Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

Shareholders

June 27, 2015

Some exciting new things in the share this week! Crew member Mary has taken on a flower growing project this year and her colorful fresh cut blooms will be rolling into the share room. Pick up a bouquet to brighten up your day!

Also, The Mystic Cheese Company's Melville and Sea Change cheeses are now available.  Melville is a soft young cheese similar in flavour to mozzarella and melts very well. Sea change is an aged rinded soft cheese similar in texture to brie. These are made in CT by shareholder Brian Civitello and pair wonderfully with our vegetables.

This Week's Share

The crops are growing a mile a minute now. By the end of the week, the fields look entirely different from the beginning of the week. This means lots of new crops rolling into the share room.

The wonderfully fragrant basil is ready. An important basil storage tip for you, do not put it in the fridge. It hates the cold! Store it on your counter like a bouquet of flowers, it will hold for at least a week this way. Get your basil fill in now! We do not know how long we will have it. In the past few years, basil downy mildew has been an increasing problem for basil growers and is shortening our harvest window. We hope to have it at least until the end of July.

Fennel is in the share room too. Traditionally used in Italian cooking, fennel bulbs are also wonderful shaved into salads.

Almost overnight, our onions have begun to bulb up. We will bring some young ones into the share room this week. Chop them up as you would use onions, greens and all.

Our spring broccoli is starting to peter out. We will have it until we don't. Hopefully the cucumbers will finally kick it into gear to take their place.

Recipe of the Week: 

Fennel, Chickpea, Dill and Sun-dried Tomato Salad

Ingredients: 
  • 1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 c. oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
  • 7 tbsp. olive oil
  • 2/3 c. chopped dill
  • 1 tsp. chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/4 c. lemon juice plus 1 tsp.
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 small fennel bulbs, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 head romaine lettuce, washed and leaves torn into pieces
  • 6 oz. fresh mozzarella or Melville cheese
Directions: 

In a bowl, toss together chickpeas, sun dried tomatoes, 1 Tbsp. of the oil, 2 Tbsp. of the dill, the oregano, 1 tsp. lemon juice, 1/4 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper. Let stand for 15 minutes.
In another bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup lemon juice, the sugar, 1/4 tsp. salt and several grinds of pepper until sugar dissolves. Whisk in remaining oil until blended.
In a large bowl, toss together the fennel, lettuce and remaining dill. Drizzle dressing over lettuce and top with chickpea mixture and mozzarella or Melville.

Credit: 
Vegetable of the Day by Kate McMillan

With thanks for the meteorologists

Post storm, the potatoes are looking A-OK!
Post storm, the potatoes are looking A-OK!

Dear Friends,

To say this past week flew by would probably be a bit of an understatement. It feels like I barely had the chance to blink in between this and last week’s newsletter. It can be startling how quickly time seems to slip away, but this isn’t an uncommon experience on the farm. As the season really starts to rev up and we begin to hit our stride, the weeks just seem to go faster and faster. This is an especially interesting feeling since the days themselves feel long. In fact it’s a bit hard to describe how our days can feel incredibly long and sometimes quite difficult but the weeks themselves just roll on by. Nevertheless, every Friday as we pack up after the CSA distribution, we find ourselves remarking on how quickly the week went.

While it may have been a quick week, this past week was anything but easy. This was mostly due to the severe storms that came crashing down on the farm Tuesday afternoon and evening. As you can imagine, we check the weather more often than we do just about anything else. The conditions outside obviously play an important roll in planning for the week and executing those plans. The forecast for Tuesday was easily one of my least favorite.

A 80% chance of potentially damaging severe scattered thunderstorms sometime in the afternoon.

Maybe.

We are used to the weather reports being wrong a fair amount but we always try and prepare for the worst.  A forecast like Tuesday is nearly impossible for us to plan for. We know that it’s not going to rain all day, so we will have lots of opportunity to do things. However, if things start to go bad they’re going to go real bad, real fast. But there’s also a chance we won’t get any rain at all. We have to open up our greenhouse and high tunnel on hot days otherwise the temperatures rise too high. During a severe storm, we need these structures closed, otherwise the wind can wreak havoc. We want to get as much done as possible but we don’t want to put ourselves or our crew in a dangerous situation.

We decided to exercise some cautious optimism and treat Tuesday like a normal sunny day. We kept our eyes on the radar as we harvested, weeded and cultivated. At one point around noon, when it looked certain storms would be sweeping in any minute Kerry ran to close the high tunnel, only to go back and reopen it 20 minutes later when the sun emerged and the threat appeared to be over.

As the day progressed, we relaxed a bit more and made a solid dent weeding our summer carrots. Right around 4 o’clock I heard the first clap of thunder. With dark skies off to the west, I decided I better go close the high tunnel. I told the crew to keep weeding until it started raining and than drive home to the farm. Just as I was about to drive off, the severe weather alert fresh in my mind, I thought a bit better of it and told them to just call it day. I finished closing the high tunnel just as the skies opened up. Heading west driving back to the farm in a torrential down pour, I can’t even tell you how many lighting strikes I saw, the sky was constantly lit up.

I arrived back at the farm during the respite from the rain, relieved the crew had made it in safely from the field. Kerry and I were standing on our porch as we watched the next wave of storms blow in with a fury. Driving rain, hail, hurricane force winds to flatten our pea trellis and down branches and trees all over town, not to mention more than enough lightning.

The storm was short but intense. We took a drive around afterwards to check the crops. Peas down, hail damage in the greens, peppers and eggplants leaning over parallel with the ground. On the upside, our experiment for the year, covering 1/2 acre of potatoes with row cover to keep out the pests, stayed in tact. Kerry checked the cattle who were huddled in a low section of the field, a little soggy, but still there, with fences in tact. Overall, not too bad.

We were able to stand the peas back and the hail didn’t do too much harm.  The peppers and eggplants have since uprighted themselves. Mostly, I am thankful that we were expecting it. I appreciate the storm warnings and being able to get myself and my employees to safety before harm can come our way. Meteorologist might not always get things right, but we sure are grateful for the warnings when they do.

On behalf of our farm crew

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

Your Farmers

Max and Kerry
 

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