Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family

Shareholders

February 10, 2020

We have arrived at the final share of the winter. We hope we have enriched your winter of local eating and you are feeling healthy and energized. We are very actively preparing for the summer season right now and it is making me excited for spring lettuce (and everything that comes after)!

We are working on a website redesign and I will be in the share in Salem this week looking for any feed back you are willing to give me on our current website. Do you use it? what is helpful? What is a pain? What would you like to see added? We would like to see the website as a useful resource for you all to make the best use of your shares and keep you psyched on vegetables. I will have valentine chocolates for anyone who gives me a few minutes of their time.

This Week's Share

Here we are at the the end of the share. Most everything has held up well in storage and we've made it to the end with greens. 

Valentines day is coming this week and whether you love or hate the day, its a great excuse to cook yourself up a nice meal and treat someone to some fresh baked goodness. And what says love more then fresh bread with veggies hidden inside?

For sweet treats, my all time favorits is chocolate beet cake, the beets give it a slight red hue, make them moist and you really can't tell they are there otherwise. Makes great cupcakes and you can decorate them with beet shavings or use a little beet juice for pink frosting!

If you like carrot cake, try this parsnip cake recipe for a twist. So good, a real New England treat!

There are so many sweet potato options, including pie or brownies or for your valentine breakfast sweet potato muffins.

Squash is also another classic baking vegetable. Another breakfast favorite with squash is these cinnamon rolls. These squash triple chocolate muffins are also a hit.

 

Recipe of the Week: 

Sweet potato rolls

Ingredients: 

 

  • 1 cup (240 ml) room temperature buttermilk or whole milk
  • 4 tablespoons (57 grams) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 whole eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fine salt
  • 4 3/4 cups (600 grams) bread flour
  • 1 medium large sweet potato
  • 1 egg
  • course salt
Directions: 

Roast sweet potato in oven until soft.

Press the flesh through a potato ricer for the best texture. You can also puree in a blender or food processor. Or, mash very well until no lumps are remaining. You should have about 230 grams of sweet potato after removing the skin.
Combine the buttermilk, butter, eggs, honey, yeast, and sweet potato in the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the salt and 2 cups of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon until the dough forms a rough, shaggy mass.
Attach the dough hook to the mixer, turn to medium-low speed, and gradually add in the remaining flour, kneading until a mass of dough begins to forms. Continue kneading on medium-high speed for 4 to 5 minutes until a soft, smooth ball of dough is formed. The dough should feel elastic and slightly tacky to the touch. If the dough is unbearably sticky, add more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
Lightly spray a large clean bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in the bowl. Cover the bowl lightly with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 45 minutes to 1 hour at room temperature or until the dough is big, puffy, and about doubled in size.
Bake the rolls:

Spray a 13×9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Gently deflate the dough. Use a bench scraper, knife, or pizza wheel to divide the dough into 15 equal pieces. Shape each piece into a ball and place in the prepared pan. Beat the egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the rolls all over with the egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt. Lightly cover the dough with plastic wrap and let the rolls rise for 30 minutes, or until about doubled in size.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F.
Bake the rolls for 15 to 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm. Store leftovers in a plastic bag for up to 3 days.

Credit: 
Handle the heat

Out of the frying pan, into fire

Winter is for making friends with the cows.
Winter is for making friends with the cows.

 

Dear Friends,

 

I am not sure it ever really felt like winter, well at least not for very long and not very much. But believe it or not we have reached the final Winter Share distribution of 2020. Where has the time gone? In so many ways I feel like it was just yesterday we were pulling the last parsnips and carrots from the field, filling the coolers and getting ready for the winter. Somehow, in what felt like a blink of an eye the coolers are far emptier than they once were, the squash and sweet potato room is considerably more spacious than it was and instead of being satisfied to have the fields empty our thoughts are now firmly turned towards what they will be filled with for 2020. 

 

There is always a certain level of anxiety implicit in farming. How will this year be? Will things actually grow etc. In a lot of ways operating a CSA brings in an additional level of stress. On one hand we aren’t quite as beholden to the fluctuations of the market and the weather but on the other hand we have committed to you that we will in fact have produce for you. In the summer, we always have the option of planting more. If we notice things are starting to look thin, or if the prospects for a few weeks out look bleak we can seed, seed, seed. If all the eggplant dies for instance, we might not be able to plant more but we can try and seed something quick, like radishes to bridge a gap. Even if the share might not end up being exactly what we wanted it to be, we can pull some different strings to try and ensure that there is plenty of diversity every week when you come and get your share.

 

The winter is a bit different. On one hand, we don’t have the anxiety of how stuff will grow. We have it all, tallied up and counted, stacked in the cooler. On the other hand there is nothing really that we can do to make there be more than there already is. We went to a workshop once on successfully storing winter squash and the farmer giving the talk made the point that nothing is ever going to get better when it’s in storage. I am not talking about things that get sweeter after curing, I am more referring to over all crop quality. Garbage in, garbage out is how he described it. And it’s true. Crops degrade over time. Even under the most optimal of all storage conditions, with varieties, specially bred to be stored. The best we can hope for is that something will be as good when we open the bags in January as it was when it went in in October. Even the spinach and kale don’t really ‘grow’ in the winter. Rather we plant them in the fall with enough time for them to grow to the appropriate size before the cold settles in and the sun goes away. They are cold tolerant and wont die, but they just kind of hang out until the sun comes back. 

 

Fortunately, we have been through all of this before and we have figured out some fairly successful tactics to get the most life out of our fall storage crops. We have faith in our systems and they seem to work well for us. Even still, coming to the end of the CSA season is always an opportunity for us to breathe a bit of a sigh of relief. We made it to the end of another season, we didn’t let down a hundred families, we still have carrots. All good things. 

 

Of course the relief is short lived, as we are currently gearing up for the spring. In a lot of ways that is just jumping straight out of the frying pan and into fire for my anxiety. I have been farming since I was 20, and I have been running my own farm since I was 25. I turn 34 this year and even with all that experience, all those summers full of food, all those memories of fields over flowing with more produce we can harvest I still worry that this season, the one coming up is going to be the one where nothing wants to grow. Meghan Arquin, from Riverland Farm, my former boss and one of my biggest role models used to always say ‘Don’t worry, the plants want to grow’.And its true, the seeds want to germinate, its all they know how to do, the seedlings want to grow, to find the sun and and spread their roots. In a lot of ways that is how I feel about farming. It is all I have known for so long, that in a lot of ways I don’t know if I could do anything else. Fortunately for me it is also the only thing I want to do,

 

Thank you all for being part of our Winter CSA we absolutely could not do any of this without the support we receive from all of you.   We hope you have enjoyed it as much as we have and are looking forward to seeing you in just a few months at the first summer share!

 

Your farmers,

 

Bonnie, Hannah. Kerry and Max

Browse newsletter archive