Provider Farm

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July 31, 2016

This Week's Share

The melons are starting to roll in out of the field. First to come in are lots of watermelons, red and yellow and soon to be followed by our cantaloupes. We pick all of our melons ripe and ready to eat so need to worry about picking out the best one. They are all good! 

We will also begin picking out our field tomatoes and you will see the tomato amounts grow soon. The overall crop is good, though there is a dry section of the field that  is stunted to some degree due to the drought.

Hot peppers are also starting to come in. We grow many varieties and first in are jalepenos and hungarian hot wax. Jalapenos start out mild early in the season but will grow in intensity soon. Hungarian hot wax are long and light yellow green and medium in hotness. We also trialed the trendy padrons this year, which are mild to medium.

Recipe of the Week: 

Marcie's Ratatouille

Ingredients: 
  • 4 patty pan squash
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 Japenese eggplant or 1 Italian eggplant
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 2-4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes, or fresh tomatoes
  • Basil, oregano, thyme parsley, rosemary
  • salt to taste
Directions: 

Cut squash and eggplant into 1' cubes. Add 1-2 tbs. olive oil to frying pan, add onions and garlic and fry until translucent (be careful not to burn!) Add squash and eggplant and cook until slightly tender. Add tomatoes and herbs to taste and cook until softened and stew like. Add salt to taste.

Credit: 
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Rain!

Shepard approves of the onion crop.
Shepard approves of the onion crop.

Dear Friends,

All the prayers and rain dances must have worked, It finally rained! We could hardly believe it but Friday morning we woke up to gray skies and a nice gentle rain. We took the opportunity to catch up a greenhouse seeding and clean up from the winter share storage area. (That's how dry it's been! We usually get a rain day here and there to take care of odd jobs but we are just now getting the opportunity!)There was no time to put our slippers on and snuggle up with a book to listen to the rain though. By lunch time it was all but a memory. The sun came back and the world heated right back up in a hurry. We would love to get a little bit more rain to really get under the nails of the parched earth, but the inch or so we got is going to go a long way for soothing our weary, dusty souls. With just a day off from irrigating, we will again continue our never ending water moving parade around the farm.

As July fades away into August, we are finding ourselves in the height of summer. The first melons have made their way to the finish line and are ripening up, as sweet and delicious as ever. The share room will soon be bursting with watermelons and cantaloupes. No matter how many years we do this, I think the the first melons will always be an absolute thrill for us. The crew loves them, we love them, you love them. They are an exciting crop. They’re delicious and sweet, very different from the carrots, onions and kale, etc. that make up so much of what we grow. On a really hot afternoon as we make our way through a weedy bed of carrots a melon eating snack break can make a world of difference. Cool and refreshing, melons make people happy. I can honestly say that in all my years of doing this, we have never once stopped weeding to take a break and enjoy some kale leaves, fresh from the field.

We have been waiting for weeks and weeks for rain. All of our crops needed a long drink from the heavens above. Well, almost all of our crops.  As our storage onions get closer and closer to being ready, we actually didn’t want them to get wet. Unlike the white and red onions which we harvest fresh and store in the cooler, we dry our yellow onions and store them in the barn. Moisture at the wrong time in the process can make a huge difference in how well a crop of onions stores. With rain finally in the forecast, we decided to bite the bullet and harvest the entire crop of onions this past week. Like the garlic, which I wrote about earlier, we now harvest the onions into big bulk bins and move them around with the tractor.

Aside from cantaloupe, harvesting onions into bins might be my favorite thing ever. The storage onion harvest used to be one of the hardest days of our season. Particularly because it has to be dry, the harvest always seems to happen on the hottest days. Lifting barrels of storage onions isn’t so bad at first, but after the first thousand pounds it gets a little tiring. We harvested close to 10,000 pounds of onions this week and the idea of doing that by hand honestly makes me want to cry. I don’t think we could have done it. Certainly not in a day and a half. Certainly not without giving our crew heat stroke. Those guys do so much for us, I often try and think of ways we can give back to them, but heat stroke isn’t usually one of the things we think they want.

We started Wednesday morning. By Wednesday afternoon all the onions we binned up and ready to come home. By Thursday afternoon the greenhouse was full to the brim, and the onions were done. There was plenty of sweat shed but there was no dizziness or exhaustion setting in. As the rain began to fall late Thursday night, we were happy to know the onions were all tucked away, safe and sound in the greenhouse. One less crop to water, one less crop to worry about.

Hannah, Holly, Chris, Tory, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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