Provider Farm

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August 3, 2013

This Week's Share

Well, what better way to follow up a 5000 lb. melon pick then a booming field of tomatoes.  That's right, we can finally exhale, our field tomatoes are really starting to ripen.  You will be finding lots of beautiful red tomatoes in your share, along with some more unusual specialty types as well.  We grow some heirloom type slicing tomatoes including cherokee green (ripe when yellow green), cherokee purple (ripe when the bottom is a dark purplish red and has green shoulders), striped germans (big fruits with green shoulders, yellow bodies and red bottoms), and pink brandywines (larger fruits, pinkish red when ripe).  Heirlooms are known for their wonderful flavor and unusual appearances.  They are bred for flavor and unusual characteristics and colors, not for shipping and storage, so they tend to have thin skins, ripen unevenly (don't wait for their green shoulders to ripen, they won't!) and will bruise easily (handle them gently!)  They are however, wonderful eating tomatoes, so eat 'em up soon after you bring them home (I don't suspect that will be a problem though, since they are so tasty). 

In addition, we have pink beauties (a smaller pink slicing tomato), speckled romans (are red and yellow streaked plum tomato), green sausages (a yellow and green sauce plum tomato), indigo rose (purple shoulders with a red body) and sun gold cherry tomatoes (sweet as candy!)

Lots of people have been asking, and yes! we will have extra tomatoes for sale for processing when we hit the breaking point of too many!  Coming soon, you will see them in the share room when we hit that point.

Maybe no one will notice with this abundance of tomatoes, but our lettuce took a real hit this week when the deer decided to have a midnight dinner party in our field.  Deer are pretty rude guests  and didn't feel particularly like sharing, so our lettuce baskets will be empty this week.  I have since crossed them off our guest list, and enlisted my party bouncers (extra peanut butter bate on the deer fence, row covers on our next planting) so with any luck, we should be back in the salad business soon.

Recipe of the Week: 

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients: 
  • A couple lbs. tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, more if you are a big garlic fan
  • An onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh slivered basil
  • A glug or two of olive oil
Directions: 

The first part of this recipe is simplified if you have a food mill. If you have a mill, just put your tomatoes in a pot over medium heat and cook until softened (be careful not to burn them though). Then run through the mill to remove seeds and skins.
If you don't have a mill, then you'll have to remove the skins and seeds manually. First, put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Score x's into each tomato and drop into the pot of water for 10 seconds or so. Then remove and place in ice water. The skins should slip off easily. If you are using paste tomatoes, the seeds are small enough you usually don't need to remove them. Slicing tomatoes tend to have larger seeds and you may choose to squeeze them out and discard them before making your sauce (they're totally edible though and you can put them into your sauce if you don't mind them).
Put your milled puree or seeded, skinned tomatoes aside.
Place an empty sauce pot on low heat and put some olive oil in. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened. Then add your tomatoes and cook until desired thickness is achieved. Mash tomatoes with a potato masher if they were not milled. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh basil.

Credit: 
Kerry

Too much of a good thing?

A truckload (or two) of melons
A truckload (or two) of melons

Dear Friends,

If ever we've had a week of better weather on the farm, I must not remember it. Mild temperatures, beautiful skies, and an ever present slight breeze. The kind of weather that makes it an absolute pleasure to work outside. We usually aren't blessed with such wonderful weather until the fall, and while some of our heat loving crops may not be thrilled about the cool nights, your farmers enjoyed the reprieve from the heat and humidity. The summer crops continue to roll in, albeit, maybe a bit slower than they normally would. We have an ample supply of green and purple sweet peppers, but I think we will have to wait till it warms back up for the red, orange and yellow peppers to ripen. The field tomatoes are finally starting to ripen and you should start to notice some more variety in the tomato trays. Our fall crops are looking pretty good out there. The storage onions have started dying back and now we're just waiting for a couple of hot, dry days in a row to harvest all of them. We have reached the point of the season where almost all of what we have to plant has been planted.  We still have some odds and ends to get in the ground but it is a nice feeling knowing the biggest plantings are all behind us.

Despite our best efforts to plan out our days and our weeks, there is always going to be a certain unpredictable element involved in farming. Whenever you're dealing with living, breathing things there is really no way to guarantee what is going to happen from one day to the next. While we do our best to keep this in mind sometimes we lose sight of this reality a bit. This past Thursday, as we were harvesting our melons, we were given a good lesson in the unpredictability of farming. When we set out Thursday to harvest melons,  we were expecting a typical melon harvest. We have all been enjoying the red and yellow icebox watermelons and early musk melons over the past two weeks and were expecting another modest harvest of early melons.

After we had finished picking through the first beds of melons, Kerry walked through the Crimson Sweet melons. These are the kind of watermelons that we all think of when we think of watermelons. Green rinds, pink flesh, real sweet and usually very big. They are the main variety of melon that we grow and usually they start to trickle in around the first week of August. Well, sure enough Kerry found a ripe melon, and than another, and than another and than another. After a few minutes we realized we were going to legitimately have to harvest our Crimson Sweets. After a few more minutes we realized we needed reinforcements. Crew members were pulled out of picking hot peppers and eggplant to come and help us. A few hours later, with some sore shoulders, and an unhappily loaded truck suspension we found ourselves with over 5,000 pounds of watermelons to our name. 5,000 pounds might now sound like much I mean it's only two and a half tons….not that much right? Well, when you start to think about how each melon is picked, thrown, caught, placed in a windrow, thrown again, placed in a bin, brought home and finally loaded into the cooler, and you realize that everyone on the farm moved 5,000 pound of watermelons like three times you start to get a sense of the kind of day we had on Thursday. While this kind of surprise is definitely filed under the 'pleasant' category, a surprise it was indeed and I can guarantee everyone on the farm slept well on Thursday night.

On behalf of your farm crew,

Ben, Emma, Hannah, Lewis, Marycia 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).