Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

Shareholders

September 20, 2014

Share renewals will start this week.  We will be handing out forms during the share.  If we miss you, we will send it in the mail to you.  A deposit of $50 will hold your share for next year and is due by Oct. 18.  Winter shares will also be going on sale.  We have a limited amount and they will be sold on a first come first served basis.  For more information about the winter share, read about it here: providerfarm.com/csa#winter-share

This Week's Share

Well, the tomatoes are on their very last legs now making way for more hearty fall crops.  We have some gorgeous red cabbage coming out of the fields this week.  Crispy, sweet and colorful, this cabbage is great in slaws, salads and stir fries.  If you are feeling adventurous, you could even try your hand at making some purple sauerkraut. All it takes is some salt, cabbage and time!

We also are featuring the carnival winter squash.  This is the yellow and green pixilated acorn squash in the bins.  It is a cross between delicata and acorn, a sweet tasty acorn with a skin that is tender enough to eat.  Scoop out the seeds and bake it up like an acorn.

Recipe of the Week: 

Red Cabbage Salad with Blue Cheese and Maple Glazed Walnuts

Ingredients: 

Vinaigrette

  • 1 tablespoon crumbled blue cheese
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

Salad

  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon butter
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
  • 8 cups very thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 1/3 cup crumbled blue cheese
Directions: 

To prepare vinaigrette: Combine 1 tablespoon blue cheese, 1/4 cup oil, vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper in a mini food processor or blender; process until creamy.
To prepare salad: Place a piece of parchment or wax paper near your stove. Heat 1 tablespoon oil and butter in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add walnuts and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes. Add salt and pepper and drizzle in maple syrup. Cook, stirring, until the nuts are well coated and have begun to caramelize, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to the paper, spooning any remaining syrup over them. Separate the nuts while they’re still warm. Let stand until cool, about 5 minutes.
Place cabbage and scallions in a large bowl. Toss with the vinaigrette. Serve topped with blue cheese and the walnuts.

Credit: 
eatingwell.com

The Sweetest Thing

Mary and Marycia add some weight to the sweet potato vine cutter.
Mary and Marycia add some weight to the sweet potato vine cutter.

Dear Friends,

We asked for it and here it is. Signed, sealed, delivered. Crisp, cool and bright, the fall weather has arrived with bells on. This is great weather for working outdoors, great weather for sleeping, great weather for cauliflower and great weather for kale. It’s not good for everyone however, the tomatoes, peppers and eggplants seem a bit distraught by the recent chill in the air. They are all still holding on but who can say for how long at this point? While the hot crops shiver, the rest of the farm is thriving. Our diverse plantings of fall roots are looking stellar. Rutabagas, turnips and radishes are all taking shape under a canopy of dense foliage. The red cabbage has headed up nicely and the green doesn’t seem to be far behind. This is a great time of year for brassicas, potatoes, onions and squash.

We spent this past week, sweatshirt clad, digging roots. The sweet potatoes took the top priority this week. Sweet potato harvest is probably the most complicated of all the storage crop harvests. First of all, sweet potato aren’t sweet when you harvest them. They taste like starch. They only become sweet after curing in the greenhouse for 3-4 weeks in hot humid temperatures. So we have to plan ahead in order to make sure we harvest the crop early enough for them to be ready before the end of the share. Since we harvested them in the middle of September they will likely be ready in the middle of October.

The sweet potato skins are very delicate when they come out of the ground. They are very sensitive to bruising and scraping. Because of this, we can’t use the potato digger we use on our normal potatoes. Instead we use our under-cutter bar. This is a steel blade that mounts on the back of the tractor. We sink the blade into the ground and as we drive forward it travels under the crop loosening the soil and making it easy to pull the root crop out of the soil by hand. We bought the under-cutter bar last year to help with our carrots and parsnips and are delighted that it works on the sweet potatoes

Aside from being delicate, dainty flowers, Sweet potato vines are incredibly thick and vigorous. This can make digging the crop a bit of a challenge as the vines can wrap around the under-cutter and create havoc.  When the under-cutter gets bound up it tends to ride higher and higher until it inevitably starts to cut the sweet potatoes. In the past, we have pulled the vines all by hand. While this may sound like a great old time, I can assure you that it is not exactly as fun as it sounds. This year we mowed off the vines and than came through with cutting discs and shanks mounted on the back of the tractor. The idea was to rip a track for the bed lifter to follow. My first attempt at using our newly constructed sweet potato vine-ripper was not very successful. The discs cut but not very well, and the under-cutter was constantly getting clogged. I could only drive for 10 feet before I would have to get off the tractor and clear off the vines.

Fortunately this isn’t our first rodeo, and the solution was clear. What I really needed was more weight on the vine-ripper so the discs would go deeper and cut better. There are a lot of things we can use to weight down an implement, steel, rocks, cement, but out in the field we don’t have access to any of those. Not wanting to venture back to the farm, I looked around for what resources we had available. I didn’t have any weights with me but i did have Mary and Marycia, our trusty farm crew. With safety as our top priority I had them climb onto the vine-ripper and ride on the back as we attempted to clear a path for the under-cutter bar. The difference was like night and day and the additional weight provided by our tried and true farm crew did the trick. The rest of the field was a breeze and the digging went as smooth as you could ask.

All in all the sweet potato yield is a bit lower than what we would like it to be, but we still have plenty to go around. In a good year, we would have gotten close to 5,000 pounds but we harvested just over 2,000. This is due to a number of factors, but it is what it is. There is no use crying over spilled milk, or nonexistent sweet potatoes. We grow extra of everything to hedge our bets whenever possible. This ensures that even something like a a low sweet potato yield still leaves us with a solid amount for the CSA. Resilience is more than just important for a CSA it is absolutely essential.  Despite the low yield, we crossed another thing off the list and are one step closer to putting the farm to bed before a long cold winter.

On behalf of your farm crew

Ben, Mary, Marycia and Larry

Your Farmers

Max and Kerry

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