Provider Farm

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June 24, 2017

A note about July 4: This year July 4 falls on a Tuesday share day, but the harvest must go on! We WILL be open on July 4 at the same time as usual, 2-7 PM.

Please note the listed crops below are hyperlinks. If you click on them, they will lead you to information on how to store them and recipes too. These are our best guesses as what will be available this week in the share, sometimes we'll throw in extra or have to switch something out. Salem pick ups are a choice of the items, Terra Firma pick ups are farmers choice boxes.

This Week's Share

Its officially summer and the summer squash and zukes have gone into overdrive.Fire up the grill and throw these on there with a little oil and salt and pepper, or roast them in the oven for a super quick dish.

The broccoli is also bursting out of the field. Spring broccoli is a flash in the pan kind of crop, we'll have a ton of it briefly and then it'll go away until the fall when we'll have a steady flow of it. So eat it up while its here!

Fennel is in the share. A more unusual vegetable, it has a very mild anise flavor and the bulb end is typically used in cooking. Most everyone is familiar with it seasoning sausage. Slice these thinly into a salad, or cook them up.

Snap peas are on the horizon, they may or may not be ready this week. The cucumbers are dragging their feet a little, but we are finding most everything is about two weeks behind this year. We'll be looking out for them in the next few weeks.

Recipe of the Week: 

Fennel-Lemon Risotto

Ingredients: 
  • 5 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 fennel, diced
  • 1 cup risotto rice (Carnaroli, arborio etc.)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 fennel, sliced thinly
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 cup grated parmesan
  • Fennel fronds, chopped
Directions: 

Place the stock in a small pot and bring to a boil on the back burner. Once it has boiled lower the heart and keep warm.
Working on the front burner heat the oil and butter in a pot. Add onion and cook on medium heat until softened. Add the diced fennel and continue to cook until the fennel begins to soften and is coated with the butter.
Add the rice and cook on medium heat without browning until the rice is nicely coated with the oil. this seals in the starch.
Add the wine all at once and cook, stirring, until the wine has evaporated. Add the lemon zest and juice and stir them in. Begin adding the hot stock, 1/3 cup at a time, stirring it in. When the pot is almost dry add another 1/3 cup of stock. Ccontinue adding the stock until the rice is cooked to your liking. It may or may not require the whole 5 cups. Taste the rice periodically to see if it’s done.
When the rice is done to your liking turn the heat off, sprinkle the cheese on top of the rice, cover the pot and let sit for a few minutes to rest.
While the rice is cooking heat the butter and olive oil in another skillet, add the sliced fennel and cook over medium heat until soft and caramelized. A little sugar can speed up the caramelization.

To serve:

Sprinkle the risotto with most of the green fronds and stir them in together with the cheese that has melted on top of the risotto.
Spoon into bowl, garnish with the caramelized fennel and scatter additional fennel fronds and lemon zest on top.

Credit: 
oliveoilandlemons.com

The first tie is the lowest

The crew building the tomato trellises.
The crew building the tomato trellises.

Dear Friends,

As we witnessed the summer solstice and soaked in the excess of day light, our crops finally got the memo that summer is here. Out of seemingly nowhere, our harvests seem to have doubled. Beautiful broccoli all coming in at once, summer squash and zucchini kicking into gear and an assortment of different cabbages forming perfect heads right before our eyes. We  try and plan things out in order to get crops to trickle in. We like to add one or to new crops a week to the CSA. Some years it works out and some it doesn’t. This year it feels like everything is catching up with everything else and we are entering into a boom or bust kind of cycle.

This can certainly happen when you have a cooler than average spring. The crops that were planted early had spent their early days idly waiting out the cold weather and as soon as things turn around, they go bonkers. Now that we are entering summer, the days are long and the nights are warm we are starting to see the crops grow and mature more at the rate we expect them to. The harvestable crops aren’t the only things putting on growth. Our melons and cantaloupe have really been enjoying the summer weather lately. Our potato field is a lovely sight this time of year. And our sweet potatoes, a crop we have struggled with in the past, are off to what looks to be a great start.

Different crops have different needs. Some get seeded directly in the field, others are started in trays in the greenhouse and planted later. Some crops are grown on black plastic, each row 6 feet apart. Other crops are planted densely with only 9 inches in between row. Of all the special attention we give crops, only one crops is special enough to deserve having a city of stakes and trellis constructed to ensure their success. That crop of course is the tomatoes. The hallmark of summer sandwiches, salads, sauces and just about everything else. Other crops maybe would also benefit from a trellis but only the tomatoes get staked and tied. This is largely due to the fact that staking and tying a crop is a pain in the butt. Pounding in one tomato stake isn’t that bad, pounding in 20 and your body starts to feel it. After 50 you’re ready to hand the pounder off to someone else and give your arms and shoulders a break.

Constructing our tomato city was the main goal of the week. Not that it takes it all week, we were able to complete the task over the course of one full afternoon and part of one morning. But it’s the kind of task the whole week has to revolve around. You want to make sure you have the maximum amount of people there to help. We use a tractor to drive the pallet of stakes along the rows so we don’t have to carry them, so we need to make sure the tractor is available. It also has to be dry, not when we pound the posts but definitely when we tie. Tying wet tomatoes is an excellent way to spread disease amongst a crop, and given this wet humid weather, we want to discourage the disease spreading as much as possible. One other consideration, and maybe this is just personal preference, but I like to get the big tasks done early in the week. I don’t want to be rolling into Thursday or Friday afternoon with the tomatoes still not staked. I like to get the big things done early in the week, that way we can spend Thursday and Friday doing relaxing, stress free tasks like weeding leeks and basil.

With all that being said, Tuesday afternoon, while CSA baskets were full of broccoli and squash, we set out to accomplish our main goal for the week. It’s a hard job but we only have to do the hardest part once and now I can happily say it is done. Our tomatoes are staked. The first tie is the lowest. The lowest tie is the hardest. We will go back every week from now until the end of July and add another couple lines of tomato twine, letting the trellis grow with the crop. Hopefully before too long, we will start to reap the reward of our tomato city and see the blushing red of ripe fruit. Of course, that is a long way off and I don’t like to tempt fate.
 
Your farmers,
Anthony, Chris, Erica, Hannah, Holly, Kelsea, Kerry and Max

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