Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #21, 8/17/11

What’s been going on?

A nice cool respite this morning and the rest of the week looks tolerable too. Even had some rain last week, enough to try and get some very late summer cover crops planted. It has been so dry, and the prospects of a rain we could count on to germinate the seed so low, that we had not gotten any of our soil improving cover crops in the ground this summer. Never have we waited so long. It only takes about eight weeks for the millet or sudangrass to reach maturity so we have almost enough time before the end of September, if we get more rain. If nothing else it will give the turkeys something to run around in when they get to those fields in a month or so.

Next week I come out of retirement, sort of, and will begin teaching a regular class down at Central Carolina Community College’s Sustainable Agriculture program. From 1998 or ’99 until 2003 I designed and co-taught the sixteen week Sustainable Vegetable Production class until it was just too much time in the spring growing season, so I retired. Since then I have gone down to do guest lectures but have avoided taking on the responsibilities of a full course.

They have a two year program for an associates degree and starting this year, in the students last year, they are offering Advanced Organic Crop Production. The concept is to tie together all of the various subjects that they have taken and put it into a crop management system. This is really the core of being a farmer, you learn about soils and rotations and weeds, etc. but it is how you fuse it all together into an agro-ecosystem that makes it work, or not.

So it is a nice challenge for me to design yet another course with this bigger picture in mind, we’ll see how it comes out. The good part is I get to attempt it with a small group of students the first time and I don’t have to teach the entire sixteen weeks, just the first eight or nine and the parts I am most interested in. Who knows it could be a quick re-entry into retirement.

Picture of the Week

Ginger looking really good, flanked by ornamental peppers

What’s going to be at the market?

A slow week in the flower department, more to come in the following weeks. The Crested Celosia festival continues with just smaller heads this week until the new plantings kick in. 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. 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 a lot of the of Red bells, with small amounts of Yellow and Orange Bells this week too. We will be roasting for sure!

Tomato supply is very light. In Reds there is a small supply of Big Beefs. A better supply of Cherokee Purples from the last planting. In cherry types there is a small 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. Still plenty of Red Onions! The Cukes continue to amaze us with production.

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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