Peregrine Farm News Vol. 18 #10, 3/12/21

What’s been going on!

Betsy and I are very excited that we will be getting our Covid vaccines tomorrow after market!  We know that even with the “jab” we all will still need to be cautious for some time to come but there does seem to be a collective sigh of relief all around from family to customers to our restaurant friends, I think the spring weather does not hurt the optimism either.

I have been thinking about what a tremendous job the Carrboro Farmers’ Market has done this past year in adapting to the crisis and in keeping all of us as safe and fed as possible while staying open.  When all this hit a year ago, Maggie, our great manager was only weeks on the job and immediately shifted anything and everything that was required and has continued, along with her equally capable assistant Laura, to make shopping at the market one of the safest places in the entire Triangle or farther.

The Board of the Farmers’ Market has also done an incredible job in working with Maggie, the Town and the County Health Department to adapt our rules for the situation, supporting Maggie and being generally flexible.  They never missed a beat including continuing to hold their monthly meetings after market, no matter the weather or season.

The Town of Carrboro has been a great partner all along; helping with volunteers, signage and other support.  Working with the County Health Department and our advocate and infectious disease expert, Peter Gilligan, we were among the first in the country to implement a spread out set up, one way traffic in the market, one entrance and exit to the market, free masks, sanitation stations and more.  So much so that we have been held up as an example of how it can be done.

The members of the market have adapted as well but we are all looking forward to when the market can get back to normal with more vendors attending, where we can set up in our old spaces and build the big displays we are used to, bring in new farmers and products and finally have the time to visit and talk farming and gardening and food.

Of course all of you who come to the market to shop have done a great job too with wearing your masks, keeping distance, queuing out of the way and generally being safe.  It is yet another reason we have been able to stay open and that Orange County has possibly the lowest positive case rate in the State.  Keep it up, get your shots and we might be back to some kind of normal by the fall!

Picture of the week

More things coming in a few weeks- escarole, red leaf, green Boston, red Little Gem and romaine lettuces

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 17 #21, 6/10/20 The Tomato Issue

What’s been going on! 

If you want tomatoes there is a lot of info below, read carefully. 

The tomatoes are coming!  The tomatoes are coming!  Normally this heralds one of our favorite times of year but this year I have had many sleepless nights trying to figure out how we are going to safely and effectively sell this wonderful crop.  For decades we have relied on our customers to pick out the fruits they want, bag them and hand them to us to weigh.  We can’t do that with Covid-19, we cannot let a bunch people handle the tomatoes.

Everyone has their idea of what the best tomato is- size, firmness, ripeness, etc.  This year you are going to have to rely on us to be the experts (because we are) and make that decision for you.  We will not pre-bag tomatoes either, that is a waste of time, energy, resources, is not good for the fruit in the long run, and you don’t really get what you want.  We want the stars of the summer season to shine as much as they can.

Here is how it will work:

Online– we will only put part of the harvest in the online store to make sure we have some available for those who want to see them and buy them at market.  We pick Monday and Thursday mornings and will update the online store again Thursday afternoon once we know how many more we have in stock.  If they are sold out on Wednesday, check back on Thursday.

We will put limits on how many can be ordered online.  You will order by variety and by the pound.  Most of the varieties are about 2 fruits to a pound but can be 1 to 3.  We will do our best to get the weight close to the amount you order.  If you order larger amounts, expect some part ripe fruit in the mix to ripen later in the week on your counter at home.

Email Pre-orders– tell us what you want and we will have it ready at market for you.  Same pay instructions as below.

At Market– The tomatoes will be displayed on our front table, you will indicate what size and how many you want, we will pick them out and weigh them.  If you are paying with cash the total will be rounded to the nearest dollar, usually up.  We are taking no coins at market.  If paying by credit card then we can charge the scale price.

The line will form around the side of our stall, out into the grass.  You will be able to see what is available as you move along, please have an idea of what you want before you get to the front.  Know that many varieties will sell out early.  Imagine that you are at a market in Europe where you are not allowed to touch the produce.

Suffice it to say that our tomatoes are better than any you have had since last summer and probably since you ate one of ours.  We have a very limited supply this week but it will increase quickly over the next two weeks.  Patience my friends, patience.

To update our fundraising to contribute to Campaign Zero to help end police violence in America, we had another impressive week helped with more large donations from Ellie and Jim, Johanna and others.  The total for the month is now at $455.  Thank you all!

Picture of the week

P1050585A tunnel full of cukes and basil

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 17 #12, 4/8/20

What’s been going on! 

We hope that you all are getting out and enjoying this incredible spring weather that is much too warm for this early, this is at least the end of April weather if not early May!  Not surprising with the very warm winter we had.  I have always said, warm winter, hot summer and the Climate Prediction Center agrees with me.  All of the three month forecasts are for above normal temperatures through at least September.  An indication that we are far advanced over a normal spring are the crops that are maturing at least two weeks ahead of last year.

With warm weather comes the need to water all the crops.  The change comes fast from nearly too wet in February and March to one day it is imperative to get some water out there and fast.  Last Friday afternoon after harvesting and before putting all the pre-orders together I set up the outdoor headlines with micro sprinklers and some drip lines and not a minute too soon.

We again want to commend everyone for the tremendous job they are doing at market- the customers, the Town of Carrboro and the vendors.  The Town has really been going above the call with volunteers, signage and more.  The vendors are changing just about everything they have ever done by moving to new locations, whole new display set ups, taking pre-orders and sanitation procedures.  It has all worked because the customers have been so supportive and patient with keeping their distance, following the traffic pattern, pre-ordering and wearing face masks.  Together we will all get through the next several months and be able to eat and enjoy the spring bounty.

Picture of the week

P1050483Micro-sprinklers throwing water to the Little Gems and Fennel.

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 17 #11, 4/1/20

What’s been going on! 

We have never seen anything quite like the surge of new interest in the market and our produce and flowers.  After 9/11 with all of the uncertainty that event provided around the safety of the food supply we did see a ground swell of people who found the market to be a place of community support as well as good, clean food.  When other businesses were taking some hits, the market stayed strong.

Now nearly two decades later we have another destabilizing event that is even more crazy and widespread.  With the internet now in full bloom, people are even more able to find better and alternative food sources as the grocery stores can’t get or stock enough food especially produce and meat.  With our new online ordering we have had a large number of folks both ordering and signing up for the newsletter, some of whom we have never met before, welcome to all of you!

While the Carrboro Farmers’ Market is the town square and community building place the difference during this shakeup is we cannot take the time or the proximity to form the relationships and soak in the good will and security the market provides.  It will be through online sources like this newsletter and our website that we will have to use to get to know each other.  Dive in look/read around.

This is what local food is all about, good food, produced nearby by people you know and trust.  Minimal transport and handling before it gets to you.  I have been in the grocery stores and their produce departments are bare and I have had customers tell me they have tried to order lettuce from a store and twice they were either sold out or it just didn’t show up in their order.

That is not to say that we and the other local farmers, will not have supply problems as none of us planned or planted to be able to replace what the grocery stores usually have but you can be assured we will bring everything we have to market and do our best to keep you informed of what is available.

Good week on the farm, we got the peas trellised, slid the last of the tunnels over the beds that will soon be planted to cucumbers and basil, planted yet more lettuce and cultivated most of the spring vegetables.  The trees are greening up, the dogwoods and redbuds are putting on a great show, we hope that you can get out and enjoy the spring beauty, just stay 6 feet away from your fellow man!

Picture of the week

P1050475Trellised peas and lots of other good things to come

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