Provider Farm

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June 30, 2018

Just a reminder to Terra Firma Farm shareholders, we will have our pick up on July 4. Just let Brianne know if you need her to hold your box for you if you can not make it.

This Week's Share

Last week started out with the pea crop at near perfection. We got a big pick off of them and were hoping for a couple more. Now I am not so sure that will happen. Its hot and peas do not like hot. The heat kicked them into overdrive and by Monday their pods may be too big, starchy and just not very good. Lets cross our fingers we can get one more week out of them, but no promises.

A crop that IS just absolutly stunning right now is our gold beets. These mild beets are fantastic as you would use other beets with the added bonus of not turning everything red.

We'll have white spring onions this week. These are mild and delicious raw or cooked.

Spring crops are fazing out but the summer ones are really kicking in! Summer squash and cucumbers galore. We will continue to offer extra cucumbers in the share for pickling for $1.50/lb.

Sadly, the deer destroyed an entire head lettuce bed. It was really nice head lettuce but I am trying not to dwell on it. On the upside, we have some beautiful arugula and salad greens. This is the last planting of those greens for a bit because they do not particularly enjoy the hot summer but they will be back in the fall.

Recipe of the Week: 

Cucumber Raita

Ingredients: 
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp.sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. cayenne
  • 1 medium cucumber peeled and grated
  • 1 tbs. oil
  • 1/2 tsp. whole brown mustard seeds
  • 1/4 tsp. whole cumin seeds
Directions: 

Put the yogurt in a bowl and beat lightly with a fork. Add the salt, sugar, and cayenne and mix. Add the cucumber and mix again.
Put the oil in a small frying pan and set over medium high heat. When hot, put in the mustard and cumin seeds. As soon as the mustard seeds begin to pop, just a matter of seconds, pour the contents of the pan over the yogurt. Stir to mix and chill.

Credit: 
World Vegetarian by Madhur Jaffreyd

The mysterious case of the disappearing calf

We call this one "Scoot".
We call this one "Scoot".

Dear Friends,

One thing we can be certain of is nothing makes plants go crazy quite like a rainy day followed by blazing heat. If you want to see spectacular growth, that is the recipe for success. This week I felt like Jack and the Beanstalk after he planted his magic beans. Winter squash went from puny little plants to massive, monsters of vines and leaves. The onions went from little scallion looking sticks, to something that you would actually recognize as onions. The carrots we picked on Friday were twice the size of the ones we picked on Tuesday.

We have been waiting to see the crops really take off and this was the week they did it. We went into the week with two major weeding jobs, both the peppers and sweet potatoes were buried in a forest of weeds. We were able to bust out the peppers Monday and take care of most of the sweet potatoes early in the week. This well timed excavation meant that by the time the rain and than the heat rolled through both of these crops were well poised to take advantage. We don’t always get to things in a timely manner but taking care of the peppers when we did probably saved us a huge headache in the long run. The spring crops may not like the heat, but I’m ready for the summer crops anyway.

Truth be told this was a pretty exhausting week on the farm. Not so much because the work was hard but a lot of things just seemed to fall apart this week. The deer devoured a bed of beautiful head lettuce we were really looking forward to harvesting. Our cooler broke. The main energizer that powers our cow fences bit the dust. On Wednesday while on delivery the van broke down on Kerry. Our new energizer was working fine up until the outlet it is plugged into randomly stopped working. Lots of little problems, all solvable with money and time but problems none the less.

The biggest blow we felt on the farm occurred on Thursday morning. When Kerry went out to move the cows on Wednesday, after the cows had moved to their new pasture, she noticed that Vixen was looking back to the old pasture. This made Kerry realize that Vixen had calved earlier in the day and left her calf behind in the old pasture. A mother cow leaving their baby behind in the excitement of fresh grass isn’t terribly unusual, nor is a cow calving when were not around. Kerry went back to check things out and found a healthy, newly born heifer calf. When the calves are young they don’t really get the idea of moving from pasture to pasture, and without the mom to follow and a long way to go Kerry basically had to pick up this 70 pound animal and drag/carry it to the new pasture.

One sweaty struggle later and mom and baby were reunited. Everything seemed good. The young calf drank, Vixen licked her and seemed attentive. When we woke up in the morning and went to check on them, the calf was gone. Nowhere to be found. Sometimes the calves sleep in the tall grass and we don’t see them right away so we started to walk through the pasture looking for her. When we didn’t find her right away we got a little worried that maybe something had gone wrong and she didn’t make it through the night. We expanded our search and still didn’t find her. We usually take care of the animal chores before the crew arrives in the morning, but on Thursday we had Anthony and Holly help us search. We checked all the pastures, checked the woods, drove down West Road. Checked out rt 82. She was just gone.

We have ‘lost’ calves in the past as in we have had a stillborn calf, one year we had a calf slip though the fence and get hit by a car on the road but we have never lost a calf as in just absolutely been unable to locate it. This feels real bad. Perhaps she got scared off by predators and than taken in the woods? I mean, it’s hard to imagine coyotes successfully getting past our herd of horned cattle (You should have seen the way they would react to our dog when she would try and go in the barn.) but you never know. Maybe someone stole her? She was really cute but that is very hard to imagine. More likely she wandered off to the woods, perhaps she was unwell, but we really just don’t know.  It was concerning and odd that Vixen seamed completely unperturbed. Usually our cows make nonstop sweet little mom noises to their calves and would be frantic if a calve went missing. Weird, right?

You can’t raise livestock if you’re not prepared to deal with loss. It is part of the job and without a doubt the worst part of the job. This isn’t the first time we’ve had to go through this and it won’t be the last but it still hurts. It is one of the reasons I vastly prefer vegetables to animals. Losing crops sucks, but you can mow them and move on. You don’t feel the same sense of failure and guilt that comes with losing an animal. Not knowing what happened makes it feel way worse. We spent the rest of the day on Thursday glancing over to the pasture, hoping we would catch a glimpse of the calf returning on her own. By Friday our hope was basically lost.

Update: Friday night, Kerry went out to move the calves and what does she see but a sweet little calve being fawned over by Vixen. Sweet relief, she's back! Max runs out to get a picture. Saturday day, Kerry goes out to weed whack the fence line and get a better look at this calf. Wait a minute! This is a bull calf! What the!?!? Now we are just perplexed. Was the first calf just a figment of Kerry's imagination? A very long twin labor? No other cows look as though they have calved so we don't think Vixen took a calf from another mom. Will this mystery be solved? Stay tuned!

Your farmers,

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

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