Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

Shareholders

November 1, 2019

Here we are at the last week of the share, I can hardly believe another growing year has passed. Running a farm is not unlike parenthood, the days are long but the years are short! 

There is still plenty of time to sign up for a winter share or send in your renewals.

Terra Firma shareholders, we have exciting news for you!

We are thrilled to announce our new Mystic winter share pick up location!

Coogan Farm of the Denison Pequotsepos Nature Center has graciously agreed to host our winter share! We couldn't be more excited to be partnering with this organization. They have beautiful facilities, cool events and miles of trails for walking.

Share pick ups will be on Saturdays 11-4, hopefully the weekend day will make pick ups easier for everyone! You can read more information about it and get your sign up forms here.

With regards to a summer share pick up, we will see how the winter share goes there and then decide. We are confident we will have a location for next summer and will let you know as soon as it is firm.

We are also happy to announce..

The Provider Farm annual Thanksgiving Store!

Saturday, November 23, 10-1

We'll have all the vegetables you will need for your holiday table. Roots of all types (carrots, beets, potatoes, sweet potatoes, turnips, rutabagas, celeriac, and watermelon radishes), greens galore (lettuce and cooking greens!), cabbage, onions, leeks, garlic and lots of squash for your pies.

Our Thanksgiving store is open to all so invite your friends and family. Current shareholders receive 10% off vegetable purchases.

Coming in December...our annual Christmas Store!

Grassfed Beef Sale

Our ground is all sold out, but we will continue to have all other cuts and steak boxes until they are gone!

I have also added another special with a smaller price point..the grassfed beef grab bag! A sampler of steaks and a roast a $75 value for $60.

Also we have a super duper special on organs both kidney and liver for $1/lb.

This Week's Share

So much fall goodness in the last share. The Brussels are back and with a touch of frost, they should be sweetened up a bit now. Did you catch the NPR story on Brussels sprouts recently. If you didn't, here is the link. it turns out the sprouts of your childhood actually weren't very good!

 

Escarole is a very traditional Italian green. It looks like a big green lettuce and has a bitterness but I think it makes one of the finest fall salads. Combine the ribs with roasted walnuts (put them on a cookie sheet in the oven, keep your eye on them so they don't burn), sliced pears and blue cheese with a vinaigrette, its so good!  Escarole is also cooked, commonly in Italian cooking with white beans, or put it in your soups.

 

All the greens are now frost touched, which sweetens them as the leaves turn their starches to sugars.If you haven't enjoyed kale in the past, you may want to try the frosted version and give it another chance.

 

Have you tried the white sweet potatoes yet. These are so tasty and sweet, a little drier then the orange. They are super tasty!

 

We also will have our purple winter radishes. These beauties have lavender sunbursts when sliced and are sweet and mild.

Recipe of the Week: 

Escarole and sweet potato soup

Ingredients: 
  • 1 Parmigiano Reggiano rind
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 2  sweet potatoes, chopped
  • sea salt to taste
  • pepper to taste
  • 8 cups chicken broth, low-sodium or vegetable broth if preferrred
  • 4 cups escarole, chopped
  • 1 can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 pound Italian sausage (optional)
Directions: 

Drizzle olive oil in pot. Add sweet potatoes and cook until the start to brown and soften. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. Add broth and Parmesan rind.
Bring to a boil and cook on low until potatoes start to soften. Add beans. If using sausage, add cooked sausage. Add escarole. Cook until escarole is cooked through and flavors meld. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Remove rind. Serve with toasted bread on top and a sprinkle of Parmesan if desired.

Credit: 
Kerry

And so it goes

Greens for the winter share are looking beautiful!
Greens for the winter share are looking beautiful!

Dear Friends,

 

And so it goes, another CSA season has come and gone. It’s hard to believe it’s been 23 weeks. It feels like just yesterday we were trying to figure out if there was going to be enough food for the CSA to open on time, if the heads of lettuce were going to be ready, how the kale was coming along, if the salad mix would size up.

 

Every year has its ups and downs, it’s own unique challenges and it’s various highs and lows. I have heard it said that in order to succeed in this business you need to have a thick skin and short memory (and I would add, a sense of humor). In my experience, I have certainly found that to be true, and while a younger Max might have put more emphasis on the thick skin, I think at this point if I had to choose I would probably settle for the short memory. Now when I say short memory I am really referring to what we call the ‘selective farmer’s memory’. That is our ability to only ever remember the good while basically totally blocking out the bad. 

 

When I think back on the season I think “yeah 2019, good year. Great sweet potatoes, excellent carrots”. When I scroll back through our instagram feed and check out the season in pictures and posts I am reminded of the fact that it basically rained all spring. With a bit of a reminder I am able to recall that yes, the spring was in fact very tough. There was that windy night we received a call that our beet row cover had blown into the road. Better then a call about the cows, but still not great to round up giant sheets of row cover shredding in sixty mile per hour winds. But, it makes a pretty good story after the fact, and in the end, that was a great beet crop!

 

We often had rainy stretches lasting for 3-4 days at a time with brief brief periods of sun. Often with the sunny days occurring on Saturday and Sunday. In order to take advantage of this and still see Shepard I spent many of my Sundays early in the season waking up at 4am in order to get some land prep done and still see my family. Not the worst thing in the world by any means, but not really what I would consider to be ideal. Yet I had basically blocked out all the memories of that. I remember the rose but never the thorns. 

 

This is necessary skill to have in order to keep going year after year, though it does offer the potential for us to make the same mistakes year after year. We do our best to keep good notes, take pictures and try and leave ourselves as many reminders as possible. Oftentimes the things that make a year particularly hard are outside of our control. There’s not much I can do to prevent a wet spring, or an early frost. It’s the things like that, those circumstances beyond our control, that it is really just best to forget. Hail, droughts, too much rain, wind, cutworms, wire worms, beach traffic, all sorts of things, it’s honestly just better for us to forget as soon as they go away and then be shocked when they reemerge the following year.

 

2019 was really all in all a really great year for us. Our farm crew was absolutely fantastic, the crops by and large have been wonderful, we certainly did our best job ever of keeping the weeds under control. I am always a bit amazed at how much food we can grow in a relatively small area. While our acreage is certainly nothing to sneeze at, neither is it massive. Yet week after week, and season after season, our farm is able to produce a ton of food. Even after 8 seasons, even with my selective farmer’s memory there is still a part of me that can remember that nervous anxiety of our first season. Wondering if Kerry and I could grow food at all. If we could grow food here. And if we did manage to grow food, would anyone want it?

 

 It has been a thrilling journey for us, and one that we could not do on our own. It is more than just Kerry and I that work day in and day out to ensure the CSA baskets are full each week. Bill, Bonnie, Erica, Hannah and Marcia have put a ton of themselves into the farm this season and we are so thankful for them. We have been so lucky to have such a wonderful crew of hard working individuals. As always Larry, Kerry’s father, has played a huge role in our success. Working tirelessly to get the electric tractor done before he went to Europe for a vacation is just one of the absolutely crucial tasks he preformed on the farm for us this season. He makes sure our oils get changed and our coolers stay cool and in general just makes our lives easier. Let’s also not forget Aaron, Kerry’s brother, who works behind the scenes maintaining our website.

 

And of course, there would be no Provider Farm CSA without our share holders. Kerry and I both love what we do and love living and farming in Salem. There is no way we would be able to do what we do without the continue support we get from all of you. Thank you for another great year!

 

Your Farmers,

 

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

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