Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


July 29, 2018


Save Our Melons

The crows found this year's melon crops and have started pecking at them and we were wondering if you could give us a hand keeping them away! This week, make and bring in youe scare crow when you come to pick up a share and we'll display them next to the share room. Next week everyone can vote for the best one. The winner will win a Provider Farm T-shirt and the first ripe melon of the season and be crowned the esteemed title of "Melon King" or "Melon Queen".  Crows are pretty crafty so here are some tips on scaring crows, movement and flashing light (think old CDs hung on string) and things that make noise work best.  Someday, I want to get one of those wiggly used car sales lot guys to put in the field and maybe some scary Halloween animatronics too.

Time is of the essence right now, so our time frame is short. Get em in by Tuesday August 7th at 2 pm when voting wil begin! We can't wait to get an army of scare crows into the field. Immediately adjacent to the melons is our sweet potatoes which the deer have found pretty tasty, so maybe they'll help with that too! Once the melons are done, we will deploy the scare crow army to other fields to hopefully keep the hungry critters at bay.

This Week's Share

The pepper field is looking absolutly splendid and we will start picking them this week. We will start out with our lime green, green, and purple bells as well as jalapenos, seranos, and hungarian hot wax hot peppers. We have lots of differnt colors and varieties to come, including red bells, yellow bells, red long Italian peppers and some super hot ghost and habaneros, but they take a bit longer to ripen. There should be loads of peppers until the frost.

The first of the sungolds are coloring up and we hope to see them starting to trickle into the share either this week or next. These are ultra sweet golden cherry tomatoes and one of our favorites.

The lettuce gap is closing and we should be bringing in some baby heads and salad mix this week.

The tomatoes in the high tunnel are going off and so we have started selling seconds in the share for saucing for $1/lb.

The pickling cukes are starting to slow down and this is the last succession of picklers so get them while you can if you haven't done your pickles yet! They may not be around for much longer.

Recipe of the Week: 

Chana Masala

  • 3 Tbsp oil, butter or ghee
  • 1 medium white or yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp ground cumin
  • 3/4 tsp sea salt (divided // plus more to taste)
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced (6 cloves yield ~3 Tbsp)
  • 2 Tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2-3 fresh green chilies, sliced with seeds (I used serrano peppers)
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • 3-4 cups finely diced tomatoes¬†
  • 2 15-ounce cans chickpeas, slightly drained
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2-3 tsp sugar
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice (plus more to taste)



Heat a large pot over medium heat. Once hot, add oil, onion, cumin, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
Add garlic, ginger, cilantro, and green chilies to a mortar and pestle and grind into a rough paste (or use a small food processor to pulse into a paste. Alternatively, just finely mince.) Then, add to the pan with the onions.
Next add ground coriander, garam masala, chili powder, and turmeric and stir to coat. Add a little more oil at this point if the pan is looking dry.
Next add tomatoes and 1/2 tsp. salt and cook until tomatoes start to turn into sauce. Add chickpeas and water if needed to keep it the consistency of a semi-thick soup.
Increase heat to medium high until it reaches a rolling simmer, then reduce heat to low or medium-low and maintain a simmer (uncovered) for 15-20 minutes, or until thick and stew-like. Stir occasionally.
Remove from heat and add lemon juice. Stir to mix, then let cool slightly before serving. Fresh cilantro and lemon juice make an excellent garnish.

Minimalist Baker

Wrestling a wet orangutang

Lots of tomatoes coming in from the high tunnel and so many more to come from the field!
Lots of tomatoes coming in from the high tunnel and so many more to come from the field!

Dear Friends,

There are some weeks when it feels like if we put our minds to it and really push ourselves, we can accomplish great things. This past week it felt like it took everything we had and than a little more just to avoid disaster. We were a bit apprehensive to begin with looking out at the forecast. Lots of rain, lots of humidity. No real sense of when it was going to rain and when it wasn’t. I appreciate the lack of devastating storms, but hot humid days with a chance of rain the entire time isn’t exactly what we like to see. Especially at the end of July, when we’re hoping to get our onions to dry. There’s not much we can do about the weather so complaining about it doesn’t do a lot of good. But it is fairly telling when the best thing you can say about the weather, or really the week for that matter was “at least it wasn’t worse”.

I don’t mean to sound all doom and gloom, or imply that things are bad on the farm. In fact, there is a lot we have going on that is absolutely stellar and worthy of writing a newsletter of in their own right. The high tunnel tomatoes are really taking off, the melon plants and winter squash plants are as healthy as we have ever seen them and the first of the fall brassica planting is settled in and taking off.  However, when you go through a week that just feels like repeatedly getting hit in the face with a hammer I believe that is also worth mentioning. Actually I feel like that isn’t an accurate depiction, it didn’t feel like getting hit in the face as much as it felt like wrestling a greased up orangutan, or some other very strong and very slippery animal. It was hard enough at the start and just exhausting to go though, with our only real hope to avoid absolute disaster.

We did our best and actually got a lot done despite the weather. We planted another half an acre of broccoli and cauliflower and we got the green cabbage in. Parsnip leaves have an oil that make skin really susceptible to burning from the sun and if you weed them on a sunny day, you can end up with severe blisters like a very bad sunburn. So we took advantage of the overcast skies and weeded them. We made it through the first fall beets and started weeding the fall carrots. We brought in a nice harvest of tomatoes out of the high tunnel and finally got around to harrowing in the rest of the spring crops. We didn’t make a ton of progress forward but we didn’t get pushed too far off course either. All in all, we’re in pretty good shape going into this week, when hopefully we will have some drier weather and be able to get our storage onions out of the field and into a our nice and dry greenhouse to cure.

While we waited for drier weather to return, one less than welcome guest did return this week. Those pesky crows are back at it in our melon field. Last year was the first year we had a crow problem and unfortunately it looks like it’s going to be a regular thing for us. Crows are smart. So smart they learn how to peck through the hard melon rinds and eat the sweet melon on the inside. Fortunately we discovered their activity when the damage was still localized to just one section of our early watermelon patch. We covered a solid chunk of the field with row cover and we will attempt to cover the rest early this coming week. We’re not too happy to share the melons with the crows, but their activity does mean that we’re getting close to harvesting watermelons and that is something we can get excited about.


Your farmers,

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

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