Peregrine Farm News Vol. 12 #17, 7/1/15

What’s been going on!

5” of rain in the last 5 days, that’s enough for now thank you, at least the wicked heat wave has broken.  Unfortunately it looks like a good chance of rain every day for the next week.  Mostly it makes it hard to get any kind of outdoor planting done.  The really sad thing is most people’s tomato crops are out in the field and if they get this much rain not only does it make the foliar diseases start to run up the plants but the ripening fruit will split open making them unsellable.  The beauty of the Big Tops is we can avoid most of those problems or at least slow them down, good thing as we are nearing the peak of our tomato harvest.

Let’s talk 4th of July market.  This will be the third time in the 20 years since the market moved to Town Hall that the Saturday market has been on July 4th.  When that happens the market is moved out onto Main Street in front of Town Hall so they can set up for the afternoons holiday celebrations on the Town Commons.  It is quite a festive atmosphere out on Main Street with all the vendors jumbled up in random sequence.  The hours are shortened to 10:30 so we can get out of the way before the parade arrives at the Town Commons.

Make sure you come down to market early and enjoy the shady cool of the morning under the trees along Main Street and get all the good food for your afternoon festivities.  Here is information about parking and the hours, it is all very easy.  Make sure to look for us, probably somewhere in the middle of the pack!

Pictures of the Week

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A gray, wet morning but happy tomatoes under the Big Tops

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2009 4th of July market on Main Street

What’s going to be at the market? Continue reading

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 11 #17, 7/2/14

What’s been going on!

Last Friday I woke up in the middle of the night with the realization that this coming Friday was the 4th of July.  It completely slipped up on us.  Not so much from the “Woohoo! It’s a holiday” kind of thing but more from a small business persons perspective of how do we manage the schedule with markets on Wednesday before and Saturday right after.  Everyone’s normal patterns will be upended, restaurants will be closed some days, people going to the beach or mountains, parties going on, oh and now a hurricane will be brushing the coast and bringing rain (hopefully) here on Thursday.

The potential of some real rain is actually much welcomed as the dry conditions are holding us back from both getting the remains of the spring crops turned under and cover crops planted but we also need a good soaking of next year’s tomato field so we can get it covered with the big sheets of clear plastic to cook the fusarium wilt disease out of the soil.  We did not have a chance to solarize this year’s field and we are already losing a lot of plants to the disease especially German Johnsons, Italian Oxhearts and Kellogg’s Breakfast.

Crops don’t know about holidays so we roll on their needs.  Fortunately after this week’s mow down of the last of the spring crops it is all about picking tomatoes and flowers and keeping the rest watered and growing well.  Tomato picking is a Monday and Thursday morning job and believe it or not this may well be the peak week, already.  There is already a thousand pounds in the packing shed from Mondays harvest and maybe as many coming Thursday.  We will act a bit like Friday is a holiday, at least the tomatoes will be in the house and we will take a relaxed approach to getting ready for Saturday market, see you there.

Picture of the Week

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Beautiful Lisianthus flanked by soon to be ready Celosia

What’s going to be at the market? Continue reading

7/4/07 Vol. 4 #16

A holiday today, well kind of.  Cov and Elizabeth are off today and we are taking the afternoon off but only after a morning of irrigating, flower cutting, mowing, tilling and a few other regular jobs.  Then later on we will head over to my sisters house for a little grilled food, adult beverages and cut throat croquet.  Our contribution to the meal is of course produce, especially the tomatoes.  This is the first full week of the big tomato harvest as we have picked at least a few of every single variety for this year, twenty in all.  So we will arrive with a large platter, the colors of the tomato rainbow- reds of Big Beef and Early Picks; yellows of Orange Blossom, Kellogg’s Breakfast, Nebraska Wedding, Azoychka and Sun Golds; the pink of German Johnson and the yellow and red stripes and swirls of Striped Germans; dark deep red of Cherokee Purple playing off the bright greens of Aunt Ruby’s, Green Giant and Green Zebras.  The juices of the sweet and fruity ones mixing with the higher acid kinds.

This is the great reward after months of careful tending.  It is always fun to introduce the new staff to the different varieties and their nuances of flavor and ripening habits.  Every Monday and Thursday we spend the mornings picking the 1600 feet of row.  Everyone becomes a specialist in certain varieties.  Cov is in charge of reds, learning to not pick them too green as they take forever to get fully ripe and can hang on the plants longer than all the others.  Only unblemished Italian sauce tomatoes are put in the box, no “freaks” with them.  The German Johnsons are much more tender so he has to change gears when he gets to them.  Elizabeth is the Cherokee Purple queen, fully 500 feet of row to pick and sort, they have the most difficult stems to remove with out damaging the fruit and sometimes one must resort to using needle nosed pliers to pull them off.  She is also responsible for the Orange Blossoms and if she gets done with the purples quickly helps me with the three other yellow kinds.  I start with the monster Striped Germans, so large that it takes two hands to pick them, carefully extracting them from between the vines and the trellis wires trying to not scar them.  I then move to the green-when-ripes, interpreting if it still green or if it has just enough golden cast to it to be picked.  The Sun Gold cherries are a shared job by who ever gets done first.

Bucket after bucket is brought to the back of the truck where each fruit is inspected and wiped with a cloth, sorted into three boxes by color and quality or set aside in the “have to eat today pile”.  The knife comes out as we get the first of the new varieties and slices are sampled between cleaning tomatoes.  Surprise at a high acid yellow tomato, amazement at the beauty of the interior of the bi-colored ones with red swirls through the fruity flavored yellow flesh, the reassuring solid full flavor of a Cherokee Purple, popping Sun Golds as one walks by the row that has them.  Finally finished we slowly drive the load down to the packing shed and the air conditioning to keep them from ripening too fast.  Stacks of boxes by variety and ripeness are built, long rows that run around the room.  Finally bags are filled with the “have to eat today” fruit and the staff heads home, stained a sticky green from rubbing up against the tomato foliage, talking about tomato sandwiches, salsa and gazpacho for lunch and dinner.  Life is good.

Picture of the Week
A great set of Cherokee Purples