Provider Farm

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July 3, 2016

This Week's Share

*This list 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. Local on farm shares are composed of a choice of the items listed. Terra Firma Farm shares are a selection of the best of the weeks harvest selected by the farmers.  Each crop listed is a hyperlink to our website that gives you information about storing the crop, cooking guidelines and recipes.

And just like that, the peas are done and make way for the summer time heavy hitters cucumbers!! We grow pickler and slicer varieties. The picklers are traditionally used for pickles but are a great snack size and fantastic fro eating fresh too. Slices are what you think of as your standard cucmber, big and dark green, the picklers are shorter and have a mottled light green skin.

Also new to your plates are our spring onions. These are white onions harvested a little early with their greens still attached. These sweet onions are sweet and crisp raw and the greens can be used as well.

Recipe of the Week: 

Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients: 
  • 3 Lb. pickling cukes
  • 5 c. water
  • 1 1/4 c. cider or white vinegar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. salt
  • 2 dill flower heads
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. pickling spice
Directions: 

Bring to a boil water, vinegar, sugar, salt. Let cool. Slice cukes into rounds and put them and the rest of the ingredients in a sterilized jar and pour cooled liquid over them. Put in refrigerator.

Credit: 
Max's former boss's Meghan Arquin's amazing pickles!

What's a pirate's favorite vegetable?

gAAAAAAAAARLic!
gAAAAAAAAAAAARlic!

Dear Friends,

Any time we look at the weather and hear ‘damaging wind, and ‘large hail’ we get a little bit antsy. When we hear ’chance of tornado’ we get down right uncomfortable. Our Friday afternoon was spent battening down some of our hatches while we anxiously looked towards the sky. To say that we could use a little bit of rain might be the understatement of the week, but we can most certainly do without all the extra curricular activities these summer storms can bring. Our fields are dry and in desperate need of some rain. We have been irrigating up a storm but it is hard to keep up. Our crops grown on black plastic are all faring a bit better since the plastic does such a tremendous job retaining moisture compared to crops grown on bare ground.

Keeping the farm watered can easily become a full time job during extremely dry stretches but I absolutely stand by the statement that I will take a dry season over a wet one. The old prevailing wisdom is ‘you can add water to dry field but you can’t take water out of a wet field’. Obviously when things are dry it can create problems and plants need water to grow. But in our relatively moist, temperate New England climate, too much water can create just as many, if not more problems. Excessive moisture creates the perfect breeding ground for all sorts of nasty plant diseases. Heavy hitters like Late Blight on tomatoes and Downy Mildew on squash thrive in moist, wet environments. These diseases can cause a fair bit of mayhem if they are present in a fairly dry year. In a wet year, they can unleash such complete utter destruction that all you can do sometimes is shake your head and wonder why you even got out of bed.

This past week’s dry weather did present us with the perfect opportunity for one of my favorite annual traditions. The glorious and highly esteemed harvesting of the garlic. Like the Kentucky Derby, Super Bowl or Tour de France, this epic display of strength and perseverance only occurs once a year. After spending so much time in the field, we planted the garlic all the way back in October of last year, when the garlic is ready, it’s really ready. Too much time in the ground can be devastating for a crop of garlic. The skins around the bulb will all die back and the cloves will separate, leaving you with no crop at all if you’re late to the party. Couple this with the fact that you really(like really really) don’t want the garlic to get wet when you’re harvesting it and the garlic harvest can become as urgent an event as we have on the farm.

Typically we will pull the garlic straight from the ground and lay it in piles. Relying on the strength and stamina of our fabulous farm crew, to rip each bulb out of the ground. We then would come through and load the piles of garlic into the red picked barrels that we harvest most crops into. The pickle barrels, weighting upwards of 50 plus pounds, are than loaded by hand onto a truck or trailer and driven back home to the farm. The barrels would be unloaded, again by hand, off the truck and into the barn to be laid out for drying. This ordeal would take the better part of at least one day and leave your farmers, sweaty, dirty and totally and completely wiped out.

I’m not sure if it’s my old age, (and the wisdom that comes with it, I turned 30 on Saturday), or our new baby, but this year I decided we should do things a little different. This year I decided “You know what? We work hard enough here at Provider Farm!” Instead, prior to pulling the garlic, we went through with our tractor and bed lifter. This is a steel bar that under cuts the crop, loosening the soil and allowing crops to easily be pulled from the ground. It’s how we’re able to harvest thousands of pounds of carrots and parsnips every year without going crazy. Why have we never used it in the garlic? Honestly, I have no idea. Undercutting the garlic made pulling it an absolute breeze. To further ease the physical toll on our bodies, instead of loading the piles of garlic into barrels that would be loaded by hand, we used the big bulk bins we use for melons and winter squash. The great thing about these bins is not only can you hold way more crop, but you can do all the loading, unloading, lifting and carrying with a tractor. Very little manual lifting at all!

After all was said and done we pulled in over 6 big bulk bins of garlic. The garlic is now drying in the barn and should be be fully cured in a few weeks. Then it will be clipped from the stalks and sorted for seed before making its debut in the share in September.  Our crew performed admirably as always, crushing the task before them like they have crushed so many tasks this year. With the garlic done, that’s one less thing to think about and one less thing to do, so we can turn our attentions to the next chapter of the season.

Hannah, Holly, Chris, Marycia, Tory and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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