Peregrine Farm News Vol. 11 #16, 6/27/14

What’s been going on!

So I am torn.  Every year during June, when we have some of the first tomatoes of the season we have customers ask “are these greenhouse tomatoes?” or “are these from the field?”.  I understand the intent of the question, true greenhouse tomatoes are specific varieties bred for indoor generally lower light conditions, grown in bags of sterile potting soil, fertilized through the drip irrigation line, in an artificially heated structure.  The result is beautiful looking tomatoes that taste OK, better than the standard grocery store tomato, but not great.

While ours are grown under a single layer of plastic that is the only similarity with a “greenhouse”.  In our minds they are field grown tomatoes because they are “grown in the dirt” as my brother always used to say when asked that same question.  Flavor and texture in a tomato is mostly due to variety, how they are managed and the soil they grow in.  After years of variety trails (we have grown nearly 200 different ones) we have arrived at the ones that taste the best and produce well in our conditions.  We manage the soil and the plants the same way we always have for field production only we now have covered that field with clear plastic roofs for two reasons.  Disease control is the primary reason, so the plants will live and produce for a longer period of time.  The other reason is we can control the water to them just right both for best fruit quality and intensity of flavor.  Like any fruit, too much water and it dilutes the flavor.  Yes the plastic also allows us to have tomatoes a few weeks earlier than what we normally could do in the open field.

So like many such farming questions that blend many things into one we choose our replies carefully, if we have the time we will explain our system and how it is we have tomatoes so early, if not we just say “yes they are field grown”.  However folks take it, the result is in the fruit and it is starting to ripen fast now, don’t miss out!

Picture of the Week

6-27-14 002

The cover crop that will feed next seasons tomatoes, next to this years under a layer of plastic but grown in great dirt.

What’s going to be at the market?

Here come the Tomatoes!  Plenty of great red Big Beefs.  A huge amount of German Johnsons, the heirloom of the Piedmont.  Good volume in Cherokee Purples.  In yellows we have Orange Blossoms, Kellogg’s Breakfast and a few of the higher acid Azoychka.  The first of the Striped Germans and Green Cherokees.  Cherries galore with the best tasting Sungolds, yellow and pink mixed, Black Cherries and a great mix of yellow, red and green Blush types, very sweet.  Even the first small amounts of Romas and Oxheart sauce types.

We are having a lettuce gap for a week or so but we do have some Little Gem and a bit of Oakleaf.  The last of the Lacinato Kale.  The first of the cured sweet Red Onions.  The last of the Leeks till fall.  Basil along with Chives and Italian Parsley.  Fennel and Cucumbers!  Lots of Carrots.

Lisianthus is back!  Long lasting mostly in purple this week.  Lots of fabulous fragrant Oriental lilies and non-fragrant but deeply colored Asiatic Lilies.  Remember that 4.5” of rain a month ago?  Means no brilliant Zinnias for a week or so.  Bright Dianthus.  Of course 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, Betsy and Jennie

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.

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One thought on “Peregrine Farm News Vol. 11 #16, 6/27/14

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