Provider Farm

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August 8, 2015

This Week's Share

Lots of fruits coming this week. We'll be picking out of the field tomatoes for the first time this week and that means lots of field ripened tomatoes of all sorts. Their will be lots of red tomatoes but also heirlooms in all shapes, colors and sizes, all with their subtle differences in flavor. They range in color from pink, to orange, to white, to yellow and red striped. They are picked ready to eat and won't ripen to red. If you are confused by them, just ask us about them in the share. They are delicious, so don't be intimated by their unusual looks.

The much loved sungold cherry tomatoes are ready and you probably won't get them home because you will eat them up in the car. We'll probably see some tomatillos and plum tomatoes too for your salsa and sauce making needs.

Tomatoes like to be stored out of the fridge on the counter. We pick them in various stages of ripeness, so if you want a few for later in the week, take ones that look a bit less ripe.

The canteloupes are very likely too ripen in one foul swoop this week. They are out of the world sweet and juicy this year. We pick them ripe so store them in the fridge if you won't eat them right away.

Recipe of the Week: 

Shashuka

Ingredients: 
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper (more or less to taste)
  • 1 onion (sweet or red), chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 large eggplant, diced
  • 3 poblano peppers, diced (I like a mix of red and green)
  • 4 chopped tomatoes
  • 3 large eggs
  • handful diced kale
  • salt and pepper to taste
Directions: 

Heat the oil on medium-high heat and add the paprika, cumin, and red pepper. Cook until it becomes fragrant.
Add the onion and garlic and cook until translucent.
Add in the eggplant, peppers, and kale. Cook until they become softened.
Pour in the tomatoes and mix in thoroughly. Simmer for about 5 minutes.
Add the eggs to the top of the mixture, without breaking the yolks. Cook covered for an additional 5 minutes. If you want the yolks cooked, cook covered for another 2 - 3 minutes, or leave under the broiler for a minute. add salt and pepper to taste.

Credit: 
cookienameddesire.com

Maybe this is going to be ok

One of our prettiest fields with some of the best August salad greens we'ver ever had.
One of our prettiest fields with some of the best August salad greens we'ver ever had.

Dear Friends,

Bright, sunny and not too hot, add some fantastic melons to the mix, and you have the ingredients for an absolutely lovely week on the farm. Even our well pump inexplicably failing Monday night couldn’t dampen our spirits! (Alright, so maybe it dampened our spirits a little bit, but only until we got the problem fixed).

The overall dry conditions have lead to some really sweet and particularly tasty melons. The cantaloupes, which are just starting to come in, are particularly delicious this year. There have been a few trickling in here and there but we’re hoping next week to be swimming in the aromatic fruits.

Not to be outshined, the tomatoes have really started to step up their game. While we have been enjoying the fabulous red traditional slicing tomatoes, we can’t help but peak over to the heirlooms. Waiting for their oddly shaped, unusual colors to start ripening on the vine. A BLT with bacon from Terra Firma Farm, farm fresh lettuce, and tomato is always going to be good but when you replace that red tomato with a thick slice from a Striped German, Cherokee Green or Great White you are entering into a whole new world of epicurean delight.

This past week as I basket weeded our youngest lettuce and rutabagas, I took the opportunity to listen to the latest episode of the ‘Farmer to Farmer’ podcast, a podcast produced by a farmer for farmers about farming. While I frequently enjoy rocking out to this sustainable farming focus podcast while I do tractor work, last week's episode was particularly interesting to both of us of as it featured Dan Kaplan. For those of you who don’t know, Dan Kaplan is the farmer at Brookfield Farm in Amherst MA, the farm where  Kerry spent 5 years of her life learning how to farm. Brookfield Farm is the third oldest CSA in the country, dating back all the way to 1989! Dan has been managing the CSA since 1994(when I was eight) and has been an enduring pioneer in CSA management and sustainable farming ever since.

In his interview, Dan makes many good points and brings up some really interesting ideas. (If you’re interested in hearing about the roots of CSA farms in America and you like listening to podcasts, I highly recommend this podcast, even if you yourself are not a farmer. Check it out here.). Amidst a plethora of good points and humorous anecdotes, Dan brings up one idea that really got my attention. That of course, is the connection between farming and baseball.

The relationship between farming and baseball is nothing new for us here on Provider Farm. I’ve written about it numerous times before, spring training begins just as we begin seeding in the greenhouse, opening day occurs just as we’re finally getting out into the field etc…But this really got me thinking because this year, my favorite baseball team is not exactly having a great season. They’re not even having an okay season, they’re terrible. At this point the Red Sox are 14 or so games behind the division leading team from New York. Likely, they will finish in last place for the second time in as many seasons.

Usually when I think about farming and baseball, it is in a romantic sense. Crisp fall air, storage roots and post-season David Ortiz home runs. But watching the Sox have a bad season, I saw an even deeper connection to farming. At this point their season is virtually over, they have no chance of making the playoffs and they’re probably going to finish last, but they don’t quit. They can’t. Every night they still go out there and try to salvage what they can. They can’t change their place in the standings but they can still try to win the rest of their games. Make the best of bad situation. They keep going because they know, like we know, the only way out is through.

Fortunately for all of us, we are having a much better season than the Red Sox. But this also got me thinking, I still watch or listen almost every night. Every game with the first pitch, I think to myself, “maybe this is it. The first game of a historic winning streak. A once in a lifetime run I will tell my kids about’. When they’re down by 9 in the sixth inning, I turn off the game and go to sleep. But I’m back the next night, still hoping for that win. This somewhat relentless optimism is such a crucial part of our success as farmers. While we have to plan for the worst and try to be realistic, no matter how bad things look, we have to hope for the best. A break in the weather, a surprise bumper crop, a quick harvest.

Things go wrong on the farm all the time. Deer damage in the squash, caterpillars in the brassicas, too much rain, not enough rain, weeds everywhere. When the farm is a total mess and nothing seems to be working, I can’t help but look around and think “maybe this is all going to be okay”.

On behalf of the farm crew,

Hannah, Mary, Marycia, Michelle, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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