Peregrine Farm News Vol. 9 #1, 3/16/12

What’s been going on?

The start of the season but what does that mean anymore? There used to be one date that our entire spring schedule and life revolved around. For nearly 20 years the Carrboro Saturday market opened the second to last week of March and our focus was on having things to sell by then. It coincidentally was the same week as the equinox and the first week of astronomical spring, a nice farmer like punctuation mark. Now with the year round Saturday market, the changing climate, and the earlier and earlier daylight savings time (it is still barely light at 7:00, again!) our internal clocks are way off kilter.

The year round market has all of us farmers trying to figure out how it fits into our particular farms crops and marketing mix. Because of our members ingenuity, stubbornness and changing technologies the winter market is much more robust than any of us could have anticipated just a few years ago. But for us old dogs, it is harder to adapt. In our 31st year farming and the 27th at market we remember when the Saturday market didn’t even open until the first or second week of April and even then there was not much on the tables of the vendors.

Betsy and I are continually testing the waters and as many of you know we have been at market almost every week this winter. Partly because of new crops (Ginger and Jerusalem artichokes) and timing of crops (Anemones since Christmas) that we needed to sell, partly because of the extremely warm winter but partly because we are trying to adjust our schedules to the changing climate. Are we going to become year round vendors? No, but we are moving some production earlier and later in the season in an attempt to avoid the brutal heat of summer. We still want our winters off but they might be shorter than they used to be. Old dogs, new tricks.

For those of you we have not caught up with at market we did have a great winter season. Lots of travel and teaching including Betsy to Italy for further study of the language and Alex with two trips west to go hiking (Utah and Texas). Conferences and teaching events in Louisiana, Virginia, Tennessee, Arkansas and Georgia, whew! It is all over now and the staff started yesterday with Jennie back for her second year and Liz in her first, a great beginning for a new season even it we don’t really know when that is anymore.

Picture of the Week

A coldframe full of plants waiting to go into the field

What’s going to be at the market?

Not much! One of the effects of the warm winter is that everyone’s overwintered crops are playing out early and so there will be a longer than usual gap before the spring planted crops really begin in early April.

We will have some of the last of the beautiful Collards and Lacinato Kale. Some over wintered Beets too. Betsy will have more of the amazing Anemones that have been producing for months now. Early Asiatic Lilies and Pussy Willows too! Of course plenty of sparkling conversation.

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.

Alex and Betsy


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