Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


October 13, 2019

We always welcome your renewals. I will be opening share sales to the general public so please let your friends know. Winter shares are still available. If you have lost your foms, I have put them on our website so you can grab one there.

Terra Firma Shareholders, I have not sent renewal forms to you since I currently don't have a pick up location but I will let you know once I have arranged something. if you would like to sign up for a winter share at our Salem location, there are forms on our website.

This Week's Share

Rutabagas! These cream colored roots with magenta tops have a mild sweet flavor. Chop up and cook them any way (sometimes I just crunch on them raw). 

Parsnips look like white carrots and are kinda starchy with an almost floral flavor. Treat em like any winter root, they really shine when roasted. Pair them with the rutabagas and all these other fall roots for a tasty root roast!

Yahoo, the butternuts are cured up and ready to eat.This squash is pretty well known and great for all doing all things squash or just halve them, remove their seeds and roast them in the oven until soft at 450.  If you don't use them up for your dinner, they are also excellent for baking breads mufins,pancakes and pies with.

Our salad greens have grown up a bit and are stilll great for salad, but also will hold up to light cooking too. The tot soi and mizuna are great lighly sauteed. Arugula lovers may love an arugula risotto.

Terra Firma Shareholders, I will have a couple other things in your box but I'm not sure what yet!

Recipe of the Week: 

Triple Chocolate Winter Squash Muffins

  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 c. whole-wheat flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. good-quality cocoa powder
  • 3/4 brown sugar
  • 3/4 dark chocolate chips
  • 3/4 milk chocolate chips
  • 3/4 c. buttermilk
  • 1/4  c. melted butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 c. cooked pureed winter squash (butternut or hubbard)
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

Grease muffin tins or line with paper liners. Heat over to 400 F.
Combine flours, baking soda, cocoa, brown sugar, 1/2 c each of chocolate chips.
In a separate bowl, whisk together buttermilk, oil, egg, squash and vanilla. Add ingredients to wet and mix just until combined.
Scoop into muffin pan wells and sprinkle muffin tops with remaining chocolate chips.
Bake 14-16 minutes until muffins are springy to touch. and toothpick comes out of them clean.

By Christine Burns Rudalavige published in Edibile Pioneer Valley

Its a long road to a parsnip

A nor'easter can't stop us. The harvesting must go on!
A nor'easter can't stop us. The harvesting must go on!

Dear Friends,


Uncertain skies and a whole lot of wind. We didn’t get hammered with as much rain as it seemed like we might. There was a bit of sun, here and there but by and large it was a bit hard to figure out exactly what was happening this week. Monday was the only guarantee for no rain so we hit the ground running, getting back into the carrot harvest. Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday were all a hodge podge of rain and wind and clouds and then no rain but still clouds. It wasn’t exactly the glorious fall weather we dream about but we were still able to make the most of it, finishing off the first round of storage carrot harvest.


With the first round of carrots behind us, we are moving on to a new crop. There is no root crop that encapsulates fall for me more than the mighty parsnip. Parsnips are an interesting crop for us. They spend a long long time in the ground. Not only do they take a long time to mature but they also take a really long time to germinate, almost 3 weeks! That’s right, from the time we seed them until they first poke out of the ground is roughly 21 days. That is so long. Plus they need around 120 days to reach maturity. Wow. Talk about slow and steady. Oh and they also need fairly cold temperatures pre harvest to really bring the best of their flavor out. 


We used to seed parsnips the first week of June, this would mean they would germinate just before July and be ready around the end of October. While all that timing makes sense, we learned the hard way that if you get poor germination on your June seeding you’re out of luck. It’s too late to reseed. In order to compensate for this we started seeding parsnips the first week of May. This allows us a second shot if we get poor germination, it also guarantees the parsnips have ample time to size up before it gets too cold. The down side is that they are in the ground for another month. That is one month more of weeds, and weeding at a time when we don’t really have much time to spare.


Typically, the parsnips are seeded, we flame the bed, they germinate, we cultivate and weed. After that the little parsnips look lovely and we turn our attention else where. Seemingly overnight the parsnips are then overtaken with a jungle of weeds and some time in July we have to come through with clippers and machetes and excavate the parsnips from 7 foot tall pig weed and lambs quarters. Well this year, with the addition of our fancy finger weeders, that didn’t happen. The finger weeders were able to do a good enough job of getting the weeds in the row that we actually only had to weed them once and they stayed weeded! Amazing!


This is especially good news because in addition to being slow to germinate and grow, the parsnips leaves can cause a horrible rash. Yes that’s right. Parsnips cause parsnip burn by causing your skin to be very susceptible to sunburn. In fact, all members of the carrot family can cause this (I once got a nasty case from Queen Anne’s Lace). Aptly named I supposed. Rub some parsnip foliage on your skin and then go out in the sun and you will proceed to get the worst sunburn/rash of your entire life. It is truly awful. Well this year we were able to avoid the dreaded parsnip burn by taking care of their weeding with our tractor. In the fall prior to harvest we just mow the foliage and besides it’s not really sunny enough to do damage anyway.


So with all that in mind, we are excited to get into parsnip digging this week. They might not be as fun to snack on as carrots but they are fun and unusual none the less. 


Your farmers,


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

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