Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


August 4, 2019

Plastic bags!?!? So convenient and so not good for the world. In light of the changes that went into effect last week, we welcome everyone to reuse bags or use reusable bags in our Salem share room. Not quite the same size as ours? No problem just  hold them up next to each other and estimate how they compare and fill accordingly. We're looking at paper bags in a comparable size to our white bags as a potential option, but the best option is always reuse.

Terra Firma shareholders, we use bags for the lare share to preserve humidity and vegetable quaity since the boxes don't pack tight. Unfortuantly we can not reusue thembut they are nice sturdy bags that can be used for other stuff in the home. I am looking into reusable containers for next year.

This Week's Share

We are on melon watch this week, both to watch for ripe melons and to make sure the crows don't find them before us. We moved the melon planting five miles away from where they were last year and hope the crows in this neighborhood haven't talked to the crows that discovered melons are delicious last year. The crop is looking good just a little late this year. We'll be waiting with bated breath for the first ones to ripen.

Our new herb bed is shaping up in time to make salsa with the ripening tomatoes. We'll have smaller bunches of cilantro at first but it should start to roll in in abundance soon.

Nevermind what I said about a lettuce gap. We have loads of beautiful heads ready to go! Also, the third planting of cukes is looking excellent this year, so we are excited about that!

Recipe of the Week: 

Garlic Marinated white beans with celery and parsley

  • 8 ounces white beans (chickpeas also work well), soaked in water overnight
  • 5 confit garlic cloves
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/2 cup sherry or red wine vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon mustard (whole-grain or Dijon are my favorites)
  • 1 bunch parsley (about 1 1/2 cups), roughly chopped
  • 1 head (8 ounces) celery, cut into thin slices

Confit garlic ingredients:

  • 2 heads garlic
  • 1/2 C. olive oil

To make garlic confit: Peal garlic and poach in oil at very low temperature for 45 minutes. Cool and store in jars in the fridge.

To make salad:
Drain and rinse the soaked beans and boil in fresh water until tender but not falling apart, about 30 minutes.
Roughly chop the confit garlic and combine with the oil, vinegar, salt, and mustard.
Drain the cooked beans and immediately dress with the vinaigrette.
Combine the beans with the parsley and celery just before serving. Taste for salt, vinegar, or olive oil.


Onion dreams

4 years of family pictures with onions
4 years of family pictures with onions

Dear Friends,


Every year there are a few moments that mark large transitions in the season. These pivotal turning points are typically marked by large jobs, things that are one and done. This week was one of the largest, the storage onion harvest. Every year, as soon as we get a dry sunny stretch of weather at the very end July or beginning of August we know it’s time. Picking onions could be described as hard. We usually end up doing it on really hot days to ensure the onions are nice and dry so that doesn’t make it easy. Usually there is a potential impending storm we are worried about so that makes it urgent. We also typically bring in 10-12 thousand pounds of onions. In the greater scheme of onions on global scale, 6 tons isn’t that much, but for us here on our farm, that is quite a bit.


Sometimes I wonder if any of the jobs on the farm are hard. Are there hard jobs, or do they just feel hard because of our own personal weaknesses? After this week’s onion harvest I can pretty confidently say that, yes, there are indeed hard jobs! The onions are an involved process. Step one, we usually have to mow off the weeds, after that we go through and pull them all out of the ground and put them in windrows. After all the onions are windrowed we come through and load them into bulk bins on the back of the tractor. The bins are then loaded on the trucks and trailer and brought back to the farm. If you were picking up your share last Tuesday you may have seen us driving back and forth loaded up with onions. 


I should mention that while this is pretty difficult it is so much easier than the way we used to do it. We used to load the onions into our harvest barrels and than load them onto the truck and trailer by hand. No tractors involved, just good ol’ hard work. I am not sure if I’ve just gotten soft in my old age, but loading them by hand seems absolutely impossible to me and I can’t believe we used to do that. Like seriously ya’ll, I have no idea how we made it work, we even had less employees at the time. 


Once the onions are back at the farm it’s usually the end of the day and we say good night to them. The following day we start the process of bringing  the bins down to the greenhouse and spreading them out on the benches to cure. Onions have to be dried down in order to get them to store well. Once the onions are all spread out on the tables safe and sound, we give each other a high five, enjoy a cold refreshing coconut water and move on to the next task. 


It feels great to have the onion harvest behind us and our crew crushed it as usual. Of course, while all this was happening we also planted another half acre of brassicas, weeded the gold beets and did a whole pile of other things. 


Your farmers,


Bill, Bonnie, Erica, Hannah, Kerry, Larry and Max

Browse newsletter archive