Provider Farm

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July 19, 2014

This Week's Share

We have some great cooking greens in the share right now, Bok choi is coming back in and red Russian kale is our favorite summer kale.  Its super tender and wonderful with a light steaming, give it a try if you haven't yet!

Peppers are cranking now and you'll see them in the share this week.  We grow numerous types of all shapes and sizes!  This week, we'll have green and purple bells and frying peppers.  The frying peppers are not spicy at all and wonderful fried up with those sweet onions we have in the share.

The high tunnel tomatoes have just started producing.  They are very precious right now and will start in small amounts but are just a prequel to the wonderful flood of tomatoes on the horizon.  Use them in a BLT or with basil and Melville on good crusty bread to maximize each one.

Recipe of the Week: 

Eggplant Caviar

Ingredients: 
  • 1 large eggplant (about 1 1⁄2 pounds)
  • 1/2 small onion, finely chopped (1⁄4 cup)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley, plus more for serving
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (optional)
  • kosher salt and black pepper
Directions: 

Heat oven to 400° F. Using a fork, prick the eggplant all over. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet and roast until very tender, 50 to 60 minutes.
When the eggplant is cool enough to handle, halve it lengthwise and scrape out the flesh, discarding the skin. Finely chop the flesh and transfer it to a large bowl.
Add the onion, garlic, parsley, oil, vinegar, mayonnaise (if using), ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper and mix to combine. Sprinkle with additional parsley and serve with the bread and vegetables, if desired.

Credit: 
realsimple.com

Nature's super heroines

Full harvest trucks are coming out of the fields.
Full harvest trucks are coming out of the fields.

Dear Friends,

Some well timed rain and cooler temperatures made for a much more pleasant experience on the farm this past week. The rain came and went intermittently, watering our youngest carrots and beets and allowing us time to finally make it to the DMV. The first sunny day after it rains is an excellent time to get out into the fields and kill weeds. The soil is soft and ripe, teaming with freshly germinated weed seeds. It is incredibly satisfying to cultivate in general and especially satisfying to cultivate when it is most effective. While our crew hand weeded our storage beets I spent many hours in the tractor seat, basket weeding out fall kale, Brussels sprouts, broccoli and cabbage. Staying on top of the weeds and getting rid of them while they’re small is essential for our success. Since we farm without the use of herbicides, we rely on mechanical cultivation to do most of our weeding. This involves driving over our crops and running different sorts of metal implements between the rows to kill weeds.

July can be an absolutely overwhelming time on the farm. As much as the work is overwhelming, I am even more overwhelmed by how amazing things are looking. The onions are coming out beautifully, we have our fingers crossed that the sun will shine when we need it to and the storage onions will cure properly. Last week we were inundated with a huge first eggplant harvest and the peppers are right behind them. We have full sized water melons and cantaloupes that are on the verge of ripening. Even the potatoes are looking good for this time of year. While we don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch, all in all we’re feeling pretty positive about the condition of our crops out in the field.

Speaking of our eggplants, I thought I would share what I believe to be an interesting account of how the eggplant came to be this year. Early in the life of this season’s eggplant, we started to notice aphids. Lots of aphids, all over the young plants. A bit dismayed, we hoped things would clear up on their own. The plants seemed to be doing alright but after a couple of weeks they were literally  dripping with aphids. These tiny little bugs suck the sap right out of plants, creating a sticky coating on the plants and the plastic they are grown on, and can in large enough numbers do quite a bit of damage. Just when things started to look their worst and panic started to set in, we noticed something else on the eggplants. Thousand upon thousand of hatching lady bugs were emerging all over our eggplant field. For those of you that don’t know, lady bugs are ferocious, insatiable predators. Fortunately for us, they prefer to prey on small insects, aphids in particular. Just when the night was darkest, there came the lady bugs knocking on the gates of dawn.

We decided to let nature take it’s course and see what they lady bugs were capable of. We were worried that anything we did to try and get rid of the aphids would likely harm the lady bugs as well not do to much to the aphids, and might even harm the lady bugs more, leaving us with an even worse problem. I have never seen so many lady bugs in my life(10-15 lady bugs per plant!). Only a week or so ago our eggplant was a sea of aphids and lady bugs, locked in an epic battle for the ages. If you walk out there now, you aren’t likely to see more than a couple of lady bugs, however you would be hard pressed to find even a single aphid. The lady bugs saved the day like our own personal little tiny super heroes. I am convinced that this amazing event can only occur in an environment free of pesticides and chemical fertilizers and is all the more reason for us to farm the way we do.

On behalf of your farm crew

Ben, Mary, Leah, Sean and Hannah

Your Farmers

Max and Kerry

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