Provider Farm

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July 23, 2017

This Week's Share

The summer crops are rolling in! Our eggplants ripened up this past week and these beauties should be around until the fall. We grow both Asian types and Italian types. These Asian types are long and slender and really delicious in sir fries. The Italian types are the big round globes. We grow dark purple, white and purple and white striped varieties. They are all delicious and not bitter at all.

The sure sign of summer, our early tomatoes are just ripening up now. These are seeded way back in March and planted into our high tunnel (an unheated greenhouse) in May. They may have been slowed a little by our cool spring, but their fruit set now is huge! And they are tasty too! We will have these in smaller numbers until the field tomatoes kick in August, and then the tomato flood will begin.

Recipe of the Week: 

Soy-sesame grilled eggplant

Ingredients: 
  • 3 lbs eggplant sliced to 3/8 thick
  • 4 tbs oil

 

  • 2 tbs. dark sesame oil
  • 5 tbs. dark sesame oil
  • 2 tbs. mirin
  • 1 tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 tbs. chili paste
  • 1 tbs. sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 3 scallions, white and green, chopped
  • 2 tbs. sesame oil
Directions: 

Brush eggplant with oil on one side and place oiled side on hot grill. Grill for 5-7 minutes. Brush top and flip over for 5-7 more minutes until eggplant is slightly crusty and soft. Let eggplant cool and cut into bits size pieces. Toss eggplant with marinade ingredients except sesame seeds. Let stand for 30 minutes, sprinkle with sesame seeds and serve.

Credit: 
Serving Up the Harvest by Andrea Chesman

Summer rain

Checking out the winter squash field. So far, so good!
Checking out the winter squash field. So far, so good!

Dear Friends,

And just like that it starts to pour. Not rain from the sky, but vegetables from the field. Eggplants shinning purple and beautiful, the very first tomatoes sitting red and ready on the vine. The peppers aren’t far off. Beneath the canopy of vines the first watermelons and cantaloupe are forming round and beautiful. I love to see the summer crops begin to take form. Kale is great, but it doesn’t really go through a radical transformation. The kale is small, we plant it, it gets bigger, we eat it. Don’t get me wrong, kale is great. I love it.  But there is a special magic in the crops that really change. The ones that flower and fruit, seeming to create something from nothing. Magic. Although I know enough about botany to know that it isn’t magic but rather the diligent hard work of bees pollinating, helping the eggplants, peppers and tomatoes on their journey. The fields are a buzz with bees and other insects, paying visits to white, yellow and purple flowers. We wake in the morning to find the fields quiet. The bees sleeping beneath the heavy layer of dew, by 10am the dew is well on it’s way to burning away and the bees are as busy as ever.

While we spent some time amazed at the bounty growing all around us, there were some fairly pressing matters to take care of as well. The first round of carrots have achieved everything we could ever ask and now were begging to be bulk harvested. Carrots are an absolute favorite of ours for many of reasons. They are sweet, crunchy and delicious, oh and they store amazingly well in a walk in cooler. Their ability to store well is what allows us to do our winter share. It also allows us to plant extra in the spring, when they’re sweet, bulk harvest them into the cooler and distribute them throughout the summer. Carrots grown in the height of the heat tend to be woody, bland and not quite up to our discriminating standards.

Wanting to get the carrots out of the ground before they decided to start producing their own flowers. A process known as ‘bolting’ which leaves the carrots solid as a tree trunk and inedible. We set our sights on the 5,000 row feet of carrots we seeded all the way back on April 9th. To bulk harvest carrots, we first mow the tops and whatever weeds there are. After that we come through with our Undercutter bar to loosen the bed. This is a steel blade on the back of the tractor that goes in the ground and than travels under the carrots, loosening the soil and making them easier to pull. After they are loosened, we go through, tear off any remaining top and put them into buckets. Two 5 gallon buckets go into a grain sack and than the grain sacks are loaded onto a truck or trailer and placed into a cooler.

Some days everything seems to go right, we can almost go on auto pilot as the work flows quick and easy. Other times we have weeks like the one we just had. A weld broke on the under cutter bar(which was quickly and expertly fixed by Jim Cunningham,our neighbor and share holder), we had not one but two pick up trucks go down, and finally a very flat tire on our digging tractor just as we thought we were finally going to get back on track. When all was said and done, we didn’t quite make it through all the beds of carrots, but we did manage to pull in 3,000 pounds of truly beautiful carrots. It’s not quite where we wanted to get to but it’s further than we were at the start of the week.

Your farmers,

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

Focus on a Farmer

Chris Wight is in his second year working here at Provider Farm. He is an ultra farmer, spending most of his mornings up at 4 AM milking the cows at Cato Corner, and spending his free time working here. A crazy hard worker, the fastest pickle picker I know, and all around great guy, he also pitched in this year to do our deliveries when we were in a tight spot "on his day off".

Chris came to us after his year long stay in Guatemela teaching Spanish and cooking. He grew up in the area and returned to help his father run his food truck. He thought he was buying a CSA share but ended up working for us instead. Chris's past lives included working in insurance in Hartford and in the restaurant industry (he ran his own food truck in his teens!)

Chris is also an avid Arsenal fan and plays soccer in an adult league in the evenings (does this guy ever get tired?) He played in college so he is good, like really good. He loves to cook and hike with his dog Jordan. He is hoping to be admitted to nursing school in the fall to become an ER nurse.  If I was in the ER, I would definitely want Chris to be my nurse!

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