Peregrine Farm News Vol. 16 #9, 3/28/19

What’s been going on! 

Second morning in a row at 30 degrees.  Last week we had four mornings below freezing but the long term forecast has nothing below 32 degrees!  Now we never trust long term forecasts and we know that our last frost date is usually around April 20 and we will for sure have a close call or two but things are looking up!

In working the new plan for a shorter marketing season I had boldly scheduled the earliest tomatoes to go in the tunnels two weeks ago but as I have written earlier, they got a slow start and so did we on getting the tunnels moved.  Finally today is tomato planting day and on looking back over a number of years we have almost always planted them on this date or certainly this week so it must just be the proper time.

If you remember from the Big Reveal this will be the only planting of tomatoes we are doing this year and because we only have 400 feet of row in the little tunnels, the selection has been narrowed as well.  There will be all of the our (and your) favorites though with Cherokee Purple, Cherokee Green, Sungold, Big Beef, our new yellow tomato and some Italian Oxhearts; really what more does a person need?  Now we just have to wait two months.

Picture of the Week

P1050015 Frost on the Romaine Lettuce

 What’s going to be at Market? Continue reading

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 13 #8, 4/6/16

What’s been going on!

Trying to get the newsletter back on its regular Wednesday schedule and why not do it just in time for the first Wednesday afternoon Farmers’ Market.  Yes today from 3:00 to 6:00, it all starts again.  We will be there with the first lettuces of the season and Betsy’s beautiful flowers.

Cold this morning, 26 degrees, but all the tender crops are tucked under their protective blankets and look fine.  We are definitely getting our March winds and temperature swings only a bit late.  Looks like another serious shot on Saturday night too.

We are steadily working towards the main tomato planting under the Big Tops in two weeks.  The cover crop has been turned under and a layer of compost has been spread on each bed.  Next week we need to pull the plastic over the bows and get the final bed preparations done.  The plants look good in the greenhouse but as usual there is experimentation in the air.

We are once again working with a graduate student from NC State on a grafted tomato trial.  A decade ago, over several seasons, we grew some of the first grafted tomatoes in the US as NC State was beginning to work on the technique.  Just like it sounds and just like more commonly grafted fruit trees, the desirable variety is grafted to the top of a rootstock with the required trait, usually disease resistance but in this year’s trial, drought resistance.

The rootstocks we are looking at this year are capable of taking up more water than other tomatoes, could be important in either very dry areas or as climate change throws more droughts our way too.  All of the Cherokee Purples in the main planting will be in the experiment this year and you all will get to see and eat the results.

Pictures of the Week


Frost on the lettuce


Early tomatoes warm under their blankets

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 9 #6, 4/25/12

What’s been going on?
OK, time for things to settle down weather wise, last weeks cold snap was to be expected but this weeks cold, along with the high winds is more like March than almost May. 31 degrees on Tuesday morning, luckily the gusty winds of Monday died just at dark and Betsy and I were able to pull the big floating row covers over the tomato trellises and the first 2000 celosia plants and all was good. As soon as the wind picked back up yesterday it promptly blew the covers off of the tomatoes, even weighted down with bricks and metal T-posts. High winds all day again Tuesday and they didn’t really die at dark. The forecast was for 39 degrees and light winds so we nervously left the covers off, woke up to rain at 5:00 a.m. and knew we were safe.
Farm Tour weekend coming up and some of you astute observers may have noticed we are not on the tour this year, what!!?? Well after founding the tour seventeen years ago and being on it every year since, we decided it was time to take a break and maybe do something different. Not yet exactly sure what something different might be but we are planning on an open farm event or two this year so look forward to announcements of that, you know old dogs and new tricks take sometime to develop. Otherwise we plan to have a relaxing weekend and hope that all of you going on tour find interesting things at the 40 farms that are open this time around.

What is coming up fast, that we are involved with is this years Farm to Fork picnic, billed by Bon Appetit magazine as the “Country’s best all-you-can-eat feast”, it is much more than that. All of the great chefs, farmers and artisans, the huge tents, music and kids events cover up the fact that this is an important fundraiser for new farmer programs in North Carolina. All of the proceeds go to the farm incubator program at the Breeze farm (where the picnic is held) and to the beginning farmer and apprentice programs at the Center for Environmental Farming Systems in Goldsboro. Everyone involved in putting on this amazing event donate our time, products, and skills because it is so important to grow more local farmers to fill both the demand for local food but also to help stem the tide of an aging farm population ( I know I am one of them!). All you have to do is donate your palates and some money for a ticket, it is earlier this year, Sunday May 20th, so hurry because last year this event sold out in just a few days and tickets just went on sale a few days ago.

Picture of the Week
A frosty morning with the tomatoes under blankets and peas warming in the sun
What’s going to be at the market? Continue reading

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #3, 4/6/11

What’s been going on?

April always seems to be filled with events and this month is no exception. Only five days old and we have already had two college classes out to tour the farm and talk sustainable agriculture. Thursday Ben Barker from Magnolia Grill and I will be teaching a class at UNC called “Sustainability: Both sides of the Kitchen Door” where we will be talking about our businesses, sustainability and our 26 years of working together.

Monday night was the launch party for our friend Sheri Castle’s beautiful new cookbook “The New Southern Garden Cookbook“. You will know Sheri from cooking demonstrations at the Carrboro Farmers’ Market and have maybe taken a cooking class from her as well. She will be doing a cooking demo and book signing at market on April 30th and will be at the farm on Sunday of the Farm Tour (the 17th) to talk veggies and sign books too!

Definitely cookbook month, April. In addition to Sheri’s book our friends and customers Sarah Foster of Foster’s Market and Andrea Ruesing of Lantern Restaurant both have new books out. Sarah’s book “Southern Kitchen is an all-inclusive collection of Southern cooking in which simple feasts meet artisanal ingredients” Andrea’s first book is “Cooking in the Moment, a Year of Seasonal Recipes” also promises to give lots of tips for those who are shopping farmers’ markets and eating local food. We haven’t had a chance to leaf through either of these books but I am sure they will be great.

There are a lot more events coming this month but the big one on the horizon is the 16th Annual Farm Piedmont Tour, April 16th and 17th. Founded by Betsy, Weaver Street Market and Carolina Farm Stewardship Association (CFSA) it is now the largest tour of it’s kind in the country. Hard to find time to farm when all this is going on. Better start cleaning up now for the tour!

Picture of the Week

A frosty morning in the turnips, hopefully the last below 32 degrees

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

5/5/04 Vol. 1 #8

Happy Cinco de Mayo, too bad there aren’t any peppers to celebrate with!  Crazy week this one, way too much going on.  We barely missed the bullet last Wednesday morning as I last wrote.  I went out to find a heavy frost, the place was white!  All looked good and the tomatoes under the “Big Tops”, that we didn’t cover, looked unfazed; that would pay for those structures alone!  Whew!  It was great to see everyone out on the Farm Tour, a little damp but still a great turn out.  I may be getting old but it is a long weekend for us, especially Saturday following market, but we love to show folks were it all comes from and how we do it.  Lots of rain, 2.6 inches through Monday and things are good and wet now.  The new Poultry Villa is complete and ready for the 60 Heritage turkeys that are due tomorrow morning, it took some focused work to get there, hard to do when we have so many things going on.  Lots of folks have asked about ordering turkeys for Thanksgiving.  I will send out more info as we get a little closer to fall, don’t want to count those turkeys until they are hatched!  We are supposed to be planting peppers this week, one of the last Herculean tasks of the spring, I am thinking that due to the wet soil and hectic schedule that we will wait until early next week, I know, I know don’t worry the pepper roaster will make its debut on schedule.

Tomorrow is the launch of the first really new market in the family of markets that the Chapel Hill-Carrboro Farmers’ Markets operates in maybe 20 years.  While we have moved the original midweek market around town several times we have never operated more than two markets.  This new Thursday afternoon market (3:30-6:30) in Southern Village will be an great new addition.  It is being held on the green across from the Lumina theater where they show the outdoor movies in the summer.  The folks who run Southern Village have been great to work with and are excited to have us there.  Betsy and I are going to attempt to sell there as well, it will be a stretch as we have honed our production to meet our current market demand.  We plan to have most of the vegetables and a large flower selection.  Betsy even plans on being there to sell!

Picture of the Week
Green Boston Lettuce, this is the peak of the season