Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


October 23, 2015

Two more weeks to go and I must clean out the freezers before the end of the season so you know what that means! Meat sale!!

$2 off all cuts

I also will have a limited special grilling boxes: $200 worth of steaks for $160! These will be a mix of steak cuts including tenderloins, NY Strips, Rib steaks and sirloins. Please order ahead prior to coming to pick up if you would like one by emailing me. Available while supplies last.

This Week's Share

While the Broccoli got nipped but came back around thanks to the warm days, the cauliflower remained untouched. The chard however did not appreciate the freeze and probably won't rebound, so it is probably done for the year. The kales and collards are still looking great and are only getting better now. I want to take the opportunity to put in a plug for our collards since I've noticed they are not very popular in the share. It may be that everyone doesn't like them, but I am guessing most people are not familiar with cooking with them. These greens are really good, and easy to cook. We use them as we do kale, cook them in scrambled eggs, throw them in our pasta sauce and soups, or just saute them with lots of garlic.  They're really good, I swear! Yum, now I want some...

New, to the share this week are the parsnips. We have to wait to pick these until we get a couple frosts. Frost causes the plants to change their starches to sugars and sweetens these roots right up. These are great soups and stews, or just boiled up, but one our favorite things to do is to cube it up along with all the other roots in th share plus some garlic and onions, give them a light coating of oil and make a big root roast in the oven at 450. Now that's some fall goodness.

Now the moment you all have been waiting for, the butternuts are ready. These guys have been sitting and curing, converting their starches to sugars too, and now they should be sweet as can be. Make it into soup and we've got the makings of a meal with your sauteed collards and root roast.

Recipe of the Week: 

Butternut Squash Soup

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large leek, white and light green part only, chopped (about 1 cup), or 1 c. onion
  • 1 3-to-4-pound butternut squash, peeled and cubed
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt to taste
  • 3 tablespoons dry sherry, plus more to finish
  • 2 to 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons heavy cream, plus more for serving

Melt the butter in a large stockpot over medium-low heat. Add the leek or onion and cook, stirring with a wooden spoon, until softened—this should take about 5 minutes.
Add the squash, nutmeg, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon salt and continue to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Add the sherry and cook for a couple of minutes to reduce, then add enough chicken stock just to cover the squash (if you have added all of the stock and still need more liquid, add some water).
Increase the heat to high and bring the soup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for about 20 minutes, or until the squash is tender.
Using a blender or a food processor, blend the soup with the milk in several batches, adding more liquid if necessary.
Return to the pot and heat until just simmering. Taste and add more salt and pepper if necessary. Stir in another splash of sherry and the cream just before serving, adding a drizzle of cream to garnish each bowl if you like.


Farm Olympics

Marycia and Mary bringing in the cabbage. Go team Provider!
Marycia and Mary brining in the cabbage. Go team Provider!

Dear Friends,

We were forecasted to get our first frost this past weekend and boy, did we ever. Early Sunday morning the mercury dipped below 30 degrees for the first time this year. Every where you looked, you could see evidence of the chill on Sunday, wilted and dead flower and plants, but all and all about what we expect for the first frost of the year. This however, was only the beginning as the temperatures stayed low all day, the sky stayed clear and the Sunday night, the temperature plummeted. Down all the way to a frigid 24 degrees.

When we awoke Monday morning the world was frozen solid. We’re used to having to wait a bit to start harvesting after a frost. Maybe 9am? at the latest 10. We had to wait all the way until 1pm on Monday for the plants to finally thaw out enough for us to begin harvesting. Bundled up in coats and gloves, we were ready to embrace the cold. But then, just like that it was in the 70’s by the end of the week and we were back in t-shirts.

As we enter into the final weeks of the CSA and the final weeks of October, we are in full steam ahead harvest mode. Doing our best to clear the fields and fill our coolers before it’s too late to get anything out of the field. This past week we finished the carrots up, harvested all the parsnips, bagged up all the rutabagas, and picked the storage cabbage. Between these four crops we harvested over 12,000 pounds of food in just 2 days! All of the roots we pick into 5 gallon buckets. The 5 gallon buckets full of roots are dumped into grain sacks, two buckets per bag and then the bags are loaded by hand onto the truck. It may not be the most efficient system in the world but I guarantee it’s not the worst way to do things. It’s a lot of lifting but all in all it goes pretty smoothly.

The cabbages get a different treatment. The storage cabbages tend to be pretty big, and there tends to be a lot of them and they tend to be pretty heavy. Because of this, we handle the cabbage the same way we handle winter squash and melons. When cabbage harvest day rolls around, first thing in the morning we go out and cut all the cabbage heads. We pile all the heads up in one long windrow with the butt facing up and we go back to our regular scheduled activities. This allows the stem of the cabbage to cauterize in the sun and seal up. Selecting a bright, sunny, dry day is essential to ensure the cabbages are going to store well.

After a few hours drying in the sun the cabbages are good to go and so are we. We load the truck and trailer up with empty bulk bins and get to work. With one person driving we have people on the ground throwing cabbages to people riding in the bins on the truck. The whole process is quite the spectacle to behold. Our employee Marycia describes the cabbage harvest as her favorite sport. While it may not yet be recognized by the International Olympic Committee, tossing cabbages is certainly an athletic endeavor.

Like most things on the farm the initial task isn’t too difficult but it’s the repetition that gets you in the end. Filling one bin of cabbage is really no big deal. But after a few thousand pounds of cabbage your body starts to feel it. This year we hauled in seven very full bins of absolutely gorgeous cabbage heads, by far our biggest cabbage harvest With the cabbages crossed off the list we’re getting closer and closer to putting the farm to bed for the winter!

Hannah, Mary, Marycia, Erica and Larry, thank you so much guys, we couldn’t do it without you!

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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