Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

Shareholders

September 26, 2015

Share renewal letters were distributed this past week in the share. If you missed it, they will go out in the mail this week. Renewals are due by October 9 with a $50 deposit.  You can bring them to the share or drop them in the mail.

Winter share forms are available in the share as well. These are available on a first come, first served basis.

This Week's Share

This week's share is brought to you by the letter "R". As in Roots. And Rutabagas. And Radishes.

The rutabagas are an old New England standard that truelly says fall. Mash these, roast them with the purple radishes or put them in a soup or pot roast. Their yellow flesh is sweet and mild.

A new crop for us, the purple fall radishes are crispy, sweet and juicy. And pretty, really pretty. The slices have lavender sunbursts through them. They don't have much spice at all, so even radish haters may actually enjoy them. Fancy up your salads with their lavender slices or put them on sandwiches made with this weeks recipe, or dip slices of them in hummus. They can also be roasted up with roots or put into soups.

Cauliflower is slowly starting to trickle in. A head here, a head there, we might start to see it soon.

Recipe of the Week: 

Lentil spread

Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/2 c. cooked brown lentils
  • 1/4 olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 c. walnuts
  • salt to taste
Directions: 

Put all ingredients in blender and blend away. Adjust ingredients to taste, adding more oil if spread is too thick.
Get creative and add herbs like cilantro or parsley, roasted red peppers or beets.

Credit: 
Kerry

The subtle solutions

Purple radishes, what will they think of next?
Purple radishes, what will they think of next?

Dear Friends,

Things are sure starting to feel different around the farm these days. The sun doesn’t rise until after 6am and by 7pm it’s already as dark as dark gets. We’ve picked the last tomatoes of 2015 and we already miss them! As soon as we get the opportunity we will cut down their trellis and pull the stakes. In no time at all, what was once a bountiful city of beautiful tomatoes will just be harrowed soil, and then eventually a lush cover crop of rye. Winter shares are on sale, share renewals are in full swing, and we’re already starting to think about next year.  Ways we can improve, things that worked this year, things that didn’t, etc…It’s an introspective time on the farm, a time for a lot of reflection and dreaming.

While some of our attentions are turning towards next season, we can’t lose sight of the tasks at hand. This past week, we finished digging our potato crop and can officially cross that off the to-do list. The more crop we harvest, the less that’s out in the field so it’s always nice to move forward. When we weren’t busy pulling in potatoes, or harvesting leeks and lettuce for the CSA much of our energy this week has gone into sorting and topping our storage onions. Those onions that we harvested at the beginning of August have completed their curing process and are now ready to be moved out of the greenhouse and to their final storage place. This is exceptionally good timing, since we need to clear out the greenhouse very soon to make way for our winter spinach.

When we bring the onions in from the field, we spread them out on the greenhouse benches to dry. Now that they are dry, we have to go through, table by table, clipping the tops off and sorting the onions into crates and bags. Once all the onions are crated up and on pallets we will use the tractor to move them up from the greenhouse and into the barn. Since we probably have about 12,000 pounds of onions, this is an instance when we are particularly grateful to have our tractor to help with some of the heavy lifting. Convincing onions to store properly is an interesting task and one that has taken a bit of trial and error for us to really figure out.

Initially, the onions want to be hot and dry, and ultimately, for optimal storage they want to be about 35 degrees and dry. While this seems straightforward enough, getting them from point A to point B ends up being a little bit tricky. The thing is that they don’t want to get to cold too fast. Dropping their temperature abruptly can cause a bit of a shock to their system. Too cold too fast and they will store poorly and ultimately rot. What we have learned over the years is that the onions want their temperature to drop at about the same rate the outdoor temperature drops. Rather than move our onions into a cooler, we simply put them into an uninsulated barn and let mother nature do the cooling for us. By the time the temperature is consistently in the mid-30’s, so are the onions and they are happy as can be. At that point it is only a matter of moving them to an area where they won’t freeze and we can enjoy onions all winter.

I love when things work out this way. When the solution to the problem isn’t some cutting edge innovation of technology, but rather a subtle, simple manipulation of the natural world. For generations, New Englanders survived the harshest winters without shipments of lettuce from California or bananas from Chile. They didn’t rely on wireless sensors in their walk-in coolers to monitor their storage crops. While I greatly appreciate how much technology makes our lives easier and allows us to farm better, it is nice to know that sometimes the simplest way to do things is still the best.

On behal of your farm crew

Hannah, Mary, Marycia, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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