Provider Farm

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June 20, 2015

This Week's Share

This is when the share starts to get exciting--lots of new crops ripening every day now!

This week we have cabbages galore. We have three types: Chinese cabbage, savoy cabbage and green pointy headed. They are all great in slaws and cooked and they each have their own special characteristics. I really can't pick a favorite. Chinese cabbage is traditionally used in Asian cooking, try this recipe for delicious dumplings or use it in a stir fry. Our savoy holds up to cooking very well and the pointed headed spring cabbages are wonderfully crisp and sweet and excel in traditional slaw recipes.

Our pickling cukes are just starting to come in. Picklers are great sliced into salads or eaten raw. Supplies are limited now but in a few weeks, we'll have enough to start pickling.

 

Recipe of the Week: 

Vietnamese lettuce wraps

Ingredients: 

Pickled vegetables:

  • 1/2 c. white vinegar
  • 1/4 c.sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 medium carrots, turnips, or radishes chopped in any combination
  • 1/2 onion, sliced

 

Filling:

  • 1 lb. ground pork, chicken, beef, tofu or chopped summer squash in any combination
  • 1 tbs. minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove or scape, chopped
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tbs. mirin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce

 

Assembly:

  • whole lettuce leaves, washed
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil, cilantro and/or mint, chopped
  • 1/4 c. peanuts, chopped
  • lime wedges
Directions: 

In a small bowl, mix vinegar, sugar and salt until blended. Stir in carrots, turnips and/or radishes and onion; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, cook pork or other filling choice, ginger and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until pork is no longer pink or vegetables are tender, breaking up pork into crumbles; drain. Stir in soy sauce, mirin, salt, pepper and, if desired, fish sauce.
To serve, drain carrot mixture. Place pork mixture in lettuce leaves; top with cucumber, red pepper, green onions, carrot mixture and herbs. Sprinkle with jalapeno and peanuts. Squeeze lime juice over tops. Fold lettuce over filling. Yield: 8 servings.

Credit: 
tasteofhome.com

What's brown and white and runs all over?

Kerry makes a pretty good Vanna White with her savoy cabbage.
Kerry makes a pretty good Vanna White with her savoy cabbage.

Dear Friends,

With the Solstice arriving this weekend and the days at their longest, summer is in full bloom on the farm. Flowers are in bloom, the nights are warm and swimming after work sounds better and better. This past week we were inundated with a massive harvest of absolutely sensational spring broccoli. Broccoli at this time of year can be a fickle beast and we’re never quite sure what we’re going to get. In general broccoli, is very much a boom or bust crop and right now we are certainly experiencing the boom. We will likely have another huge week for the green goddess of veggies this week before we say ‘good bye’ until a bit later in the fall.

Not to be outdone by the broccoli, the summer squash has really started to kick into gear. We have been waiting for a proper harvest from our squash field and this week we finally got it. This is my favorite time of year for squash, it’s new and exciting and we put in everything. Stir fries, pasta sauce, tacos, whatever we’re eating it always seems to have at least one squash in it right now. Eventually the novelty fades a little and we consume less but for the moment we’re very happy to harvest, wash, distribute and eat as much zucchini as possible.

While picking squash this week, we looked over to the nearby rows of cucumbers. Finally starting to vine out and flower, we were admiring their lush green foliage when we were delighted to find the first pickles of the season! The cukes have seemed a bit behind so we were overjoyed to be able to finally start harvesting. The cool fresh crispy snap of fresh cucumbers is one of our favorite parts of the early summer.  They seem like they are coming on a little slow still so they may only be trickling in to the share this week. Don’t worry if you don’t seem them this week they will certainly be here next week.

One of our favorite things about farming is how it allows us to interact with nature on a daily basis. Our fields are surrounded by riparian zones and conserved woodlands, our bit of domesticated land abutting right up against the wild world of nature. As a result of the this, the spaces we farm are ours to use, but not ours to use alone. We have to share the space. Sometimes this isn’t so great like when ground hogs mow down our edamame, but other times we really enjoy the cohabitation. Watching eagles fly overhead or catching a glimpse of a bobcat, sometimes nature can be breathtakingly beautiful, even from the tractor seat.

This year we seem to be especially blessed with a particularly robust killdeer population. For this of you who don’t know, killdeer are small brown and white birds who make their nests on the ground. They lay beautiful brown and gray speckled eggs and will sit dutifully on these eggs day and night. They love to build their nests in freshly tilled agricultural fields and seem to have a special affinity for our fields in particular. I am not sure why they evolved to do this, as it seems like a fairly risky place to build a home but they seem like they’re doing alright.

However, laying your eggs on the ground does expose you to all sorts of risks and the killdeer have to protect their young of course. The killdeer have a very specific and quite remarkable behavioral trait when it comes to defending their nests from threats. Long before we see any eggs we will hear a high pitched screeching noise. Incessant and so annoying, the mother killdeer are quite skilled at getting our attention. Once they have our attention they begin to walk away, trying to draw us away from wherever their nest is. But they don’t just walk away, they pretend to be injured and flail around like they can’t fly. They fake injuries to make themselves seem like an easy target, lure you as far away from their nest as possible and than fly away before you can reach them.

Amazing!

The unfortunate thing though is that they don’t seem to realize that everything we do on the farm we do in circles. We weed a bed of carrots get to the end, and than start back up the next bed. As we approach  their nest, we cause the mothers to launch into their frenetic dance. As we move closer the screeching and flailing gets more intense. It’s actually hard to carry on a conversation sometimes they can be so loud. Finally as we move away the killdeer decides the threat is over and she will fly back to her nest. Only to start the whole process over again as we finish the bed and than begin weeding back the other way. This is all the more dramatic and comical once the babies hatch. They can’t fly right away so they just run around in little adorable circles.

Sometimes I can’t believe the lengths we go to to avoid the nests. We lift tractor implements, let weeds grow, stake and flag areas, and go through great lengths to avoid distributing our feathered friends once they settle in. It feels a bit ridiculous sometimes but once we see a nest I just can’t bring myself to disrupt it. I figure they have as much a right to be here as we do.

On behalf of our farm crew,

Hannah, Mary, Marycia, Aaron, Claire, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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