Provider Farm

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August 16, 2013

This Week's Share

We welcome our fall brassicas into the share this week.  This means lots of new kale, including rainbow lacinato, lacinato, and winterbor.  Collards also will make their debut into the share.  These greens are crisp and tender from the new planting, and you will find they will only get sweeter as it gets colder.  More kale!?!? You may either say that with excitement or kale fatigue.  Well, for both of you, try this kale recipe, it comes highly recommended from my brother and website developer (same guy, lucky me)!

Also, this time of year is a great time to start thinking about the dreary days of winter, when you'll be standing in the produce aisles looking at limp produce at the grocery store longing for the watermelons and tomatoes of your CSA share.  Now is the perfect time to start putting away some of the abundance of the summer.  Now I know you're probably thinking...I am so busy with my job and kids, and everything else, you make me take home all this stuff every week and clean it, tuck it away in the fridge and cook fresh meals, and you want me to do one more thing?!?  Believe me, I feel your pain!  You should see the amount of dust on our shelves, or the pile of dirt I sweep up off my floors when I can actually get around to sweeping, but I have been able to really streamline my freezing and canning for the winter and I'll share some of my turbo preserving tips with you:

Greens like kale, swiss chard, collards freeze really great.  If you have extras from the share, blanch them (dip them in boiling water for a few seconds and put them in ice cold water), drain them really well and pack them into freezer bags.  They are great sauteed up in garlic or thrown into any dish.

Tomatoes...have tomatoes going by?  Chop them up skins and all and put them into freezer bags.  You can make sauce with them, soups, I've even made them into winter time salsas.

Extra herbs?  Basil is great frozen into serving size pesto cubes, or chopped up and frozen in oil.  I'll pack cilantro and parsley in freezer bags and freeze them whole.

Colored peppers.  One of my favorite crops to store for winter.  Chop them up and pack them in freezer bags.  They don't hold their crispness but they are great in all sorts of cooked dishes.  Also, they're pretty darned good straight out of the bag too.

As for your root crops, carrots, beets, potatoes...these all can store really well just wrapped in a bag (they like high humidity) and stored right in your fridge.  That's how we do it..they can last for several months this way.

Hope that inspires you.  You can really get into canning and more intricate stuff, but I just wanted everyone to know, its not too difficult to just put a little bit away.  Anyone out there have any other tips? 

Recipe of the Week: 

Raw Kale Salad

Ingredients: 
  • 4 cups chopped raw kale (about 1/2 small bunch)
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots
  • 1 small avocado, diced
  • 1/2 cup sweet onion, diced
  • 2-3 Tbsp seeds or nuts (I added some mineral-rich pepitas)

 

Simple Sweet Tahini Dressing

  • 2 Tbsp tahini
  • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
  • 3 Tbsp fresh lemon juice + pinch of zest
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • 2-3 pinches cayenne pinch of salt
  • a few pinches of black pepper
Directions: 

Step 1. Wash your fresh kale greens. Run each thick leaf under warm to hot water and massage any grit away. Then refresh the leaves by running them all under ice cold water. (The hot and coldest settings on your tap will work.)

Step 2. Prep your ingredients. Remove the thick vein from your kale leaves and discard. (You could keep this on, but it is quite chewy.) Also prep your other veggies however you'd like. Chop, dice, cube, shred... Add the chopped kale and veggies to a large mixing bowl.

Step 3. Make your dressing. In a small bowl, whisk your dressing together.

Step 4. Toss! Add the dressing to your bowl of veggies and kale and start tossing! You could massage if you'd like :) Fluff and toss until the dressing is well absorbed into the greens and veggies.

Step 5. Chill it! Allow at least an hour for the dressing to really sink into the ingredients. Plus chilling everything makes it refreshing and tasty as a cold salad side. You can even make this salad the night before you serve it. Overnight chilling works! The greens should be eaten within 48 hours though.

Servings: 
Makes 6 cups
Credit: 
lunchboxbunch.com

Where did the summer go?

All star workers--We'll miss you!
All star workers--We'll miss you!

Dear Friends,

More beautiful days and cool nights on the farm. While we love working outside in these conditions, our heat loving crops continue to be uncomfortable with the early onset of…dare we say it?…FALL. Our summer squash, zucchini and cucumbers in particular seem quite bitter about the early cold and have virtually stopped producing. We are still getting a small pick out of the field, but not nearly what we were hoping for. Seeing the drop in squash production made us a bit nervous about the condition of our sweet peppers, but we were surprised to see brilliant reds and yellows in the field this week. We have an abundance of absolutely gorgeous colored peppers on the farm right now. Purple, red, yellow, green, orange and even a deep chocolatey brown! Peppers are a great example of a vegetable I never cared for before I started farming. Now, bell peppers are one of my favorite snacks on the whole farm. We have started digging our potatoes this past week too, and I am happy to say that our crop looks 100% better than last year's potatoes. The yield is way up, the spuds are bigger and less blemished and the crop is just all in all more enjoyable to dig out of the ground. We will have red potatoes for the next few weeks before we begin to dig our main season white, yellow and blue potatoes.
   
It seems like just yesterday we were planting our little baby melon transplants and gearing up for the summer.   It is hard to believe that we have already passed the mid point of the season. Don't worry, we still have a long way to go before the end of the season, and a ton of food to harvest before that point,  but the end of August is a bittersweet time on the farm. In one way, it is wonderful because our work load starts to slow down a bit, but it also means we have to say goodbye to our summer farm crew.  Hannah Trip and Louis Paulson have both worked with us for the past two seasons, choosing to spend their summer vacations weeding parsnips and chucking watermelons. Hannah and Louis both started on the farm as volunteers early in the 2012 season. It didn't take us long to realize that they were both worth their weight in gold and we had better offer them actual jobs before someone else did. Every spring we get the farm going in ernest and as activities ramp up and everything starts to feel overwhelming, they show up just in the nick of time.  They serve a huge role in bringing in the harvest every week, taking down the onslaught of weeds, and doing whatever we have to do to get the crops to you. 

We depend on a lot of people to make Provider Farm happen and these are two of the people we depend upon the most. While they don't always get the most glamourous jobs, they take to every task we have ever given them with enthusiasm and a solid sense of humor. Louis even has a good sense of humor about me misspelling his name in every single newsletter up to this point! Louis and Hannah are both returning to UCONN at the end of next week, and while we wish they could stay, it's hard to argue with a college education. We wish them well in their future endeavors and appreciate all the work that they put in this past season!

S,o while we say good bye to our summer crew, our attention starts to turn to winter squash, rutabagas and the first fall broccoli

On behalf of your farm crew,

Ben, Emma, Hannah, Louis, 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).