Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

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January 4, 2016

Welcome to the new year! We enjoyed the break and we hope you did too! Just as a reminder the remaining pick up days are as follows: 1/8, 1/22, 2/5, and 2/19

This Week's Share

We spent this afternoon tucking in the greens with covers and wishing them well through the cold snap. Though the cold is intense, it will not last for long and we expect the greens should rebound in time for the share this Friday. We're not so sure that the leeks will make it so we have probably come to the end of the leeks. Everything else continues to hold well and are in abundance.

Any new years resolutions out there? Last year, Max and I dedicated ourselves to cooking at home to save money and be healthier. Fortunately, if this is something you have also resolved to do, we have the tools for you! Recipes and vegetables galore. We took advantage of our holiday break to do a lot of cooking with our winter vegetables as our focus and I will share some of the things we made. As always, if you have any recipes that you love, please share them with us!

I brought this delicious black eyed pea and kale curry to our Christmas eve dinner at my dad's. There were gluten free people, vegans and omnivores and it was enjoyed by all. I like to serve it with a cool lightly dressed cabbage slaw, it contrasts nicely with the curry spices.

For New years eve, while we waited for a visit from the Veterinarian to check a cow, Max whipped up his famous French Onion Soup.  This recipe is a little involved but one way to simplify it is the onions can be caramelized in the oven for this recipe at 450 for one hour, then stir them and then leave them in the oven one more hour before deglazing. Much easier to get other things done that way while they cook then constantly stirring them on the stove.

As reentered reality post holiday, we dined on this black bean and sweet potato chili. Its so easy and so good and great served with a cabbage and carrot slaw, just lightly dressed vinegar and cilantro sprinkled on top. I made extra rice to whip up a fried rice later on this week when we have less time to cook.

Recipe of the Week: 

Tofu Soba Noodles

Ingredients: 
  • 1 pound soba
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 (14-ounce) package firm tofu, cubed
  • 2 cups shredded cabbage. or whatever vegetables you have on hand, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, pressed
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Crushed peanuts, for serving
  • Sriracha, for serving
Directions: 

In a large pot of boiling water, cook noodles according to package instructions. Rinse under cold water and drain; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, brown sugar and sesame seeds; set aside.
Heat vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add tofu and cook until golden brown, about 3-4 minutes; set aside. Add cabbage, garlic and ginger to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until tender, about 1-2 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine noodles, rice wine vinegar mixture, tofu, cabbage and green onions.
Serve immediately, garnished with peanuts and Sriracha, if desired.

Credit: 
damndelicious.net

Winter sweetened

Tucking in the kale for a cold night.
Tucking in the kale for a cold night.

Dear Friends,

Another holiday season has come and gone. Whatever way you celebrate we hope that you had a happy, fulfilling holiday season. Now that the Christmas cookies are gone it’s time to finally get back down to business and get the kale and kohlrabi back in all of our lives. While we didn’t take a physical vacation away from the farm this holiday season, we certainly took a nice, long, well needed mental vacation. With a bit of time and space to clear our heads we are eager to return to the day to day tasks of winter work at Provider Farm. First on the agenda is preparing for this week’s coming winter share but it’s also time to really get serious about next season. The seed catalogs have been piling up and it’s time to finish our crop plans for 2016, pick varieties and get our seeds ordered. It’s exciting to plan for the coming season. There are so many possibilities, every crop has the potential to be amazing, and the pretty pictures in the seed catalogs make everything seem possible!

It looks like the first thing 2016 has decided to bring us is some down right frigid temperatures. Well at least some temporarily frigid temperatures. While we have been happily riding the sweet wave of mild weather we knew it wouldn’t last forever. Before sitting down to write this week’s newsletter Kerry and I were busy preparing the farm for an expected low of 9 degrees tonight. Single digits out of nowhere! We had to move the remaining onions from the uninsulated share room into the comfortable confines of the barn. Our barn has the distinct advantage of being built into a hillside. As a result it stays far warmer than any of our other buildings. In fact water won’t free in the barn until it stops getting above 15 degrees during the day. At that point, it’s blankets and heaters for the onions to keep them safe.

There’s not much we can do for the field kale but finally say ‘good-bye’. The high tunnel kale required a bit of our attention before the cold night ahead. Kale and spinach do remarkably well inside our tunnels in the winter. It really is amazing what they can put up with and withstand as far as temperature is concerned. However, a key component to the survival mechanism of the greens is them having an adequate period to adjust to the cold. As temperatures cool down the kale and spinach start to convert starch into sugar. The sugar works the same way the anti freeze in your car does. The higher the sugar content the lower the freeze point. This is why greens are so much sweeter after a frost than they are in July. Ideally, it will get cold slowly and steadily over a period of weeks. Allowing the kale and spinach plenty of time to build up the sugar content required to fend off a night below 10 degrees.

Well, this year we haven’t exactly had that slow steady cooling period. It’s actually been pretty warm and our kale is about to abruptly freeze it’s little butt off. That’s where we come in. Some metal hoops and a couple layers of row cover ought to help the kale through the night. We use thousands of feet of row cover in the spring and fall protecting our crops from the cold and encouraging them to grow faster. That same row cover is just as useful in the winter and it’s even easier to put on, since there isn’t any wind inside the tunnel.

With the farm tall tucked in and ready we’re all set to shut ourselves inside and wait for things to warm up a little bit. Unbelievably, it’s supposed to be in the 40’s for the winter share pick up on Friday!

Your farmers,
Max, Kerry and Hannah

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