Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #17, 7/13/11

What’s been going on?

The heat? So I see that we are one day ahead of last years record setting pace for days over 90 degrees, at 40, the record is 91 and I hope we don’t get there. These are the days we work hard to get out of the field and the sun by noon at the latest. Down into the deep shade to work at the packing shed, or seeding fall crops or something similar. It is just not practical to be out in the field moving like turtles, suffering to do something poorly or taking two or three times as long to get the job finished over what it would take to do in the cooler hours of the day. Some folks say I’m getting soft in my old age, I just think I am getting wiser.

Good class last night at A Southern Season cooking school. It has become an annual event where Craig LeHoullier and I carry on about tomatoes and Marilyn Markel (who is the manager of the cooking school) is calmly cooking up some great dishes with our tomatoes. If you haven’t ever taken a class there it is very well done, entertaining and you get a whole meal (with wine included) for a very reasonable price.

I have mentioned this before but Craig is the god father of heirloom tomatoes. Back in the early 90’s when nobody knew what an heirloom tomato was, I came across an old fashioned printed newsletter that he co-edited call Off the Vine. It was an amazing resource on all of these crazy varieties where he and others would share their successes and failures growing these unusual tomatoes. Craig now keeps almost 3000 varieties in his personal seed bank and shares his new finds with the world. Maybe most importantly he is responsible for introducing Cherokee Purple to the seed companies and for discovering the new Green Cherokee.

He lives in Cary and over the years we have communicated and run into each other. Finally a few years ago we began doing these cooking/gardening classes at A Southern Season and it has been great fun to learn more from him about where these varieties come from, the stories behind them and the new work he is doing on easy to grow varieties for the home gardener. Another amazing resource we have here in North Carolina.

Picture of the Week

Need some Celosia?

What’s going to be at the market?

This Saturday is Tomato Day at the Market, get ready for lots of tomato sampling both at the gazebo and at individual farm stalls. We plan to be sampling some tomato jam. It will be fun. Next Monday is our Panzanella Farm Dinner, Jim has ordered a lot of tomatoes and peppers to work with, come on out, it is free form in the usual Panzanella way.

Did some on say Crested Celosia? The felt like heads in yellow, pink, red, crimson and more. Lisianthus is slowing down some but still plenty, the queen of all the cut flowers, mostly in deep purple. Zinnias forever. Sunflowers are back. A little more Plume Celosia. The fragrant Oriental Lilies and more Asiatic Lilies too. Betsy will have mixed Bouquets as well.

We are at the peak, or just past it, for our Tomato season. In reds we have plenty of Big Beef and a few of our early red Ultra Sweet. A good supply of most of the heirlooms except for the big bi-color Striped Germans and Green Cherokees. Cherokee Purples, pink German Johnsons, yellow Kellogg’s Breakfast, Orange Blossoms and the higher acid Azoychkas. Not as many Oxhearts and Romas for sauces, the plants look weak. Lots of Sungolds and some of the bi-colored elongated sweet Blush.

We are into the summer selection now. Basil to go with the tomatoes. Plenty of our cured sweet Red Onions. A few of the aromatic green fleshed Galia Melons are here for a week or so more. The first smatterings of peppers, Purple Bells, Shishitos and Padrone, Jalapenos and Serranos, the first Poblanos and Anaheims too. Cukes!

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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