Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #14, 6/22/11

What’s been going on?

Heat anyone? High 90’s today, it will be another great afternoon at the Farmers’ Market. At least it looks like the weather will break a little for Farm to Fork on Sunday afternoon, they are calling for 90 with a slight chance of thunderstorms, if we are really lucky it will be like last year when the storms went around us but also helped keep the temperature down a bit. Next year F2F will be back in late May and more reasonable weather chances. By the way, F2F is sold out and did so very early after tickets went on sale so make sure that you look for the announcements next year if you didn’t get a chance this time around.

One group that is happy with the heat are the new turkeys. Yes turkeys are back in the house, literally the brooder house. They arrived last Thursday and look really great. The little day old poults arrive unfeathered, with just their down coats and so they need to be kept around 90 degrees for the first week or two so they don’t get chilled and until they start to grow real feathers. We have heat lamps in the brooder at night but these days we turn them off during the day and they are very happy in there at 95 degrees from the sun.

We have changed up the turkey program a bit this year in that we are only doing the Broad Breasted Bronzes and no Bourbon Reds. I have wrestled with this decision for some time and feel somewhat a traitor for not continuing to help preserve the heritage breeds but there are compelling reasons, quality of life and economics. The Bourbon Reds, while more charismatic and beautiful to look at, are a pain at times to manage because they fly and fight with each other, I am getting too old to be chasing birds around the woods like last year. The other is that they are much more expensive to raise and with feed prices extremely high this year we would have to charge too high a price in my opinion.

On the other hand the Broad Breasted Bronzes are the first step from a heritage bird towards the modern industrial turkey. Yes they can’t naturally breed because of their size but they do very well outside on pasture. They forage pretty well, don’t seem to be anymore disease prone than the Bourbons and take only half the time to reach maturity without flying or fighting. Another factor is that you told us after last Thanksgiving that maybe you even liked their flavor better. So with that in mind we have 70 all singing, all dancing Bronzes in the brooder, now the adventure begins.

Pictures of the Week

The brooder with the window we call turkey TV and the what you see on turkey TV

What’s going to be at the market?

Lisianthus, the queen of all the cutflowers, is just beginning with purple. The brilliant summer Dianthus in dark reds and purples. Zinnias are here for the summer along with the Gloriosa Daisies (Black Eyed Susans). This week the Nikko Blue Hydrangeas are back. A little more Plume Celosia. The fragrant Oriental Lilies and more Asiatic Lilies too. Betsy will have mixed Bouquets as well.

Tomato supply is increasing nicely. Cherokee Purples, our early red Ultra Sweet, the yellow Orange Blossoms and a larger amount of Sungolds. We are beginning to get some more heirlooms out of the main planting with a few Cherokee Greens and Oxhearts. More Summer Crisp this week, in both green with red tints and a very dark red. More Lacinato Kale (Toscano Kale, Black Kale, Dinosaur Kale, Cavalo Nero). The last week of the Sugarloaf white Radicchio, great for grilling. More Cucumbers. The last of the Beets in all three colors, Red, Golden and the Chioggia with it’s red and white striped interior. Leeks are still coming and they are some of the prettiest we have had in years. A little more Basil to go with the tomatoes. The first of our cured sweet Red Onions. The aromatic green fleshed Galia Melons are here for a week or so.

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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