Provider Farm

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September 3, 2017

This Week's Share

Brrr! Its cold outside! I feel like I've been saying it for some time now, but this weather doesn't bode well for those summer crops. It may be the nail in the coffin for the summer squash and cukes, but the tomatoes should hold on for a little bit longer. No worries though because the cold weather brings on the crops that require turning on the oven and getting cozy in the kitchen.

The first of the winter squash makes it's appearance this week. Spaghetti squash! This light yellow squash has a stringy mild spaghetti like flesh when baked. Just split it in half, scoop out the seeds and bake it until tender at 450. Then scrape the insides out with a fork. Top with a quick tomato sauce or ratatouille.

Also new to the share is our purple potatoes. These are a smaller potato and these tasty little nuggets are perfect for roasting whole in the oven or making into lavender mashed potatoes.

I just have to mention that one of our most stellar crops this year is probably one of our most under appreciated. The parsley is just off the chain, completely beautiful and amazing this year. They are big bushes that completely blanket their beds and some of the stems are as big a small celery. Its really quite amazing and beautiful. So for all you parsley lovers out there, this is your year! In honor of our beautiful parsley, I chose the recipe of the week.

Recipe of the Week: 

Classic falafel

Ingredients: 
  • 1 1/2 cups (300 g) dry chickpeas
  • 1/2 cup (30 g) chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) chopped white onion
  • 7 cloves garlic (~21 g)
  • 2 Tbsp (12 g) gluten-free oat flour or wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1 Tbsp (7 g) ground cumin
  • Pinch ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • optional: Pinch cayenne pepper
  • Grape seed (or other high smoke point) oil for pan frying
Directions: 

Rinse (uncooked) chickpeas in a fine mesh strainer and add to a large pot. Cover with 2 inches water and bring to a boil over high heat. Boil for 1 minute. Then cover, remove from heat, and let set for 1 hour. Then drain and lightly rinse and dry thoroughly (method from the Kitchn).
In the meantime, add parsley, onion, and garlic to a food processor. Mix until well processed. Set aside.
Once the chickpeas are slightly cooled and dried, add to the food processor, along with gluten -free oat flour, salt, cumin, cardamom, coriander, and cayenne (optional). Mix to combine thoroughly, scraping down sides as needed. This may take up to 4-5 minutes to fully incorporate all of the spices and herbs. You're looking for a near paste with only very small bits of chickpeas and herbs.
Sample a small bit and adjust spices/salt/herbs as needed. Then cover and set in the refrigerator for 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld and the texture to become more firm.
Once cooled, remove from refrigerator and scoop out 1 1/2 Tbsp amounts (using this scoop or a Tablespoon) and gently form into small discs using your hands. If the falafel isn't sticking together the mixture may need to be blended more thoroughly, or dusted with a bit more oat flour if too wet.
Once your falafels are formed (~24 total), heat a large metal or cast-iron skillet over medium/ medium-high heat. Once hot, add enough oil to create a thin layer on the bottom of the pan and wait 1-2 minutes for the oil to heat up. Then place only as many falafel as will fit comfortably in the pan and cook 2-3 minutes on each side. Once the bottom side is browned, flip gently as they can be fragile. Continue until all falafel are cooked. Adjust heat as needed if they're browning too quickly, or aren't cooking quickly enough.
These falafel are delicious on their own with hummus, garlic dill sauce or tahini sauce. I also love garnishing them with chili garlic sauce for heat. Serve over greens, in pita, or enjoy as is!
To freeze, pan fry falafel and let cool. Then add to a freezer safe container and freeze up to 1 month. Reheat in a 375 degree F (190 C) oven until warmed through.

Credit: 
minimalistbaker.com

When good enough is perfect

This kid was way more into the dirt then the spuds.
This kid was way more into the dirt then the spuds.

Dear Friends,

I can’t ever remember a season where fall came in so fast. I guess it shouldn’t be too surprising the way things have gone this season but I can’t help but be a bit caught off guard. It feels like just yesterday we were waiting to see the first blush of red in the tomatoes and now the crop is winding down. We are up to our necks in really beautiful broccoli, with Brussels sprouts and cauliflower around the corner. We are watching winter squash ripen and their vines die back right before our very eyes. Even the sweet potatoes are sizing up nicely beneath their canopy of robust looking vines. The summer is fading faster and faster. It is black as night when we wake up in the morning and it is only going to get darker. School busses are back on the road, cover crop is in the ground, and our storage coolers are starting to fill.

We spent our week kneeling on the ground, hands in the dirt, digging for potatoes. Getting into the potatoes in earnest is always a good feeling. We are moving into the big crops. The heavy crops. The crops that we plant once, harvest once, and enjoy all year long. Potatoes are amazing. They are delicious, versatile and a quintessential staple crop. Potatoes represent unlimited potential. Are you going to bake them? boil them? mash them? fries? hash browns? soup? or something else entirely? The possibilities are virtually endless. We tend to like making oven fries, but we’re not opposed to changing things up every now and again.

While we may love the potato, the potato doesn’t exactly love us. By that, I mean we’re not very good at growing them. We aren’t terrible, our yields are adequate and they are certainly tasty, we will have a nice crop this year but we could do so much better. We have tried many different things and some have worked better than others but ultimately our results are still only adequate. We’ve never had that knock your socks off amazing potato crop. One of the things that makes potatoes hard for us is the fact that they are a one and done crop. We have grown 6 plantings of potatoes here at Provider Farm in our 6 years. In contrast we have grown over 25 plantings of carrots, 66 plantings of lettuce and 30 plantings of kale in the same time period. That affords us more opportunity to tweak and try things, to adjust and improve. When you add in the fact that each year is different, and even the fields are different, it can get a bit frustrating trying to improve. You think you have everything figured out and this is going to be the year, but than just like before things go just okay.

All in all, I shouldn’t really complain too much. Our mantra on the farm is good enough is perfect. With that perspective okay is actually  pretty great. It is certainly a lot better than terrible but still I can’t help wanting that one amazing potato crop. I suppose there is always next year.


Your farmers,

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

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