Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


August 8, 2020

We hope everyone is intact after the storm and power is back on for everyone. We just wanted to extend a thank you to everyone again for their flexibility with the storm cancelations and rescheduling. Flexibilty seems to be the theme of this year!

Also a huge thank you and round of applause to our farm crew for busting their butts in windy conditions to get everything buttoned down, coming in for extra hours post storm, and staying late to get the farm under control. Ya'll are the best!

This Week's Share

The link to the NEW sign up form for august/September  is here.

You must sign up for new slots for the month. Sign ups from last month will not carry over.

Please select one slot per week. If you sign up for this week, it will not carry over to the following weeks.

This is only for shareholders picking out the share. Do not sign up for a slot if you are picking up a box.

This August may find me buried in piles of unopened mail, dust bunnies and unfolded laundry, but also in piles or luscious tomatoes, so who can complain? Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes! It is tomato season and there are tons rolling in from the fields now of all shapes, sizes an colors. While the storm really hammered them and knocked most of the trellises down, we were able to stand them all back again and though they are a little banged up, will be just fine. This week the heirloom tomatoes will be coming in. They are all different colors when ripe: yellow, rose, green, purple and a tie dyed yellow, red and green. If you are confused by them, just ask. They do not hold as long as the red hybrids so eat them up first.


You will be getting a good amount of tomatoes with your share.  Generally its best to keep them on your counter if you would like to eat them fresh since the fridge can degrade eating quality. If you are going to cook them, by all means put them in the fridge since it doesn't matter if you are cooking them and it will extend their life. If you are not able to eat them all, tomatoes are really easy to freeze and fantastic for winter cooking. The easiest is to just stick the whole tomato in the freezer. This takes some space, so if you have the time, you can chop the up and put them in bags into the freezer. If you want to get even more complicated, you can make sauce and freeze that. The easiest way to make sauce is to chop them up (removing the stem scar) and then put them all in a pot, skin and seeds and all and cook them down then blend them with your immersion blender. 


There are all sorts of great ways to process tomatoes into delicious treats and I definitely recommend perusing the internet. Check out slow roasting tomatoes too, just oil them and cook them up low and slow for a couple hours for a concentrated tomato flavor.


We will have sauce tomatoes available for $1/share. Bring cash or a check and you can help yourself outside the share room and drop your payment in our cash box. Salem box shareholders can also grab them. Coogan farm shareholders, I can pack you up an order if you tell me how many you would like and you can pick them up with your box.


In other news, the peppers were probably the most affected by the storm. They were all knocked down which is unfortunate because it exposes the peppers to the sun causing sun scald. We have significant crops loss which is sad because it is one of the best pepper crops we have ever seen. I am nursing them along with the only tool I have which is giving them water. Fortunately, there are a lot of peppers out there, so we will still have plenty for the share.


The zucchinis really got knocked around too, but I imagine were all getting a little sick of them, so I am not too concerned about them (it is one of my favs though!) But good news, right next to the zukes, the cukes are back! We should have a good amount so last chance to get your pickling in before downy mildew sweeps in and does them in at some point. Time to make Mediterranean salads which is great news since the summer lettuce is struggling a bit. So much so I am leaning towards no longer growing salad mix in the dead of the summer even though i know everyone loves it. Its production is just too unreliable and we would be better served with heads.


Also great news, the fall plantings of cooking greens are coming on strong. These are always beautiful and you got a taste of the Bare necessities kale last week. This is one of our favorite new varieties, tender for a summer kale, which we have renamed frilly bear. Also the collards are coming on which are a great cooking green, try them sautéed with some onions, garlic, and butter.

Recipe of the Week: 

Zucchini, tomato and rice gratin

  • 1/3 cup uncooked rice, long-grain is suggested but use whatever you prefer, or about 2/3 cup left over cooked rice
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds zucchini (about 3 medium), sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1/2 pound tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • Table salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 medium onion, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves, or whatever herbs you have on hand
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan, divided

Preheat oven to 450°F. Cook the rice according to your favorite method.

While rice cooks, coat two large (or, if you have the same pitifully small oven as I do, three smaller) baking sheets each with a tablespoon of a of olive oil (a bit less for smaller pans). Spread zucchini and tomato slices on the baking sheets in as close to a single layer as you can. Sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Roast tomatoes for 10 minutes and zucchini for 20. Flip zucchini halfway through; it’s not worth the messy effort for the tomatoes. Leave oven on.

Heat large, heavy skillet (such as the one you used to cook your rice) over medium heat. Once hot, add 2 tablespoons olive oil, heat oil, then add onions, garlic and 1/4 teaspoon salt to pan. Cover and reduce heat to low, cooking onion until limp and tender, about 15 to 20 minutes. Stir occasionally.

Combine onion mixture, rice, eggs, thyme, half of your grated cheese and a half-tablespoon of olive oil in a bowl. Add a good amount of freshly ground black pepper. Use the remaining half-tablespoon of olive oil to coat a shallow 2-quart baking dish. Spread half of rice mixture in bottom of dish. Arrange half of roasted zucchini on top. Spread remaining rice mixture over it and please don’t worry about being neat about this; dinner will be “rustic” tonight! Arrange remaining zucchini on top, then tomato slices. Sprinkle with remaining grated cheese and bake until set and golden brown, about 20 minutes. Each oven varies, but I find mine does the very best browning when the dish is on a rack near the top of the oven.

Smitten Kitchen

Things fall apart

planting seedlings
The shadows were long as we caught up on some post storm transplanting late into the evening.

Dear Friends,


Well this week was a doozy. Sometimes things come together in a perfect way and everything just flows and fits together. The stars align and we’re able to totally knock it out of the park and get a lot done. This week wasn’t one of those weeks. The uncertainty of an approaching tropical storm really set the tone for the week. This week wasn’t a total bust but it was just about as close to it as we can get. Nothing catastrophic occurred, but it was more like death by a thousand cuts. Now that it’s all said and done and behind us, we’re still standing. Maybe a bit wind blown and bit weedier than we were before, but we’re still here.


With the storm approaching and predictions of a few inches of rain we decided to take advantage of the nice weather Monday and get our storage onions in. Before we could get to the onions we had to take care of the regular harvest, including the melons. The melons can take a bit of time but it’s usually not too bad. We planned on getting 3-4 600-800 pound bins of water melons on Monday. Pretty early on we realized it was going to be a big melon day. By the time all was said and done, we had filled 9 bins of watermelon and spent the bulk of day doing that. We were lucky enough to have our crew step up majorly and our former crew member and current friend Holly came and helped out. The melons are great but we barely touched the onions. 


Tuesday brought Tornado watches, high winds, falling trees and a cancelled CSA distribution. We have done roughly 375 individual, regular season CSA distributions since starting Provider Farm in 2012 and we have never had to cancel a distribution until this week. We’re glad we cancelled, we had a fairly large tree fall right outside our parking area and in general the world was not really safe to travel in. The storm spared us the rain but the wind took it’s toll. Our tomatoes blew over, our peppers are battered and a lot of zucchini and squash broke in half. 


All in all it’s not as bad as it could have been but we’re a bit the worse the wear for it. Wednesday we spent dealing with the storm aftermath. We postponed our whole sale deliveries to concentrate on cleaning up and getting plants in the ground. We felt like it would be better to give the roads a chance to clear before we tried to deliver. After some hard work and some long hours we were able to get the tomatoes standing back up as well as catch up on our transplanting.


On Thursday we had some massive melon orders to deliver to our local co-ops. We were midway through the loading process when the brake lines went on our van. A bit of rearranging and finding a new delivery vehicle and we were ready to head out. It was at this point we got an email from one of our major accounts that they couldn’t receive deliveries because their power was out. Well after unloading much of a truck we had just loaded we were finally on our way. The onion harvest felt like an after thought.


Friday was nothing unusual. Just a flat tire on one of our farm trucks as we were heading out to harvest. At this point that just felt fitting.


There’s a lot going right on the farm right now and there are a lot of silver linings amidst what was a difficult week in general. Probably my take away from this week was that it shows how resilient we have become. A week like this in 2013 would have felt devastating and so hard and stressful. Don’t get me wrong, I did fully lose it once or twice this week, but by and large things fell apart and we just kept going. 


Your farmers,


Anya, Bonnie, Erica, Hannah, Jordan, Kerry, Larry, Marycia, Max and Tori

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