Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #4, 3/16/18

What’s been going on!

Good trip to New Orleans the beginning of the week and the focused meeting of experienced cut flower growers was an interesting look at where people are in their operations and in planning for the future.  For the most part we are much farther down the road in that planning than anyone else who was in the room and our talk about what we are doing with Jennie was well received.

Back at the farm the staff has started working more each week with this past week really the true beginning of their season. We almost always start them with getting ready for planting the early tomatoes in the sliding tunnels.  While they have helped plant onions and early lettuce, some pruning and mulching of blueberries it is the bed preparation and building tomato trellis that really marks the full emersion into the Peregrine Farm style of production.

Starting with two new people takes a bit more time but Lacee and Jacob are jumping in with enthusiasm and picking it all up quickly.  Both have worked on some other farms but come from two different back grounds, Lacee more from the restaurant world and Jacob from academia having just graduated from NCSU with a masters in Agroecology.  Together we should once again have a great team this year!

Picture of the Week


Jacob and Lacee putting down landscape fabric

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #3, 3/9/18

Betsy and I are headed to New Orleans next week to a cut flower conference to talk about our farm transition to Jennie so what better time for the next part in the series about our farm transition process.

The early Plan

In those weekly meetings through the summer of 2012 we talked about our needs and desires and we talked hard about money.  The first thing we needed to know was how much money did Jennie need to make, what was her budget and could this tiny farm afford it and keep Betsy and me alive too?  She went home and carefully calculated what her expenses were if she could live on the farm without rent, utilities and health insurance but with her school and car loans.

The number she came back with was surprisingly close to what we paid her as a part time hourly employee.  We then said well let’s come up with a plan to make that additional income.  Since 2000 we had been going to market only about 30 weeks a year and not growing fall or overwintered crops so Jennie came up with a crop plan for fall and winter production with estimated yields and income which showed we could cover that gap and some.  We all agreed to go for it that fall and see if it could be done.  These were also early tests of her thinking processes and practicality.

At the same time we worked on a five year plan and loose agreement between the three of us that outlined the general principles (and questions we needed answers to) that had come out of our meetings.  The timeline was through 2016 when Betsy and I would turn 60 and in 2017 we would begin to reduce our hours in the field.  It included dates for when Jennie would begin to receive various benefits and shares of stock in the corporation.

The first benefit we needed to provide was a huge one, a place for her to live on the farm.  We designed a comfortable one bedroom apartment above a workshop on the other side of the farm from our house that she could be happy in for some years to come.  In October we poured the foundations and started building.  By July 2013, she moved onto the farm and began to receive a salary that reflected her budget.  We then continued to proceed with the rest of the plan.

Yet to come becoming business partners and learning to let go…

Picture of the Week

P1040103 There is more produce coming soon, really

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #2, 3/2/18

What’s been going on!

Scary windy day and looks like it might still be a bit blustery tomorrow at Market too.  March is always a windy month but this is a bit more than normal.  It is additionally difficult this time of year because most produce farmers have huge covers out to protect young plants from sudden cold or to help with germination and plant survival.  These big sheets of fabric or plastic love to get airborne in high winds so a lot of energy and effort will be expended to weigh them down.  Don’t want to see them fly off to the next county.

Betsy and I had a great trip to New Mexico and Arizona.  We planned it around a visit to one of our original shareholders and big supporters of Peregrine Farm in its inception and early days who now lives in Tucson.  We flew into Albuquerque so we could tour some and eat lots of green chile!  It took us a few days to drive over to Tucson and then Dottie took us to some really beautiful places.  Of course we also visited the best of the Tucson Farmers’ Markets.  Really nice market near the peak of their season with lots of vendors including one roasting peppers!  He did not grow his own and said they were from Mexico at this time of year.

On the farm, Jennie and crew have been going hard composting beds and getting the first outdoor crops in the ground.  The peas are up and look good, same with radishes, turnips and lettuce transplants too.  So we are off and running after the really long, wet stretch.  The record warm weather last week helped a lot but it is a bit unsettling for this early in the season.

Picture of the Week


Row cover trying to blow off, peas and more looking good

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #1, 2/14/18, A New Year

What’s been going on!

Wow!  That was a long winters nap but we are still alive and will be coming back to market this Saturday!  It has been a busy month and a half with lots of meetings, travel and time around the woodstove too.

We all had quiet and enjoyable holidays and then Betsy and I had our annual trip to the Southern Foodway Alliance’s Taste of the South event and meeting of the Fellowship of Southern Farmers, Artisans and Chefs the first weekend in January.  Jennie got away a couple of times and then she and I went to the Southern Sustainable Agriculture Working Group conference in Chattanooga where we presented, for the first time ever, our experience and tips about farm transition.  That was only the first 3 weeks of January.

The weather has been busy and challenging too.  That 200 hours of below freezing temperatures the first week of January pretty much killed everything we had out in the field while the crops in the tunnel mostly escaped unharmed but that is why we have not been at market lately.  The ten inches of snow followed by what has been too much rain, has made getting ready for spring field planting difficult to impossible.  We have been taking extraordinary measures including huge tarps, to try and dry fields out so we will be ready to turn some soil this coming week.  Cross your fingers.

Jennie has been busy in the greenhouse seeding and in the sliding tunnels planting and seeding early crops. She has also been tweaking the annual crop plan, ordering seeds and generally getting everything ready to roll into spring.  We are also happy to say that we have found two new folks to work with us this season and are excited to have them start next month.  Here we go again!

Pictures of the Week


Another gray day, trying to keep soil dry


Anemones are back!

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