Friday, June 7, 2013

This Week at the Durham Farmers' Market

Well, I think that the main thing on our farmers minds today is Tropical Storm Andrea. The rain is really coming down and there is more on the way. Today, in preparation for Market tomorrow, many farmers and their crews are busy harvesting their crops in the rain.

I've spent lots of time working on farms in my life and on the day before Market, no matter what the weather, the farm work and harvesting still needs to be done. Rain, or no rain, crops are ready to be harvested. The window of time when crops are at their peak of ripeness, freshness, and flavor is short. Most crops can't (or won't) wait until the weather gets better. Timing is of the essence in the business of farming!

Let's use zucchini as an example. If a zucchini that is ready to be harvested today is left on the vine until Wednesday, it will double in size. Most eaters don't find giant zucchini to be a desirable product. If that same zucchini is left on the vine until next Friday, it will be the size of a baseball bat and no longer edible. So, unless the farmer has a market for weapons, the zucchini will be lost. When the zucchini (or a field of zucchini) is lost, potential profits are lost along with it. In the business of farming, the profit margin is pretty small, so losing a whole harvest to rain is a foolish business decision for farmers. That is why good rain gear and sturdy rubber boots are essential for all farmers and farm workers!

Take a look at the unofficial totals of rain in NC from the National Weather Service: Unofficial Totals So Far  It looks like most of our farms have gotten 1 to 3 inches and counting. We have farms located in Alamance, Chatham, Durham, Franklin, Granville, Guilford, Lee, Moore, Orange, Person, Vance and Wake counties. These counties haven't gotten the brunt of the storm so far, but still, that is quite a bit of rain!

In other rain related news: The rain this week is signaling that strawberry season is coming to an end. Strawberries don't do well with lots of rain. They tend to take on the extra water and then deteriorate very quickly. It has been a difficult strawberry season this year because of all of the rain. I've heard lots of our strawberry farmers talk about having to throw out a large number of strawberries as they harvest them because they have gotten squishy or moldy due to the wet conditions. There will still be some strawberries left tomorrow, but you may want to get to Market early if they are on your grocery list!

Finally, the first few ears of CORN of the summer will be at Market tomorrow! Get 'em early!

See you at the Market, bright and early!!
Erin Kauffman
Market Manager
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Upcoming Events and Spring Schedule
POSTPONED due to weather: Chef in the Market - Chef Christy Quirk from Bull Street Gourmet and Market will be cooking with FENNEL! Recipes and samples available. Starts at 10am. We'll have a new date by next week!!

POSTPONED due to weather: Changed to Next Saturday June 15: Kids Reading Hour, 10am Next week, the kids will hear a number of stories, including Caps for Sale, and they will be able to make their own cap!

Saturday June 15: Master Gardener Volunteers will be on hand with lots of gardening information. 8am-Noon

Wednesday June 19: Canning Demonstration, 4pm! Learn how to make Dilly Beans! Durham County Ag Extenstion Agent Nekeidra Morrison will demonstrate how to make and can Dilly Beans. There will be recipes and lots of canning information available.

Saturday June 22nd: Durham County Beekeepers 8am-Noon As farmers start to harvest this years crop of honey, the Durham County Beekeepers will be at Market with their demostration hive and information about beekeeping and the honey harvest.

Fresh this Week....
FRUITS: BLUEBERRIES, RASPBERRIES, Strawberries and maybe some early season Peaches!
VEGETABLES:  CHERRY TOMATOES, GREEN BEANS,  Last of the Asparagus, Artichokes, Asian Greens (Bok Choi, Mizuna, Tat Soi), Arugula, Beets, Beet Greens, Broccoli, Broccoli Raab, Cauliflower, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, Greenhouse and Field Cucumbers, Dandelion Greens, English Shelling Peas, Fresh & Dried Herbs (Cilantro, Dill, Mint, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Parsley), Fava Beans, Fennel, Frisee, Green Onions, Green Garlic and Garlic Scapes, Gourds, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Mustard Greens, Napa Cabbage, Onions, Potatoes, Pea Shoots, Radishes,  Salad Mix, Shiitake Mushrooms,  Spinach, Sugar Snap Peas, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Greenhouse Grown Tomatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Vitamin Greens, Zucchini, and more
MEATS AND EGGS:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Rabbit
Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged cow and goats milk cheeses.
FLOWERS & PLANTS: VEGETABLE and HERB SEEDLINGS including tomatoes; FLOWERS: Calendula, Lupine, Zinnia, Sunflowers, Peonies, Dutch Iris, Agrostemma, Batchelors Buttons, Sweet William, Icelandic Poppies; Landscaping Plants, House Plants
SPECIALTY ITEMS: Creamed Honey, Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies & Pastries, Fermented Foods, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Pastas, Perogies, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, Jewelry, Handmade Baskets, Woodwork, Photographs, Hand-dyed Clothing and other items, Handmade Clothing, Goats Milk Soaps, Body Butters, Lotions, Yarn, Roving, and much more...

Produce availability depends on weather conditions 

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