Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

Shareholders

August 12, 2018

Thank you so much to the Bradley family for the incredible scare crow. It is making its way to the melon field to ward off those pesky crows!

This Week's Share

The melons are going off now! They couldn't wait for us to get some weeding done but thats ok with us! We should have loads of watermelons  for the next few weeks and we saw a few ripe canteloupes on Friday, so we expect to pull in a lot for this week! Lets hope the rains hold off! Too much water when melons ripen can dilute the sugars, they are still tasty but not quite as concentrated in flavor.

Our tried and true method to determine melon ripeness (the death of the tendril where the vine attaches to the melon) has proven to not quite be as effective this year for some reason. The melon vines themselves are just incredibly lush and disease free and covered with blossoms like we've never seen before. Its truelly a sight, we have to wade through them slowly using our feet as melon feelers, the vines are so thick. We have been finding the melons with dead tendrils just seam a little light, perhaps that is just how the melons are this year, so much rain can do really weird things. Or maybe we'll find they will darken up this week! They taste good none the less!

We just started picking greens out of our fall brassica fields which means tons of luscious tender leaves coming in plus our delicious collard greens. If you have not yet met the collard green, allow me to introduce you! Collard greens are commonly used in Southern cooking but us northerners should really adopt them as our own. They are delicious and really nutritious. Try sauteeing them with lots of garlic and onions and then simmer with some broth till desired tenderness and add a splash of vinegar. The Southerners tend to cook them forever, but its not necessary. For a less traditional approach, I have seen their large leaves used as green wraps by steaming them first.

Our cucumbers had a good run but have petered out. We have one more planting we're waiting to come on. These are usually a flash in the pan planting, we get a whole lot at once and then they tend to die pretty quick.

We freed our herb beds from a rain forest of weeds this past week, so I'd like to give the parsley and basil a little bit more time to recover, but we'll see how they are doing and pick some if they rebound quickly.

Another thing of note this week, is the incredible crop of tomatillos we have this year. After years of so so success, we switched varieties and have come upon a true winner! Big beautiful fruits. Now I know the tomatillo is an obscure crop, who really cares, but they are really tasty and make a fabulous green salsa (see the recipe of the week) so give them a try!

Recipe of the Week: 

Fresh Tomatillo Salsa

Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/4 cups minced white onion (about 1 medium onion)
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 2 poblano chiles
  • 1 jalapeño 
  • 12 tomatillos, husks removed (about 1 1/4 pounds)
  • 2 cups loosely packed cilantro
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint 
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

 

Directions: 

Roast the poblanos and jalapeño directly over a gas flame or under the broiler for 5 to 7 minutes, turning occasionally, until charred all over. Transfer the poblanos and jalapeños to a bowl, cover tightly with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes. Peel and seed, then transfer to a blender. Add the tomatillos, cilantro, mint, garlic, lime juice, and onions and process until smooth. Transfer to a large bowl. Drain the onions and stir into the bowl. Season the salsa with salt, if necessary. Serve

Credit: 
Food and Wine

Shoe strings and hope

Our chief melon inspector checking melon quality.
Our chief melon inspector checking melon quality.

Dear Friends,

 

More heat and humidity. Mornings covered in so much dew, the world blanketed in fog. Buckets full of tomatoes, bins full of melons. Truck load after truck load of vegetables. The summer crops are all blazing in their brilliant glory, the fall crops are taking shape. We’re seeing winter squash in the winter squash field. There are palm sized sweet potatoes buried under the vines of sweet potatoes. The potato vines are dying back and the hills are full of tubers. We’re living our life in the summer but our eyes are turned towards fall. Of course, it’s not quite time for sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes just yet.

 

This week was the start of melon season on the farm. Everyone loves melons. They’re fun to harvest and fun to eat. We were a bit worried about this year’s crop due in part to the crow population but also all the rain late in the summer. Rain when the melons are ripening can lead to bland, watery melons. So far, while the melons are certainly extra juicy, they have been pretty sweet and delicious. For whatever reason some of our tried and true methods for melon harvesting have been proving to be less than reliable. We typically pick melons when the tendril opposite the fruit has died back. In the past that his been a 99% effective indicator of ripeness. This year however, some of the melons that appear to be ripe in the field end up being a little bit less than stellar but tasty none the less. We’re not really sure why this is happening, but if you do find yourself with an unripe melon at home we will gladly give you an extra ripe melon the next week.

As fun as it is to throw watermelons twenty feet through the air, there is no denying that the melon harvest adds another task to our already overflowing task list. We’re in still operating in triage mode, doing what we can. Putting band-aids on what we can, holding the farm together with shoe strings and hope, but it is what it is and we do what we can. While things still feel a bit frantic, we’re still hanging in there. We’ve actually been pretty lucky so far this season, avoiding some of the torrential rains they have been getting further north of here.
 

One advantage of our farm is that the soils are all basically sitting on top of gravel. The gravel isn’t always our favorite, it leads to come pretty serious rock picking and dramatically effects which tillage implement we can use. But in a wet year it’s really nice because the soils drain well for the most part. Lush, loamy river bottom soils are lovely and can grow beautiful vegetables, but they can be prone to flooding. It’s not every year we are especially appreciative of our stony fields, but when we’re getting as much rain as we have been it’s certainly nice.


Your farmers,

 

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

Read previous newsletters

Subscribe to Provider Farm | Shareholders Newsletter