Provider Farm

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July 10, 2016

This Week's Share

Our white onions are sizing up now. These are the first onions to come in out of the field and one of our favorites. They are mild and sweet and fantastic sliced onto sandwiches or cooked up. They come out of the field uncured so should be stored in your fridge.

Our zucchinis are also finally starting to come in off our second planting. The first planting showed some unusual crud on the foliage coming out of the greenhouse that looked like potential disease. Though the plant pathology lab could not diagnose it, I chose caution and opted not to plant any affected plants, which cut down the first planting by about a half. As in most things in life, but especially organic agriculture, preventing problems is much easier then curing them, so we sacrificed a few zukes for the many squash and cukes in the field and boy has there been a bumper crop of those, and now our trickle of zucchini will be growing to the flood we are accustomed to.

Recipe of the Week: 

Double Chocolate Zuchinni Bread

Ingredients: 
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2/3 cup (1 ounce) unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 cups coarsely grated zucchini
  • 1 1/3 cups (6 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Directions: 

Butter and flour an 8x5-inch loaf tin, then preheat the oven to 350°F.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one at a time until completely combined. Stir in the cocoa powder, vanilla extract, salt, and baking powder. Fold in the grated zucchini, then add the flour and chocolate chips to the bowl. Stir until just combined.
Transfer the batter to the loaf tin and spread out using a spatula or the back of a spoon. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes, until the cake has risen and a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out without batter on it (the toothpick might just have some melted chocolate on it from the chocolate chips).

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

Credit: 
thekitchn.com

Teamwork

The crew taking care of business in the carrots.
The crew taking care of business in the carrots.

Dear Friends,

A fair amount of sunshine, more than enough humidity and an ever diminishing chance of rain. I think I am starting to sense a theme for this season… After an incredibly sweaty and uncomfortable start to the week, the cloudy and cool temperatures on Thursday and Friday were more than welcome, even if the clouds didn’t end up bringing any rain. The first week of July is the start of our fall planting season, and at times this can be a really challenging time to put tender little transplants out in the world. In the past we’ve even had to go so far as doing our planting in the evening, closer to 6 and 7pm in order to avoid the heat of the day. For the first succession of fall broccoli, cauliflower, and kale we were more than thrilled to have a blanket of clouds protecting our precious crops from the harsh glare of the sun.

Long days and warm nights. Enough weeds to keep us busy until next July. Trucks full of an ever changing harvest. What a great time of year.  So many of our longer term crops are starting to finally turn the corner. Our tomatoes are heavy with green fruit, the onions are bulbing, there are tiny melons in the melons, and we’re finding spuds beneath the canopy of potato foliage. It’s exciting to see so many new things on the horizon. It always seems to be the case that some things on the farm look great, like our potatoes, and some things don’t look so great. For the most part however, Kerry and I are pretty happy with the current state of the farm especially considering how much turmoil we’ve had in our lives so far this year. There is always so much uncertainty going in to each season, and even now in July there is still a lot of things that we don’t know, but the farm is getting there, most of the crops are planted and are all(or almost all) coming along nicely.

Kerry and I write the newsletters every week, it’s our faces on the website. Provider Farm is a partnership between the two of us, and we think of it as our farm. However, we are not solely responsible for the food you get in your share each week. We are completely and utterly dependent on the hard work and efforts of our tremendous farm crew. Without them, we would be unable to provide much of anything. A waterwheel transplanter doesn’t do you a lot of good without people to ride on the back. Of all the different hats we have to wear as farmers, managing people it perhaps the most difficult for us. Maintaining a positive, efficient and productive working environment over the course of an entire season is far more challenging for me than managing diamond back moth caterpillars in our broccoli or sweating out in the afternoon sun.

This year, our crew has been so fantastic it really doesn’t seem like a challenge at all. We have been totally blessed to have such a great group of people, show up to work every morning ready to accomplish whatever task it is that we place in front of them. They have been more than willing and able to pick up the slack this year and Kerry and I couldn’t be more grateful. Sleep is typically in short supply during the farming season and this year that has been more true than ever before. Some days Shep likes to sleep in the evening, other days he likes to sleep in the morning. It really varies day by day but one thing that is consistent is that at 3am Shep thinks it’s party time. He wakes up, bright eyed, alert and ready to start his day. Kerry takes the brunt of the night shift with him and makes up for it in the morning. I take the crew out to pick cucumbers and squash while Kerry catches up on some sleep. The exhaustive nature of having a newborn is made so much easier knowing we have a solid group of people keeping things moving in case we have to take Shep to the pediatrician, or just take a nap.

As time goes on and things change, so does our farm crew. One of the main stays of our Provider Farm crew since the beginning has been Marycia. Many of you know might know her, she might even have been the person who told you about our farm shares! We have been lucky enough to have had the privilege of working with Marycia since we first started her in Salem all the way back in 2012. She has been a integral part of our farm crew and an all around great person to have around. Well, this week we are sad to say she is moving on to some bigger and better things and will no longer be gracing our wash tent with her sunny presence. We appreciate all the work she has put in over the years and all the birthday treats she has provided. Thank you Marycia, we will miss you!

Many of you have been asking for an update on Shepard, and I am happy to say he is doing great! He has been adjusting well to life on the farm and seems like he is doing better than ever.  At his last check up we weighed in at 8 and half pounds which is particularly amazing since he wasn’t even 2 pounds at birth. Shep spends most of his days hanging out with his grandmother(Max’s mom, Rhona) who is staying on the farm for summer. You might see the two of them out for a walk while the share is going on. It’s totally fine to come and say ‘hi’ if you see Shep outside, but due to his extremely fragile lungs and immune system, we ask that you give him a bit of space to make sure he stays safe. Other than that, he is doing all the normal things that a normal baby should be doing. Eating, sleeping, eating some more. This whole season has been a bit of a blur but these past couple weeks have been particularly blurry. But it’s a much much better blur now that he’s home.

Hannah, Holly, Chris, Marycia, Tory, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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