Provider Farm

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June 16, 2017

Please note the listed crops below are hyperlinks. If you click on them, they will lead you to information on how to store them and recipes too. These are our best guesses as what will be available this week in the share, sometimes we'll throw in extra or have to switch something out. Salem pick ups are a choice of the items, Terra Firma pick ups are farmers choice boxes.

This Week's Share

Lots of new crops on the CSA tables this week! What is that alien looking purple thing in your box? Why, its kohlrabi! I say its like apple broccoli, crisp and sweet with a slight broccoli flavor. Just peel off the outer skin, slice it into a salad or cook it up in a stir fry.

The allium family is here. Alliums are the family of onions. First up scallions. Slice these babies in anything, boy are they delicious and add great flavor to your dishes. Don't forget to try out the scallion pancake recipe of the week!

Next up are one of our all time favorites, garlic scapes.Though I love to eat it, I'll admit garlic is not one of my favorite crops to grow. I am not particularly good at it and I feel like its a bit of a prima donna and just takes so long to produce but I do love it for it's scapes. These are the curly green flower buds that the garlic sends up. We remove them so the plants send their energy into making bigger bulbs, and so we get a bonus treat. Use them as you would garlic in all your cooking and definitely try this garlic scape pesto recipe. Its garlicky and delicious!

Have you ever tried Chinese cabbage? What about purple Chinese cabbage? A real stunner for sure. We were lucky enough to trial this new variety from our favorite seed company and we loved it so it'll be a regular in our crop plan. Chinese cabbage is just cabbage for most of the world. Try not to be intimidated by their sometimes very large size! Try it fresh in a salad like this recipe I learned from an old friend or make a fresh slaw with it. Get a little more fancy and make these potstickers with them or these baked egg rolls in place of the regular cabbage in the recipe. Try some kim chi, a important condiment in Korea. I remember a few years ago, their was a Chinese cabbage shortage there (I pay attention when vegetable make the news!) and it was a national crisis!

But wait there is more! Our broccoli is also ready! Finally! One of the most popular veggies out there, our spring broccoli is fantastic!

Recipe of the Week: 

Scallion pancakes

Ingredients: 
  • 2 1/2 cups white flour
  • 1 cup warm water
  • Oil for the pancakes, such as vegetable, sesame, or shortening
  • Coarse kosher salt
  • 1 bunch scallions
  • High smoke point oil for the pan, such as vegetable, canola, or peanut oil

For a dipping sauce, use the sauce recipe from these potstickers.

Directions: 

1. Make the dough and let it rest: Mix 2 1/2 cups flour with 1 cup water until it forms a smooth dough. Knead by doubling the dough over and pressing it down repeatedly, until the dough is even more smooth and very elastic. Coat this ball of dough lightly in oil and put it back in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a damp cloth and let the dough rest for about 30 minutes.

2. Roll out the dough: Cut the dough into 4 equal parts. Lightly oil the back of a large metal baking sheet (or a smooth stone countertop or pastry board). Roll out one part of the dough on the back of the baking sheet. Roll until it is a thin rectangle at least 12 x 9 inches.

3. Chop the scallions: Finely chop the bunch of scallions. (I usually use the green tops and just the very top of the white parts.) Set them on your work surface along with a small bowl of kosher salt.

4. Top the dough: Lightly brush the top of the dough with oil, then sprinkle it evenly with chopped scallions and kosher salt.

5. Roll up the dough: Starting from the long end, roll the dough up tightly, creating one long snake of rolled-up dough.

6. Cut in half: Cut the dough snake in two equal parts.

7. Coil the dough and let it rest: Take one of these halves and coil into a round dough bundle. Let it rest for at least 15 minutes and ideally longer, while you repeat this process with the rest of the dough.

8. Roll out the coil: Pat a coiled dough bundle into a flat, smooth, round pancake. You can do this with a rolling pin or with your hands.

9. Cook the pancake for 2 minutes: Heat a 10-inch heavy skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat, and oil it with a drizzle of canola, vegetable, or peanut oil. When the oil shimmers, pick up the pancake dough and lay it gently in the pan. It should sizzle, but not burn. Cook for 2 minutes on one side.

10. Flip and cook for an additional 2 minutes: Flip the pancake over with a spatula and cook for an additional 2 minutes on the other side, or until golden brown. Repeat steps 9-11 with the rest of the pancake dough coils.

Credit: 
thekitchn.com

The plow, the rain and the rye

Look at the plow go!
Look at the plow go!

Dear Friends,

It never ceases to amaze me how quickly the farm goes from soggy and wet to dry and dusty. After a spring spent watching the rain fall seemingly every day, things turned around in a hurry and all of the sudden we found ourselves moving sprinklers and setting up irrigation again. The farm is looking pretty good these days. We have been joking that now is the time to take lots of pictures. The fields are filling up with bright reds and deep greens. The weeds are, for the most part, under control and so far most of the crops are looking good.

Our harvests are getting larger by the week, heavier and more diverse as we approach late June. We have been eating a lot of salads in our house lately and seeing how Shep likes boc choi and Swiss chard. It turns out he will eat just about anything so long as we hide it in a quesadilla. We have been eagerly watching the broccoli. Waiting for the plants to form large, uniform heads. It’s hard to believe June is already half way over. Despite the blazing heat earlier this week, it feels like we are still in the midst of some endless spring still waiting for summer.

We are in between two major phases on the farm. The summer crops are all planted. The tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, melons, and cantaloupe are all growing nicely. The long season storage crops are also in the field. The winter squash, onions, potatoes, and sweet potatoes are settling in nicely. We continue to seed salad mix, herbs and beans in the field and plant lettuce on a weekly or biweekly basis but there aren’t a lot of large plantings happening right now.

That is not to say we are done planting for the season. Far from it. We are seeding fall brassicas in the greenhouse, kale, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage to be planted from early July to mid August. Crops that will be harvested from the end of summer until the early winter and sometimes even beyond. In addition to the brassicas, we have a tremendous amount of root crops still to go into the field. The parsnips have been seeded and weeded, and we have already put in two rounds of carrots and beets but we have a lot more to do. But while we wait for the right time to plant for fall, this time of year is reserved for getting accustomed to the harvest, killing weeds and getting land prepared for the next round of crops.

We have had to adjust our land preparation strategy this season due to the excessively wet spring. One of the first things we noticed when we moved down here is that none of the big farmers plow. Not plow in the sense that we were used to. Farming in western Massachusetts in rock free river bottom soils, we would use a moldboard plow to plow the fields. A moldboard plow is a really amazing piece of technology. The moldboard plow flips the soil when it plows, bringing nutrient to the top and burying residue and cover crop underneath. The plow is one of the greatest achievements in the history of agriculture.

What we discovered upon arrival to the stone filled glacial moraine soils of southeastern Connecticut is that farmers prefer just to disc harrow. One of the biggest innovations in human history, and the locals are unimpressed. The thought process being that when you plow up the soil, you plow up the rocks. Plows would still be used on occasion when the need was there but for the most part the disc harrow was sufficient. So for the past 5 years we have done what the locals did, and done without plowing.

We were happy to harrow. That was up until 2017 rolled around. In order to understand the problem that the wet spring presented to us, it is necessary to introduce you to our friend, winter rye. Now if you’re familiar with winter rye you may already know all this, but if not, let me explain. We grow more acres of rye every year than we do any vegetable. We don’t grow the rye for bread making or to catch children running towards the cliff of losing their innocence(editor note: Its a Salinger reference, in case you we're wondering, I had to ask Max what he was talking about there.). No, we grow the rye as a cover crop to hold our nutrients and soil in place over the winter. The amazing thing about winter rye, and why we grow so much of it, is that it will germinate as low as 32 degrees, and grow as low as 36 degrees. It will survive even the harshest winters and start growing again in the spring. This is both a blessing and a curse. A blessing since we can seed rye very late into season and a curse because if you don’t harrow the rye early in the spring it can be very hard to kill. Of course, it can always be plowed under, but you need a plow for that.

This spring as the rain fell, we found ourselves staring out at acre upon acre of happy rye. Growing bright green and vigorous on fields that were too wet to walk on let alone harrow. Once the problem presented itself the solution was relatively simple. A few internet searches, trip to our favorite equipment dealer down in Central Pennsylvania, a couple hours stuck in traffic on the Jersey Turnpike. I think 14 hours in the truck total on a sunny Tuesday in May and the following day we were plowing. Participating in a agriculture tradition that dates back to the beginnings of agriculture itself.

Just as an aside, I must say that I was completely amazed and truly in awe of the willingness of some to tailgate a pick-up truck during rush hour, on the Jersey Turnpike, with a piece of heavy agriculture machinery dangling, haphazardly out the back.

Check out the plow in this video.

Your farmers.

Anthony, Chris, Erica, Hannah, Holly, Kelsea, Kerry and Max

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