Provider Farm

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July 5, 2014

This Week's Share

Wow, that's a lot of cucumbers coming in!  We have both slicing cukes (the big green ones everyone knows) and pickling cukes (mottled green skin).  Both are great raw, the pickling cukes just have less water and a stronger cucumber flavor, which makes them great for pickling.  Regarding pickles, if you're into that sort of thing, now is the time to make them!  We plant three successions of cukes but as we get later in the season, disease becomes more prevalent and the picklers are especially prone, so we can't guarantee a bountiful harvest into August.  But boy are those plants gorgeous now!

We also have delicious white onions coming into the share this week.  These guys are sweet and crispy and great in or on just about anything.  We should have them for much of the summer.

Recipe of the Week: 

Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients: 
  • 3 Lb. pickling cukes
  • 5 c. water
  • 1 1/4 c. cider or white vinegar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. salt
  • 2 dill flower heads
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. pickling spice
Directions: 

Bring to a boil water, vinegar, sugar, salt. Let cool. Slice cukes into rounds and put them and the rest of the ingredients in a sterilized jar and pour cooled liquid over them. Put in refrigerator.

Credit: 
Max's former boss's Meghan Arquin's amazing pickles!

The Circus

Last planting of summer squash and cucumbers going in on the early morning of a very warm day.
Last planting of summer squash and cucumbers going in on the early morning of a very warm day

Dear Friends,

If this isn’t summer, I don’t know what is. Hot humid days and thunder storms, cucumbers, and the first blush of color on our high tunnel tomatoes. The 4th of July rain was a most welcome sight as things were looking pretty dry and dusty out there. We are in the thick of our summer squash, zucchini and cucumber harvest. This past week we brought in over a thousand pounds of these summer favorites. Now is definitely pickle time if you are so inclined. Our spring brassicas are winding down, and we are saying good bye to our friend broccoli until later in the fall. Elsewhere on the farm, things are looking gorgeous. Our watermelons and cantaloupes have sealed up the field in a coat of green and we even saw the tiniest little baby melons forming. Our field tomatoes are looking good and the eggplants and peppers are coming along nicely. This also marks the beginning of onion season on the farm. We begin with one of our favorites, a sweet, white fresh onion that goes great on, in, or with anything.

At this time of year, we wear the hat of farm juggler. In the spring, things are simple with one or two balls in the air, but every day there are more and more things flying into the mix, buzzing around our heads as we try and keep it all going. For the vegetable side of things, there are three main areas of the farm that I think about: planting, weeding and harvesting. In July, all three phases of the farm are cranking in full force. The harvests are huge, the plantings are huge, and the weeds are huge. Then we throw some flaming pins into the mix in the form of managing the cow herd (fortunately, all they usually need at this time of the year is a check in and some fresh grass every day).  With some careful planning and some good old fashioned hard work, we can weave through the delicate dance of summer like an otter in the ocean. When things start to unravel, we often feel like a clown car at the circus running around putting out fires.

At this time of year, harvesting becomes the constant force in our lives. No matter what else happens in a day, we must harvest. Making sure the CSA baskets are full every Tuesday and Friday is the top priority,  weeding tasks and plantings must be made to fit around our harvest schedule. As July winds down, so will the plantings, and in August, we basically just weed and harvest. By the time September rolls around the weeding is nearly complete for the year and we focus all of our attention on harvesting and then finally, putting the farm to sleep for the winter.

Fortunately for us, we have a solid road map for the season. Without our trusty crop plan, I don’t know how we would keep everything from crashing down around us. So long as we stick to our plan and keep our feet moving, I am sure that will make it through alright.

On behalf of your farm crew

Ben, Mary, Hannah, Leah, Sean and Marycia

Your Farmers

Max and Kerry

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