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February 12, 2018

This Week's Share

Here we are already on the last winter share of the season. I can hardly believe it, this one has really whooshed right by me. You may notice the onions are starting to sprout. Onions are biennials and they are fixing for their piece de resistance-making seeds! They are totally fine to eat if they are growing little roots and greens and are firm. I like to take the ones that are really starting to grow and bring them in and trim and use the greens like I would scallions. They are delicious and they will keep regenerating greens for a bit.

I kinda get a kick out of growing something on my counter too. As a kid, I liked to try planting all the things in our pantry and one of my favs is to take a sweet potato and suspend it in a glass of water with toothpicks like you do an avocado pit and grow out the vines. It should work great with ours since they aren't treated with any anti-sprouting chemicals. Fun fact, you can then break off the vines to make sweet potato slips, which can then be planted to make more sweet potatoes! Wow, aren't plants the coolest?

Anyway, I got a little distracted there, back to the winter share.  I've been focusing all winter on the savory side of winter vegetables but winter veggies also make great sweet dishes. Ran out of things to do with butternuts? Try them for breakfast in this Roasted butternut squash oatmeal recipe submitted by shareholder Carolyn Pryor. Or, turn them into these Triple chocolate muffins for your sweetie for valentines day. Oh and on a side note, carve some watermelon radishes hearts for your sweetie's salad. Any one can buy some chalky heart candies, but a watermelon radish heart garnish, I guarentee it'll sweep 'em off their feet.

But back to the baked goods.Sweet potatoes, carrots and even parsnips excel in baked goods. Check out the recipe of the week for a not to sweet breakfast treat.

 

Recipe of the Week: 

Sweet Potato Morning Glory Muffin

Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats + additional for topping
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
  • 2 cups shredded sweet potato (from about 1 large sweet potato)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut + additional for topping
  • 1/2 cup raisins
Directions: 

Preheat the oven to 350F. Grease a standard size muffin tin with oil and set aside.
Whisk the flour, oats, baking powder, spices and salt together in a medium size bowl.
In a large bowl beat together the eggs, applesauce, honey, vanilla and coconut oil. Gently stir in the flour mixture until evenly incorporated. Fold in the sweet potato, shredded coconut and raisins.
Divide the batter between the prepared muffin cups and sprinkle with additional oats and coconut. Bake in the oven until the tops are lightly browned and a toothpick inserted in the center of a muffin comes out clean. About 30-35 minutes. Let the muffins cool in the pan for about 15 minutes before using a butter knife to gently loosen them out onto a wire rack to continue cooling.

Credit: 
dishingupthedirt.com

The end is just the beginning

Winter is for spending time with this almost two year old!
Winter is for spending time with this almost two year old!

Dear Friends,
 
Well here we are. The final winter share and the middle of February. March will be here before we know it and all that comes with it. Days spent in the greenhouse starting seeds and the official start of the 2018 season. While we all love the spring, we are aren’t quite ready to say good bye to winter just yet. We may not love the snow and the ice and we might miss tomatoes and peppers, but we do really cherish the down time that the winter affords us. Just as you can’t have the light without the dark, the farm is in a constant state of change and all good things must come to an end. The change from winter to spring is a special time on the farm. One full of nerves and anxiety. It doesn’t help that we don’t ever know when it will happen. It could be 60 degrees on March 1st or it could snow all the way up to April. Or both. Or neither. Farming is always a fairly uncertain endeavor and at no time more so than in the late days of February and the early days of March.


Last week I wrote about the nitty gritty data filled details of crop planning. Well fortunately that stage is behind us. We created our rough plan and some basic maps without too much trouble and were able to move on to the fun part. Picking the varieties of what to grow. This is when we get to dive into all those bright, glossy, alluring seed catalogs we’ve been stock pilling all winter. Every winter we go through and evaluate all the varieties of everything we grow. This isn’t always the most scientific of activities. Often times relying on scribbled notes, gut feelings and vague recollections. That’s ok with us though. For the most part our varieties don’t change too much from year to year.


If we find something we like we stick with it. For example, we’ve been growing Bolero as our storage carrot variety for as long as I can remember. Even before we started farming here at Provider Farm, the farms we worked on grew Bolero. If we couldn’t get Bolero we would be devastated. So when it comes to storage carrots we go with what we know. But that isn’t the whole story. There is always something new to try, always something to tweak and change. We might not be switching up our storage carrot variety this year but we have decided to add purple, red and yellow carrots to our spring and fall successions. Will these work? we don’t really know. If they do, great, if not we’re not betting the farm on them but we’re excited to see how they do.


For other crops we might have noticed less than stellar results. Maybe a red cabbage that didn’t head up, or a tomato variety that didn’t taste good. When we have areas that need improvement we search through the catalogs looking for better options. Sometimes there will be a clear alternative, other times we will trial 4 or 5 different types to see if something works. Last year we grew three types of red beets, this year we are just growing the one that worked really well. As organic farmers, we rely heavily on quality seeds for our success. We need the best varieties we can find to get the most out of our fields. It’s important not to dream too big when we pick varieties. We want to be realistic and really focus on what is going to succeed for us and what we need. Sure the purple cauliflower looks great, but we’ve tried it a few times and it just doesn’t do well for us. As fun as it is to flip through the pages of the seed catalog and dream of stellar crops, it’s important to keep our feet on the ground and our eyes on the prize.


The varieties are chosen, the seed order should go out this week and we are so very close to the start of the new season. Thank you as always for being a part of our winter share, we can’t wait to see you in the spring!

Your farmers,
Hannah, Kerry and Max

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