Provider Farm

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August 2, 2014

This Week's Share

A lot of ripening happened this week...

Melon Mania!!   This is the best melon year yet!  Thanks to the dry weather, they are super sweet.  We grow red watermelons and yellow watermelons, cantaloupes and  sun jewel "Asian Crisp" melons.  We also have in smaller amounts, the tropical Crenshaw melon and this year, we are trialing "white honey" honeydews (sweet like sugar cubes!)  We will be deep in melons for the next few weeks.

The field tomatoes are just starting to come on so that means lots more tomatoes in your share.  We will have funky heirlooms coming in like cherokee purple, great white (yes, a white tomato!), striped Germans (big yellow and red fruits), German Johnson (big rose fruits), green zebras (smaller green striped fruits), and speckled Romans (a beautiful red and yellow stripy fruit great for sauce).  Heirlooms in general are delicious and delicate fruits and weird looking too.  They tend to have imperfections but the taste is far superior then the cardboard ghostly red ones that come from the grocery store.  They might look a little strange at first, but I guarantee once you try them you won't ever be able to go back.

We will also have the super sweet Sungold cherry tomatoes , bumblebee cherries (new to us this year! Pretty stripey cherries) and also (new this year) green tomatillos! for all of our your salsa verde making needs!

And of course, there will be plenty of red slicing tomatoes!


Tomatoes like best to be stored on your counter, putting them in the fridge makes them lose flavor and degrade fruit quality.  If you are feeling buried in tomatoes, it is super easy to  chop them into cubes and put them into your freezer for winter use.  It is the best thing to pull out a bag of summer during the dreary winter!  We will also start have seconds for sale for canning and freezing.

Recipe of the Week: 

Watermelon Paleta

Ingredients: 

1/2 c sugar
1 c water
4 c melon
2 tbs lime juice pinch of salt

Directions: 

Put water and sugar on low flame and stir until dissolved. Remove from flame and cool. Add melon, lime juice and salt. Blend until smooth and freeze in popsicle trays or Dixie cups with popsicle sticks. A yummy summertime treat!

Credit: 
Kerry heard it on a an NPR show but can't remember which one

Coming Home

Max  showing off the watermelons.
Max showing off the watermelons.

Dear Friends,

We don’t need a calendar to know what time of year it is, one quick look around the share room tells us that summer is in full swing. The melons have arrived with a cacophony of banners and bells. The incredibly dry July has made the melons especially sweet this year, the cantaloupes are particularly delicious. In the past, too much water, either from rain or irrigation has left us with larger melons that were a bit on the watery side. This year, the fruits are a bit smaller but what they lack in size, they more than make up for in taste. The heirloom tomatoes out in the field have started to turn the corner, blushing with the first bits of color. You will start to see more tomatoes in your share, both in variety and in quantity.

Elsewhere on the farm, our storage onions are right on the verge of being ready for harvest. Unlike the fresh onions which go into the cooler, the yellow onions will be dried in the field for a couple of days before we  bring them into the greenhouse to finish curing. The onions are the first of what we hope to be a long and fruitful fall harvest season. Onions are the first to be brought in, followed by winter squash, sweet potatoes, potatoes, cabbage and ultimately all the carrots, beets turnips and rutabagas. Of course I am getting ahead of myself, and besides, who wants to think about squirreling roots away for winter when we are in the midst of melon season?

This past week amidst weeding, harvesting and cultivating, I had to take a trip up Western Massachusetts to purchase more of the crates we put our vegetables in. It is funny to think about how many of these plastic boxes we own and how it always seems like we never have enough. As many of you know, before coming down to Southeastern CT and starting Provider Farm, Kerry and I lived and worked in the Pioneer Valley in Western Mass for several years. I don’t love to leave the farm, especially on a bright sunny afternoon with weeds to kill, but it is always fun to go back and check in on the land we left behind.

Its interesting to visit Riverland Farm,  the place I spent so many years working and learning the business of farming. A lot is the same, but at the same time, so many things are different. Successful farms have to constantly be moving forward, growing and evolving. Everywhere I look, I see the evolution of ideas and inventions I participated in developing, and even more changes and innovations that have occurred after I left.   For the most part, the crops still look about the same, albeit they have been rotated around the fields.  But there is a new big wash barn, new equipment, and a new baby! 

I spent a lot of years working there, I put a lot of myself into my work there and left a lot of literal blood, sweat, and tears in those fields. More than the time I spent in college at Umass, I feel like my time at Riverland shaped me and made me the person I am today. We owe a lot of success to the lessons we learned in the fields of Western Massachusetts.

Time only moves one way, and like all good things, I only had precious few minutes to spend visiting with the farmers there before I had to return to the Southeastern part of the great state I call home. Exiting off of 91 south, passing through Hartford and Glastonbury winding my way ever closer back, I couldn’t help but think about how these once unfamiliar roads have become the roads I now take home. I love the time I spent in Western Mass, and the valley will always hold a special place in my heart, but as I merged onto a deserted route 11 and saw the first signs of Salem, I felt all the joy, relief and happiness you can only feel when you are coming home.

On behalf of your farm crew,

Ben, Mary, Sean and Larry

your farmers

Max and Kerry

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