Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


December 12, 2016

Please note there will be a two week holiday break after this week's share and we will see you all in January on the 6th.

This Week's Share

I don't know if it is my "mom" brain or my head clouded by vacation but I realized after I sent the last newsletter I didn't do a very good job of telling you about the different vegetables in the share. The obvious ones like carrots and red beets don't need much of an introduction, but there are a few oddballs you may not be familiar with it.

i'll start with the weird light green ball with a crunchy white interior. These are our storage kohlrabies. Peel away the tough skin and these are great raw sliced into a salad or into sticks and taste like a broco-apple. They are wonderful cooked into a soup or stir fry.

You may have been surprised when you sliced into the cherry red Chioggia beets, revealing a white and red bulls eye. Yup, they are supposed to be that way! These beats are a little milder in flavor then the old standard red beets, sweet as can be, with the added bonus of not turning everything deep red.

And then there was the white root that when cut open, has a beautiful rose interior. These are our watermelon radishes, because slices of the radish resemble a watermelon slice. Mild and sweet, these are wonderful raw but are also great cooked.

And finally, this other root, it a turnip or a rutabaga? Rutabagas are golden with purple tops. They are sweet and mild. Sometimes I end up eating them up raw as I chop them for a dish. We grow purple top turnips which are a bright white with violet top and with a little more cabbagey punch.

Assuming it still looks good, we hope to be picking the last of the lettuce before it gets REALLY cold so we'll have one more taste of lettuce before we enter deep winter. It may also be the end for our collards, but not bad for mid December! Please note the greens will not be washed and you'll want to give them a good soak before eating. Dry them as best as you can (a spinner is great) if you will not eat them right away and they will store well.

A few notes on storing your crops, all the roots, cabbage and greens will do well if you keep them wrapped in a plastic bag to maintain their humidity and put them in your fridge. They can keep for several months this way. Potatoes should do fine if you keep them somewhere cool in the dark.

Sweet potatoes want to warmer just loosely wrapped and on your counter is fine. Squash doesn't want to be chilled either and your kitchen counter is a good place for them too.



Recipe of the Week: 

Kale and white bean soup

  • 1 lb dried white beans such as Great Northern, cannellini, or navy
  • 2 onions, coarsely chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 5 cups broth (veggie or chicken)
  • 2 qt water
  • 1 (3- by 2-inch) piece Parmigiano-Reggiano rind
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 bay leaf (not California)
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh rosemary
  • 1 lb smoked sausage such as kielbasa (optional), sliced crosswise 1/4 inch thick
  • 8 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut crosswise into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 1 lb kale coarsely chopped



Cover beans with water by 2 inches in a pot and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and let stand, uncovered, 1 hour. Drain beans in a colander and rinse.

Cook onions in oil in an 8-quart pot over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, 4 to 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, 1 minute. Add beans, broth, 1 quart water, cheese rind, salt, pepper, bay leaf, and rosemary and simmer, uncovered, until beans are just tender, about 50 minutes.

While soup is simmering, brown sausage (if using) in batches in a heavy skillet over moderate heat, turning, then transfer to paper towels to drain.

Stir carrots into soup and simmer 5 minutes. Stir in kale, sausage, and remaining quart water and simmer, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until kale is tender, 12 to 15 minutes. Season soup with salt and pepper.


Simple gifts

Holly uncovering the last of the lettuce.
Holly uncovering the last of the lettuce.

Dear Friends,

2016 is winding down, the temperatures are plummeting and we’ve seen our first dusting of snow. The snow plow is on the truck, the tractors are all tucked away and the fields are empty The hay is in the barn as they say, except we use round bales that are wrapped in plastic that remain outside. Winter is here and and while another year is ending a new year is almost upon us. The farm demands we run our lives at a frantic pace of most of the spring, fall and summer. Though it’s nothing like our first couple seasons when we spent July and August waking around 4am and working until close to dark, the farming season is relentless right up until it isn’t any more. The hustle and bustle of the season fades away as the world freezes and we are greeted with some down time. We are still waking around 4am some nights but these days it’s to feed Shepard, not to go pick broccoli.

In the winter we spend as much or more time in the office staring at spread sheets and quick books as we do outside. The work is easier on the body and far more cerebral. We have an entire season to plan. Mistakes to correct, things to improve upon, success to try and repeat. Past experience has taught us it’s best to take a little break before we jump into crop planning. In December, we still feel the aches and pains of the summer, by January we have mostly forgotten and we are ready to dream again. Right now the seed catalogs are starting to arrive but by and large they are piling up on our table. There will come a time when we flip through the pages, excited to see the new varieties and latest innovations but we’re not quite ready. The long winter is the blessing and curse of being a new england farmer, I really don’t know how those folks do it out in California where the growing season is omnipresent.

I really love the holiday season. I love the lights, the red Starbucks cups, I even like the music. Probably my favorite thing though is the spirit of family, giving and kindness. One of the truly best things about running our farm is that it gives us the opportunity to donate produce throughout the season. We donate the leftovers at the end of the week to the United Way in New London. If you ever come and pick up your share at the end of the day on Friday and you wonder what happens to the all the produce still in the baskets, that is the answer. Over the season we donate upwards of 6,000 pounds of fresh produce that gets distributed around South Eastern Connecticut. We are more than happy to do this as there is no way I can imagine running a CSA without generating excess and seconds, and being able to put that produce to good use is really important to us.

I appreciate so much that the United Way does this, they make it easy for us since they come and pick up our produce and distribute it. They tell us that people really like getting fresh vegetables, that they are one of the hardest foods to come by, and that they are always really happy to have it. It’s such a small thing for us, something that we barely think about, but it makes a difference in other peoples lives.

This past year we have received so much kindness from families, friends, neighbors, shareholders and strangers that is truly overwhelming to reflect on. It has inspired us to commit to being kinder not just while the Christmas lights are up but throughout the entire year and our entire lives. Having a baby with complications has left a very tender spot on our hearts and the best salve has proven to be passing on these kind gestures to others.

We wish you all a merry Christmas and much joy and peace in the new year.

On behalf of our farm crew,

Hannah and Holly

your farmers

Max and Kerry

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