Provider Farm

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July 16, 2017

Cukes cukes and more cukes! Time to make pickles! We have extra cucumbers available for $1.25/lb at Salem pick ups. We probably will have them for a few weeks but don't wait until August. Organic cukes probably won't survive August.

This Week's Share

One of our favorite crops is ready this week! Onions! Our white onions are sweet and juicy as can be. Sweet enough for big slices on sandwiches but also fantastic roasted in the oven or grill, these are a focal point of every summer meal for us. They are not cured (dried down) so they should be stored in your fridge.

We are getting into the second planting of kale which means extra tender leaves.

We were excited to see the very first trickle of eggplants at the end of last week, so pretty soon we should start to see the flowing into the share.

Recipe of the Week: 

Zucchini cheese squares

Ingredients: 
  • 3 c. grated zucchini
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbs. baking powder
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 2 c. grated cheddar
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. canola oil
  • 3 beaten eggs
Directions: 

Combine the zucchini and salt and set in colander to drain for 30 minutes. Squeeze out excess water.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a 7 x 11 inch bakin dish.
Stir together the flour and baking powder. Add the onion, zucchini, cheese, thyme and peper. Mix well with a fork to break up any clumps of zucchini. Whisk together the oil and eggs in a small bowl. Pour into the zucchini mixture and mix well.
Bake for 35 minutes until golden.
Let cool for 5 minutes and cut into squares.

Credit: 
Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

Onions and alchemy

Jupiter the calf. When calves are first born, they lay down really low in the pasture so the only way to know they are there is by their mom's behavior.
Jupiter the calf. When calves are first born, they lay down really low in the pasture so the only way to know they are there is by their mom's behavior.

Dear Friends,

An exceptionally humid, warm and soggy week has left us sweating, soaked and in search of dry clothing. We had 6 straight days with a 40-60% chance of severe storms, with high temps and high humidity. Fortunately for the farm, the bulk of the storms seem to have missed us. This weather is very conducive for all sorts of growth. Plant growth to be sure, but also fungal and bacterial growth. The extended leaf wetness and the warm temperatures turn the entire farm into one big petri dish. So far we haven’t seen any of the really scary plant diseases on the farm, but we have our eyes peeled. We have been spraying some of our crops with an extra strength hydrogen peroxide formulated for agricultural use. It works the same way that putting hydrogen peroxide on a cut would. It kills bacteria that it comes in contact with and hopefully will help ensure that our crops remain healthy.

We have passed the solstice and we are deep into the summer. The days are in fact getting shorter but you can barely tell. Everywhere we look there is magic on the farm. Plants transforming before our very eyes. The onions, which began their life as tiny misshapen black seeds all the way back in March, have finally turned the corner. I should say before I get to far into it, that onions are my favorite crop. I love them. There is nothing that makes me happier than thousands of pounds of onions. We grow a ton of them, almost a whole acre, and I would grow more if we could. I love them.

The onions are the first thing that we seed every spring. In the cold dark of March they are seeded, often when the ground is still covered in snow. They germinate slowly, thin spindly green fingers emerge from the trays. They aren’t the first crop to be planted but they go in early. This year it was bitterly cold when we planted them. We use our tractor and transplanter to put them in and while that makes it faster and easier it still takes at least a day or two. This year we actually had to stop in the middle of planting for a coffee break to warm our fingers up because I was so cold. After planting, there comes a lot of waiting and watching.

This season our onions were knocked back by an early onion maggot infestation. These flies land in onion fields, lay their eggs in the soil and when the eggs hatch the maggots burrow into the onions and eat to their hearts content. It’s gross. We lost probably 20% of our crop to these little villains. To rectify the situation we actually purchased thousands of live, half dry onion plants from a farm in Texas. We plugged in the onions from Texas and hoped for the best. After that there is a lot more watching and waiting and a lot of cultivation to keep the weeds down.

And then, seemingly out of nowhere, there are onions. Not the plant, but the crop. Last week there were robust but skinny onion plants. This week there are beautiful, pungent bulbs. It really feels like magic. Like someone just flicked a switch and turned the onions on. We will start with fresh, sweet white onions. These are one of the best varieties of anything we grow on the farm. They are delicious and beautiful. They don’t cure like other onions so we pick them and distribute them fresh. The storage onions will continue to size up until eventually their skins scale over. At that point we will wait for a hot and dry week and than harvest them in bins and lay them out on tables in the greenhouse to dry. Once cured the storage onions can store all the way until next season.

Speaking of magical transformations, and things that are here now that were’t before, we have two new baby calves on the farm! In the middle of the night on Wednesday night Vixen (the shaggy, tan, Scottish highlander with the wide horns) gave birth to her first calf. A light tan boy we have named Birch! Vixen did wonderfully and by the time we noticed there was a new calf, Virch was up and running around. Not to be outdone, Juno also calved on Saturday afternoon, which Kerry discovered when she noticed Juno mooing and decided to search the grass beyond the fence for a calf. While I may get a little bit more excited about nice onions than a new calf, Virch and Jupiter are certainly cuter!

Your farmers,

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

 

Focus on a farmer will continue next week since Chris is up but only here in the beginning of the week so we didn't get a chance to interview him!

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