Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

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December 3, 2018

Welcome to the winter share of 2018-2019!

The first pick ups will be this Friday, Dec. 7. Please take a moment to note subsequent pick up dates on your calendar: 12/21, 1/4, 1/18, 2/1, and 2/15. In the event that we have to reschedule due to bad weather, we will announce it on facebook, on our website and through an email, so please check in if a storm is impending on a pick up day.

Provider Farm pick ups are 2-6 PM at 30 Woodbridge Rd., Salem. We will have the share in our heated area with the big glass doors, just follow the signs to find us! Please park across the street from the farm or behind the barns but do not use the driveway up to the big yellow house (there will be signs). We have bags for your produce but you may want to bring a sturdy bag or box to carry it all in because winter vegetables get heavy. In the event you can not make the Provider Farm pick up, you can text me or call (860)222-5582 or send an email to this address and arrange a time to pick up a share I will pack for you. Please try to do this before the end of the share on Friday.

Terra Firma Farm pick ups will be 3-7 PM at 564 Norwich Westerly Rd. North Stonington, CT in the Terra Firma Farm farm store. This is located at the end of the driveway into the farm.  It is a white building adjoining the cow barn and creamery. Just walk up the porch and open that door. Shares will be packed up in boxes which you may take home or transfer your share into your own bags and leave the box behind for us to reuse. If you can not make it during the pick up time, please text  or call Brianne (text preferred) at(860)861-0724 and let her know to hold your share. You may pick it up any day between 10-7 PM after the delivery day but PLEASE let her know to hold your share for you, otherwise it will be donated at the end of the pick up day.

This Week's Share

Welcome to the wonderful world of winter eating! I love cooking at this time of year and have been whipping up loads of stews and baked goods. I love the warmth a hot oven brings to the house and and the smells of a hot bubbling soup on the stovetop. Its just so cozy! And delicious!

Winter foods lend themselves especially well to a hot oven and soup pot. Allow me to introduce you to some of the more unusual usual suspects you will see through out the winter share. I will highlight one every newsletter so you will get just the basics here. Please note that each listed crop above is a hyperlink. If you click on it, it will lead you to information on how to store the crops and lots of recipes. You can also find the recipes directly on our website. I've been working to cultivate a good collection of recipes for the winter share and am always looking for  more! Please help us increase our collection by submitting a recipe.

Beets! We have gold and red ones. The gold  are a milder flavor and don't turn everything red. They can all be used interchangeably or together.

What is that weird gnarled root reminiscent of  Harry Potter mandrake? Why that is a celeriac of course! These are also called celery root and are a variety of celery raised specifically for that funny looking root. These are famous in French cooking and will bring out the flavors of your winter cooking. They are wonderful peeled and mashed into your mashed potatoes, or used in a soup or stew in place of, or in addition to celery.

We have all sorts of turnippy things. We have purple top turnips, gold ball turnips, and rutabagas. They are fairly similar with subtle difference for each one. Try them and see what you like. The purple top turnip is purple top and white bottom, gold balls are golden with green tops and rutabagas are creamy gold with purple tops.

Other odd balls you might not yet be familiar with are our storage radishes. We have two types: watermelon radishes, which are a white and light green but slice them open, and a bright rose inside and purple daikon, which are a beautiful lavender with pretty sunbursts when sliced. The purple daikons are very mild and sweet, as are the watermelon radishes. They make fantastic additions to winter salads and can also be cooked in stews.

One of our most peculiar winter share treats are the storage kohlrabi. They have lime green skin with nubs where their leaf stems used to emerge but when peeled they have a bright white crispy and sweet flesh reminiscent of apple crossed with broccoli.

Our spinach is still not quite big enough to harvest but we have some beautiful red butterhead lettuce for the first share. This variety is a Hungarian heirloom variety that is grown for it's winter hardiness and it looks georgeous despite the fluctuating weather. The big leaves of these lettuce heads would make excellent wraps for the recipe of the week! Top them with some quick radish pickles.

We have two other red varieties we will be harvesting in December (the red pigment helps protect the plants against freezing temperatures). We should have lettuce until things really freeze over and then will move into our spinach.

Also new this year, we have several types of cooking greens in the high tunnel. A green lacinato, a purple lacinato and our trusty ol curly kale. The lacinatos are not quite as frost hardy as curly kale, but we should have them for at least the month of December. All the kale varieties are ultra tender due to the cold temperatures and are great for salads.

Please note that greens will not be washed  in order to help them store the longest. The best way to wash greens is to put them loose into a big bowl of water, not too packed so that they can swish around. Swish them around then drain and wash again. Then spin them dry if possible. It is best to store them in a sealed bag with a towl as dry as possible or unwashed.

It does feel like a bit of a miracle to have this abundance after a year like this one. Some of the roots may be a little on the smaller side (though this was our biggest potato year ever, they are huge!) so please don't be skittish about taking smaller roots. They taste good still!

Recipe of the Week: 

Vietnamese lettuce wraps

Ingredients: 

Pickled vegetables:

  • 1/2 c. white vinegar
  • 1/4 c.sugar
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  • 2 medium carrots, turnips, or radishes chopped in any combination
  • 1/2 onion, sliced

 

Filling:

  • 1 lb. ground pork, chicken, beef, tofu or chopped summer squash in any combination
  • 1 tbs. minced ginger
  • 1 garlic clove or scape, chopped
  • 2 tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 tbs. mirin
  • 1/4 tsp. ground pepper
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce

 

Assembly:

  • whole lettuce leaves, washed
  • 1/2 cucumber, chopped
  • 1 small jalapeno, chopped
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1/2 cup basil, cilantro and/or mint, chopped
  • 1/4 c. peanuts, chopped
  • lime wedges
Directions: 

In a small bowl, mix vinegar, sugar and salt until blended. Stir in carrots, turnips and/or radishes and onion; let stand at room temperature 30 minutes.
In a large skillet, cook pork or other filling choice, ginger and garlic over medium heat 6-8 minutes or until pork is no longer pink or vegetables are tender, breaking up pork into crumbles; drain. Stir in soy sauce, mirin, salt, pepper and, if desired, fish sauce.
To serve, drain carrot mixture. Place pork mixture in lettuce leaves; top with cucumber, red pepper, green onions, carrot mixture and herbs. Sprinkle with jalapeno and peanuts. Squeeze lime juice over tops. Fold lettuce over filling. Yield: 8 servings.

Credit: 
tasteofhome.com

The winter root miracle

Our high tunnel full of yummy greens for winter eating.
Our high tunnel full of yummy greens for winter eating.

Dear Friends,

 And we’re back! After taking much of November away from the farm, both physically and mentally, with the first Winter Share of the season, we’re officially back in business.

 

The road from our last share distribution of the regular CSA to the first winter share has been a bit of a roller coaster. We had some bitter cold November nights, an early snow, even more rain, and one of the coldest Thanksgivings I can remember.

 

 In early November, we returned from a road trip to Chicago to a very soggy farm and snow in the forecast and hurriedly moved the cows out of a muddy pasture and into the dry barn. Then we prepared for the first snow of the season.  After a chilly Thanksgiving, December was ushered in by temperate days in the high 40’s and low 50’s.

 

 We try to pick and choose our time outside at this time of year. There isn’t nearly as much outdoor work for us to do, so if there’s going to be a warm day we will try and get a ton of stuff done, and then retreat into the office for the rain and cold. It doesn’t always work out that way, but when it does it’s pretty nice.

 

 With the end of 2018 fast approaching and the farm season still fresh in our minds, we are still firmly in recovery mode. We haven’t really started in on any of our major winter tasks. We’ve started to get the first few seed catalogs in the mail. A colorful and tantalizing reminder that we have a new crop plan to build and a new season to plan for.

 

 But honestly, we’re just not there yet. 2018 was pretty rough for us overall, definitely not the best growing season, both for us and for a lot of our farmer friends due to the rains that started in July and still have not stopped.  We're still putting the bows on the end of season putting equipment away and cleaning up odds and ends in the field. That being said, we still have coolers filled with thousands of pounds of root crops and cabbages. And it’s not just the roots we have bins of winter squash and sweet potatoes tucked away in warm storage and onions and garlic chilling in the barn. The tunnels are full of spinach and kale and even some wonderful looking head lettuce due in large part to Kerry’s extra effort.

 

 As excited as we have been to put the 2018 growing season behind us, it is the 2018 growing season that is still feeding us. Every day we’re eating potatoes, carrots and onions we were able to grow and store. It is amazing to me what our farm can produce, good year or bad year. I was impressed by the resilience of our farm this past season and there is no better testament to that in my mind than the crops we have put into storage that will nourish us through the chilly months of winter ahead.

 

Your farmers,

 

Hannah, Holly, Kerry and Max

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