Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

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July 4, 2015

100% grassfed bonanza beef blow out sale!! We've gotta make room for summer grilling cuts in the freezers, so we're having a sale on all stewing cuts and roasts. Stew beef, roasts and shanks are all $2/lb off regular price. And, becuase it is the 4th, all steaks and ground beef are $1/lb off regular price too.

The flowers are really producing and bouquets are now available in the share room. Our in house designer, Mary makes the most beautiful creations. Our flowers are fresh cut, spray free and grown right here at Provider Farm. Special order bouquets and bulk buckets are also available. They are a great budget way to provide flowers for special events. Email me for more information.

This Week's Share

July brings cucumbers, loads and loads of cucumbers! Now is the time to make pickles and boy do we have the supplies you need. This week you can purchase pickling cukes in the share room for $1.50/lb Do not wait! Since we farm our cukes organically, we will have a good crop until the dreaded downy mildew comes in and reduces yields dramatically, usually by the end of July. Get 'em while they're hot!

The red cabbage is ripe and brings beautiful color to the share room this week. Shred em, saute em, soup 'em.

The first carrots are coming in from the field. They are smallish but oh so tender, sweet and delicious.

Recipe of the Week: 

Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients: 
  • 3 Lb. pickling cukes
  • 5 c. water
  • 1 1/4 c. cider or white vinegar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. salt
  • 2 dill flower heads
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. pickling spice
Directions: 

Bring to a boil water, vinegar, sugar, salt. Let cool. Slice cukes into rounds and put them and the rest of the ingredients in a sterilized jar and pour cooled liquid over them. Put in refrigerator.

Credit: 
Max's former boss's Meghan Arquin's amazing pickles!

Three phases of the game

Summer squash and cucumber harvest
The squash, zukes, and cukes are really producing now!

Dear Friends,

With the first week of July finally here in all it’s blazing, red, white and blue glory we have hit a pivotal turning point on the farm. While the rest of the country prepared for fireworks, looking forward to a holiday weekend, here on the farm, we were busy getting ready for the fall. Yep, you read that right, fall. Even though it feels like summer just barely got here, the first few weeks of July is the perfect time to begin planting for our fall harvests.

This past week we seeded over a half acre of carrots and beets. We are hopeful the thousands of seeds I put in the ground will grow into strong robust roots that will fill our root cellar come October. Over the next 4 weeks, we have literally acres of broccoli, cabbage, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, kale, kohlrabi, rutabagas, turnips and radishes to get into the ground.

Getting it all in the ground is a job in of itself, but to make matters all the more difficult, this is the time of year when the harvests really start to pick up. As you have probably noticed, the share room has exploded with color and diversity, and your CSA baskets are probably quite a bit heavier than they were earlier in the season.

When the CSA first begins we are easily able to get everything harvested in no more than 2 mornings a week. As we move into July, the harvests can take up to 4 full mornings with a bit spilling into the afternoon. This still is nothing compared to August when the harvest sprawls throughout our entire waking life, even creeping into our dreams on occasion.

Planning the planting days around the CSA harvests is a formidable task for even the most seasoned farmer, but is still quite feasible. What pushes our dial all the way to full blown farm insanity is the intense weed pressure that July brings. Plants love long hot days. It’s great for the crops and it’s great for the weeds. It can be startling to see how fast the weeds grow, and sometimes it makes us want to cry a little bit.

Leeks that we weeded two weeks ago now somehow are totally buried in weeds, again. We do our best to fight back the tears as we get out there and do our best to stay on top of the weeding in between planting for tomorrow and harvesting for today. We constantly have to prioritize weeding tasks. We are forced to let a lot of stuff go. We just don’t have time to weed everything all the time.

Fortunately for us and all of you, farming isn’t an exact science. Farming is a game of good enough. If we can get everything planted somewhat on time, keep up with the harvest and kill 80% of the weeds, we will be in great shape. Actually that’s fairly tale land. If we could kill 80% of our weeds in July, I think we would be up for some kind of organic farming certificate of achievement. Realistically if we don’t fall more than two weeks behind planting, harvest most of what we want to, and kill 45% of the weeks we’re still in pretty good shape.

The real key to success is a mixture of luck, and the ability to prioritize the important tasks. The weeds growing along the onion plastic really don’t matter at this point, but if we can’t go through and weed the youngest carrots this week we’re going to lose the crop. The Brussels sprouts need at least 110 growing degree days so they need to go in no later than the 10th of July, but the head lettuce scheduled for the same day is not nearly so particular. All this of course is weather dependent, and that’s where the luck really comes in to play.

Bill Belichick often describes the key to the Patriots’ success being 60 minutes of good football in all three phases of the game: offense, defense and special teams. Here on the farm I think that our success is dependent on about 6 months of good work in all three phases of the farm: planting, harvesting and weeding.

On behalf of our farm crew,

Hannah, Mary, Marycia, Aaron, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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