Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


September 19, 2012

This Week's Share

The winter squash of the week is our sweet dumpling squash.  This squash is a cross between acorn and delicata and has the texture of the acorn and the flavor of a delicata. 

Recipe of the Week: 

Cauliflower Gratin

  • 1 (3-pound) head cauliflower, cut into large florets
  • Kosher salt
  • 4 tbs (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 tsp all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups hot milk
  • 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Gruyere, divided
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.

Cook the cauliflower florets in a large pot of boiling salted water for 5 to 6 minutes, until tender but still firm. Drain.

Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of the butter in a medium saucepan over low heat. Add the flour, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon for 2 minutes. Pour the hot milk into the butter-flour mixture and stir until it comes to a boil. Boil, whisking constantly, for 1 minute, or until thickened. Off the heat, add 1 teaspoon of salt, the pepper, nutmeg, 1/2 cup of the Gruyere, and the Parmesan.

Pour 1/3 of the sauce on the bottom of an 8 by 11 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the drained cauliflower on top and then spread the rest of the sauce evenly on top. Combine the bread crumbs with the remaining 1/4 cup of Gruyere and sprinkle on top. Melt the remaining 2 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over the gratin. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the top is browned. Serve hot or at room temperature.


The Joy of Farming at Night

Our giant sweet potato
Our giant sweet potato

Dear Friends,

            The beautiful sunny days of last week have turned cool and fallish. While we try and remember what we did with all our sweatshirts and flannel shirts, our fall crops continue to thrive.  Despite an occurrence of the disease 'black rot' in our brassica field, we continue to bring in gorgeous kale and broccoli and the first of the fall cabbage is starting to head up nicely. Our cauliflower seems to be the most severely affected by the black rot, so it's appearance in the share might be sporadic, but there are some really nice heads still out there.

            Last week, we began picking the first leeks of the year and are thus far really happy with the crop. This week also marks the beginning of the sweet potato harvest. We dig sweet potatoes very similarly to how we dig potatoes, except that after harvest the sweet potatoes must cure for a couple weeks. This process allows the starch in the sweet potatoes to convert to sugar, thus making them sweet.  it is looking like our sweet potatoes will be the prize winning crop of the year.  With only the first bed dug, we already have 2000 lbs. curing in the greenhouse!  We are still waiting for our first fall spinach, we had some problems with germination due to the warm, dry weather early on but we should be picking spinach soon enough!

             Along with the cooler temperatures of September comes less and less day light every day. I am amazed at how dark the mornings are when our alarm wakes us up and  we are always a bit surprised when the sun begins to set and we haven't come close to finishing the day’s list. Often times, when we are out in the field and the sun starts to go down, it provokes a sense of urgency and terror in your farmers. Most tasks on the farm that are quite simple in the day light are nearly impossible at night. As soon as we notice the sun sinking low, we will force ourselves to work faster than humanely possible in order to avoid loading potatoes or winter squash under the headlights of our trucks.

            However, the other day I had a very different experience while seeding cover crop in our freshly harrowed winter squash field. I was determined to get oats and peas in the ground in anticipation of Tuesday's rain, and I wasn't going to let a little thing like night stop me! Maybe it is because I set about this task with no intention of finishing before the sunset, or that our tractor has lights on it, but I didn't feel any of the typical anxiety, as I was spreading cover crop seed while the sun set. In fact, harrowing the seed in under total darkness with the lights of the tractor guiding my way felt altogether perfect.

            We don't often spend time in our fields at night for obvious reasons, but they have a totally different quality at night than they do in the day. The carrots, cows and cabbage are often focal points of our dreams each and every night, though we don't usually spend time amongst them during our waking hours after the sun has set. While I was happy to get the seed in the ground despite the darkness, I was much happier to see the lights in the window as I returned home.

On Behalf of your farm crew,

            Tana, Marycia and Dominique

                        Your Farmers,

                                    Max and Kerry

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