Provider Farm

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August 30, 2014

This Week's Share

Delicious dark red norland potatoes will be the share this week!  These beauties are tasty and a nice size this year. Bake em, mash em, boil em.

I'm not ready to turn the recipe over to fall crops just yet!  I happened upon this recipe and since we still have tons of tomatoes and eggplants, I thought, let's stay with summer a little bit longer!

Recipe of the Week: 

Roasted Eggplant and Tomato Pasta

Ingredients: 
  • 1-2 large eggplant, peeled and diced
  • 1 onion, sliced
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • a handful basil, chopped finely
  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes
  • 2 cups pasta (penne, or whatever you have on hand)
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Olive oil
  • 1 glug of red wine vinegar
  • Salt and pepper
  • Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
Directions: 

Preheat oven to 400.
Cut eggplant into 1/2' cubes. Cut cherry tomatoes in half and toss with a little olive oil.
Place eggplant on un-greased baking pan and tomatoes on another pan. Roast for 20-30 minutes until eggplant is tender and golden brown and tomatoes start to lightly brown.
While eggplant and tomatoes roast, caramelize onions in a large, deep saute pan by cooking in oil and low heat and stirring often. The onions, tomatoes and eggplant should all be ready about the same time.
When onions are caramelized, add garlic and saute for a minute before deglazing by splashing the vinegar into the pan. Add tomatoes to pan and simmer for a few minutes on low-medium heat. Fold in roasted eggplant and red pepper flakes. Salt and pepper to taste. Continue to simmer on a low heat.
Put pasta on to boil. Cook until al dente, drain, reserving about 1/2 cup of the pasta water.
Chop the basil and add to sauce a few minutes before serving. Add pasta to sauce, stir gently. Add reserved pasta water a spoonful at a time, to create a saucier sauce, if desired. Let simmer on low for a few minutes or serve.
Garnish with Parmesan or Romano cheese, if desired.

Credit: 
cookingripe.com

Digging for treasure

A beautiful crop of red potatoes, its like digging for treasure!
A beautiful crop of red poatoes, its like digging for treasure!

Dear Friends,

Just when we thought it was gonna be all pumpkin lattes and sweater weather, summer came roaring back into lives. Reminding us that nothing is over until it’s over. We sweated through the harvests early in the week, bringing in an absolute huge tomato pick and some stellar sweet peppers. As the week progressed, we finally sank our potato digger into the field and things started to feel a bit more like autumn. We began digging spuds this week and so far things are looking pretty good. We begin the harvest with one of our favorite varieties, Dark Red Norland. These red beauties are a bit on the small side in the realm of potatoes but they more than make up for their lack of size with an incredible flavor. As we progress through the harvest we will move onto our red storage variety and finally into our main season white potatoes. Sadly, much of the white potato seed rotted shortly after we planted it, so this fall is really going to be all about the red potatoes on the farm.

Elsewhere on the farm, we continue to be impressed by this year’s carrots. They are one of our favorite crops, both to eat and to grow. There is nothing better than a sweet, crunchy carrot right out of the field and this year they are great! We have moved into our fall kales, so you will be seeing more red kale and collards than we have had in the spring and summer. The peppers and eggplants continue to chug along steadily filling our barrels up every time we go out to pick. On our weekly crop walk this morning, we found a couple well sized sweet potatoes beneath the thick covering of vines.

As we move into September, the winter squash harvest is looming large in our minds. We are growing over an acre of winter squash this year and getting all the butternuts, buttercups, delicatas, acorns, and hubbards out of the field is one of our top priorities for the early fall. In order to remove such a large volume of squash from the field quickly and efficiently we have devised a fairly elegant harvest system. And by “devised” I of course mean ‘copied step for step from the farms where we used to work”.

We pick a nice sunny afternoon, that is to be followed by a couple more sunny days, and head out to the field. We spread out through the field and start clipping each squash from the vine and gather them into windrows. We will let them dry over night before we return. We wait until the morning dew is all burned away and than we get to work, pick up the crop. We will have one person driving a tractor with an empty bin on the back. Another person rides in the bin and the rest of the crew throws the squash to them. Once the bin is full, we drop it in the field and start another one. When we are finished there will be a couple dozen pallet bins full of squash spread out through the field. After they are all binned up, moving the squash goes from a 5 person job to a 2 person job. We load the bins onto trucks and trailers with the tractor loader, saving time and our precious backs and will move them around mechanically from here on out.

For every different storage crop we grow, we have a system in place. We dig the different roots in different ways. The beets, rutabaga and turnips are plucked from the ground by hand, the carrots and parsnips are loosened with an under cutter bar, and the potatoes have their own unique potato digger. No matter how they are removed from the ground, all of the roots have their tops removed and are picked into 5 gallon buckets, than the 5 gallon buckets are dumped, two at a time into grain sacks. The grain sacks are loaded onto the truck and than ultimately into cold storage. This uniformity ensures we are able to keep track of the harvest as it comes into the barn and that we don’t have to think too much.

With all of the tasks we do, we strive for efficiency in time and energy. Efficiency is our profit margin, and the difference between getting it all done before the fall frost comes, and watching in dismay as the winter rolls in on top of our carrots, trapping them in a frozen prison. To maintain efficiency, we break tasks down to their individual parts. We focus on doing one part of a job, like a moving, human(and sometimes tractor) powered assembly line. This is absolutely my favorite time of year, fall harvests are what we live for! While they summer might be coming to an end, the CSA is far from over. We will be going strong straight through to the first week of November with roots, onions, squash, leeks, potatoes, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cabbage and giant storage kohlrabi all on the way!

On behalf of our farm crew

Ben, Mary, Maryicia and Larry

Your Farmers

Max and Kerry

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