The blueberries are ripening fast and the heat makes them even sweeter. We have had one of the largest picking crews working the bushes we have ever assembled, up to 10 some days, and they are handling the heat well even though that last hour before lunch slows them down some. Peppers are loving this weather and growing fast, soon we will need to start trellising them before they fall over in a storm. Tomatoes too, this is the time of year when we have to go through and tie them up every week lest they flop over into the row and maybe break a branch off heavy with green fruit. Betsy is happy as well, the summer flowers almost bloom as you watch them, sometimes she has to cut sunflowers twice a day.

While last week was about trying to salvage the end of the cool season crops, this week is full on acceptance that the party is over and it is time to clean up and move on. The spring vegetable field only has a few beds of beets, carrots and a few radishes left, the rest mowed and turned under. The overwintered flower field looks the same with just a few rows of late Bachelors Buttons and larkspur remaining. The lettuce field not only has only a handful of beds left but the rest has already been replanted to sunflowers, zinnias and other heat loving flowers.

Such are the seasons in North Carolina, distinct and abrupt. Our farming friends further north plant it all when it thaws out and then it all happens at one time in mid summer and they run hard in the long days to bring it all in before it gets cold again. No cool season, warm season cool season, it is just either the growing season or not. Lettuce and spinach, tomatoes and peppers all at the same time. Not sure which I would prefer?

Picture of the Week

New sunflowers, celosia and zinnias on the heels of the last lettuce in the background

What’s going to be at the market?

Here come the summer flowers, lots of really nice Sunflowers and Snap Dragons. The elegant bell shaped Campanula (Canterbury Bells) are here in pinks and blues. Exotic Safflower (Carthamus) is back but only for a week or so, tall, branched dark green stems with orange tufts. Finally the return of Asiatic Lilies, it’s a long story but our long time bulb supplier went out of business and didn’t bother telling anyone, new supplier, new lilies. Maybe the last of the beautiful Larkspur (annual delphinium). Betsy will have mixed Bouquets as well.

Blueberries roll on, we made it to 10:30 last Saturday before we ran out, so best reserve to make sure. So a complete change in lettuces to the warm season varieties, Summer Crisp in both green with red tints and a very dark red. 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. Another week or so for the spicy Shunkyo Chinese long Radishes and Easter Egg Radishes. Probably the last of the tender, sweet Japanese Turnips. 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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