Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


January 15, 2019

This Week's Share

Deep winter is upon us. The holidays have passed, its back to work, and cold and plenty dark out there. I'll admit there are times at this time of year it feels a little hard to get jazzed about a pile of roots in the kitchen. I may have even bought a pepper or too at the grocery store (which my toddler somehow managed to eat half of even before getting to the check out, I think that is a parenting win?) 


Perhaps you feel this way too? Fortunately, I picked up a can of butter beans which I always have my mind on and it got me thinking about soup and away I went to the internet to find a good minestrone recipe. It was delicious and really got me out of the rut, so here it is for you as the recipe of the week. Couple it with a chopped salad of carrots, radishes and crunchy cabbage, and I'd consider it a deep winter win! How do you get inspired to cook? 


The lettuce is done but fear not! There is tons of beautiful baby spinach in the greenhouse. It doesn't love the hard freezes at nights, but perks back after a day of sun. Its extra sweet at this time of year, really the best spinach there is and is great for salads.

Recipe of the Week: 

Minestrone soup

  • 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium ribs celery, chopped
  • ¼ cup tomato paste
  • 2 cups chopped seasonal vegetables (potatoes and roots, yellow squash, zucchini, butternut squash, green beans or peas all work)
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 large can (28 ounces) diced tomatoes, with their liquid (or 2 small 15-ounce cans)
  • 4 cups (32 ounces) vegetable broth
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup whole grain orecchiette, elbow or small shell pasta
  • 1 can (15 ounces) Great Northern beans or cannellini beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 ½ cups cooked beans
  • 2 cups baby spinach, chopped kale or chopped collard greens
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for garnishing (optional)

Warm 3 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the chopped onion, carrot, celery, tomato paste and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables have softened and the onions are turning translucent, about 7 to 10 minutes.

Add the seasonal vegetables, garlic, oregano and thyme. Cook until fragrant while stirring frequently, about 2 minutes.

Pour in the diced tomatoes and their juices, broth and water. Add the salt, bay leaves and red pepper flakes. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper.
Raise heat to medium-high and bring the mixture to a boil, then partially cover the pot with the lid, leaving about a 1” gap for steam to escape. Reduce heat as necessary to maintain a gentle simmer.

Cook for 15 minutes, then remove the lid and add the pasta, beans and greens. Continue simmering, uncovered, for 20 minutes or until the the pasta is cooked al dente and the greens are tender.

Remove the pot from the heat, then remove the bay leaves. Stir in the lemon juice and remaining tablespoon of olive oil. Taste and season with more salt (I usually add about ¼ teaspoon more) and pepper until the flavors really sing. Garnish bowls of soup with grated Parmesan, if you’d like.


Deep winter

Spinach is looking good and ready to harvest!
Spinach is looking good and ready to harvest!

Dear Friends,


Brrrrrrr. It finally feels like winter these days. Bright and cold days and frigid nights. We might now be all blanketed in snow and all idyllic New England winter but it is certainly winter none the less. When the thermometer dips like this, we’re more concerned about keeping the storage areas from freezing than we are about keeping them cold enough. The ‘coolers’ each get a thermostat controlled space heater and a watchful eye from Kerry and myself. 


While we rely on electric heaters to keep the roots and squash safe in the winter, the sun provides the kale and spinach with all the warmth they need. Well I suppose the sun needs help form the high tunnel and greenhouse to keep the spinach and kale from biting the dust. It is amazing how much protection a relatively thin layer of clear plastic offers our crops. Even when the nights dip into the teens and below a few hours with the sun shining, even if the outside temperature is still below freezing is all the kale and spinach need to perk right back up.


 The ground is frozen, the farm might be quiet but inside we’re as busy as ever. Well almost ever. The crop plan is coming along, Kerry is busy getting our books in order and Hannah has been compiling last year’s crop records, doing delivery and in general taking care of just about every thing else. 


It’s hard to believe that the winter share is already half way over and we’re only 9 weeks away from the first day of spring but it will be here before we know it!


Your farmers,


Hannah, Kerry and Max

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