Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #39, 12/21/18 The Winter Solstice edition

What’s been going on! 

The first day of winter, woohoo!  Yet again a gray and wet day as we are on our way to or have eclipsed already the wettest year ever recorded depending on the weather station you look at.  We are well ready for this season to be finished.  When I left two weeks ago I had no idea that we would get 11 inches of snow plus rain and ice.  I felt guilty as Betsy was home doing a great job of keeping the little tunnels cleaned off and the power went out for a day and a half.  Just to cap off the year.

A good walk in the desert and time to reflect on where we have been and where Peregrine Farm is going.  Despite the crazy weather season it has been a pretty good year thanks to the dedicated folks we work with and to all of you who support us no matter how bad the conditions at market might be or sometimes how irregular the harvest might seem.  We are grateful for such a brilliant community.

We are appreciative of the time we have spent with Jennie and honored to be able to continue to work this beautiful and productive piece of the earth.  We really hope to see you tomorrow at market to wish you a warm and enjoyable Holiday season.  If not we will see you sooner than it seems in February!

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The bones of the farm, ready for winter

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #38, 12/5/18

What’s been going on! 

Three more markets and then the 2018 season will be in the books.  Of course the 2019 season is already underway with flower bulbs in the ground and flats of lettuce up in the greenhouse.  We spent parts of the last two days preparing beds in the first of the sliding tunnels to be planted and next week the first lettuce plants will go in to hopefully be ready for mid February.  The 38th year of growing for Peregrine Farm has started.

Looks like a really cold and damp stretch ahead with high temperatures hardly rising above 50 degrees for nearly 10 days and maybe snow on Sunday and or Monday?  Colder than we have been used to lately and more like December used to be years ago.  This is when we are happy to have crops growing undercover in their little terrariums.  Our days now have a steady beat of opening and closing tunnels, covering and uncovering crops.

No newsletter next week as Alex will be out walking in the desert.  Look for Betsy and Jennie at market with the last beautiful produce of the season.  We will all be there on Dec. 22nd for our last market of this year and to wish you all a happy holiday.

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A blustery day with the last of the outdoor crops covered for the impending cold

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #37, 11/30/18

What’s been going on!

Was Thanksgiving only a week ago?  Seems like a lot more living than that has occurred in the last 7 days!  We hope you all had a great holiday and are ready to go because here comes December and before we know it will be Christmas.

Some really cold mornings here this week in the low 20’s but we have been able to take advantage of the warm afternoons to get some seasonal work done.  A few weeks ago we planted the anemone and ranunculus bulbs into beds that we had prepared in advance, before all of that crazy rain.  Today we pulled the sliding tunnels over them to warm them up and get them growing.

Of course there is always some repair/maintenance that has to be done with those tunnels before we can move them.  Only 5 boards had to be replaced this time for the two tunnels but there will be more I am sure before we move the other four in March but for now everything is in good shape for closing things up tight when the really cold weather arrives.

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The new wood being installed.  This tunnel will slide off the lettuce and over the anemones at the far end.

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #36, 11/19/18

What’s been going on! 

Just a quick reminder and clarification newsletter.  We look forward to seeing you tomorrow afternoon, Tuesday, from 3:00 to 5:00 at the Pre-Thanksgiving market.  We have it on Tuesdays so folks can avoid the last minute madness that happens on Wednesday before Thanksgiving.  The weather looks beautiful although a bit breezy.

We will not be at market Saturday after the holiday so the next time we will see you it will be December!  If we don’t have a chance to speak tomorrow have a great, safe, and delicious Thanksgiving!

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Plenty of beautiful Lettuce for Thanksgiving!

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #35, 11/15/18 Thanksgiving

What’s been going on!

Holy crap!  Enough with the rain already, we are over 5 inches for this week.  Of course the Haw River backed up into the bottom for the third or fourth time this year, so many I have lost count!  Starting tomorrow it looks to be dry for at least ten days but with below normal temperatures.  We will take that because we have two markets coming up and lots to do.

Best food week of the year in front of us and despite the weather we still have a fair amount of delicious produce for the holiday tables.  Not only will we be at Saturday market as always with a full table but don’t forget the Tuesday Thanksgiving market from 3:00-5:00!  The weather looks great for both days.

The last Farm to Fork event of the year is coming up on Dec. 6th and it will be just outside of Chapel Hill at Lavender Oaks Farm.  This is part of our Sustainable Speaker series and we are really pleased that this year it is our friend John T. Edge the Director of the Southern Foodways Alliance.  The ticket includes dinner from eight different chefs and will be a really tasty and inspiring evening, get your tickets while you can.

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 This is the creek just below our house and it has already gone down 3 feet!

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #34, 11/8/18

What’s been going on?

So it looks like the first killing freeze of the season is finally going to hit us on Saturday night, only a few weeks later than usual.  The National Weather Service is calling for 28 degrees at the farm, it usually takes 27 or 28 degrees to finally kill the warm season crops like peppers or the toughest of warm season weeds.

I can say that to a person the market farmers are more than ready for this stage of the growing season to be over with.  Universally everyone we talk to has had a difficult growing year with generally too much water and erratic weather.   Following 2017, which was a banner year, it has made it even harder to work through the strangeness of 2018.

That doesn’t mean we are done for the year, the crops left in the ground now are solidly established and short of (which I should probably not even whisper) an extreme dip into really cold weather should all be happy to the end.  We are hoping for a least a few weeks of mildish weather to complete some projects that we just didn’t get to earlier in the season when it was just too ugly to contemplate starting them.  Fall always seems to tumble down this way.

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A radiant fall day

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #33, 11/1/18 the Italy edition

What’s been going on!

 Whew!  We are back and it has taken most of the week to recover from the return travel.  Another great trip to Italy where we had the best weather of any of our times there.  We started with five nights southeast of Turin in the Barolo wine country where we visited several large markets

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and ate some fantastic meals all with variations on the Piedmontse style of cooking which typically includes lots of raw beef, very fine pastas, hazelnuts and of course peppers.

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We then moved east to Emilia-Romanga for three nights where we saw several more markets and a few museums and had great meals in Modena, Parma and in the countryside.  There the food is centered on hams, prosciutto and parmesan cheese along with excellent pastas.

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After dropping the Barkers at the airport Betsy and I went back down to Turin to visit with our farm friends who we have not seen in five years.  They of course gathered the whole clan for a typical dinner with 17 people.  Exhausted from so much good eating we made our way back home.

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Jennie of course did a great job of running the farm while we were gone including the final pick of the pepper field and the taking down of all of the pepper support and removal of the plants.  There was a frost while we were gone, not cold enough to really kill warm season plants but definitely low enough to mark the end of their production.

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #32, 10/10/18

What’s been going on! 

A lot going on the next few weeks.  First we are ready for the next tropical storm rains coming today and tomorrow.  Greens are being picked this morning to spare them the bruising from heavy rain and splashing soil, peppers can wait until Friday.  The little tunnels are closed down just in case we get higher wind gusts than expected.  The good news is that this storm is moving fast and by Friday afternoon the sun will be out and I am seeing 49 degrees as the low for Friday night!  Definitely the silver lining.

Saturday will be the unveiling of the Carrboro Farmers’ Markets mini-museum celebrating the 40th season.  We had hoped to have it up a few weeks ago but hurricane Florence side tracked us a bit.  We are very excited about the timeline and all the pictures and documents that go along with it.  Our biggest market supporter Kelly Clark of Laser Image Printing and Marketing has worked very closely with us on all of it and it will be fantastic.  The Gazebo at market will be turned into the timeline museum this Saturday, make sure that you check it out and it will be a beautiful fall day!

No newsletter for the next two weeks as Betsy and I will be in Italy with our friends the Barkers.  Never enough research can be done on Italian crops and food.  Betsy says we will be on the red wine and prosciutto cleanse.  This time we are going back to the Piedmont and then over to Emilia-Romagna.  There is a farmers’ market every day to be explored along with seed stores.  I hope that we can make it to the Tomato Museum near Parma.  We will finish with a visit with our Italian farm family near Turin.  So look for Jennie and the crew on Saturdays and if you need anything don’t hesitate to send an email as all three of us will see it.  I will post pictures on Facebook and Instagram too.

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The little tunnels all closed up for the impending storm

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #31, 10/4/18

What’s been going on! 

Welcome to Augtober as they called it on the news this morning.  While it is not unusual to have temperatures in to the high 80’s well into October the average high for us at the farm is more like the mid 70’s.  Fall will come, fall will come, fall will come soon we hope.

We do have the late mornings and low angle light of fall.  The day length drops over 2 minutes a day through the month of October losing a whole hour of light by the time November arrives, it is an amazing change to both people and crops.  The last of the fall crops are going into the ground this week, lettuces and radishes for December, with the lettuces in the sliding tunnels to protect their growth as the temperatures eventually drop.

In the next few weeks we will begin planting and seeding crops for next spring, over wintered flowers like Larkspur and Sweet William and bulbs like Anemones and Ranunculus.  Despite the current high temperatures, effectively the 2018 season is now being wrapped up with no new crops going into the soil.  It is all about cultivation, which is less as the weeds are slower to grow not too, and harvest for market.  Fall is here by the calendar if nothing else.

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The last of the lettuces going in the ground on a dark morning

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 15 #30, 9/28/18

What’s been going on! 

Another gray and wet day but the light is at the end of the tunnel starting tomorrow with next week looking beautiful with lows in the 60’s and highs in the low 80’s and sunny, not quite pure fall but closer.  It’s been a bit hard to get a lot done in the field between the showers but the crew plugged on.

Betsy and I spent the middle of the week at the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers (ASCFG) conference in Raleigh.  The ASCFG is the national trade group for cut flower growers and this was their 30th year.  Betsy is one of the original members and has both built wonderful long time friendships with other growers in the group but also helped build the Association by serving on the board, organizing the national conference and serving as Executive Director of the Research Foundation.

She had a good time visiting with old friends and attending some of the educational sessions.  I am always a happy second fiddle with her at these flower grower meetings but I did present on soil management which is an important and universal subject that all farmers need to have a good knowledge of.  It is great to see so many young and new growers just starting on the journey of farming.

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IMG_20180928_081436 Thank goodness for indoor crops, Fennel and Celery looking good

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