Peregrine Farm News Vol. 18 #18, 12/20/21, Happy Holidays!

What’s been going on!

Dear Friends,

It has been far too long and although we have been slowly working away all summer and fall on the various projects around the farm we didn’t feel like we had enough progress to show until recently.  These early months of retirement have been glorious and just what we expected, a simple schedule that flows with our whims. 

We, like many of you, have not been able to travel as much as we would like but that time will come.  We have made a few, short, 3-4 day forays but are waiting on things to settle before committing to longer trips abroad.  We do have a two week trip to Norway planned for March but feel that will also have to be postponed for a year with the recent changes in the Covid situation.  Flexibility and adaptability is and has been, all our lives, our enduring motto.

Betsy has been working on a few pottery projects and cleaning out and organizing lots of our vast accumulated farm materials but mostly she has been having a great time with the “recreational” flower beds.  Rescuing, cleaning up, replanting, mulching and generally rethinking some of them.  Many trips to the plant nurseries for new material especially for the new 100’ X 16’ perennial border that flanks the new deer fence which we can use to grow climbing things on like roses and clematis.

Alex has been busy taking down the rest of the sliding tunnels, regrading and seeding the old production fields to grass and a wildflower/pollinator area.  Building the new, and final, deer fence and establishing the new gardens for food and cut flowers.  Plant materials have been ordered for spring planting of the new small fruits bed, the first time we have had raspberries and blackberries in nearly 30 years.  Maybe a little over the top but there will be 3 varieties each of raspberries and blackberries and some table grapes.  The new asparagus bed is ready too.  He has even slipped off for two long backpacking trips to Texas and a few shorter ones locally.

As many of you know we make almost weekly visits to the Farmers’ Market to check in and to get our people fix.  It has been great to run into many of our old friends and catch up some.  In this end of the year Holiday season we frequently think about how lucky we are to be in the place we are, in such fine fettle and with the luxury of doing what we dream of.  None of this would have been possible without all of you.

Pictures of the week

The before and after of the field transition from production to landscape

The new deer fence and perennial border

The before and after of the sliding tunnels to the food gardens, the small fruits bed in the foreground, mulched and ready to go.

Stay safe and well and we hope to see you all at the market or around town!

Alex and Betsy 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.

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 16, #25, 12/27/19, Happy New Years!

What’s been going on! 

As I sit here on a foggy Friday, at the end of the year, I think about how it is sort of an analogy to how this year has been.  Not in the dark or ominous or damp way but in the we can’t really see what’s ahead so what surprises are in store? way.  The decision to radically change our farming and life routines to part-year farming and semi-retirement was a bit of a leap into the unknown but has turned out mostly terrific.

The farming part of the season was the thing we were the most sure of and it went great and essentially according to plan.  We did feel the freedom of just being out here on our own, without any staff to manage or be timely too.  We have always loved the folks who worked with us but it is a whole other experience to have this beautiful, quiet place to ourselves and to work the schedule and hours that spoke to us.  A few days were more work than we wanted to do alone but generally we kept it to an amenable level.

Not going to Farmers’ Market the rest of the year seemed both wrong and liberating.  It was the first summer in 34 years that we did not stand behind a table and greet old and new friends alike and it was a bit disorienting for a while but we got over it pretty quickly, helped by almost weekly visits to the market to shop and get our people fix.  We certainly enjoyed not having to work in the field in the heat of summer.

The picture became less foggy with a wonderful late summer and fall of travel and kicking around here on the farm.  Great trips to the Rocky Mountain west and a family trip to Oaxaca, Mexico for the Day of the Dead celebrations were memorable and we have a couple more excursions over the next few weeks and then we settle in for the spring farming season.

And as we speculated it has been a bit of a mental lift to turn the crank and start up the farm for the next year after nearly 6 months off!  Fortunately it starts slowly with soil and bed preparations through the fall, then seedlings in the greenhouse and the first plantings which are smallish and spaced apart in time.  Easier to get the mind and body around the tasks that way.  The good news is the first beds of flowers look great and the first four plantings of Little Gem lettuce are in the tunnels along with Japanese Turnips and Radishes. The 39th season of Peregrine Farm is underway.

Because the Anemones look so good and are blooming earlier than they should be, we will be coming to market tomorrow to sell!  Mostly we want to be able to see all of you, wish you a happy New Years and as always thank you for making it possible for us to do what we do. If we don’t get to see you tomorrow we want you to know that without your support all these years and especially your kind words of encouragement as we head into this new phase, our lives would be much less enjoyable and certainly not as rich.

Pictures of the week

P1050100Anemones in the first morning light

IMG_20191102_094357Chiles and Mole in the market in Oaxaca

What’s going to be at Market? Continue reading

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 10 #38, 12/18/13 Winter Solstice edition.

What’s been going on!

Last newsletter of the year and as I have been working on the end of the year bookkeeping we are reminded of just how challenging a season it has been.  No disasters this year just too much wet weather for optimal growing conditions.  The old saying “A dry year will scare you to death; a wet year will starve you to death” rings true and we have always preferred the drier seasons even though we do sometimes worry about if we have enough water for irrigation.  The good thing for farmers is that there is always next year.

Preparations for 2014 are already underway with seedlings in the greenhouse, bulbs in the field and the seed catalogs rolling in.  The first tweaking’s of the planting schedule and crop mix has begun, most of it will be finalized in the coming weeks.  The most important piece of a successful year to come is already in place, great staff.  Jennie of course is here year round and doing a good job of keeping us straight, Liz will also be back for one more season albeit for fewer hours as her farm and life begin to require more of her attention.  It gives us great confidence and joy to know that they will be here.

We may be a bit irregular over the coming weeks both in newsletter and market attendance as we are headed into the meeting season and will be gone a fair amount.  Our plan is to be at market every Saturday in January and most of them in February but you will see different faces each week at our space as the three of us rotate through.  As the year ends and winter officially begins on Saturday (sure feels like it started weeks ago) it gives us great comfort in knowing that we have such wonderful support from all of you, it gives us a reason to go out every day and make things grow.  If we don’t get to say it on Saturday, thank you and have an enjoyable holiday season, we will see you in January.

Picture of the Week


A brilliant day with winter crops protected under their blankets

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 9 #32, 12/21/12 Winter Solstice edition

What’s been going on!

First day of winter and it roars in with authority.  We saw it coming and harvested some things yesterday while the weather was more amenable and then covered everything back up as best we could.  Most of the folks at market at this time of year have the majority of their crops under some kind of cover either a high tunnel (plastic) or floating row cover.  It is the “floating” part of row covers that make it a challenge in high winds like today.

Designed to be light enough to lay on top of the crops or slightly elevated with wire hoops it also billows in the wind easily.  There are no fool proof ways to weight it down but the best is either mesh bags filled with large gravel that you can almost throw into place or our favorite, bricks.  If you are careful with securing the windward edge then it only takes a brick every 20 feet or so.  These 30 foot wide sheets have a way of gathering the wind and we are not the only ones to have one become airborne and then land in the tops of the trees where they can hang for years.  Hopefully it will not happen to us today.

Last newsletter and market of 2012 and it has been quite an eventful year.  The crazy warm winter and the continuing drought punctuated with both the record number of 100 degree days in a row and the Big Storm that brought the Big Tops down would be enough.  We also had major changes in our routine with the closing of Magnolia Grill and then bringing Jennie on year round and a shift to year round production.  Through it all you have supported us at market and in many other ways and we cannot thank you enough, it is what keeps us excited and engaged in what we do.  If we don’t see you tomorrow at market have a great and enjoyable holiday season!

Pictures of the Week

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 A blustery first day of winter

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Anemones warm inside the little tunnels

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