Farm News, August 21, 2018

Farm News

We’ve definitely experienced a case of the soggies for about the last 5 weeks.  On Sunday, we took a break from the farm and headed to the Bridgewater Fair, where evidence of excessive rain was everywhere.  Our first activity was to help push a minivan stuck in the mud in the parking lot!  As we headed towards the Ferris wheel, Luca’s favorite ride, we were hit by the smell, a combination of mud, manure, rotting wood chips, and fried dough.  Still, everyone seemed to be having a good time, and it was fun to check out the kiddie rides, eat some empty calories, and see some very interesting fowl.

The flowers are going strong, but mostly at the far end of the patch now. Photo by Rebecca Batchie

I complain a lot about our sandy soil in this writing space, during the frequent dry spells we have experienced here in the last 16 years.  They occur often, and many times last weeks and even months.  During these times our water supplies and human energy are pushed to the limit.  The flip side is that during wet times, our valley land drains like a dream.  We stand on 150 feet of sand, gravel, and cobbles so the water quickly drains from our field, and if we can just get one or two dry days a week we can get the needed planting and cultivating done.  On the ridges in our area, it’s a very different situation.  Long ago, as the glaciers waxed and waned, they ground over the hills in western Connecticut and created an impermeable layer that water can’t penetrate.  So, water drainage is a huge issue for the hill top farms, as the water tends to move sideways rather than down, and it forms puddles, pools, streams, and springs as it pops out the sides of the hills, unable to move downwards.  During these wet times, our excessively drained soils help us keep the veggies coming.

Michael gets close and personal with the potato digger. It’s a good year for spuds on the farm.

The other thing that happens around Fair Time is that our Summer Crew begins to wrap up their work at the farm.  Every season we add a bunch of workers to help us weed, pick cherry tomatoes, bunch carrots, and plant lettuce.  While they could easily find similar wages at dry, air-conditioned stores and restaurants all over town, they choose to work at the farm because they like being outside, the cameraderie of being on a crew, and growing food.  We are very grateful for their energy, determination, and grit, especially in challenging growing seasons like this, when it’s not often pleasant to be outside. So we say thank you to Luna, Olivia, Maggie, Justin, and Adam for work well done!  And last week we said good-bye to our Hannah Snyder Samuelson, who has been an apprentice and grower at the farm for the better part of three seasons. Hannah is heading off to the seminary in NYC, and hopes to combine her interests in spirituality, social work, and growing food into a unique farm somewhere down the road.  We will miss her can-do attitude, positive energy and wish her all the best in her new path.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the veggies,

Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, and the crew

Hannah picking corn. Photo by Paul Bucciaglia

Featured this week:


(General note on potato storage: Stores for at least a month in a dark, dry place at room temperature.  Do not refrigerate spuds!)


Blue gold potatoes:  After hearing about this spud from our friend Megan Haney up at Marble Valley Farm in Kent, we grew a trial patch in 2013.  Pretty blue outside; moist yellow inside, what’s not to like? One of our favorites!

Dark Red Norland potatoes:  a classic waxy spud for summer potato salads … also great baked and smashed or roasted.

Kennebec potatoes:  a great all purpose, white-fleshed spud.  Kennebecs are great mashed, fried, roasted, baked, whatever.

Satina Gold potatoes:  this potato has wonderful yellow flesh, similar to Yukon Gold.  We find them equally yummy, plus unlike Yukon Gold, they don’t drop dead when the first leafhopper bug appears. And folks love ’em for their distinct satiny texture, thus they are aptly named.

Celeriac:  this is a veggie that people take some getting used to, but then become big fans. We are pulling it early because it has not liked the extreme summer weather this year. A cousin of celery, celeriac is grown for its large stem, which should be washed, peeled, and then cubed (or grated fresh-see recipe below).  It can be roasted with other root veggies, or used in soups and stews. Store for many months in the fridge crisper.

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 and peppers, red and tender sweet green cabbage, Ailsa Craig and Red Torpedo onions, red gold potatoes, leeks, last of the cantaloupe and watermelon, and the start of our fresh baby ginger! (…prices will be higher since we are pulling the crop very early….there will be plenty of ginger in the coming months at the lower price.)

Coming Soon:

sweet peppers

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. The last of the Sunflowers are opening.



Fresh Herbs: Italian and curly parsley, thyme, sage, oregano, 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


Adapted from Bon Appetit

 5 medium potatoes (about 1¾ pounds)

Kosher salt

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided

2 leeks, white and pale-green parts only, sliced in half lengthwise, thinly sliced crosswise

2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced

2 cups (packed) shredded cabbage (from about ¼ large head), divided

1¼ cups milk

½ cup heavy cream

Freshly ground black pepper

Cover potatoes with water in a small pot; season with salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, then reduce heat and simmer until a paring knife slides easily through the flesh, 30–40 minutes. Drain, let cool slightly, and peel.

Meanwhile, melt 4 Tbsp. butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks and cook, stirring frequently, until very soft, 8–10 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until garlic is fragrant and leeks are just beginning to brown around the edges, about 3 minutes longer. Add 1 cup cabbage and cook, stirring constantly, until wilted. Add milk and cream and bring to a simmer.

Add potatoes and remaining 1 cup cabbage, then coarsely mash with a potato masher. Season with salt and pepper.

Transfer colcannon to a large serving bowl. Top with remaining 2 Tbsp. butter.


Cabbage, Carrot, [Celeriac] Slaw

By Natalieshealth

For the salad:

1 small green cabbage head, shredded

2 medium carrots, roughly grated

1 medium celeriac, roughly grated

1 cup sweet corn


For the vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Apple cider vinegar, to taste

Himalayan Salt, to taste

0,2 inch (about 5mm) fresh ginger, grated

Few drops lime or lemon juice



Place shredded cabbage, carrots and celeriac in a large salad bowl. Add sweet corn and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the vinaigrette ingredients. Add apple cider vinegar and salt to taste. Whisk until well combined.

Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to combine.

Taste for seasonings and adjust accordingly.

Place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.

Remove from fridge and serve.


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