Farm News, August 14, 2018

Farm News


Looks like another hot and humid week is upon us.  It’s been hard to string two dry days together to get the fields dry enough for planting and cultivating, and on Saturday we found ourselves parking the tractor powered transplanter, and getting on our hand and knees in the rain to get the week’s lettuce and salad mix planted.  This kind of weather is hard on most of the crops we grow, resulting in some smaller lettuce heads (that still taste great!) and less than pretty zucchini.  Our tomato crop has stayed dry in our high tunnel and continues to pump out lots of tasty heirloom and beefsteak fruit.  We’ve also had a good melon harvest and should have them for most of this week.  Organic melons are really hard to grow in the northeast!  It takes a lot of love and sweat to grow a sweet one.

Dana proudly wields one of the first leeks of the season. Photo by Lauren Henderson

And speaking of organic produce, it’s important to remember to ask any farmer at a farm stand or farmers’ market if they grew what they are selling, and if so, how they grew it.   There are a lot of confusing terms being thrown around these days, like “IPM”, or “Sustainable”.  Many growers who use such terms apply synthetic pesticides and herbicides to their crops.  We think it’s important to root these materials out of our food and out of our environment, and if you think it’s important too, then ask pointed questions like “did you grow everything you are selling,” “do you spray synthetic pesticides,” and “is your produce organic?”.  We think there is room in the marketplace for all types of growers, but we think there should be a clear distinction between what is organically grown, what is conventionally grown using synthetic pesticides, and with no tolerance for displaying produce purchased off the farm for resale that is not clearly labeled as such.

The fall brassicas are shaping up nicely. I already have my eye on the Brussels sprouts (far right) … Photo by Sarah Henry

When I think back about the past few weeks, I can think of two super-important groups of folks to thank. The first is our crew, who are showing up each day and putting in hard hours under very difficult conditions. The second group of people I would like to thank is all of you who come to the farm or visit us at a farmers’ market, dodging deluges and ignoring the muggy weather.  We couldn’t do this without the extra effort you make to come out to get our organic, locally grown produce.  We want you to know that barring hurricane warnings, we’ll be there under our tent or in the barn, putting out the best veggies and fruit we can grow.  So, thanks to all of you who read this newsletter and encourage us during difficult stretches of weather such as the one we are experiencing!

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul, Rebecca, Elliott, and the Fort Hill Farm crew

Asclepias in its full glory. Now we just await the monarch caterpillars, which in addition to Milk Weed, also dine on this ornamental cousin. Photo by Sarah Henry

Featured this week:

Edamame:  Fresh Edamame is not something you see everyday, that’s for sure, and we look forward to this ephemeral summer harvest. Strip the pods from the stems and steam for five minutes, then salt, squeeze the beans from the pods into your mouth, and enjoy (or see the two recipes below). Store in the fridge for up to a week.



Leeks: a tasty member of the onion family that adds a unique onion-esque but not quite onion-y flavor. A harbinger of fall to come, harvested in time for summer grilling and chilling (or see recipe below). Store in the fridge for up to three weeks.


Also available:

sweet corn, arugula, salad mix, tatsoi, pea shoots, sunflower sprouts, microgreens, head lettuce, garlic, chioggia, gold, and red beets, carrots, rainbow chard, radicchio, fresh herbs, zephyr summer squash, slicing cucumbers, curly green and lacinato kale, heirloom, beefsteak, & plum tomatoes, sungold and red cherry tomatoes, trickles of eggplant, red and tender sweet green cabbage, Ailsa Craig and Red Torpedo onions, red gold potatoes, red watermelon …

Coming Soon:

sweet peppers, celeriac

Pick Your Own: 

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes! Everyone’s favorite PYO crop is ripe for the picking … look for the wooden sign to designate picking rows and pluck the ripest, sweetest orange cherries.

Flowers – pick up a Flower Ring in the barn for bunch size. Get the last few varieties of Sunflowers while they last!

BEANS:  The last planting of wax and green beans are in; we’re planting less in an attempt to thwart the Mexican bean beetle.

Fresh Herbs: Italian and curly parsley, thyme, sage, oregano, chives and cilantro (dill returning soon). Feel free to mix and match for your bunch. Some herbs are available in the barn, others are available for PYO only. Pick up an Herb Ring in the barn for bunch size. Please pick only the herbs with signs directly in front of them, as some young herbs are still growing! …

… and NEW for 2018: CSA members may pick 1 small PYO bunch of herbs (mixed or not) each week for FREE! One bunch per share. PYO only. Please see samples in the barn for bunch size.

PYO begins 30 before and goes 30 minutes beyond barn hours.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie. For more recipes, check out the Fort Hill Farm Recipe Database


Roast Leeks and Soya Beans (Edamame) with Buffalo Mozzarella

By Yotam Ottolenghi

6 leeks, trimmed and cut into 4cm pieces

2½ tbsp olive oil

Flaked sea salt and black pepper

1 ¼ cup frozen shelled soya beans (or fresh!)

1 Tablespoon basil leaves, torn

¾ Tablespoon mint leaves, torn

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon, plus 1½ tsp lemon juice, to serve

1 oz. parmesan, finely shaved with a peeler

½ cup buffalo mozzarella, roughly torn into 3cm pieces

Heat the oven to 425F. Lay the leeks in an 8” by 13” ovenproof dish, pour over two tablespoons of oil and season with a teaspoon of salt and a good grind of pepper. Roast for 20 minutes, until the leeks are soft and caramelized.

Meanwhile, bring a small saucepan of water to a boil, blanch the soya beans for two minutes, then drain. Stir the beans through the cooked leeks, then add the basil, mint, lemon zest and parmesan, and toss gently. Randomly scatter over the pieces of mozzarella, and serve straight from the roasting dish or transfer to a platter. Either way, just before serving, drizzle with a teaspoon and a half of oil, the lemon juice and a quarter-teaspoon of salt.

Roasted Corn and Basil Stuffed Tomatoes

From a pinchofyum

6-10 tomatoes (I used 6 medium/smallish ones)

1/2 cup cooked brown rice

1/2 cup fresh sweet corn (canned works, but fresh is better)

1 clove garlic, minced

a handful of fresh basil ribbons

salt and pepper to taste

grated cheese (I used Gouda)

Wash and dry the corn. Place corn in a sturdy non-stick or cast iron skillet over medium high heat with no oil or butter. Let sit for 3-4 minutes and stir. Repeat until corn gets nice and brown on the outside. Remove from heat and set aside.

Cut the tops of the tomatoes off and carefully scoop out the flesh, reserving the flesh in a separate bowl. Set whole tomatoes aside. Crush the tomato flesh with the back of a spoon or in a food processor until there are no large chunks. Don’t totally puree it – just chop/mash it up.

Combine the mashed tomato mixture, brown rice, basil, corn and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Add a small handful of the shredded cheese, reserving some for topping. Stir it all together until well mixed.

Preheat broiler. Stuff the whole tomatoes with the tomato, rice, and corn mixture until rounded on the top. Top with shredded cheese. Broil for 3-5 minutes or until cheese reaches desired meltiness and tomatoes are heated through.

Blistered Edamame

From garlicandzest

1 16 ounce package frozen edamame in pods, thawed (or fresh!)

2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons tamari or soy sauce

3 cloves of garlic minced

1 inch sized knob fresh ginger peeled and grated

1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

1/2 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds optional

lime wedge, optional


Before starting this recipe, have everything prepped. It comes together in a flash!

In a small bowl combine tamari or soy sauce, garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes.

Turn on your stove’s exhaust fan.

Place a large skillet over high heat – and let the pan get very hot.

Add sesame oil to the pan.

Carefully add the edamame (it can splatter) and don’t stir — allow it to sear and blister about 1-2 minutes.

Add tamari mixture and toss to combine and continue to cook until sauce coats the edamame – no more than 2-3 minutes.

Transfer edamame to a serving bowl.  Optional: squeeze a wedge of lime over the edamame.  Sprinkle with toasted sesame seeds and serve.

Leave a Reply