Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

Shareholders

August 15, 2015

This Week's Share

Well, I thought last week was going to be a week of a huge cantaloupe pick, but they had a different idea for us and continued to trickle in. Enough for everyone to get one. Quite frankly, we were grateful, since half the crew was on vacation and the abundant tomatoes were taking up all of our time anyway. The rain we had on Tuesday didn't seam to affect their flavor one bit and we expect good harvests for the next week or so.

The watermelons will start to faze out in a week or so and we are moving onto our late variety "crimson". They guys are pink fleshed and delicious, and we will have them this week and maybe next week, but not much longer then that.

On the topic of watermelons, a lot of people ask about if we grow seedless melons. A lot of us have grown accustomed to these, no fuss, no muss, no picking seeds out, and many children have habituated to watermelons being just like that. Gone are rotary phones, cassette tapes and seeds! So what is the deal? Are we antiquated or senselessly sentimental about the watermelon seed spitting contests of our childhoods?

Now I have to admit, as a farmer, absurd as it is, I have developed a bit of a chip on my shoulder about these seedless fruits and I will try to temper my disdain for them as I explain our reasoning. First and foremost, we are all about flavor when we choose our crops, and we feel the varieties we have chosen are top notch in this department. The seedless varieties aren't quite there and a little anemic. I suppose a melon is a melon, and therefor delicious, but I am a self admitted melon snob and want the best.

But what it really comes down to is the seedless types are tricky to grow, finicky and need special TLC to get a good crop (they come with two extra pages of growing instructions!). Our varieties are generally very reliable and in general, very hardy. They do a pretty great job of producing without a lot of prodding from us, so while we are busy tending to our 30+ different crops, the watermelons don't bother us too much and always produce a stellar crop even when we neglect them a little.

The last bit I'll add is, yes, I have an element of sentiment for them too. We live in an age where we can get anything we want when we want it if we have the means. Mangos is January in New England, 55 degree buildings in the middle of July, clean water at the turn of the knob. It is truly a marvel so I guess picking out some seeds from a top notch melon just seams OK.

Plus, on the upside, it turns out watermelon seeds, like pumpkin seeds, are incredibly nutritious, high in protein and magnesium. I'm not even making this up. Max has taken to blending up whole pieces seeds and all, in smoothies. I don't know if I would recommend that (a little gritty), but tossed with a little salt and oil roasted, I bet they're not half bad!

Off my soap box I go and on to other crops. The tomatoes are going full bore now and there is much to come. Now that we are in peak summer share time, the fall brassica plantings want a piece of it too! We will start to dip into the new kale plantings and you will start to see more types in the share, including lacinato and red, and eventually collards in a bit. The first pick is always the most tender and great for salads as well as cooking.

I guess our nights have been to chilly to convince the peppers to start to ripen to reds and yellows, so we wait.

Recipe of the Week: 

Salsa Verde

Ingredients: 

 

1 pound tomatillos, husked

1/2 cup finely chopped onion

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 jalapeno chile peppers, minced

2 tablespoons chopped cilantro

1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano

1/2 teaspoon ground cumin

1 1/2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

2 cups water

Directions: 

Place tomatillos, onion, garlic, and chile pepper into a saucepan. Season with cilantro, oregano, cumin, and salt; pour in water as needed to prevent from scaulding. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until the tomatillos are soft, 10 to 15 minutes.
Using a blender, carefully puree the tomatillos and water in batches until smooth.

Credit: 
allrecipes.com but there are a bazillion variations out there

The fruits of our labor

This is how we get melons from point A to point B.
This is how we get melons from point A to point B.

Dear Friends,

With the addition of a most pleasant rain storm, this past week floated by in a dreamy August haze. This is an especially satisfying time of year for us, walking through fields that are bursting at the seams with amazingly delicious food. Weeding the sweet potatoes is far more pleasant when you can stop and take a cantaloupe break. We are in the height of the summer harvest season, with all of the hot crops roaring along at full speed. This season we have been delighted by our best late plantings of summer squash and cucumbers to date. Typically by the middle of August, our cukes would all have bitten the dust with the zucchini close on their heels. This season, for whatever reason, our third planting, which is usually awful, is great. While I wish I knew what the variable was that created this terrific third planting, so we could recreate the magic. Sometimes you just have to accept the unexpected good news and move along.

At times our weeks are made up of a complex tapestry of tasks. An intricate plan that must be painstakingly thought out and precisely executed. The spring is often like this as we juggle greenhouse seedings, land preparation, farm clean up and planting. Other times, our lives on the farm are far more straight forward. Not easy by an stretch of the imagination, just a lot more, for lack of a better word, simple. This past week would certainly fit into that category.  The plan for Monday? Harvest. For Tuesday? Harvest in the rain. What about Wednesday? Harvest….you get the idea.

In the past, this has been an especially stressful time for us. Our general gumption and over ambition would cause us to draft unreasonably bold plans for the day. Now that the field tomatoes are kicking in and the peppers and eggplants are booming, there isn’t a ton of time. Factor in some watermelons and cantaloupes, and we have a a pretty full day just pulling things in from the field. With the bulk harvests looming large in the distance, it can all seem like too much for us to possibly accomplish. This season we’ve been trying to take a more reasonable approach. To just embrace the craziness that is the August harvest. Rather than fight against the inevitable reality we have just been letting the harvest wash over us like waves in the ocean.

While the road map for the week may be straight forward, it is still necessary for us to prioritize tasks in order to maximize our efficiency. On Monday we were able to pull ourselves away from the daily harvest and put some energy into beginning the monumental task of bringing in our storage onions. Working with a 5 person crew we were able to bring in about 40% of the crop in a little under 4 hours. The onions are gorgeous this year and the greenhouse is filling up faster than ever before. As we pulled on our rain gear early Tuesday morning, it was nice to know we had at least some of the onions safe and sound, already drying in the greenhouse.

This is a great time of year. The share room is full to the brim and there is still so much more ahead of us. We’re not even half way through the CSA season. The perfect time to find a brief respite, cut open a melon, sit back and literally enjoy the fruits of our labor.

Hannah, Mary, Marycia, Michelle, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers

Max and Kerry

Browse newsletter archive