Provider Farm

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June 29, 2017

Happy 4th! The veggies don't stop for a holiday, so neither will we! We will be open at the usual times on Tuesday this week for our Salem pick up.

We're having a beef sale in honor of the 4th of July. Fire up the grill! Ground beef and beef sausages will be $1 off per lb. this week only.

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

Out with the old, in with the new! The spring broccoli may be petering out, but the cucumbers are starting to roll in. We grow both pickling and slicing types, but really both are fantastic just for eating any old way. July is the time of cucumbers and we should be rich in them for the month. Soak them up and make those pickles now, come August, our cuke crop will probably get taken down by downy mildew so load up the larder over the next few weeks. 

Fresh garlic is in the share this week. Typically garlic is cured, but we chose to keep ours fresh this year due to reasons described below. Its a little less intense then cured garlic, but use it just like regular ol' garlic. I have had some sitting on my counter for weeks and it looks great, so for short term storage that is probably fine. But if you want to keep it around for a while longer, store it in your fridge.

We are on a cabbage roll, and this week our pointy head green cabbage are starting to ripen. These are crisp and sweet and excel in salads and slaws, perfect for a holiday barbecue. Our red cabbages are trailing behind but we hope to see them soon.

The snap peas came in last week and this is one of our favorite, albeit short lived, crops. These peas are a cross between snow peas and shelling peas, so the whole pod is edible. They are fantastic in a stir fry, we are loving them with noodles and peanut sauce.

Recipe of the Week: 

Refrigerator Pickles

Ingredients: 
  • 3 Lb. pickling cukes
  • 5 c. water
  • 1 1/4 c. cider or white vinegar
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1/4 c. salt
  • 2 dill flower heads
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 chili pepper
  • 1 tsp. pickling spice
Directions: 

Bring to a boil water, vinegar, sugar, salt. Let cool. Slice cukes into rounds and put them and the rest of the ingredients in a sterilized jar and pour cooled liquid over them. Put in refrigerator.

Credit: 
Max's former boss's Meghan Arquin's amazing pickles!

Shaking the etch a sketch

Bringing in the garlic

Dear Friends,

Sunny skies, warm nights and we’re cruising towards July. We’re starting to hit our stride on the farm. The crew is used to the rhythm of the week. Tasks flow seamlessly into one another. Every week we start off with a daunting list of things to do, an almost impossibly long list. By Friday, the list has been mostly completed and I’m left wondering what we were worrying about Sunday night. Our crops are coming along nicely. The onions are a beautiful blue green, just starting to form their pungent bulbs. The watermelon and cantaloupe are starting to run their vines into the rows. The tomatoes are looking healthy and robust, supported by their trellis. We are making the transition from spring to summer. We have old crops to mow, and a couple acres worth of plants to get into the ground.

One of the most pivotal moments of the summer on the farm is the garlic harvest, an annual tradition as reliable as any other thing we do. Every fall, the last thing we put into the ground is our garlic, and every summer, a couple weeks after plucking the scapes, we go through and pull the crop out. Garlic has always been an important part of my farming life. The very first farm I ever worked on had an annual Garlic and Arts festival every year. Garlic was the most important crop that farmer grew. I even have a garlic plant tattooed on my left ankle. Of all the crops, garlic is just one of those crops that really seem to matter to us and other farmers. We cook with it just about every meal, its the only crop we save seed for, and it’s the only crop we grow that keeps vampires away.

This year, if I were to describe our garlic in one word, that word would be disappointing. When the garlic started poking it’s head up in the spring we felt like something wasn’t quite right. Maybe it’s just the cold spring we’ve had we thought. As the crop started to grow it was clear things were definitely not quite right. The leaves were deeply streaked with yellow and the plants never looked healthy and vigorous. Pretty early on we started to get the idea that this year’s crop wasn’t going to be great. We were wondering what we had done wrong. We had seem some of the yellow streaking in last year’s crop but not too much, and this year it was much worse. Was it a nutrient issue? An issue with our seed? Some sort of punishment being levied against us for some unknown wrong? It was then in a pest update from the UConn extension’s department of Integrated Pest Management that we saw pictures that looked identical to our pitiful garlic crop with an article about garlic mosaic virus being especially bad this year.

So it wasn’t just us! While that doesn’t do a lot of good for the garlic, it is nice to know that that there is something specific causing our problem. I would much prefer to lose a crop but know the problem so we can figure out how to solve it rather than have a very disappointing crop, but be left in the dark as to the cause. Fortunately for us, we didn’t lose the whole crop. What we decided to do was harvest the garlic early and refrigerate it instead of curing it in the barn. By keeping the garlic fresh, we are hoping to avoid problem that the crop might have drying down. Also, since there is a virus in the crop we won’t be saving the seed, so we don’t need it dried. While the crop is smaller, both in bulb size and also in total yield,  its still delicious as fresh garlic, we don’t have to reserve some for next year's crop, and the effects on the share actually won’t be too drastic.

It’s always a bummer when crops don’t do well. That being said it was nice to get the garlic out, get it home, and harrow the field. I love shaking the etch a sketch no matter what, but I love it the absolute most when I can erase a crop that didn’t do well and we can put it out of mind. Looking at the garlic every day was starting to bum us out, and now we don’t have to any more. Where once we had a disappointing garlic crop growing now we have a nicely harrowed field, some alright garlic in the cooler, and some seed garlic to purchase.

Your farmers,

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

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