Peregrine Farm News Vol. 12 #8, 4/23/15

What’s been going on!

Earth Day yesterday.  For us, every day is Earth Day, we have spent most of our lives working to make our environment better, to manage the small piece of the earth that we are the caretakers for in a way that will make it as good or better when we pass it on and to educate others on how to do what we do.  Thinking globally, acting locally.

Betsy and I were 13 when the first Earth Day happened, an impressionable age for sure but we both had grown up running wild in the outdoors that surrounded our homes.  We played in the creeks, walked the hills, examined the frogs and flowers and trees and we could feel the changes being wrought on the natural world.  It is a large part of why we became farmers, to live and work outside but in an intentional way.

The first Earth Day was 45 years ago.  20 years ago Betsy had an idea that people would better understand what we do as sustainable farmers if they could come to the farm and see for themselves.  Teaming with Weaver Street Market for their Earth Day celebrations and CFSA as a fundraiser for their work the Piedmont Farm Tour was born.

The Farm Tour is this weekend and we are back on after a three year hiatus to help mark that 20th year.  Saturday and Sunday afternoons 2:00-6:00, rain or shine (looks a bit damp for Saturday).  If you have never been on the tour, it is a self-guided tour that includes 40 farms (no, you will not be able to see them all) for only $30 per car.  Stuff as many folks as you want into one vehicle and come on out.

Picture of the Week

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The magnificent Viburnum Macrocephalum at their peak for the Farm Tour

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #5, 4/20/11

What’s been going on?

Interesting Farm Tour this year. Saturday was a bit odd and at times tense with the storms moving through. We were very fortunate to just receive a very intense down pour with just a little bit of wind following it. We feel for all of those folks east of here that received the brunt of the storms, clean up is always hell. To be expected our Saturday crowd was small but dedicated, the Sunday visitors made up for it with gusto. Great folks both days but the Sunday tourees were reveling in the beautiful day and we had great discussions on all topics related to sustainable agriculture and farm life.

Busy weeks now. Today is tomato planting day and our first Wednesday market. I have spent the last part of the morning drawing up the map of where the nearly 1000 plants will go. “Only” fifteen varieties this year but the field that they are in, along with the edge effect of the Big Tops (more water on the side beds than the middle ones) dictates careful placement. Some can take extra water, like the Romas and Big Beefs. Some have to be protected in the middle like the Sun Golds and Striped Germans. The varieties that are new or we don’t grow a lot of need to be on the end we pick from so we can keep a close eye on them. Which ones will do best in the bit of heavy soil on the far corner? It is never perfect but the die has been cast.

Earth Day on Friday and today is the one year anniversary of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, kind of polar opposites. We think often of the impact of that spill on such a important and vibrant ecosystem and what the unknown long term effects will be on the area and it’s residents. It will be easy to lose track of that disaster as it leaves the news but I think we will be reminded at least each year on it’s anniversary which maybe will make Earth Day seem even more relevant as time goes on. Makes us even more committed to doing the best job we can with this piece of land that we are the temporary stewards of. OK, off to plant tomatoes.

Picture of the Week

Tomato transplants marching to the horizon

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Peregrine Farm News Vol 7 #7, 4/21/10

What’s been going on?

Wow! Too many things to write about this week but I’ll try and focus. I would be remiss though not to mark tomorrows 40th anniversary of Earth Day. While there are many reasons that Betsy and I ended up farming and in a sustainable manner, this one event in April of 1970 certainly stands out as an important influence. We were thirteen then and the stirrings of the environmental movement were all around us and our minds were moldable. Of course we didn’t know each other back then but we both ended up pursuing educations in the environmental sciences. We wanted to be able to work outdoors, in the country side and in the end leave our surroundings in better condition than when we started. 40 years later we are still trying, where is that original Earth Day button I had?

The Piedmont Farm Tour is this weekend and is always held on the weekend closest to Earth Day. Originally started as a change of events for Weaver Street Market’s Earth Day celebration, they came to us and we got together with Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) to put on a tour to showcase the farmers at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market. Now 15 years later there are 40 farms from all over the NW Triangle area and it is the single largest fundraising event CFSA has. It is a self guiding tour, pick up a map at lots of locations (like the farmers markets) and head to the first farm you want to see and buy your all access button there. You can buy your buttons in advance and save $5 at places like Weaver St. Market. Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 1:00-5:00, come see what we are up to this year. Let the mowing begin.

Busy week on the farm. Last Thursday the first of the turkeys arrived. After a year hiatus raising birds we are back at it and you can read more here. They are happy and growing well. We are lurching towards tomato planting next week and yesterday pulled the plastic over the first three bays of the Big Tops that will protect the big planting from diseases. The rest of this week will include installing the irrigation, mulch and trellises. Today the guys are moving up the 2500 or so pepper seedlings into their larger containers to grow on until planting time in about three weeks. Also yesterday I finally finished the rebuilding of the Stand that collapsed under the snow in January, just in time for the Farm Tour as promised. The big issue right now is it would be nice to get some real rain, this pitiful spitting this morning doesn’t count.

Picture of the Week

Moving pepper plants up to larger containers, a good rainy day activity

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