Peregrine Farm News Vol. 9 #29, 11/30/12

What’s been going on!

Serious cold mornings.  Sure there had been a few nights in the high 20’s early in the month, cold enough to kill the peppers and warm season weeds but we are moving into sustained cold nights now.  Starting with 19 degrees last Sunday morning we have been down in the low to mid 20’s every morning this week.  We joke sometimes that we should have named the place Polar Cap Farm because we are always so much colder than most of our fellow market farmers south of I-85.  I was at a meeting this week and several of them had just had their first killing frost on Sunday and were shocked that we had gotten so cold.  Just part of living down in the Haw River valley I guess.

Not only does this kind of cold kill the last of the warm season crops but combined with the day length below 10 hours it also essentially stops the growth of even the hardiest of the cool season crops, kind of puts them in the refrigerator for cold storage.  From here until late January, when the day length again goes past 10 hours, crops grow imperceptibly and we are basically harvesting what was grown during the fall and taking them out of “cold storage”.

One of the good things that happens is these cold hardy crops get sweeter.  The higher sugars are their anti-freeze, it helps to keep their cell walls from bursting when the water in the plants freezes overnight.  So while stocks will be dwindling, each bite will be better and better.  The farmer’s main job now is protecting these crops to keep them from getting too stressed from cold and wind.  The floating row covers are out and the sliding tunnels are closed up.

The sustained dry spell has been good for progress on the workshop project.  The floor system for the second story is done and this weekend I will get the second story walls up.  We are headed for having the roof on by the end of next week.  Cross your fingers.

Pictures of the Week

11-30-12 018

Weak sunshine tries to warm a cold morning

What’s going to be at the market?

We still have beautiful Celery.  Back for the season are Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes).  Might be the last of the Fennel for salads, goes well with the Celery.  Plenty of the incredible Baby Ginger to go with sweet potatoes or desserts.

Plenty of greens this week.  Lettuce- Green Boston, Romaine and maybe a few other types.  A little more Spinach, it looks great. Lacinato Kale, beautiful tender and sweet Collards.  Escarole for soups and salads.

It is root season with lots of Turnips, Easter Egg Radish and the storage Watermelon and Black Spanish Radishes.  A small supply of Red, Golden and the striped Chioggia Beets.  Plenty of sweet Carrots.  In Herbs we have Cutting Celery, Cilantro, Dill and Italian Parsley.

Still a fair amount of peppers. In sweet peppers there is a small supply of red and yellow bells. A lot of Green Bells.  Still some Spanish Piquillos.  In hot peppers from, least to hottest, we have Passillas, a few of the very rare Basque Esplettes, still some Anaheims, Poblanos, Serranos.

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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