Provider Farm

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July 30, 2017

This Week's Share

Wow, this cold week really knocked back our fruiting crops, slowing down all ripening, but this week things should start up again.

New this week are our delicious Sungold cherry tomatoes! These are sweet as can be, fabulous for snacking. Great for salads if you don't eat them up first!

Our red onions are looking fabulous, and we will be having them in the share this week. They are fresh like our white ones, so keep them in your fridge.

Its color swap week! We have red onions so we are going to have white beets! What? White beets? Yep, its a thing! They look a bit like a turnip but I assure you they are every bit a beet. Use them as you would regular old beets or try them in the recipe of the week!

Recipe of the Week: 

Beet Burgers

Ingredients: 
  • 2 cups grated beets
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • ½ cup grated onions
  • 1 cup cooked rice
  • 1 cup toasted sunflower seeds
  • ½ cup toasted sesame seeds
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • ¼ cup oil
  • minced fresh/dried garlic, cayenne, & fresh/dried parsley to taste
Directions: 

Toast sunflower and sesame seeds in dry skillet or hot oven several minutes, tossing often. Mix ingredients, form into patties, and bake at 350 degrees. Unless patties are very large, it should not be necessary to turn them. Makes 6-8 burgers.

Credit: 
Farmer Karen at Brookfield Farm

A feast for crows

Max is sad because the crows ate our melons.
Max is sad because the crows ate our melons.

Dear Friends,

Is it fall? Is the summer over? It’s not but it sure felt like that this past week. Monday was a chilly and damp harvest adventure more reminiscent of October than July. Tuesday was less damp but chilly and cloudy none the less. I think our farm crew enjoyed the break from the heat but I can’t say the same for our sun loving summer crops. The squash, eggplant and tomatoes were all basically stopped in their tracks. The harvest yields dropping down into the basement as the plants waited for the warmth. It looks like things are warming back up and getting back to normal so hopefully the crops will get back to producing.

As we approach the beginning of August we are officially on melon watch. Melon watch refers to the period of time between when the melons size up and when they actually ripen. Tomatoes are obvious. They turn red. Watermelons, however, are a little bit more subtle. They stay the same color, but rather we look to see if the tendril across from the melon has died back. We will also hold the melon in our open palm and tap it like a drum, testing for resonance. As we started making our first quick walks through the melons looking for signs of ripeness we were made aware of wholly different, and much less welcome sight. In melon after melon we saw roughly hewn golf ball sized holes, all the way through the rind into the melon. Some looked freshly made, others were clearly old, bubbling with rain and attracting bees. Our horror was intense, the culprit unequivocal. Crow damage.

After 5 years, the crows that live in the trees surrounding our fields have finally figured out that the watermelons are watermelons. Crows won’t just automatically go for melons. When I worked at Riverland Farm we never had a problem with crows, at Brookfield farm, where Kerry worked, the crows were a consistent nuance. What has to happen, is one clever bird makes the first couple pecks and eventually strikes gold. Once one crow figures it out, they seem to waste no time teaching the rest of their crow friends the good news. Very clever. Crows are smart, they can solve simple puzzles, they are not easily deterred. We considered getting a propane powered sound cannon. We considered getting a regular cannon, complete with cannon balls. We didn’t think the neighbors would care much for either. Killing crows feels wrong and seems like the surest way to find yourself under some sort of curse. So we had to come up with some other options.

Giving up the melons is not an option, killing crows is not an option, a sonic sound cannon is not an option. What to do? We elected to solve this problem the way they used to do it at Brookfield Farm. We took the giant sheets of row cover and laid them across the entire melon field. 32,000 square feet, roughly three quarters of an acre, all under row cover. I am not looking forward to taking the cover off and putting it back on twice a week but we will do whatever it takes to get melons. So now with the melons under cover we have our fingers crossed, hoping that this works, biding our time time to they ripen.

Your farmers,

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

Focus on a Farmer

Erica Santa Lucia has been working for us for several years, pitching in as things start to pick up in May and taking us all the way until we pull the last of the winter storage crops out of the field. This year however, she has earned the esteemed title of "Chief Baby Wrangler" too. She has lots of experience nannying for families so we were thrilled she agreed to help with Shepard too. We really lucked out! He absolutely adores her, we know and trust her and she spends afternoons in the fields.  Now that Max's mom Rhona is here and getting all her Shepard time in, Erica is boosting the crew to full on megacrew mode bringing her multiple years of experience weeding and harvesting here at Provider Farm.

Erica came to farming with us after working in retail and was ready for a change and excited to be working outside in the fresh air. She is tough as nails, steady, and can power through the hottest days. She has a daughter and is currently enjoying Game of Thrones. A fun fact about Erica we learned while interviewing her is she is a zumba enthusiast and attends several classes a week. We are hoping she will show us some of her sweet moves soon!

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