Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

Shareholders

May 29, 2016

Welcome to the first share pick up of 2016. We have had quite the spring and are excited to start the share. Here are the logistics:

Provider Farm share distributions:

Local on farm pick ups are Tuesdays and Fridays 2-7 PM.  If you are new this season, we will be there to great you and show you the ropes. Shareholders who pick up on the farm do not have to pick a day. You can come to either pick up week to week. I always recommend Tuesdays as they tend to be less busy. If you can not make the pick up, have a friend or family member come pick it up. You do not need to tell us if someone is picking up for you.

Please do not use the driveway to the big yellow house. There is parking across the road and behind the barns.

We provide bags but you may want to bring a sturdy box or bag to carry everything in. As we get into the season, the share will get larger and heavier and you may want something to carry it all in.

For those who split a share, we ask that you either come together to pick up your share or alternate weeks, but not come separately during the week.

Terra Firma Farm shareholders:

Terra Firma Farm share distributions are Wednesdays 3-7 at Terra Firma Farm's farm stand at 330 All Harvey Rd., Stonington. If you can not make the pick up, feel free to have a friend or family member pick up. Shares are packed into boxes for you and there is a check off sheet with your name and share size. Please be sure you take the correct box size. Terra Firma can not store boxes overnight and all boxes left over at 7 will be donated to a local food pantry. We will take back boxes, so you can unpack and leave your box at the farm stand for us.

I (Kerry) send out the weekly newsletter to you. Brianne Casadei, owner of Terra Firma may email you specific information regarding the pick up location in addition as needed. If you have a concern or question specific to the pick up location, you can email her.

We look forward to seeing familiar faces and meeting our new shareholders!

 

This Week's Share

Every week, we will include in the newsletter a list of what is in the share for the week. This is a general guideline of our best guess of  what the crops will do in the week. We usually get it right on the nose but nature can always surprise us.  Its all part of the fun of the CSA! Each crop listed is a hyperlink to our website that gives you information about storing the crop, cooking guidelines and recipes.

The beginning of the year is always about greens. The sweetest lettuce is spring lettuce. Spring lettuce makes a wonderful salad. Chop in some radishes or spring turnips and a good dressing and voila.

We have some wonderful roots coming at you. We have spring radishes, French Breakfast and round red ones, plus watermelon radishes and black Spanish radishes. Hakurei turnips are a wonderful spring treat. These turnips are white and  come with their greens attached. They are sweet and crisp and wonderful to eat raw. Chop the turnips into your salads and cook up the greens.

Coming out of the root cellar, we have potatoes and sweet potatoes.

A note on managing your share at home. We rinse everything lightly to remove the field heat. When you bring everything home, it will need a good wash. Most find it easiest to do this right when you get home and then your share will be ready for the week. For greens, place them loosely in a bowl of water and swish them around. Any soil will fall to the bottom of your bowl. Repeat several times. I strongly recommend spinning your salad greens. The drier you can get them, the longer they will last, up to several weeks if well dried.

Recipe of the Week: 

Ginger Miso dressing

Ingredients: 
  • 1 rounded tablespoon white or yellow miso
  • 2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar, or 1 tablespoon rice vinegar and 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 small garlic press, minced or put through a press
  • Pinch of cayenne
  • 2 tablespoons dark sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons peanut oil or grapeseed oil
  • 2 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
Directions: 

Mix all ingredients. We use a hand held blender. Serve on a bed of fresh spring lettuce.

Credit: 
cooking.nytimes.com

The first chapter of our story

This year's crew are rockstars. Crew superstars Marycia and Hannah missed the pic, probably working to hard.
This year's crew are rockstars. Crew superstars Marycia and Hannah missed the pic, probably working to hard.

Dear Friends,

It’s finally here! The beginning of another CSA season is upon us. The first share is always a big moment for us on the farm. So much hard work and planning culminates in that first distribution. The spring can be incredibly nerve wracking on the farm. Our days are busy planting and preparing. From time to time, we peak under the row covers at our tiny little crops, wondering if we will ever have food again.

And then, one day, just like that, right before our eyes, things transform all over the farm. Row covers come off and we are awash in an ocean of beautiful produce. Heads of lettuce, boc choi, radishes, kale. All of our favorite early spring crops are in abundance, thriving in the late May heat.

One of my favorite things about the start of the share is not just the food that we have ready for the first week, but the food that is a week or two away from harvest. Beets, peas, carrots, broccoli all well on their way to being ready in the coming weeks.

In many ways, the CSA season is like writing a story. We don’t start with everything all at once, we ease into things, introduce the main characters and build from there. As the weeks progress we add new characters, new plot twists and turns. Before we know it, rather light bags full of mostly greens and radishes will turn into incredibly heavy bags full of all the glory summer can provide, usually requiring an extra set of arms or more than one trip to get it all back to the car.

Every year on the farm is different. Each season is unique with its own specific challenges and circumstance. Some years, there will be feet of snow still on the fields in April and we wonder if we’re ever going to get into the field. Other years we will be out plowing in our t-shirts in March. You just never know what the spring will bring. We do the best to hedge our bets and factor in the variability of the weather into our plans but every year is totally different. This is something that we love and hate about farming.

This year seems to be out campaigning for ‘most unusual’ to date. Between the winter that never really was, to the extremely warm March and freezing cold April, not to mention the personal upheaval Kerry and I have been dealing with, this season has been unique to say the least.

One of the main things we’ve noticed so far is that the pest pressure has been off the charts for us. While we had some sporadic cold temperatures throughout the winter, we didn’t have the kind of prolonged deep freeze we count on to knock back our insect adversaries. In particular, there are two pests that stand out this year as being worse than normal. The first is the flea beetle. These pesky little pests are a common occurrence on our farm. They are tiny little beetles that love to make little holes in brassica (of the cabbage family) greens (think arugula, turnip greens, etc…). Flea beetles are nothing new for us, they come every year and we have a plan for keeping our greens intact and safe. Typically, a sheet of row cover placed over the crop at planting or seeding is really all it takes to protect our susceptible crops. Not this year however, the flea beetles are out in force and finding their way into all the places we wish they wouldn’t. Fortunately, the damage they do is more cosmetic than anything else and you will notice some of your greens are a little holey..

The other pest we have been seeing a lot more of is something fairly new for us. The Black Cut Worm. Cut worms are the caterpillars of a very unremarkable, nocturnal, brown moth. They come into fields from March to June and lay eggs in the soil which than hatch into the terrible cut worm. Caterpillars on our crops is not something unusual, especially in brassicas. We have a laundry list of caterpillars that love to munch on our precious crops and a system for dealing with them. Most often with a well timed application of BT or another organically approved biological pesticide. However there are a few things about cut worms that make them difficult to deal with. First of all, they are nocturnal. They only feed at night, they spend their days under the soil at the base of the plants, so if we want to spray for them I have to go out between 10pm and 4am in order for it to be effective.

While this is a pain in the butt, it’s not terrible and we have already done at least one midnight spray so far this year. The other thing that is such a pain about cut worms is that they aren’t picky about what they eat. They love broccoli but they will eat chard too, and carrots, and leeks, and onions, and scallions and even weeds! The best thing I can say about cut worms is that they should leave on their own soon as they change into moths and fly away, hopefully not too return any time soon.

Despite the abnormally high pest pressure, things are really looking pretty great all around the farm. We are so excited to start the share and finally start harvesting, washing and distributing our vegetables again. Winter is too long and I don’t know about you all, but I have really missed the fresh, crispy, sweet heads of lettuce. We don’t realize how bad the super market greens are until the first harvests of the year. Salads and stir fries. I love this time of year and it only stands to get better from here!

Along with watching our greens grow with great anticipation, we have also been watching Shepard. These days he is weighing in at over 5 and a half pounds, taking bottles, and out of his incubator in an open crib. He has been moved out of Intensive Care and into their Special Care Nursery where he can really focus on feeding, and getting ready to come home, which hopefully will be soon. We thank you all for your words of encouragement, gifts and meals, even if we haven't been able to thank you individually. It has been so helpful to know you are rooting us on.

On behalf of our farm crew,

Hannah, Holly, Chris, Marycia, Shelby and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

 

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