Provider Farm

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July 13, 2013

This Week's Share

I think we're tentatively ready to announce the arrival of our high tunnel tomatoes!  As overprotective parents, we have been doting on these tomatoes for a long time, covering them with extra protection in the spring when temperatures dropped below freezing, fretting over leaf blemishes, and opening and closing the high tunnel daily depending on the weather. Boy, was I happy to see the first glimmer of red through the vines.

The high tunnel helps keep the tomatoes dry and free of disease and produces nice EARLY high quality fruit.  We will have these tomatoes in smaller quantities (the high tunnel is only 96' x30') until our field tomatoes kick in.  They are amazing when paired with basil.  Hello summer!

Also new this week, our wonderful white onions.  These onions are sweet as can be and are great sliced fresh into sandwiches and salads.

On the horizon...our eggplants are just starting to come on and they are looking like they are going to produce a mighty fine crop.  We grow Asian types and Italian types.

Recipe of the Week: 

Tomato Basil Bruschetta

Ingredients: 
  • 1 Farm tomato
  • Bunch of basil
  • Olive oil
  • Cheese (Melville works great or a fresh mozzarella or cheddar, or whatever kind you like really)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • 1 loaf good quality crusty bread)
Directions: 

Slice the bread and tomatoes. Drizzle the bread slices with olive oil and balsamic and then layer with cheese, basil leaves and tomato slices. That's it.

Credit: 
Kerry, I eat it for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snack...

Down to the Wire

Marycia with an armload of garlic
Marycia with an armload of garlic

Dear Friends,

    After another week of completely unpredictable, bizarre weather, we are hitting the mid-point of July. This past week we planted almost an entire acre of fall broccoli, cauliflower, kale and Brussels Sprouts. We have a few more plantings to go, but the majority of our crops are finally in the ground. The summer crops have begun to trickle in and we will start to see some new items in the share. Our high tunnel tomatoes have just started producing and we are absolutely delighted to have these red beauties in the share so early in July. We are also starting to see the first eggplants out there in the field. The melons are continuing to size up and we should hopefully find a ripe melon or two in a few weeks. This erratic, consistently wet and cool weather does have some draw backs for the farm. Late blight, the dreaded tomato disease that destroyed our crop last year has been confirmed on a farm in Western Massachusetts. While we are taking every precaution available to us to ensure a good crop of main season tomatoes, this weather has been extremely favorable for the spread of the disease. So far our tomato crop looks excellent and we will continue to safe guard against the blight but there is only so much that we can do organically.

    After spending nearly nine months in the ground, the garlic was finally ready to harvest this week. The garlic harvest is a pretty big milestone for us on the farm. We grow a pretty good amount of the stuff and everybody loves it. It is a time sensitive harvest, you want to give the garlic enough time to size up but if you wait too long all the cloves will fall apart in the soil and you won't have any garlic at all. It is also crucial that everything stays dry when we harvest. After picking, we place all the garlic in our loft for three weeks to allow it to dry and cure so we can store it for the winter.  Even the slightest bit of moisture and everything can rot. While the weather forecast for last week looked a bit dicey with 30% chance of thunderstorms every day, we felt like we would have no problem finding a dry day to pick the garlic and get it all safely in the barn. We have had a 30% chance of thunderstorms every day since June and have at times seen little or no rain come of it. So Tuesday mid-morning, with a bright sun, and temps in the mid to upper eighties we started pulling our garlic. The garlic harvest is an all hands on deck kind of affair, so we had the entire farm crew working on it. In what felt like no time at all, we were able to get a third of the crop picked and loaded safely into the barn. With a 40% chance of thunderstorms after 2pm, I felt confident that we would be able to get everything pulled and put away well before the first rain clouds appeared. We pulled another third of the crop or so before breaking for lunch, leaving the garlic on the ground while we headed up to eat.

    Everything felt great, the garlic looked good, the sun was shining, Kerry and I were in pretty high spirits when we heard the first rumble of thunder. That first low, slow rumble sent a chill down my spine. I looked at the radar, checked the weather, still no sign of rain until after 2pm, but than another rumble of thunder. At this point half of our crew had gone home, and the share needed to be set up for the Tuesday distribution, as I looked to the dark clouds forming to the north us, it was apparent that the garlic on the ground needed to be picked up NOW. Leaving Kerry to set the share up, the rest of us raced down to the field, as the thunder persisted. Sun in front of us, storm clouds behind. Now, we usually work pretty hard on the farm and try to keep up a good pace, but let me tell you, I have never in my life seen people move faster and worked harder than I did in the twenty minutes that it took us to load the garlic onto the trailer and get it in the barn, just as the sky opened and the rain started pouring down. Relief doesn't begin to describe the feeling. Now that the garlic is safe in the barn we can all laugh about it, but I'd be happy if we don't have that much excitement on the farm for a while

    On behalf of your farm crew,

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

            Your Farmers

                Max and Kerry

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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).