Provider Farm

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Shareholders

August 20, 2017

We will be selling a limited amount of 10 week fall shares that will start the first week of September (the first pick ups will be Sept. 5 and Sept.8) and continue to the last week of summer share pick ups (the week of Nov.6). Please spread the word if you have friends who were interested in the share. Sign up forms can be found here.

This Week's Share

Our fall brassicas are looking absolutely stellar out there and I'd love to take this opportunity for my annual collards plug. These are common to soul food cooking down south, stewed with pork hocks but lesser known up here in the north. I like to just saute them up with garlic and onions, maybe a little hot pepper and some broth to tenderize them. They are fantastic and nutritious. Try them out my often reposted and most favorite recipe curried kale and beans.

A little late to show some color, the red peppers are just starting to change. We're hoping to see more and more yellows and reds in the field in the next few weeks.  New hot peppers including anaheims and poblanos are ripening now, the habaneros always trail behind and they are still a ways away.

We are still riding the wave of August before it comes crashing down into fall. We are just at the crest now, still buried in tons of melons and tomatoes, but things are about to shift drastically. While tomatoes will still continue into the fall, the melons will soon peter out and give way to winter squash. Potatoes will start to come in and this past week I saw a tiny broccoli crown on our field walk which will soon be sizing up. Kids will be heading back to school and we will start putting crops into storage for the fall and winter. We even heard the geese assembling last week during an early morning harvest. August is a time that flies by for us, we just get so wound up in the constant harvesting grind and before we know it, its gone and I think gee, did I even eat a tomato?

Like all times of transition, its a sentimental time. One of the mantras that people often repeat to me is to appreciate everyday with Shepard, that it goes too fast and he'll be grown before I know it, and I have tried to take it to heart. And so, I pass it on to you too. Lets live in the moment and enjoy these last days of summer. Eat a whole melon outside barefoot, let the juice drip everywhere and spit seeds. Eat melon until you are sick of it and won't want it again until next August.  Fire up those grills and throw squash, tomatoes and onions on it. Make salsas galore and bask in the late summer richness.

Recipe of the Week: 

Wheat berry tabouli

Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup wheat berries
  • 4 cups water
  • 3 cups quartered and thinly sliced cucumbers
  • 2 cups parsley leaves, pulled from the stems
  • 2-3 ripe tomatoes, diced
  • 1/2 sweet white onion
  • 1/4 c. chopped mint leaves
  • 3 tbs. olive oil
  • 1/4 c. fresh lemon juice
  • salt and ground pepper
Directions: 

Combine the wheat berries and water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until tender, about 1.5 hours ( you can reduce the cook time by soaking the berries overnight before cooking). When the berries are tender, drain off any excess water. Allow to cool.

Combine the cooked wheat berries with the cucumbers, parsley, tomatoes, onion, and mint in a large bowl. Toss to mix and add oil and toss again. Add the lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste and toss again.

Let stand 30 minutes before serving.

Credit: 
Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

The predictable unpredictable

Crew melon break. Seize the moment, eat all of the melons!
Crew melon break. Seize the moment, eat all of the melons!

Dear Friends,

When things really get rolling it’s hard to hard to tell if we’re running the farm or it’s running us. Either way we just roll along with it. When we were first starting out, this time of year used to feel like putting our seat belts on, taking our hands off the wheel and just hoping for the best. Now it kind of feels like we have been kayaking up stream for the last 4 months, but now the current has changed and we can pull our paddles and let the river push along. That kind of makes it seem like we’ve stopped working, which isn’t really the case, but the wind is certainly at our backs at least. We are done with the big plantings of the year. We have some more lettuce, greens and odds and ends still to seed but by and large we’re done with the transplanter. We have started seeding cover crop in fields we’re done with. The weeds are still growing but maybe not quite as voraciously as they were before. All of this is perfectly timed since the harvests are growing larger and larger by the day. Picking melons really adds some time and heft to our regular harvests, add the field tomatoes to that and we’re pretty busy bringing things in. What really kicks it all into high gear is the bulk crops that need to be brought it in. Last week it was the onions, but the potatoes are looking ready, and we have another round of carrots to bring in. Before we know it we will be picking winter squash and sweet potatoes.

This is by far the coolest and cloudiest August I can ever remember. For the most part, the farm doesn’t seem to much the worse the wear for it. You can see evidence of the strange weather here and there though. Our eggplant and peppers, both heat loving crops have been slow to come on this year. The eggplant in particular does not seem thrilled about things. Usually, we find ourselves up to our ears in so much eggplant that we literally can’t even give it away. (This is actually true, since the United Way doesn’t like to take too much since it doesn’t hold well). But this season, the eggplants are stubbornly obstinate in their piddly production. We’ve tried adding water, we’ve tried giving them food, we even tried asking them nicely but they just don’t seem to want to produce, and we're pretty much ready to throw in the towel and call it a crop loss this year.

My Dad was asking us if we feel like the weather is more erratic or we’re noticing changes and honestly I can’t say that there has even been a season I have been farming that has been ‘normal’. Some years are so hot and dry you feel like you’re farming the desert. Other seasons it will snow in late May, only to stay warm all the way past Christmas. The weather is only predictable in it’s unpredictableness. Likewise, the same can mostly be said for the crops. Some years the carrots are amazing, other years they are little more than a disappointment. For the most part, we seek out reliability through volume and redundancy. We try and plant enough of a crop that we will have enough for the CSA and enough to wholesale extras, maybe with a little extra to donate. That way if things go well, everyone has plenty and if things go poorly we can still scrape by. It always works great. Except for when it doesn’t.

This week is a big transition for us, not so much on the farm, but in our life at home, which is basically the farm. My mom, Rhona, has been staying with us for the past month taking care of Shep. My dad has joined her for the past week and they are getting ready to depart back to Chicago. Shep loves being able to spend so much time with his grand parents and I think they are pretty fond of him too. It’s nice for us to have the extra help and really focus on getting things on the farm but also taking some time to relax. Erica, who normally takes care of Shep in the morning and works in the field during the afternoon, has been spending full days on the farm so we have had a super sized crew getting things done for the past month.

Shep is a real mover and shaker these days. Expressing his opinions, climbing up and down stairs and cruising around the farm yard. We can see him learn and grow right before our eyes and it’s been wonderful to watch him learn and grow so much with his grand mother over the past month. While we know Rhona and Keith have to get back to their real lives in Chicago, they will be sorely missed on the farm and we are so very grateful for all the help they have provided us with this summer.

Your farmers,

Anthony, Chris, Erica, Hannah, Holly, Kerry, Larry and Max

Focus on a Farmer

We hired Holly Lalime literally as I was in active preterm labor while we were waiting for a snow storm to let up so we could go to the hospital. We were that excited about the prospect of Holly coming to work here at Provider Farm!

Holly came to us with a couple seasons of farming under her belt already. One season in Vermont on a mixed vegetable farm, and a second in western CT. She was born and raised in the northeast kingdom of Vermont and went to college at UVM in Burlington where she studied natural resource management. She grew up around her uncle's dairy farm so farming is in her blood and she says she farms now because she started and just never stopped. She loves the work and is fascinated by plant growth and finds it magical that we produce all this food from just little seeds.

Holly came on as an all around back up to crew leader Hannah, ready to step up when ever we need someone in a management roll. Now in her second year here, she has taken on quite a bit of tractor work and currently prepares every bed that grows your veggies, spreads field amendments, and is the first person Max has ever trained to clean out the cow barn and proceeded to do it better then he ever has! Holly' s proficiency in equipment operation has really reduced the work load for Max and tightened up how quickly we can get time sensitive tractor tasks done.

Many of you also know her from staffing the share room on Tuesdays. She loves meeting and greeting you all and making connections with the people we are feeding. She brings joy and humor with her to the farm everyday and is a tough steady worker.

A little known fact about Holly we were all interested to learn is that as a teenager, she raised and bred rabbits for show and pets and had upwards of 40 rabbits. She is a wealth of knowledge on all things rabbits, so if you have any questions, ask her about them in the share room!

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