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!

Picture of the Week

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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.

Picture of the Week

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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. 14 #37, Thanksgiving edition 11/20/17

What’s been going on!

Good Monday morning and the start of the biggest food week of the year!  Sorry for no newsletter last week as I slipped out of town for a few days and realized sometime on Thursday that I hadn’t sent the weekly news.  But this one is just in time for the holiday and the Tuesday pre-Thanksgiving market tomorrow from 3:00 to 5:00!

As I look out the window as the sunrises the beech tree leaves are finally turning yellow as the last of the brilliant hickories still hang on to some leaves but all the rest are long since dropped.  Another morning in the 20’s and if it was not already done the warm season crops and weeds are dead now.  Just over a week now since the first killing freeze and the peppers are standing black in the field waiting to be torn down and turned under to make room for next spring’s vegetables. The huge sheets of floating row cover lay draped over the remaining crops, a sure sign of coming winter.

We want to thank everyone who has come to market for the first two Renovation Markets, what great crowds! We know that it is a bit of chaos but it feels like folks are really getting into the adventurous spirit and finding some excitement in our jumbled configuration and the new neighbors we all have on Saturdays.

Picture of the Week

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Early morning light

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 13 #36, 11/15/16 Thanksgiving!

What’s been going on!

Early newsletter this week as I will be out of town for a few days and also wanted everyone to be able to get a head start on the biggest food week of the year!  This newsletter will cover the two markets in four days that will be your best opportunity to get all of your Thanksgiving holiday produce, this coming Saturday and the special pre-Thanksgiving market next Tuesday from 3:00-6:00.

It was great to see everyone out last Saturday for both the market and the much needed community gathering after the election upheaval.  I have always said that when difficult or unusual things happen people come to the market as the sort of town square, to see their neighbors and have some reassurance of something so steady and reliable as the Carrboro Farmers’ Market.

We did finally have the true killing freeze on Saturday night/Sunday morning down into the mid 20’s, the peppers are dead now.  We have had a couple of brushes in the high 20’s that hurt their feelings but they are for sure done now and so is the last vestiges of the summer of 2016.  Now comes the slow process of undoing all of the trellis that has held them up tall for months.

Pictures of the Week

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A radiant late fall day with the blueberries a blaze on the hill

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Beautiful Celery and Fennel for Thanksgiving

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 12 #32, 11/20/15 Thanksgiving!

What’s been going on!

The big food week of the year coming up, hope you are ready, we are (I think).  This newsletter will cover both tomorrow’s market and the special pre-Thanksgiving market next Tuesday 3:00-6:00.  Jennie has been working hard while we were gone cultivating, protecting and harvesting some beautiful produce for the big Holiday eat fest.

Two years now without turkeys and I have to say it makes for a much less stressful week leading up to Thanksgiving.  There are times that we miss having the birds out there wandering around the fields but the daily grind of managing animals and then the final harvest adds so much more mental work to the program.  I salute those who raise and care for working animals year in and year out.

Betsy and I both had good trips, separately this time, quite unusual for us.  She went to northern Minnesota to just hang out with another old cut flower growing friend, talking, doing odd jobs around the farm, visiting neighbors, relaxing.  I was on the trail again in Southern Utah looking for cliff dwellings and rock art panels, great trip and beautiful weather.

We have a really busy early winter planned and you may see Jennie at market more than us.  I will still crank out a newsletter, it just may be irregular but we will definitely let you know what is going on.  Have a great Thanksgiving!

Pictures of the Week

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A nice sunset after yet another big rain

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Vibrant vegetables, ready to be covered for the next cold snap

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 11 #31, 11/21/14

What’s been going on!

Back from Jamaica, alive and well.  Sixteen days is a long time to be gone and Betsy and Jennie did a great job in keeping everything rolling and protecting all the crops from the unusually cold weather, 14 degrees two days ago, way too cold for this early in the season.

Jamaica was beautiful and interesting.  Enlightening, uplifting and depressing all at the same time.  It is certainly a place of deep contrasts between the touristy north shore and the poverty of the south shore, particularly the far eastern parish of St. Thomas where I was.  A good place to be working with small farmers to help move them both towards organic farming practices but also direct marketing of their products so they can make the most income possible from their efforts and help reduce the amount of food imported into the country.

The farmers were friendly, open, eager, hardworking and looking for a break in what has been a long line of difficulties including hurricanes, drought, diseases and unscrupulous exporters.  The Jamaica Sustainable Farm Enterprise project is a three and a half year effort that will bring in 70 volunteers with both farming and marketing expertise to work with 150 farmers from all across the island but particularly in the eastern end of the country.  I just happened to be the first volunteer to work with the first ten farmers, their fledgling farmers’ market in Kingston and look at the whole project from a 30,000 foot level.

More stories later but more immediately we have this big food holiday coming up.  Two markets in four days for you to get everything you need for the big meal.  Of course tomorrow 9:00 to noon and then Tuesday afternoon, the special pre-Thanksgiving market 3:00-6:00.  The weather looks perfect for both.  If you want to have us save something special for you in advance, for either market, please let us know as early as possible so we can set it aside.

 Picture of the Week

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Showing farmers in the Plantain Garden River plains how to use a walk behind tractor

 

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 10 #37, 11/22/13 Thanksgiving!

What’s been going on!

The family travels went well, lots of driving but mission accomplished.  While we have seen each other at family gatherings over the years it had been 42 years since I had stepped foot onto my aunt and uncles (and now my cousin’s) farm in northern Mississippi.  Amazingly it looked pretty much like I remembered it except the buildings and distances were much bigger back then.

We raced back home and the week has been a busy one since.  Turkey harvest day went smoothly and the birds ended up being much larger than normal this year.  Last year we had almost no birds above 15 pounds which had never happened before.  This season we have very few below 15 pounds, lots of leftovers!  We are now focused on our favorite eating week of the year.

The weather forecast for both the Saturday and Tuesday markets looks less than desirable, cool and rainy.  In between we will have a hard freeze on Sunday/Monday.  To that end we are harvesting as many of the outdoor crops as we can today while it is warm and will wait until Monday to pick the indoor crops that will go to the Tuesday Thanksgiving market.

The special Tuesday pre-Thanksgiving market (3:00-6:00) is always a bustling and produce beautiful afternoon.  We will probably not be in our usual space as all the vendors are parked in the order that they arrive.  Look for our big white truck and there will be signs to point folks to which shelter we are in.  Dress warmly and with rain gear.

Pictures of the Week

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Our Norman Rockwell turkeys

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Celery and Baby Chard

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 9 #28, 11/16/12 Thanksgiving edition

What’s been going on!

We are closing in on the biggest food celebration of the year.  This newsletter will cover both this week and next, two markets in 4 days, lots to do!  This cool weather has really slowed the crops down but in a good way, they were getting too big too fast and we will have plenty of great produce for both Saturdays market and next Tuesdays special pre-Thanksgiving market.

We have been making good progress on the workshop/apartment building.  Betsy oversaw the pouring of the concrete slab while I was gone and we now have all of the downstairs wall up.  We have been waiting on some engineered materials so we can move on with the second floor but it will all need to wait until after Thanksgiving anyway.  We hope to have the roof on well before Christmas.

Besides tending and harvesting for market, the last big job in the fields has been to remove the pepper trellis and clean up the field.  It is a tedious job as the trellis system is quite extensive with lots of parts that have to be extracted, in a certain order, so we can then mow the plants down.  Made even harder this year with the plants laying part way down, despite the trellis, after the 70 mph winds hit them in the big July storm.

Thank you to everyone who has asked about the foot and the Utah trip.  The blister is now well healed and I have no excuses for getting work done!  If you are interested here is a link to my report about the walk.

Pictures of the Week

Plenty of beautiful vegetables for Thanksgiving

First floor of the workshop

What’s going to be at the market?

Remember that the Saturday market is now operating under winter hours 9:00-noon.

And the special pre-Thanksgiving market is this Tuesday from 3:00-6:00.

All the turkeys have been sold, hope you got one if you wanted one.

Just in time for Thanksgiving we have beautiful Celery.  Back for the season are Jerusalem Artichokes (Sunchokes).  Nice Fennel for salads, goes well with the Celery.  Plenty of the incredible Baby Ginger to go with sweet potatoes or deserts.  We will have a small selection of winter squashes too.

Plenty of greens this week.  Lettuce- Green Boston, Red and Green Summer Crisp in full heads. In Mini-heads we have a few Green and Red Oak leafs and the new sweet Little Gem Bibb type. More Spinach, it looks great. Lacinato Kale, beautiful tender and sweet Collards.  New this week- Escarole.

It is root season with lots of Turnips, Easter Egg Radish and the storage Watermelon and Black Spanish Radishes.  A small supply of Red, Golden and the striped Chioggia Beets.  Plenty of sweet orange Carrots and Purple ones too.  In Herbs we have Cutting Celery, Cilantro, Dill and Italian Parsley.

Still a fair amount of peppers. In sweet peppers there is a small supply of red and yellow bells. A lot of Green Bells.  Still some Spanish Piquillos.  In hot peppers from, least to hottest, we have Passillas, a few of the very rare Basque Esplettes, still some Anaheims, Poblanos, Serranos and Jalapenos.

As a reminder if there is anything that you would like for us to hold for you at market just let us know by e-mail, by the evening before, and we will be glad to put it aside for you.

Hope to see you all at the market!

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. 8 #27, 11/21/11 Thanksgiving!

What’s been going on?

Well the early fall adventures are behind us and now we are home for a bit to get some farm work done, visit with family and start ordering seeds and supplies for next year. What sublime fall weather we have had too! One of the finest runs of fall days I can remember to go with one of the best springs we have ever experienced and it has made for a really good year (I am just trying to forget those ugly hot weeks in the middle).

Betsy had a great trip to Italy to do an immersion study of the language followed by a nice visit with our Italian farm friends. She also attended the Association of Specialty Cut Flower Growers annual conference to do her regular wrangling of the Research Foundation. The class I have been teaching at the community college has gone by fast and I have one last day to teach. I had a good trip to Louisiana to give two full day workshops on the needs of beginning farmers, tiring but a good time. Early this month I spent a week in Utah and Arizona with an old friend and supporter of the farm. We did some backpacking in Canyonlands National Park and then visited lots of great sites around the Four Corners area.

The first several weeks of October were filled with the major farm work of soil preparation for next year and the seeding of winter cover crops that now look great with the timely rains we’ve had over the last month or so. It is a solid week on the tractor mowing crops down, spreading lime and other mineral amendments, turning all that under and then raising up over 17,000 feet of beds which are finally seeded with the cover crops. The turkeys went in for processing the first week of October too and it all went beautifully.

That leads us to Thanksgiving and a reminder of the special pre-Thanksgiving Carrboro market tomorrow, Tuesday, from 2:00-6:00. We will be there passing out the turkeys to those of you who reserved one and with lots of great produce to go with the big meal (see below). Right now the forecast looks to be one of the warmest and nicest days the special Thanksgiving market has ever had. We are not sure where we will be set up at the market, as vendors will be parked as they arrive. Look for our large white refrigerated truck and Betsys bright red pickup.

Picture of the Week

Some of the most beautiful and tender Collards and Kale ever grown!

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Peregrine Farm News Vol. 8 #24, 9/8/11

What’s been going on?

Finally a good rain from the remnants of Lee, 2.5 inches and while a great deal of it ran off because it came down so hard, it will make things a lot easier over the next week or so. Of course our driveways got hammered so I spent part of yesterday dragging them back up the hill and will finish the re-grading today, just part of the regular farm maintenance.

It is beginning to seem like fall now. The days are getting noticeably shorter, the sunrise later, the temperatures consistently cooler and the dews heavier. We pulled the shade cloth off the little tunnels this week as it is no longer needed to keep the crops a bit cooler and some things, like the lettuce, will actually start to get leggy trying to stretch for some more light. Our main focus now is planting for Thanksgiving and getting the fields ready for winter cover crops.

To that end the collards and kale went in yesterday to join the carrots, beets, celery and Brussels sprouts already in the little tunnels for Thanksgiving. Soon we will finish the plantings for the big food day with some Green Boston lettuce, turnips and radishes. We plant all of this in the little tunnels so we can control (as much as possible) the temperatures and growth. To try and hit one day with vegetables is like throwing a dart at the bull’s-eye, sometimes you miss. With the tunnels we can at least adjust a bit, if it turns out to be a cool fall we can close them up, particularly at night, and keep things growing more vigorously than if we just had everything out in the field.

Turkey reservations are rolling in and over half are now reserved. If you haven’t thought about it yet all the turkey information is on the webiste. Look for the order form either at the top of the page or near the bottom under “How do I reserve one of the special birds?” You can easily download the Word document there. We will also have the order forms at Market on Saturdays through the end of the month. As the fall goes on I will continue to update the website with how many are available.

Picture of the Week

Brussels Sprouts and Celery on a cool morning

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