Friday, July 12, 2013

This Week at the Durham Farmers' Market

This morning, I got a funny text from my dad saying "Monday is St. Swithun's Day and it won't stop raining..." My family has a bit of a fascination with weather superstitions. I think it comes from my deeply superstitious great grandmother. St. Swithun's Day is a centuries old weather predicting day that is meant to predict the weather for the rest of the season. The superstition of St. Swithun's Day says that if it rains on the day, it will continue raining for 40 more days. If it is fair on that day, it will remain fair for the rest of the summer. It even has a little verse to go with it...
'St. Swithin's day if thou dost rain 
For forty days it will remain 
St. Swithin's day if thou be fair 
For forty days 'twill rain nae mair.'
The legend of St. Swithun goes something like this... Swithun was a Saxon Bishop in Winchester England. On his deathbed, he asked to be buried in a simple grave where the rain could drip on him and people could walk on him. When he died his wishes were honored, but years later, his remains were moved to a shrine inside the cathedral. On the day he was moved, the 15th of July 971, a terrible storm ensued and it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. People thought that the rain resulted from St. Swithun's displeasure with being moved. And the superstition was born.
Every year, I hope for some rain on the 15th of July. Most years it is dry as a bone by this time of the year. This year, however, couldn't be more different... Farmers don't complain about the rain, but they are talking about it. I've heard various observations about how the rain and grey weather is effecting crops. Mark from Tiny Farm told me that the grey weather was causing crops to grow slower than expected which will result in uneven harvests. Several farmers that grow cantaloupes have told me that the melons are rotting in the field before they are harvested because of all of the rain. Tomato growers are reporting that tomatoes are cracking due to all of the rain. Various people have told me about how disease and parasites thrive in wet warm weather and it can be a lot of extra work to keep ahead of them. 
Based on the usual dry weather patterns that are common this time of year, farmers are more accustomed to drought rather than with excessive rain. So, when there is a lot of rain, there are different and new challenges to deal with. But, no one is complaining! I have never known a farmer to complain about rain. We'll see if the weather on Monday is any kind of predictor for the remainder of the summer.
On Monday, Seth Vidal was killed by a hit and run driver while riding his bike on Hillandale Road. Seth was a farmers' market regular. There are so many regulars and I have had the pleasure of meeting lots of you, if nothing more than a weekly smile. Seth was one market regular that I had the pleasure of talking to and getting to know a little bit better. He and his partner, Eunice, were there every week, no matter what the weather or the season! I'd see Seth and Eunice walking through the Market with full bags, chatting with the farmers, and then pack it all onto their bikes and ride off. He and Eunice were so committed to the Market that they were persistantly and wildly supportive of opening the Market on Wednesday Afternoons. If it hadn't been for them, the Wednesday Market wouldn't have started when it did. Seth will surely be missed. Our thoughts and love are with you, Eunice.
 See you at the Market, bright and early!!
Erin Kauffman
Market Manager
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Upcoming Events
Saturday July 13, 10am - Kids Reading Hour This month's reading hour will be led by Judi Smith. She and the kids will be reading Hats for Sale and they'll be making their own hats! Look for reading hour under the green tent on the lawn.
**If it is raining, we'll postpone to next week**
Saturday July 13: 8am - Noon - Canning Raffle & Giveaways
Tomorrow, next to the Market info table, there will be free spice pack for tomato salsa and kosher dill pickles. Also, 3 types of pectin for jam making. And enter your name in a drawing to win one of the following: A Ball Blue Book, Fresh Herb Keeper, Secure Grip Jar Holder, or Jar of Kosher Dill Pickling Spices
Wednesday July 17 3:30-6:30 - Master Gardener Volunteers
will be answering gardening questions
Saturday July 20, 10am - Canning Demonstration! Assistant Manager Shanna Bierman will be demonstrating how to make blueberry jam.
Wednesday July 24, 3:30-5pm - Canning Demonstration! County Extension Agent Nekeidra Morrison will demonstrate how to make and can peach jam!
Saturday July 27th, 8:30-Noon ANNUAL TOMATO TASTING!
Chef Shane Ingram from Four Square Restaurant will be hosting - chopping tomatoes and cooking tomato dishes!
Fresh this Week....
FRUITS: Watermelon, Cantaloupe, Sun Jewel Melons, Blackberries, Blueberries, Peaches
BUTTERNUT SQUASH, LOTS OF HEIRLOOM TOMATOES, Artichokes, Asian Greens  Arugula, Beans (Green, Yellow and Purple), Beets, Beet Greens, Broccoli Raab, Cabbage, Carrots, Cherry Tomatoes, Collards, Cucumbers, Fresh & Dried Herbs (Basil, Cilantro, Catnip, Dill, Mint,   Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, Sorrel, Parsley), Eggplant, Frisee, Green Onions, Garlic, Gourds, Kale, Kohlrabi, Lettuce, Napa Cabbage, Okra, Onions, October Beans, Peppers - Sweet, Hot, Padron, etc, Potatoes, Pea Shoots, Radicchio, Salad Mix, Swiss Chard, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Turnips, Zucchini, and more
MEATS AND EGGS:  Beef, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Lamb, Pork, Veal, Rabbit
Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
Fresh and aged COW and GOAT milk cheeses.
 Vegetable and Herb Seedlings, Bedding, House, and Flower Plants. FLOWERS: BLACK EYED SUSAN, GLADIOLUS, Echinacea, Sunflower, Dahlia, Lily, Godedia, Campanula, Calendula, Zinnia, 
RAW HONEY, creamed Honey, Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies & Pastries, Fermented Foods, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Pastas, Perogies, Wool
 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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