Provider Farm

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August 6, 2016

This Week's Share

Wow, we are in the pinnacle of the season now with the harvests just cascading in as the melons and tomatoes begin to peak. Its a fantastic time of year for eating! We will start to see the heirloom tomatoes come in. These tomatoes are funny looking. They come in all sorts of colors when ripe, deep rose, yellow, orange, and even green! They often have green shoulders when ripe too. Don't let this dissuade you from eating them, their flavor is incomparable and you don't want to wait to long to eat them because they tend to go by quicker then your standard red hybrid.

Now that we have the field tomatoes coming in, we have plenty of sauce tomatoes available at $1/lb in the shareroom. Stock up summer in your freezer now. I like to just chop up tomatoes and put them in a freezer bag right into the freezer. Super quick and easy!

This summer we have had some of our best summer head lettuce yet. Unfortunatly, we may be heading into a lettuce drought soon, we will have it until we don't.

Recipe of the Week: 

Fresh Tomato Sauce

Ingredients: 
  • A couple lbs. tomatoes
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, more if you are a big garlic fan
  • An onion
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Fresh slivered basil
  • A glug or two of olive oil
Directions: 

The first part of this recipe is simplified if you have a food mill. If you have a mill, just put your tomatoes in a pot over medium heat and cook until softened (be careful not to burn them though). Then run through the mill to remove seeds and skins.
If you don't have a mill, then you'll have to remove the skins and seeds manually. First, put a pot of water on the stove to boil. Score x's into each tomato and drop into the pot of water for 10 seconds or so. Then remove and place in ice water. The skins should slip off easily. If you are using paste tomatoes, the seeds are small enough you usually don't need to remove them. Slicing tomatoes tend to have larger seeds and you may choose to squeeze them out and discard them before making your sauce (they're totally edible though and you can put them into your sauce if you don't mind them).
Put your milled puree or seeded, skinned tomatoes aside.
Place an empty sauce pot on low heat and put some olive oil in. Add onions and garlic and cook until softened. Then add your tomatoes and cook until desired thickness is achieved. Mash tomatoes with a potato masher if they were not milled. Add salt and pepper to taste and garnish with fresh basil.

Credit: 
Kerry

When 70% is better then 100%

Bringing in the harvest before the fog burns off.
Bringing in the harvest before the fog burns off.

Dear Friends,

August is here and the farm is in full bloom. We have spent so many weeks waiting with breathless anticipation as the melons took shape. We watched the plants settle into the field, the vines grow, the flowers arrive and finally the tiniest baby melons from. They say a watched pot never boils. It’s a good thing they don’t say a watched melon never ripens because we watch the melons closely and carefully. We start checking for ripeness early and we check often. Starting long before they could actually be ready. All this excitement pays off when we start to see the tell tale signs of ready watermelons and cantaloupes. The watermelons announce themselves with a dead tendril, a bright yellow spot and a hollow, resonating sound when you hold the melon in the palm of your hand and tap it like a drum. The cantaloupes are a horse of a different color. They don’t have a tendril that dies back, they don’t get spots and they never resonate. Instead we harvest cantaloupe base on the color and more importantly the smell. You can tell a cantaloupe is ready when it smells like a cantaloupe.

Melon season is an exciting time on the farm. It is a fleeting but fabulous time. The weeding tasks are made easier with the sweet incentive of a melon break. The melons always seem to show up right when we need them the most. Just when we all need a pick me up, the melons come surging into our lives like a beautiful light, warding off the darkness. August is a hard month on the farm. We have been going hard for months now and there are miles to go before we sleep. No rest for the weary, at least not yet. August burnout can be a very real thing amongst even the most intrepid farm crews. We do our best to keep everyone happy, healthy and going strong. Sometimes when we fall short the melons are the perfect thing to step in and spread the smiles around.

Our crew is currently in the midst of an epic weeding task. Excavating our storage beets from a forest of pig weed. Everything grows so fast right now, it’s almost shocking how quickly things can change in a week. Weeds that were barely emerging at this time last week are now close to 6 inches tall. Weeds that were 6 inches tall are now towering above our crops. Soaking in the summer sun. At times if we can’t totally eradicate a weed population we will just mildly disrupt them enough to save our crop. Often we find it to be more beneficial to focus on taking out 70% of the weeds in 10 beds, instead of 100% of the weeds in 7 beds. It is an ever changing cost/benefit analysis that we perform on the fly as we do our best to keep some sense of control over the farm.

The melons might be stealing the headlines but they aren’t the only thing coming in strong right now. The field tomatoes are starting to do their thing out there in the August heat. That means more red tomatoes, but also heirlooms, cherries, and plum tomatoes are all on their way very very soon. Picking tomatoes can be a very satisfying endeavor. There few better ways to spend an August afternoon than filling bucket after bucket of one of our favorite summer staple crops. Well melons are all sugar and flash, tomatoes have a bit more substance and staying power. The harvest season lasts longer. They serve as the foundation of so many great meals, and they are first on the list of essential things to preserve during the summer. Nothing says summer time like a big pot of sauce simmering away on the stove and a counter full of canning jars.

Hannah, Holly, Chris, Tory, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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