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All posts have been categorized by year, or crop or some other way.  If you want to look at all the posts that talk about tomatoes, for example, you can either click on that category in the right hand column or on the word tomatoes at the bottom of the post.

The posts all have some additional tags on them too, like “storms” for example.  You can also find those tags at the bottom of all posts and can click on them, you will be taken to a page of posts that include that topic.

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And of  course any of the words highlighted in orange are links to other information that will open in another page.

Have fun!

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #5, 3/10/17

What’s been going on!

Oh hell, here we go again.  We made it through last week’s cold (coldest 22) without any real damage.  Still unsure about the blueberries but everything else, especially the ranunculus, look good.  Now we are looking at potentially three nights in the low 20’s!  The bit of snow is of no concern, just the cold temperatures.  Back in go the hoops to cover the ranunculus, fortunately all the row covers are still out in the field.

We did slide one of the little tunnels this week to plant the early cucumbers under but we are postponing putting them in until after this cold, along with more kale and some other crops.  Spring always has some of this stop and go weather but never quite this extreme and it becomes wearying after a while.

Next week we should slide the last two tunnels in preparation for the early tomatoes.  While the specter of early tomatoes is heartening and makes us dream of more steady weather, Jennie has been working on seeding the big array of tomatoes for their late April planting to the field.  Same central group of all-star varieties along with a few new trial ones, 21 in all this year.  Always something to look forward to.

Picture of the Week

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A tunnel full of lettuce with the row cover ready to deploy

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #4, 3/3/17

What’s been going on!

Well our gut instincts were correct, be wary of a warm spell in early spring!  The forecast for tonight is 23 degrees here at the farm, followed by 26 Saturday night.  Colder than we really want to see but most things should be fine especially with some floating row covers.  Betsy is a bit concerned about the amazing tunnel full of Ranunculus that are just now sending up thousands of stems.

A fairly normal late winter week with both indoor and outdoor work.  My annual visit with the accountant, so they can do the end of year taxes, is always a bit like going to the psychologist.  I leave feeling like I have done a thorough job in record keeping but unsure how it will all end up.  I know we are an anomaly to him but he is fascinated by our small business and how it all goes together, especially now with the Jennies transition and its effect on the business.

Planting goes on, as well as cultivation.  The big project right now is to finish up the removal of two huge trees we had to take down.  We had both a big hickory die and a monster red oak starting to die that we needed to drop before they did damage dropping limbs.  The oak is the biggest tree we have ever had to deal with, 36” at chest height.  We have taken care of all the brush and I am just about done cutting up the rest into firewood.  Hey at least we have enough firewood for two winters now!

Picture of the Week

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Beautiful tunnel of ranunculus just hitting stride

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #3, 2/24/17

What’s been going on!

Let the real spring games begin!  But I can tell you that into our 36th spring that this is just not right, doesn’t feel right and certainly statistically is not right according to the National Phenology Index but here we go.

We have been planting (really mostly Jennie has been planting) for weeks now following our usual schedule with the knowledge that it could turn seriously cold at any time, remember last year when we lost all the blueberries to a late freeze?  We are at a point in the calendar now that it is full speed ahead, let’s hope for the best.

With lots of plants in the ground that means they need regular water, normally we rely on fairly consistent spring rains but not so this spring so yesterday, Feb. 23rd!, I had to fire up the irrigation system to get water to the four fields we have crops in, can’t rely on pulling hoses any more.  Many years we don’t have to do this until April.

The winter conference and travel season is over now.  Alex had another good backpacking trip to Big Bend National Park in Texas followed by several presentations at the Georgia Organics conference in Atlanta last weekend but we are all back now and busy not only with planting but also the last of the chainsaw work and other clean up chores.  Yet another season underway!

Picture of the Week

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Newly irrigated lettuce on a slightly eerie foggy morning

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #2, 1/27/17

What’s been going on!

A quick note to let you know that Betsy and I survived the March on Washington and will be at market tomorrow.

The crowds were staggering and we were exhausted when it was all over and we finally got home at 2:30 a.m. but glad we went.  Below are pictures you didn’t see of the masses.

Pictures of the Week

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On the Metro

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Headed towards the light and the huge crowds

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 14 #1, 1/20/17

What’s been going on!

Wow, what a start to the New Year and our 36th season.  Betsy and I left on Thursday before the first weekend in January for our annual Southern Foodways Alliance gathering knowing that there was a winter storm coming our way but the forecast was for only 1-3 inches of snow.  Eight hours later when we arrived in Tennessee the potential had blown up to a possibility of 10 inches!  In the end Jennie did a great job preparing for the storm and in keeping the tunnels clean of the eventual 4-5 inches of snow and sleet but our fingernails got shorter in the interim.

As we returned we had to do further preparations for the two nights of single digit temperatures.  For the most part the crops inside the little tunnels survived well but the last of the outdoor crops are toast, melting masses of vegetation in the 70 degree days that followed.  We have been busy both in the greenhouse and in planting the first of the lettuces in the tunnels just yesterday.

Jennie will be at market on Saturday while Betsy and I will be in Washington for the Women’s March.  I have never used this space for any kind of political messaging, feeling strongly that the intent of this newsletter is to let you all know about life on the farm and what it takes to do this thing we love.  Suffice it to say that we feel like many of the things that we have worked hard for over the last four decades are in danger and we now must be vigilant.

Picture of the Week

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Newly planted lettuces and more beds ready to go

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 13 #39, 12/29/16

What’s been going on!

Just a quick New Year’s Eve like note.  We will be at market this Saturday (the real New Year’s Eve) with Betsy’s first beautiful anemones of the new season and just in time for the celebrations.

On a sad note, one of our long time market members and bright light Louise Parrish passed away over the Christmas holiday.  Louise made deadly pound cakes and always had a good word to say no matter how hot, or cold, or wet, or windy or what other crazy things may have been going on.  She will greatly be missed.  You will enjoy this oral history about her done by our friends at the Southern Foodways Alliance

Picture of the Week

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Warm days bring colorful Anemones for the New Year

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 13 #38, 12/14/16 The Holiday edition

What’s been going on!

It appears to be the pattern now that we have unusually warm Novembers that make the fall and winter crops grow faster and more lush than they should and then in December the hammer comes crashing down.  No easing into cold weather for us or the crops.  Last weekend we had several mornings at 20 degrees and Friday morning looks to be in the high teens.

Jennie has been harvesting some of the outdoor crops today before the cold and rain come in to make it really hard to uncover those plants.  The vegetables in the tunnels can of course be picked later in the week.  Betsy and I have been working on some greenhouse projects and some early winter reorganization of supplies and equipment.

Barely a few weeks left in this year and the planning for the next season and reflection on the last is well underway.  As always we are honored to have this beautiful piece of land to work and care for and the ability to do so year after year.  We couldn’t see this far into the future 35 years ago and might have been daunted if we could have but the journey continues to be a good one.

As I tell groups that I talk to about farming that while most farmers, especially new ones, focus on production details and if they can make a living doing it that in the end, while those things are important, the real focus should be on the people they are in contact with during the course of their business day and their quality of life.  Without all of you we could not be the farm we are today and will be in the future.  It is your support, interest in what we do and of course eating our food that makes all of this possible.  For that we thank you!

Only a few markets left this year, Jennie will be at the market this Saturday and we will all be at the pre-Christmas market next Wednesday the 21st from 3:00-5:00.  We will be irregular at market after that, depending on the crops and the weather  We really hope to be able to see you at market but if we don’t we wish you all a happy holiday season!

Picture of the Week

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Beautiful lettuce with additional covers at the ready pull over before the hard cold

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 13 #37, 12/2/16

What’s been going on!

We hope that everyone had enjoyable and filling Thanksgivings!  After two markets in four days we looked forward to taking last Saturday off, Jennie even escaped to the beach for 3 days!. Only a few markets left before Christmas and we plan to be there, with tasty produce, until the end.

Have been working this week on getting three of the little sliding tunnels moved over Betsy’s Anemones and Ranunculus for the winter.  By the end of today the job will be done but things are rarely as straight forward as they might be.  As early adopters of new techniques we built these tunnels 20 years ago before there was really any work done on moveable tunnels much less commercially available models.

There are now more elegant and easily moved styles (and much more expensive!) but ours have served us well but with rails and hoop supports made of wood there is always some maintenance required and so has been the case this week.  We are also redesigning the end walls that have to be taken off when moving day comes.  These are also built of wood and are heavy and cumbersome so with an eye toward the future we have been thinking of a lighter and faster alternative.

Back in October I built the first prototypes on one of the tunnels to see how they would perform (they have done well) so now as we get close to real cold, I am refitting the other five tunnels with the new design.  So the job of moving tunnels that would normally take a half a day has taken several days.  What is new becomes old, what is old becomes new again.

Picture of the Week

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Tunnels moved over the Anemones, old walls off, new walls coming

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

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

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

Peregrine Farm News Vol. 13 #35, 11/9/16

What’s been going on!

A bit hungover from last night’s election results which is all I will say about that.  We have been back for a day and a half so are still re-ordering out lives, catching up and planning the next week or so.  Great trip to Sicily and Rome for which a full trip report will be forth coming.  We did get to many markets and we did manage to get seeds for one of the tomatoes we were looking for.

Incredibly balmy weather while we were gone and of course Jennie did a great job of both managing the farm and markets.  Too warm, in many ways, for this late in the season which is pushing some crops meant for Thanksgiving up into this week and the late season peppers are off the hook.  In anticipation of the near freeze on Monday night Jennie picked 18 cases of green bells plus 7 or 8 of red bells and corno di toros!

With so many peppers left we will bring out the roaster again this Saturday!  Get them while you still can.

Picture of the Week

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My Sicilian cousin, roasting corno di toro peppers the old fashioned way on coals

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