Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

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December 1, 2014

Hello all and welcome to the winter share season!

The first share distribution is this Friday Dec. 5 2-6 PM.  We are graced with temperate weather this week so we will be distributing out of the unheated barn so bundle up!

Just a reminder about parking, please park along the road or behind the barn, but not in the driveway up to our house.

This Week's Share

You are going to receive quite a load of vegetables to get you through the weeks between shares.  They can store quite well in the proper conditions, so here are some tips for you:

Sweet potatoes and winter squash: They like to be warmish so on your counter or in your cupboard is fine.  Loosly wrap your sweet potatoes in a plastic wrap becuase they like some humidity, but not too much.

Beets, carrots, turnips, rutabagas, kohlrabi, cabbage: Wrap them in a bag and put them in your fridge. They can last for months.

Potatoes: Put them someplace dark and cool, like a basement.

Onions and garlic:  These guys also like it dark and cool.  They can hang out on your counter for a few weeks but anything longer than that and you might want to put them someplace else, like your garage, as long as there is not a hard freeze.  These also freeze great if you want to put them away for longer term storage.  I always freeze a bunch of peeled garlic and chopped onions for the spring and early summer months.

Greens:  We give the greens a quick rinse, but you're going to want to give them a good wash.  For spinach, the drier you can get it, the longer it will last in the fridge, a spinner comes in handy for that. Keep it in a bag with a towel.  Kale is pretty darn hardy and will keep well just wrapped in a bag.

Recipe of the Week: 

Maple roasted carrots

Ingredients: 
  • 1 lb. carrots
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • 1 tbs. butter
  • 2 tbs. maple syrup
Directions: 

Preheat oven to 425 F.
Chop carrots into long matchsticks. Drizzle with oil and toss to coat. Arrange in single layer on baking sheet.
Roast carrots for 15 minutes, then remove from oven and toss with butter and maple syrup.
Roast for another 5 to 10 minutes until carrots are browned but not burned.
Stir with spatula to coat with glaze and serve.

Credit: 
Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

Full to the Brim

A winter's worth of kale.
A winter's worth of kale.

Dear Friends,

Now that the Thanksgiving Holiday is over, the turkey leftovers are running low and the calendar page has flipped to December, it is finally time for the Winter Share to begin. We have been busy over the past month, battening down the hatches and preparing the farm for the long winter ahead. Between frigid nights and hungry deer, we are all but finished with any crops in the field. We still have a few leeks and a little bit of kale that are bravely holding on, but this is certainly the season for high tunnel greens and storage crops. We enjoyed average harvests throughout most if not all of the fall and we are extremely excited about what we will have to offer this upcoming winter.

Producing high quality veggies is far more simple and straight forward in the summer than in the winter. While in a lot of ways the winter share is easier since the produce is mostly already harvested, it takes a lot of thought, planning and management to maintain a high quality product all winter.

We have a ton of stuff in storage, but what does that mean?

Well, for different crops that means different things. We have three primary climates we maintain for the different crops. All of our potatoes, carrots, beets, turnips, parsnips and other roots like things to be cold and humid. We keep these crops at around 35 degrees and as close to 100% relative humidity as possible. We have two separate coolers full to the brim with delicious roots, cool and moist. Similar to what you would find in a traditional New England root cellar.

Beets and carrots like it moist, the onions sure don’t. After curing in the greenhouse for a couple of weeks earlier in the summer the onions want to be cool and dry. In order to get onions to store well, it is important that we bring their temperature down slowly. The best way to do this is basically let them cool down as the season cools down. We keep them in our unheated, uninsulated share room all fall and let their temperature drop. Now it is about keeping them dry and the temperature just above freezing.

The third storage area is for sweet potatoes and winter squash. Unlike all the others, these guys don’t want to be cold at all, in fact they don’t even want to be the slightest bit chilly. Winter squash and sweet potatoes are just like us, they want to be warm and dry. No cooler than 55 and as dry as we can get it. Basically the conditions we have in our house in the winter. There may have been a time when we would keep all winter squash in our hall way and our sweet potatoes in our cupboard. Now that we have over 4,000 pounds of squash and 2,000 pounds of sweet potatoes, our home no longer cuts it and we heat a room in the barn to maintain proper storage conditions.

While the storage crops, sit snug as a bug we can’t forget about the kale and spinach. Probably the most exciting part of the winter share for us are the fresh greens. We grow kale and spinach as deep into the winter as we can, in totally unheated greenhouses. Lettuce, arugula and other tender greens wouldn’t be able to handle the freeze and thaw, but the kale and spinach don’t really seem to mind. It is important that we plant these crops early enough in the fall to get good growth before the mercury drops and the light fades away. I guess it’s not quite accurate to say we grow greens in the winter, really we grow them in the fall and in the winter they kind of just hang out, shivering in the greenhouse, waiting to be harvested.

We hope that some fresh kale and delicious roots simmering in your soup pot can help brighten the cold and dark months ahead!  Here's to a winter of good eating!

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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