Provider Farm

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June 14, 2014

This Week's Share

The garlic scapes are ready!  These are the crazy curly q green things in the share this week.  They are the flower buds on our hard neck garlic.  We have to remove them or they will stunt the growth of the garlic bulbs and lucky us, because they are fabulous in so many ways.  Cook with them in any way you use garlic, and more, really, i put them in everything!  Or try the awesome pesto recipe in the newsletter this week, I repeat, put it on everything!

The summer squash is just now coming in in earnest, if it had been a week of 90 degree sunny weather, we'd probably be swimming in it.  But with the drizzly days, it is just trickling in.  Next week is looking dry and toasty, so we're hoping for a good load.

The alien like kohlrabi also ripened up last week.  There are purple ones and green ones.  What on earth do i do with this thing you say?  Well, the easiest is to peel it and chop it into salads.  i heard several people in the share excited to roast it, and it is also great sauteed.  Got a good recipe? Submit it here!

Might we see some Chinese cabbage in the share next week?  No promises, but it is starting to head up so we'll be seeing it sooner then later!  The broccoli continues to dawdle in the field like an obstinate teenager.  There are small heads out there, but they are just going to ripen when they feel like it.   Also, the peas have FINALLY started to blossom (oh, and so have the cucumbers)!  One of my favorite crops to pick and eat...sooon...

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.

Working smarter

How our mornings start nowadays.
How our mornings start nowadays.

Dear Friends,

After an absolutely gorgeous sunny weekend the past week has brought us rain, gray skies and more rain. Much to our surprise a 30% chance of showers Monday afternoon quickly turned into a 2 inch down pour. While we may be feeling a bit soggy, the sweet potatoes we planted this week are loving life. The winter squash field has germinated and is just beginning to take shape. All in all, things are looking pretty good on the farm these days. We’re still waiting to see if any of our early broccoli comes through but our first summer squash and cucumbers have never looked better. The first harvests of squash and zucchini and just starting to trickle in and the cukes won’t be far behind them. The peppers and eggplants are also looking lovely and we are nearing the point where we can remove their row covers and let them finish growing. We are still bringing in tons of beautiful greens, lettuces, kales and beets, enjoying these cool weather crops before the heat of the summer kicks in.

Every day, as we move through June towards July and August and tasks stack up, efficiency on the farm becomes more and more important. While we try and make sure that we do everything we as quickly as possible, it is not enough to just try and work really fast. In order to accomplish what we need to accomplish throughout the season, it is necessary that we have the systems in place to maintain an efficient a farm as possible. This takes place in many areas of the farm, none more so than our harvesting. Even before we pull on our rubber boots in the morning and get the trucks filled with barrels and knives, we have a plan in place for how we’re going to harvest. Some of this planning takes place the night before, figuring out how many bunches of kale we need, but some of the planning occurs weeks and months ago. Everything from where things are planted to when, impacts our harvests and our ability to get things done. Often times the earliest greens beds will be placed between big blocks of potatoes, onions and watermelons. As we finish with these greens the beds will become the roads we use to harvest these heavy crops.

The key to systems is that they are repeatable, that the whole crew does each task the same way each time.  Each crop we grow has a certain set way to be harvested. Lettuce and Arugula are cut with one kind of knife, zucchini is cut with a different one. We have a system for almost everything we do on the farm and when things are going right we move through the field like a well oiled machine, filling barrels with beautiful produce before the sun is even established in the morning sky. When things break down, as they often do, we can recover quickly by relying on our systems and get back into the swing of things before too much time is lost.

Every year we try to do something to improve the efficiency of the farm.  Sometimes it is buying that one additional tractor that lets you kill weeds better, or your newly designed excel spreadsheet that helps you keep better records. This year we have a made a big step forward by majorly improving our wash and pack situation. In the past harvest days found us washing all of our produce under a small, cramped, tent. Now on our harvest days you will find us washing in a roomy, spacious tent with good plumbing, standing on well drained gravel and doing what we do better and faster. It is a wonderful feeling when you see your plans and ideas in action and they actually work. And any day that we can improve what we do is a good day in my book.  A big thank you and a happy father's day to Larry for constructing the tent and putting on the finishing touches while we were hustling in the field!

On behalf of your farm crew

Ben, Colleen, Hannah, Mary, Marycia and Larry

Your Farmers

Max and Kerry

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