Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

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June 15, 2013

Newsletter tip:  Click on any of the crops to link to more information about the crop.

This Week's Share

While the broccoli, beets, and greens continue to pour in, this week also brings some more unusual vegetables.  Fennel has a light licorice like flavor.  The bulb is great chopped into salads raw and the bulb and fronds are wonderful for flavoring sauces, soups and stews.  Radicchio is a traditional Italian "green" (it's actually red), also great for dressing up your salads.

This week we also see the first of our alliums (the onion family of crops).  Garlic scapes are the flower buds of garlic.  They are wonderfully flavorful and can be used as you would garlic.   We also have the first of our scallions which add flavor to all your dishes raw or cooked.

Recipe of the Week: 

Garlic Scape Pesto

Ingredients: 
  • 6-7 garlic scapes
  • 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds or pine nuts
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, parsley, arugula or spinach (if desired)
  • 1/4 cup parmesean cheese
  • salt to taste
  • juice from half a lemon
  • olive oil, about 3/4 to 1 cup
Directions: 

Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse to blend. With processor running, pour olive oil over the mixture. Blend until pesto is spreadable. Serve over pasta. Pesto can also be frozen.

Slogging Through

Squash, after 5 inches of rain
Squash after 5 inches of rain

Dear Friends,

You don't need to be a weatherman to look out and see the weather. This past week has brought us rain, rain and more rain. While it is true that water is an essential component to growing anything, too much water creates a plethora of problems pretty quickly. The persistently cool nighttime temperatures and cloudy skies have severely slowed the growth of our heat loving crops. It has looked as though we were right on the verge of zucchini and summer squash for days, but the lack of sunny weather has kept the squash too small to harvest, shivering on the vine. We are fortunate that for the most part, all of our fields drain well, but the onslaught of heavy rain has proven too much, even for our sandy fields. More than once this week, we have woken to find ponds forming in our fields, the water cresting over our raised beds lapping at the feet of our cucumbers and submerging our newly germinated late summer carrots and beets.

The rainy weather keeps the tractors in the barn and out of the field. Aside from the obvious risk of getting our equipment stuck, driving in saturated fields has the potential to compact the soil. This means while we slog through the mud harvesting in our swampy fields, the weeds can grow, unhindered or deterred by our cultivation equipment. This tends to take its toll on Max, as he is by far the happiest when viewing the farm from the seat of a tractor. We still have plenty to do of course, seeding fall brassicas in the greenhouse, fixing fences, and harvesting all the food for the share and killing weeds when we can find a break in the weather.

Probably the most disconcerting consequence of the abundant moisture is the heightened risk of diseases that it brings with it. Constant leaf wetness, standing water, and cloudy skies mean spores, spores, spores….We are at far greater risk of crop loss due to disease when the sun refuses to shine. As many of you who remember the tomato late blight disaster of 2012 know very well, plant diseases can be absolutely devastating. However we are far more prepared to handle disease pressure this year than we were last year. We learned many lessons last year, perhaps the greatest was that it pays to be proactive when it comes to managing diseases organically. We have taken many steps to ensure that our crops are protected and that we will have delicious, ripe, red tomatoes in the share this year.

 Fortunately, this too shall pass, and one point hopefully we will see the sun again. In the meanwhile, we are continuing to bring in barrel after barrel of really amazing food. The broccoli and beets continue to impress with their size and flavor. Spring broccoli is notoriously tricky to grow and this year's crop is the best we've ever seen. I am pretty sure one day I will tell my grand children about the bodacious broccoli of 2013. We are starting to see the early cabbages begin to head up, and we should hopefully have cabbage in the share any day now. Our first ever foray in the world of radicchio is proving to be a delightful success, adding some interesting color to the CSA basket. So far our summer crops are also looking happy, healthy and vigorous if not just a bit on the chilly side. All things considered, we're really just glad the rains came after we got most of our crops in the ground, rather than before. So for now, we'll just keep on keeping on, slogging through and making good use of our rain boots.

On Behalf of your farm crew

            Ben, Emma, Hannah, Larry, Lewis, Marycia and Nick

                        Your Farmers

                                    Max and Kerry

 

Mystic Cheese  Coming to Provider Farm!

If you havn't tried Mystic Cheese's Melville yet, now is your chance.  Brian Civetello of The Mystic Cheese Company will be at Provider Farm at the Friday share pick up sampling his cheese.   Melville was recently voted one of the top "cheeses to try now" by Epicurious and we are excited to begin selling Melville at our share pickups.   For more information about Mystic Cheese, visit www.mysticcheese.com.

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Frequently Asked Questions

Tell a friend or neighbor to pick it up and share the bounty.

Sorry, it is up to you to work it out with whoever you are splitting with, but we can't physically split bunches, lettuce, or other crops in the shop.  It is also up to you to be in charge of when you are coming to pick up versus when your share partner is going to pick it up.

We don't encourage splitting shares, but if you do so, please either alternate weeks picking up or come together. Please do not come separately picking up only half the share within one week. It makes for difficulty planning, heavier traffic on the farm, and confusion amongst the splitters of what has been taken (some items are simply not splittable i.e. a watermelon).