Provider Farm

From our fields, for your family


September 12, 2020

As the tomatoes go by and days get shorter people start wondering "when does the share end?" The last pick ups of summer share for Salem are Nov. 10 and Nov. 13. The last pick up for the Coogan Farm share is Nov. 7.


This Week's Share

The link to the NEW sign up form for 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.

Salem Boxed Share notes: 

Regular and Large shares will receive lettuce. Large shares will receive kale.

Regular shares will also receive lettuce.

Yeeeeessssss!!! Fall has arrived all over the share room and we love it. Fleeces, squash, pants, cool air...We're tired but it does renew our spring in our step. I love this time of year when we still have a touch of summer in the share but fall is in abundance.

The garlic is clipped, sorted and ready for you! We have a really nice crop this year. Maybe the nicest we have ever grown. Who knows why, we almost had no crop as we lost a 5 acre field last fall where we had planned to plant the garlic. By luck we were behind on everything and hadn't planted when we received the news. We were able to put it somewhere else which required some work and additional time so by the time we got it in, it was cold and we were planting into ice. However, the garlic didn't mind at all. The short of it, we have lots of great garlic to saute all you fall greens in, so hurray for that!

This is the week we start topping our Brussels sprouts which is great news for all of us becuase the tops are one of the best cooking greens. No, seriously, they really are. They are tender and tasty and I look forward to this time of year every year. Saute them up with that garlic.

The salad greens are back and in abundance. Arugula, tot soi, lettuce mix. They are high quality and mild. We should have lots for many weeks, hopefully to the end of the share.

Here comes the acorn squashes. These guys bake up great in the oven, just halve them and scoop out the seeds, flip them over and bake them on a cookie sheet at 400 until tender.

We have a massive planting of fall gold beets. They are really nice and since we are out of carrots for now, they will take their space in the share. They are a little milder then their red cousins and don't turn everything red. 

Last but not least, we have some beautiful red onions. These are mild and great raw or cooked. 

Recipe of the Week: 

Roasted Beet Salad

  • 8 medium-size beets, tops removed and scrubbed
  • ½ cup balsamic vinegar
  • ½ cup good olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, such as Grey Poupon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 ounces salad greens (arugula, mizuna, mustard, lettuce, tot soi, mixed however you like)
  • ¹/³ cup almonds or walnuts
  • 4 ounces soft goat cheese, crumbled

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Wrap the beets individually in aluminum foil and place them on a sheet pan. Roast them for 50 minutes to 1 hour, depending on their size, until a small sharp knife inserted in the middle indicates that they are tender. Unwrap each beet and set aside for 10 minutes, until cool enough to handle. Peel the beets with a small, sharp knife over a piece of parchment paper to prevent staining your cutting board.

Meanwhile, whisk together the vinegar, olive oil, mustard, 2 teaspoons salt, and 1 teaspoon pepper and set aside. While the beets are still warm, cut each one in half and then each half into 4 to 6 wedges and place them in a large mixing bowl. As you’re cutting the beets, toss them with half of the vinaigrette (warm beets absorb more vinaigrette), 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Taste for seasonings.

Place the greens in a separate bowl and toss it with enough vinaigrette to moisten. Put the greens on a serving platter and then arrange the beets, almonds, and goat cheese on top. Drizzle with additional vinaigrette, if desired, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and serve warm or at room temperature.

modified from

Worth the wait

A truckload of sweet potatoes.
I can't hear you, I have a sweet potato in my ear.

Dear Friends,


I’m not sure I can remember a week that saw heavier dew and thicker fog in the mornings than this past week. Our rain pants and rubber boots barely had time to dry between soaking morning harvests. The broccoli and kale are particularly good at getting us completely soaked every time we have to harvest them. It’s one of the sure signs of the coming Autumn and the season changing. The humidity and barometric pressure felt like they were all over the place this week. I feel like when two seasons rub against each other it creates this kind of friction that can leave us feeling agitated at best. We’re excited to see the humidity start to wane a bit. I love the crisp feeling of fall and I’m ready for it.


This week we were busy with some very fallish activities. We spent the majority of our time this week digging sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are a unique crop and they pose some unique challenges. They are far more delicate than potatoes and can not handle the same level of mechanical disturbance during harvest. Their vines are also rather thick, strong and vigorous. Making things more difficult, the sweet potatoes need to be harvest shortly after the vines are mowed. The potatoes actually cure in the ground after their vines die back and their skins get a bit tougher and more rugged. This makes harvesting them far easier.


The sweet potato vines are like ropes made of steel. Getting them out fo the way so we can harvest is the first problem we need to solve in order to get the sweets safely out of the ground. To accomplish this, first we mow with our flail mower as low as possible. Flail mowers are particularly amazing machines, instead of a blade that spins horizontally, flail mowers have a shaft that rotates with small blades attached to short lengths of chain, creating little flails. The spinning flails completely obliterate any green material they touch. The flail mower does most of the work, transforming vigorous vines into dust. 


After we mow we come through with discs and shanks mounted to a tool bar, These discs cut any vines remaining and the shanks rip a track for the under cutter to go. Once the beds are ripped we will start to dig the sweets. We use the same under cutter that we use to harvest parsnips and carrots. This bar digs into the ground and travels below the crop, loosening the soil and making it possible to pull the sweets from the ground. Once the beds are under cut we come through and pull the sweets and fill crate after crate with them.


The full crates of sweet potatoes are brought back to the farm where they are sprayed off and then brought into the green house. In the green house we cover the pallets of sweet potatoes with a tarp and even water the floor to do everything we can to increase humidity. We try and keep the heat and humidity as high as possible for the next four weeks. This will cause the sweet potatoes to convert their starch to sugar as well as toughening up the skin. After 4 weeks we will have deliciously sweet, perfectly cured sweet potatoes ready to be eaten or stored as long as we want.


Sweet potatoes are one of my favorite things to grow and eat. They’re a lot of work, and they take a long time to cure but they’re worth the wait. 


Your farmers,

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

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