Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #20, 8/10/11

What’s been going on?

So once again the August break is not long enough, not sure if it is because it is still really hot when we start back or if we had so much to do during the week that we need time to rest up? One thing that was discussed a great deal was the concept of a much longer break in the summer. I am increasingly convinced that these record breaking hot summers are not an aberration but a sign of what the new “normal” weather pattern is going to be. Our farming friends further south, in places like Alabama and Texas, have planned significant holes in their summer schedules to avoid the heat and folks in Florida don’t grow anything in the summer, just the winter.

One of the main reasons for these planting schedules is because the crops just don’t do well in the intense heat, even tomatoes and peppers produce poorly when it is incessantly hot. The other reasons revolve around the quality of life for the farmers and farm workers, sure you can make yourself go out and get something done but is the pain worth it? So we are toying with a modified schedule that moves the main tomato planting up a bit and the peppers back a bit to allow for a longer period in the summer with not a lot going on. We can not stop growing tomatoes and peppers, it is too much what we are but maybe we can move them into better conditions for them and us.

Now a longer break doesn’t mean we shut the place down, there is just too much that has to be kept rolling for that. There are fall crops to seed and care for, summer crops that need to be irrigated and maintained, turkeys to move and manage. It would look more like a rolling break. Betsy and I might go away for a week or two, while the staff keeps it all under control and then they could each take a week off and get away to someplace cool while we do the maintenance. It would also mean we would probably go to market further into October than in the recent past. Hmmm…lots to think about?

We did have fun last week, we got to the mountains to some slightly cooler weather and finally got to visit one of our former staff Rett. Rett worked for us from 2004-2006 before he moved to a farm in the mountains. He now has a new farm that we had not yet seen, so we had to go inspect, a beautiful place on the banks of the Cane river with soil to be envious of. We also had a couple of great dinners out with friends and some quality time in the air conditioning. Back to regular duty now.

Picture of the Week

Early in the morning, the last summer flowers, limelight hydrangeas in the distance

What’s going to be at the market?

The great Limelight Hydrangeas are still here, these late season dense headed, hydrangeas are maybe the best of the bunch. The Crested Celosia festival continues with gusto. Some nice Zinnias. Great new ornamental peppers. Maybe some fragrant Tuberoses and the first of the fall Lisianthus. Betsy’s beautiful bouquets. Plenty of fragrant Oriental Lilies in white and pink and Asiatic (non-fragrant) Lilies.

As you all know August is when it becomes all about Peppers. I think we nearing full selection with only the very hot Habaneros missing from the collection. In hot types there are plenty of Anaheim, Poblano, Serrano, Cayenne and Passilla. We are losing Jalapeno plants quickly so there is a small supply. Padrone and Shishito, the Spanish and Japanese snacking peppers, just quickly coat them in a pan with some hot olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt and eat the whole thing. The Peregrine Picante Pimientos are back with nice red, slightly hot, thick fleshed fruit. In Sweet peppers we have good supply of Purple Bells, lime green Cubanelles and Corno di Toros. Looks like the first of the of the Red, Yellow and Orange Bells this week too. If it is not too hot we may bust out the roaster for the first time Saturday.

Tomato supply is light. In Reds there is a small supply of Big Beefs and the last of the Ultrasweets. A better supply of Cherokee Purples from the last planting. In cherry types there is a pretty good supply of Sungolds. There is a smattering of other colors around too.

More of the awesome Italian heirloom Eggplant. Basil to go with tomatoes. Lots of Figs!

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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