Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


October 11, 2014

Reminder:  Share renewals are due this Friday, Oct. 17.  We still have some winter shares left as well.  I will turn to the waitlist for them after Oct. 17 so get em while you can!

This Week's Share

My most favorite fall crop is ready..the Brussel Sprouts!  These are not only the coolest looking vegetable but so deliciuos too.  We have a beautiful crop this year.

The much awaited butternut squash has finished curing and will be making it's fall debut in the share room this week.

Recipe of the Week: 

Brussel sprouts and butternut squash with warm maple mustard dressing


1lb Brussels sprouts, trimmed
1lb peeled, diced butternut squash
1 tablespoon olive oil
kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons grainy mustard
1 tablespoon maple syrup
leaves from 2 small sprigs of fresh rosemary, minced
1 clove of garlic, minced


Preheat oven to 400ºF.

Toss the Brussels sprouts and butternut squash with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Arrange in a single layer on a rimmed 9x13" baking sheet. Roast for 35 minutes, turning twice, until vegetables are tender inside and browned in spots on the outside.

Meanwhile, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, mustard, maple syrup, rosemary and garlic. (Or, blend together in a small food processor.)

When the vegetables are done, transfer to a serving bowl. Drizzle with the balsamic mixture and toss to coat. Serve immediately.


Making the trade

Covering plants to protect them from the frost.
Covering plants to protect them from the frost.

Dear Friends,

The first frost of the season settled into the low spots in the valley this past week. As light and benign as I’ve ever seen a first frost, there was frost on the ground none the less. It was cold enough to freeze some of the dew on the lettuce leaves, but not the actual lettuce leaves themselves. Cold enough to kill the edamame but not the peppers or eggplants. At this time of year the frost can be a welcome guest no the farm. There are certain crops, like peppers, that will meet their doom once the mercury drops too low, but other crops flourish in the cold. The frost works a certain magic on many crops, transforming their flavor and making them so sweet you could hardly believe it. Kale, collards, Brussels sprouts and broccoli all benefit tremendously from the cold. However, no crop needs the chilly air quite as desperately as the parsnips. Parsnips pre and post frost are completely different vegetables. Post frost they are sweet delicious and wonderful to eat, pre frost they might be used in place of wooden stakes if any vampires show up but they’re not good for much else.

As we progress deeper into the fall harvest season, we get a much more clear picture of the condition of our storage crops. When we’re harvesting we have an idea of how things are going. The sweet potato yield seems low, the carrot yield seems high, etc…but it’s not until we have the bulk of our crops harvested that we get an adequate assessment of how things are looking. This year we had an absolute bumper crop of onions, our carrots are off the chart and we have enough rutabagas to feed an army. On the other hand, we had a relatively poor year for both potatoes and sweet potatoes.

A major benefit of the CSA is we grow so many different crops that some will do well and some won’t and but everything tends to balance out by the end of the season. In order to further balance the scale and help ensure we have enough of everything, sometimes we will trade crops with other growers. This is a practice we first observed in the Pioneer Valley when the farmers we worked with would sometimes trade crops to make up for loss. We don’t have to do this very often and we only ever trade with growers we know have similar growing practices and are up to our standards as farmers. This past weeks we made a trade with our friend Paul Bucciaglia from Fort Hill Farm in New Milford CT. Paul is an outstanding farmer with incredible growing skills but the man had a tough onion year.  Lucky for us, his numbers were up in the tuber department and we were able to trade some of our onions and beets for some of their certified organic potatoes and sweet potatoes. The bulk of the potatoes and sweet potatoes in the share will still be ours, but we just got a little boost to ensure that we will have enough for everyone for the entire season, got rid of some excess onions, and helped a friend out along the way.

Like Kerry, Paul is also an Alumni of Brookfield Farm in Amherst MA, although he worked there long before Kerry. Our farms are both branches from the same tree and it is fun to see traces of Brookfield Farm in each of our farms and how we have developed our own farming systems to suit our farms.  We always learn so much when we get to talk shop with him. Having a healthy community of farmers in our area is a tremendous asset to our farm and we are incredibly lucky to have other growers to trade crops with, trade ideas with or just generally support each other.

On behalf of our farm crew,

Ben, Mary, Marycia and Larry

Your farmers

Max and Kerry

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