Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #11, 4/28/17

What’s been going on!

River up river down.  Another big rain event in the books.  Seems like so many over the years that it is hard to keep track anymore.  When we cleared the bottom field in the early 80’s it was in the middle of an historic drought and we never thought about it flooding.  In April 1987, right after we had the bulldozer in to take the stumps out, came one of the highest crests of the river ever recorded at 27 feet.  At the time we did not realize how high it really was.

We always watch the river gauge at Haw River, about 18 miles upstream from the farm, to get a feel for how high the water might back the half mile up our creek and into the field and possibly over the irrigation pump.  Flood stage in Haw River is 18 feet, if it gets to 20 we start paying attention, if it gets to 22 we probably will need to pull the irrigation pump out.  Tuesday it got to 23.4, the 15th highest since records began in 1929.  The pump came up the hill at 7:00 a.m.

After that first big flood in 1987 we then had a few more years of dry conditions and no high water.  In early 90’s that all changed and we had water up into the fields every year from 1991 until 1998 but mostly in very early spring before much was planted, it worried us but we always managed to have good summer crops.  That all changed in June 1995 when the remnants of a tropical storm sent the Haw to its 3rd highest ever over 28 feet.  It took our entire tomato crop.  The next year was Hurricane Fran at the highest ever recorded at nearly 33 feet!  In the 36 years we have been here there have been at least 13 times the river has backed up on us.

After that we stopped growing our major crops in the bottom and moved them all 60 feet higher, up on the hill, even though the most fertile soil we have is down there.  This week’s flood is a fairly minor one in our books and we will still be able to plant the winter squash down there in a week or so.

Pictures of the Week


Tuesday evening high point, the pump would have been under 2 feet of water


Hurricane Fran, 1996, the 500 year flood level

What’s going to be at the market?

Crepe paper like Poppies are back!  Dutch Iris too, in blue and yellow.  Last week for the amazing Ranunculus run.  Fragrant Oriental Lilies and Stock.  Betsy’s beautiful Bouquets as always!

Lots of Little Gem Lettuces this week along with red and green Summer Crisp, Green Boston and Romaine.  Escarole is back for the spring!  Braising mix and some lovely Spinach.  Lacinato Kale, really nice this early.  A ton of Broccoli Raab!

Beets!  Red, Golden and Italian striped Chioggia.  Plenty of Red Radishes and sweet Japanese Salad Turnips.  Cilantro and Dill.

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.  Just so you know, sometimes not everything listed will be at the Wednesday market.

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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