Provider Farm

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January 30, 2021

This Week's Share

The share will be in the same location as last time. If you are picking out your own items, you will go to our banked barn. If you are picking up a box, you will find them in the green trailer cooler to the left of the summer share room. Don't worry, there will be signs indicating where to go for both options.

In case you missed it last week, if you are picking out your own share, please sign up for a pick up time here.

We are into deep winter which brings us some ultra cold days. I think the greens will be just fine.The spinach just shrugs at these icey temps.The kale will get knocked around but since we've had sunny days, the high tunnel sits in the 50s during the day giving the kale a break from the freeze.

You probably will notice the garlic and onions are wanting to start to sprout and complete their piece de reisistance of their lifetime-reproduction. You may want to hold them in your fridge instead of the counter so the warmth in your house doesn't trigger growth. However, if the onions do sprout, all is not lost. Trim the greens and use them in your cooking ilke scallions. Bonus treat!

We are kinda down to sweet potato dregs. Still edible but small or imperfect. You'll be able to take what you like until they are gone. Cabbage and kohlrabi will continue to be free choice until the end.

I will admit kohlrabi rarely makes its way to my kitchen and I feel like a bit of a hypocrite encouraging others to eat it when I barely do. Its not like I don't like it. Any time I cut one open, i am reminded how sweet and crispy they are. They just fall at the bottom of my winter vegetable hierarchy. So, I made January Kohlrabuary and my new year's challenge was become friends with the kohlrabi.

It is my hope that every one of you will present your loves with a kohlrabi for Valentines day. What doesn't say true love more than a storage kohlrabi. A little scuffed up but enduring the boundless hope and joy of spring, a summer of growth, a reaping of the growth of summer in the fall, and scrapping through the dark winter months with the sunshine reserves built from sunnier months.

Sometimes we joke we should do a 30 day kohlrabi challenge. 1 kohlrabi a day. 30 days, 30 kohlrabi. We think it would make a pretty funny social media series. You know, like kohlrabi in cereal bowls, that sort of thing. I didn't quite go there, but I think I had a pretty successful month.

This first all started when I cut one into small cubes for a fried rice with baked tofu. It was so good. This led me to understand the secret with kohlrabi to me is really how you chop it up. It is well proven that your perception of how something tastes is directly linked to its appearance. A kohlrabi is so big and clunky (and not the prettiest of the vegetables), some good knife skills can take it a long way. You may be tempted to just chop it into some big cubes but it really excels as a small dice or match sticks. I put some diced in a tuna salad and it was amazing!

I started including it in my spinach salads and we really enjoyed it. i also discovered several new chopped salads like this one.I highly reccomend this Indian spiced one to eat with the recipe of the week. Such a great combo!

Now the question does knock around my brain of "why bother"? As we come to a close on our time at Provider Farm and I am well aware that I am writing the second to last recipe section of the newsletter ever, this question pokes at me often.

 

I just finished reading David Chang's memoir "Eat a Peach". I'm not really interested in celebrity chefs or fine dining, but I heard an interview with him and it sounded interesting so I checked it out of the library. I was surprised that so many of his food entrepreneur experiences were relatable to farming. That book combined with the events in January made me think about what my memoir would say, what my reasoning is behind what we do, and does it even matter. Why even bother with a kohlrabi when there are crunchy carrots that we all know and love?

 

We have a loaded, complex relationship with food in America. We have so much and yet so many struggle with food insecurity. We place an importance on thinness as goodness and then are surrounded by gobs of easily accessible calorie rich foods that are engineered for you to want more. We struggle with body image and food is fully loaded with messages of control. It takes effort to eat in a way that serves you. it is a crazy minefield out there.

 

It is my hope and prayer that we can deliver something uncomplicated and without judgement. Vegetables really bring me joy! They are something I can't find much wrong with. There is not much I can say that about these days. I don't care if you eat a conventional carrot or an organic carrot, if you're eating a carrot, cool. No judgement. Even better, when children express joy around vegetables in the share room, my day is made. 

 

If I can help people have some fun with their vegetables and expand horizons, even better. Trying new things is good for your brain, you can make new pathways by having new experiences well into old age. Isn't that incredible? I hope new spices or cooking methods and recipes can bring a spark too your life.  Other cultures have so much to share and learn from. In times like this, when you can't even leave your home, you can expand your horizons right in your kitchen. It is my dream these expanded neural networks may lead to more universal human understanding and compassion.

 

The problem when I go down this road is I am a realist to the core. Kohlrabuary is not going to root out white supremacy in America or solve global climate change and I don't know what will. Buying local isn't going to save us. There is no absolution here. But we still have to eat three times a day, so lets start here. Use the force of the kitchen to present the best face of humanity to the world. Its not much but its a start.

 

Recipe of the Week: 

Black eyed peas in a Goan curry

Ingredients: 

1 cup dried black-eyed peas or two 15-ounce cans, drained
2 tablespoons, canola oil
1 small yellow onion, minced (about 1 cup)
1 teaspoon coriander seeds, finely ground
1/2 teaspoon finely grated garlic (about 1 large clove)
1/2 teaspoon finely grated ginger (about a 1-inch piece)
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne (I always start with the half the suggested cayenne, and then decide if it needs more. Mine didn’t.)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, finely ground

1 teaspoon curry powder

1/4 cup minced tomato (1 small tomato)

2 cups (or 1 cup if using canned peas) hot water

1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste if using canned peas
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1 cup canned coconut milk
2 tablespoons minced cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 cup chopped carrots or whatever winter roots you have on hand

Directions: 

If using dried black-eyed peas, rinse and soak them in enough water to cover for 6 to 8 hours. Drain.

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over medium-low heat and saute the onion until it turns dark brown, about 8 minutes. Add the coriander, garlic, ginger, turmeric, cayenne and cumin, and stir for 2 minutes. Add the tomato and stir over low heat until it disintegrates. Add roots and cook 15 minutes. Add a little water if necessary to prevent burning.

Add the peas and mix well. Pour in the hot water, if using, add the salt and sugar, and bring to a boil. Turn the heat down to low, cover, and simmer until the peas are cooked through, about 20 minutes. If using canned peas, simmer for only 10 minutes (it is essential to simmer the canned peas, too, so that all the flavors blend better). Stir in the coconut milk and simmer uncovered for another 8 to 10 minutes, again allowing the flavors to come together.

Add the cilantro and lemon juice, simmer for 1 minute more, and remove from heat. Serve hot.

Credit: 
adapted from Smitten Kitchen which adapted from Ruta Kahate SF Gate

It's a start

Kohlrabi on a person
Hello. I'm Mrs. Kohlrabi here to talk to you about kohlrabi.

Dear Friends,

 

Winter took it’s time getting here but it sure feels like it’s here now. A bit of snow, and some prolonged freezing temperatures. As I’m writing this we’re watching the forecast and bracing for a sizable snow event on Monday. Every winter is a bit different and it’s always important to remember that things can always change. We’ve gotten off easy so far when it comes to snow but for all we know it will snow a foot every week until the end of March. The snow makes everything take longer and the cold always seems to create problems, dead batteries, frozen water lines, and cold fingers just to name a few.

 

As we enter February we are entering into the home stretch, the last two winter shares and our final month at Provider Farm. It’s the time of year when we usually are putting the finishing touches on the crop plan and placing our seed order. That’s not really happening for us at the moment for a few reasons. For one, the ongoing pandemic has caused a massive upheaval in the seed industry. There has been a flood of new home gardeners placing a huge demand on the seed companies farmers rely on. The seed companies have largely closed their businesses to amateur growers, instead giving priority to commercial growers. This is great but there have still be lots of shortages so we’ve done the best we can to get out seeds ordered early. 

 

The other obvious reason is that Hannah is in charge of the crop plan for Provider Farm for 2021, we really have nothing to do with it. We have a plan to make for our new farm but the process is a bit different and happens on a different timeline. It’s strange to go through a winter and not be doing the normal things at the normal times. I guess so much about the past year has been abnormal so it feels fitting that the winter is also different. 

 

We’re just going to keep on keeping on. Washing vegetables, harvesting greens and getting ready for the next winter share. 

 

Your farmers,

Max and Kerry

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