What’s been going on!
Yet another grey morning, just like most of the past week it seems. Hard to get excited about trying to get much work done in the field, but we must none the less. The time off seemed to be beneficial especially for Jennie and Liz who have come back with a bounce in their steps. We had our usual mostly odds and ends break with some work and small projects and a few days away. The workshop move-in has gone well, the bulk of all the tools and supplies have been brought from the various buildings around the farm and the preliminary sort has been done. The shelves for all the nuts and bolts are nearly full with all of the matching peanut butter jars (picture of OCD to follow some day). The workbench is built and more work surfaces are still to come but for now we can let it go.
A sad week too. Our long time market neighbor Gary Murray of Sunset Farms finally lost his long battle with cancer. A farmers’ market is like a neighborhood, you don’t get much choice on who moves in next door or down the street and some of those you like and some you don’t but you end up adjusting to their habits. For 28 years, almost as long as we have been married, we have sold across from or next to Gary and family. They have been the best neighbors possible: agreeable, cooperative, fun and respectful.
In many ways Gary and Sunset Farms is a typical example of the changing face of North Carolina agriculture over the past 30 years from a tobacco dominated one to a very diverse industry. While I am not sure if they ever grew tobacco I am sure he grew up around it. For some years he worked in the “new” poultry industry as a field man, working with growers of chicken and turkeys. He finished his “public work” with the Natural Resources Conservation Service again working with farmers on all sorts of soil conservation and farm improvement projects. Through all this he worked the family farm alongside his father and later his son Chris. He saw the changes in farming up close as he worked with other farmers around the county and he brought many new ideas back to his own operation.
They have grown just about everything from traditional grain crops, through vegetables to livestock. Gary slowly moved away from conventional farming techniques and pesticides to the use of cover crops, crop rotations and other more sustainable practices, never with a preaching or I told you so attitude but he just did it because he thought it was a better way. Their son Chris grew up wanting to farm, ended up with a masters in Soil Science and eventually came back to the farm full time. He carries on Gary’s search for new crops and environmentally sound ways to grow them. They will continue to be our great market neighbors for many years to come. Our thoughts go out to Wanda, Chris and Jamie and the rest of the family.
Picture of the Week
Beautiful orange Corno di Toros
What’s going to be at the market?
We will be! Back today, Wednesday, for probably the last time this season and back with the pepper roaster on Saturday, let the roasting begin!
The flower department is down to the fall line-up. It is all about Celosia in all it’s intense colors and shapes. The supporting cast this week are Limelight hydrangeas still really big and beautiful from all the water they have received. A few late season Zinnias and of course Beautiful Bouquets.
Finally enough sweet colored fruit to begin roasting. The first of the Red Bells but a good volume of Red, Yellow and Orange sweet Corno di Toro’s. Rounding out the sweet peppers are Purple Bells and Cubanelles. In hot peppers a good amount of Anaheim and Poblanos for roasting and other uses. In the rest of the hots we have Passillas, Jalapenos, Serranos, the first of the Picante Pimentos and Cayennes. In not or rarely hots the first of the Aji Dulce (the habanero without the heat) and the appetizer Japanese Shishitos and Spanish Padrons.
It is the beginning of the transition to cool season crops with a few Radishes and a new Asian green Yukina Savoy a very mild mustardy flavor with the texture of spinach. Sweet Red Onions and the last of the Long Red of Tropea Italian cooking onion. Still nice Basil. A few more Italian heirloom Eggplant but the plants are taking a beating in this rainy weather. It is a Fig year for sure, still producing.
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
If you know folks who you think would be interested in news of the farm then please feel free to forward this to them and encourage them to sign up at the website.
Look forward to seeing you refreshed after your two weeks away!
Sent from my iPhone
Happy belated old man! Sorry to have missed the cover crop workshop, we wanted to be there. Hard for me to sit in one place for very long at this point! Those peppers are stunning, what lucky customers you have. Hope you and Betsy are doing well, and so sorry to hear the news about Gary. We were unaware he was battling cancer, he will be missed; he was always such a sweetheart.
Thanks, just another day. The workshop went well, not sure you would have learned much new.
Gary had recurring bouts with abdominal things, liver etc. He is better off now.
Hope to see you all sometime, take it easy with that new baby,
Peregrine Farm Graham, NC http://www.peregrinefarm.net