Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

Shareholders

September 4, 2016

Folks are starting to ask about share renewals. We will start share renewals towards the end of September. Current shareholders get priority to renew their shares before we open them to the general public, so not to worry, you won't loose your spot!

ATTENTION:Tropical Storm share information

We have been watching this storm intently and it still is vague about what the effects on our area will be. It does appear that it will have mostly coastal impacts so we are planning on continuing with the share as we normally do. We will post an update on facebook, on our webpage and on our voicemail at 860-222-5582 if anything changes. Please check in prior to your share pick up on Tuesday and for Terra Firma shares on Wednesday to make sure we are continuing as normal. We will also send out an email if we have to delay the share.

This Week's Share

We have just started to see the first of the fall broocolli begin to trickle in. We have many successions planted out there, so you should begin to see lots of it soon.

Carrots are back thanks to our friends at Fort Hill Farm. Occasionally when we have an over abundance of a crop, we will trade to another farm with similiar growing practices for something we are short in. Fort Hill Farm is a certified organic farm in New Milford and they are some talented growers over there, so we were lucky to pick up some of their carrots for some of our onions. These should tide us over pretty well until our fall carrots ripen.

The last of our delicious white onions went out last week and we are moving into our yellow onion crop. These onions are cured in the greenhouse to get them ready for the long winter months. These can be stored in your cupboard or on your counter but don't need refrigeration. They are also the type of onions excellent for carmelizing.

Our other favorite fall allium (the onion family) is ready for the share. Leeks! Leeks are fantastic fried up in any recipe as you would use onions. Popular in French cooking, they are buttery and mild, and add a certain 'je ne sais quoi' to your cooking. The white part is what is used for cooking. To prepare them for cooking, just make sure to peel back the leaves and rinse a little bit, sometimes soil can get trapped in there.

Recipe of the Week: 

Carmelized onion spaghetti squash

Ingredients: 
  • 1 2-3 lb. spaghetti squash
  • 2 tbs. olive oil
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 2 yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • 1½ cup mushrooms
  • 1 cup kale
  • ¼ tsp rosemary (I used fresh, but dried would work too)
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: parmesan cheese*
Directions: 

Preheat oven to 350°.
Slice squash in half, remove seeds and place on baking sheet and put into oven.
While squash is roasting, melt butter and last 2 tbsp oil over medium-high in a large skillet.
Add onions to skillet, stirring occasionally. After 5 minutes, add mushrooms.
After approximately 10 minutes, the onions should start to caramelize. If they look like they're burning at all, add an extra tablespoon of oil.
Add kale to skillet and continue to stir everything together until onions turn a nice golden brown color.
After 25 minutes, remove squash from oven and allow 10 or so minutes for it to cool off.
Once slightly cooler, use a fork to remove "spaghetti" from squash and place in a skillet; add rosemary, salt and pepper and stir everything together.
Add Parmesan cheese if you wish and enjoy!

Credit: 
thealmondeater.com

The flavors of fall

Shepard's first trip into the fields to assess the winter squash crop.
Shepard's first trip into the fields to assess the winter squash crop.

Dear Friends,

Darker mornings, a hint of a chill in the evening, bright, crisp sunshine and possibly a hurricane. Well, it looks like September is finally here. August is always a blur. The longest shortest month of the farming season. It seems to go on forever and ever but once it’s over, we’re stunned that summer is fading. Everywhere on the farm the evidence is plain as day. The melons are done, but the winter squash is ripe. The summer squash is no longer making blossoms, but the storage onions are cured.  Tomatoes are starting to slow down and leeks are starting to size up. Summer may be winding down and the days may be getting shorter but the CSA season has a lot of life left in it yet.

The fall is such a wonderful time to eat in general, and to eat your CSA share specifically. The days are cooler, a hot oven and a warm kitchen is a welcome addition to the home, instead of an affliction. The flavors of fall are different than those of summer. There is less crisp sweetness, less sugar, less flash. The flavors of fall are more subtle, they meld and melt into each other. There is more richness and the opportunity for truly wonderful kitchen creations. Nothing speaks more to this complimentary relationship than the ultra classic potato leek soup. A hearty bowl of potato leek soup with roast winter squash sounds absolutely perfect.

As children returned to school, we set our sights on a different harbinger of fall, the famed and fabulous winter squash harvest. Winter squash is an interesting term when you really think about it. We seed it in early summer and harvest it no later than the very beginning of fall. It can’t tolerate a frost and even when cured and in storage, doesn’t like to be below 55 degrees. You can eat it all winter though, so I guess that’s where the name comes from. For so many of the crops that we grow, we plant successions and will spread the harvest out over the course of weeks during the season. Not so of the winter squash. We seed it all in one day and in theory, we will harvest it all on one single day a bit later in the season. Successions offer us a bit of a safety net, if the first planting is poor, you can make the second bigger. For a crop like winter squash, you kind of get what you get. You only get to draw one hand in this game, there’s not a whole lot you can do mid season.

Like the potatoes, the winter squash is another crop that went right for us this year. Maybe not in such a dramatic fashion but a huge improvement over last season’s paltry crop. To ease our backs and the amount of trips to and from the field, we decided to spread the harvest over the course of a few days. We harvest winter squash like melons, unlike melons though, we harvest the entire crop at once. There is no tapping or smelling, seeking out ripeness. We go through and clip all the squash and place them in windrows to make picking up quick and easyish. We allow a day or so for the squash to dry a bit, and once they are dry, it’s go time. We then come through with big pallet bins on the back of the tractor and place all the squash into bins. Once it’s all binned up, I load the bins onto the trailer and bring them home.

We brought in 18 bins of squash this year, which is about twice what we harvested last year, which is (if I do say so myself) pretty freaking awesome. Really though, the winner this year was the spaghetti squash. Do to popular request, we have tried to increase production of spaghetti squash for the past few years and every year we failed for one reason or another. Well this year we nailed it! These popular, yellow, football shaped wonders of nature decided to absolutely crush expectations this season. In fact if we had only grown spaghetti squash, and got the same consistent yield, we would be looking at over 30 bins of squash. That would be a lot of spaghetti, probably too much. While I am excited for the spaghetti squash, I am also really looking forward to the delicata, acorn, and butternut. Winter squash is one of those crops that benefit from being cured. Waiting a few weeks after harvest before you eat them allows the starches to convert into sugar. This drastically improves the taste, and interestingly enough, it varies across varieties. The spaghetti and delicata hardly need to cure at all to be delicious but the butternut, really depends on a long curing process to maximize it’s flavor potential.

We could really use some rain, but here’s to hoping we don’t get this hurricane!

Hannah, Holly, Chris, Erica and Larry

Your Farmers,

Max and Kerry

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