Peregrine Farm News Vol. 9 #14, 6/20/12

What’s been going on!

The summer solstice, longest day of the year, last day of spring, summer starts at 7:09 p.m., the heat started yesterday, had to happen sooner or later.  Tomorrow Betsy can start her annual chant “Now that the days are getting shorter, frost is just around the corner!”.  It has been a marvelous late spring with nights in the 50’s and low humidity but it will all soon be a dim memory as we head into the tunnel of summer heat and humidity.

Some good things come out of the right amount of summer heat.  Tomatoes that taste better than just about anywhere else in the country for example.  Without sun and warmth, the plants just don’t make enough sugars and other flavor components.  This is why greenhouse tomatoes or ones grown in the northern tier of the country, no matter what variety or how well tended, can never really have great flavor.

There is a balance though.  With too much heat and humidity, the plants stop setting fruit, there is more trouble with sun burned fruit (sunscald in the vernacular), hollow walls and blossom end rot when the plants just can’t move enough water up through the plant fast enough.  This is why our farmer friends in the most southern tier states have tomatoes in June and maybe early July and then pack it in for the season until it cools back down.

Fortunately we are entering tomato season at just the right time, plenty of fruit hanging on the vines waiting for the heat to finish the process.  We pick more each harvest day and soon the table will be overflowing with all of the colors, shapes and sizes.  Here’s to summer!

Picture of the Week

Tomatoes in the cool of the early morning, waiting for the heat to flavor them up

What’s going to be at the market?

More tomatoes this week with a fair supply of red Ultrasweets and Big Beefs, Cherokee Purples and the tasty Orange Blossom.  The first smattering of the pink German Johnsons, clear yellow Azoychkas, Green Cherokees.  A few more pints of Sungolds and the mixed Sungold cousins Sun Lemon (orange), Sun Peach (pink) and Sun Chocula (I did not make these names up).  The last of our Carrots and spring Leeks.  Nice sweet Cucumbers.  Could be the last of the Lacinato Kale as the Harlequin bugs just won’t leave it alone.  Lettuce is down to just the crispy and sweet Summer Crisp in Red and Green.  Sweet Red Onions and Basil, just in time for tomatoes!  Flat Leaf Italian Parsley.

Betsy and the flower department are still producing an amazing amount of beautiful stems.  The first of the Lisianthus, queen of cut flowers, mostly in purple right now.  It is still Hydrangea season big time Annabelles and Nikko Blues!  Lots of fragrant Oriental lilies in yellow, pink and white.  Bunches of non-fragrant Asiatic Lilies.  Brilliant colored and long lasting Neon Amazon Dianthus.  The Zinnia flood rolls on, a true sign of summer. Sunflowers and a lot of Gloriosa Daisy (Black Eyed Susan).  Beautiful Bouquets!

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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