Friday, March 21, 2014

This Week at the Durham Farmers' Market

SPRING is officially here! I'm sure that it couldn't come soon enough for many of our farmers who have had such a rough winter.

From now until mid-September, we will have more hours of daylight than night. And every day until the summer solstice in June the amount of daylight will increase every day. Lots of the spring and summer crops that we will get to enjoy in the coming months are both dependent on warm temperatures and the extended hours of daylight. So, as our farmers are able to get out into their fields and plant crops, we will start to have an increasing number of varieties of vegetables at the Market. And soon (fingers crossed) we'll start to see the first fruits of the year - strawberries!

In talking to several farmers this week, I've learned that the extended wet weather has been really taking a toll on many of our vegetable farmers. When the soil is extremely wet, as it is now, it is nearly impossible for farmers to go out into their fields to prepare the soil and plant crops. In these conditions, it can be easy to get a tractor stuck, or even just lose a boot to the mud. Plus, a farmer can risk compacting the soil in ways that are detrimental to the long term health of the field. So, they have to wait for the conditions to improve and dry out enough to be able to start working in their fields. Judy Lessler from Harland's Creek Farm told me the other day that she has "lots of beautiful, healthy vegetable seedlings that are ready to be planted". But, she can't start planting until the fields dry out. Some of our farmers are having luck planting in their hoop houses and greenhouses which haven't gotten quite as wet over the past few months.

It is amazing how early Spring can drastically vary from year to year. Two years ago in the spring of 2012, after having an unseasonably warm winter, the first asparagus and strawberries were coming to the Market in late March. This year, because the weather has been so wet and cold this winter, it looks like we'll have to wait a few more weeks for those.

In the meantime, our farmers are able to bring a good supply greens, an increasing supply of root vegetables and lots of lettuce and salad mix. So, now is the time to start experimenting with new types of salad dressing and enjoy the tasty local food that our farmers are able to grow this cool, wet spring!

Upcoming Market Schedule Change
Saturday Summer Hours (8am-Noon) Start April 5th
Wednesday Market (3:30-6:30pm) Opens April 16th

See you at the Market,
Erin Kauffman
Market Manager
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Fresh this Week....
 VEGETABLES: Arugula, Asian Greens, Brussels Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Collards, Daikon Radish, Dried Shiitake Mushrooms, Fennel, Fresh & Dried Herbs, Jerusalem Artichokes, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Mache, Micro Greens, Miners Lettuce (Claytonia), Minutina, Potatoes, Napa Cabbage, Parsnips (possibly), Pea Shoots, Popcorn, Radishes, Salad Mix, Scallions, Spinach, Swiss Chard, Sweet Potatoes, Turnips, Turnip Greens, Winter Squash, and more
MEATS AND EGGS: Pork, Beef, Quail, Lamb & Mutton, Bison, Chicken, Duck, Goat/Chevon/Cabrito, Veal, Duck Eggs & Chicken Eggs
CHEESES: Fresh and aged COW and GOAT milk cheeses.
PLANTS: Vegetable Seedlings: Kale, Collards, Broccoli, Cilantro, Lettuce, Spinach. Fruit Plants: Strawberry, Raspberry. House Plants.
FLOWERS: Hyacinth, Anemones, Poppies, Tulips, Stock, Mixed Bouquets
SPECIALTY ITEMS: Gluten Free Baked Goods, Raw & Creamed Honey, Pasta, Flour, Cornmeal, Grits, Baked Goods including Pies, Breads, Cookies & Pastries, Fermented Foods, Beer, Wine, Jams, Jellies, Pickles, Preserves, Wool
CRAFTS: Pottery, 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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