Farm News, September 11, 2018

Farm News

Last week we powered through what we hope is our last heat wave of the season.  We capped off a very hot summer with temperatures which put one in a “is this just about over yet?” kind of mood.  But the harvest must go on!  The crew tried to get into the high tunnel early to pick tomatoes in order to avoid the worst of the heat, and we got up extra early so we could start cutting lettuce and bunching greens before the mid-day heat could stress them out. We stocked up on potatoes and loaded them into a cool-but-not-cold cooler so we could pull them out in the afternoon for a good washing.  Ginger harvest is going strong, and while cleaning up the roots is a time consuming job, at least it’s done in the shade and accompanied by a fine spray of cool water, and ends in pretty pink, green, and white fresh ginger.

Renata and Carly clip away at the garlic in Greenhouse 1. Photo by Paul Bucciaglia

On Thursday evening a front from the north appeared and brought summer to a screeching halt, at least temporarily.  In the course of a few hours we went from having our T-shirts soaked with sweat to having them soaked with a cold rain.  We had a short cloudy but dry spell on Saturday, and then looked ahead to a string of rainy days to start this week, topped with a threat of hurricane remnants by week’s end.  Fearing being out of the field for nearly a week, we turned Sunday into a work day and dug 1,200 lbs. of carrots, tilled the final beds for spinach and arugula sowings, and sowed an oat, pea, and clover cover crop on 2 acres of former corn, onion, and greens patches.

Renata is justly proud of the flower harvest.

On Monday, more rain arrived … rain we don’t need now (but would have loved to have seen in May).  So, we headed to the greenhouses to make a dent in two big harvest projects, one happy, and one not.  Our storage onion crop fared poorly this year’s wet July and is a loss. We removed the onions to the compost pile, and need to do some planning on how to get a better crop next year.  On the brighter side, our garlic came through in good shape, with just some minor cosmetic blemishes.  We’ve nearly clipped down all 24,000 bulbs and will continue sorting and cleaning the crop on rainy days. We look forward to some dry weather so we can get back in the field, as lots of big harvest projects await!  Next dry day we will clip and windrow the butternut squash. Then we still have a quarter acre each of sweet potatoes and Irish potatoes to dig, along with the winter carrot, beet, and parsnip harvests.  Still lots of great veggies to come, and we thank you for braving the sometimes inclement weather to visit us at the farm or farmers’ market!

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

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

Sarah does it again … capturing the magic where sun and greenhouse meet.

Featured this week:

Carnival Squash: This kaleidoscopic Acorn variety is both a thing of beauty and a most practical vegetable. As for all winter squash, prepare by cutting in half, scooping out the seeds, oiling the cut edges, and putting face down in a baking pan with a quarter inch of water in it (or lined with parchment paper) … or see delicious recipe from last week’s newsletter. Bake at 375F until a fork slides in easily.   Carnival squash will store for a few more weeks at room temperature.




Escarole:  In my humble opinion, this cousin to lettuce is a most underrated vegetable. It is very bitter raw (love it once) and mellows to a deep flavor when cooked (love it twice), and is very nutritious (love it three times baby!).  It is essential for soups, and is fab sautéed in stir-fries or as a pizza topping. Try Ginny Bucciaglia’s classic “Escarole and Beans” recipe on our recipe database. Stores like lettuce.


Also available:

arugula, salad mix, tatsoi, pea shoots, sunflower sprouts, microgreens, head lettuce, garlic, chioggia and red beets, carrots, rainbow chard, basil and other fresh herbs, curly green and lacinato kale, heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes, sungold and red cherry tomatoes, trickles of eggplant and peppers, Savoy cabbage, Blue Gold, Red Gold, Satina Gold, Kennebec, and Dark Red Norland potatoes, celeriac, leeks, baby bok choy, radishes, broccoli raab, and our fresh baby ginger! (…prices will be higher since we are pulling the crop early….there will be plenty of ginger in the coming months at the lower price.)

Coming Soon:


Pick Your Own:

Flowers – still going! Pick up a Flower Ring in the barn for bunch size.

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

Sautéed Escarole with Raisins, Pine Nuts, and Capers

By Jennifer Armentrout via Fine Cooking

2 lb. escarole (about 2 heads), trimmed, rinsed, and cut into roughly 2-inch pieces Kosher salt

2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil

3 large cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

2 Tbs. pine nuts

2 Tbs. raisins

1 Tbs. capers, rinsed

Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes 1 tsp. fresh lemon juice

Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the escarole and cook until the stem pieces start to soften, about 2 minutes (the water needn’t return to a boil). Drain, run under cold water to cool, and drain again.

In a 12-inch skillet, heat the olive oil and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the garlic browns slightly, 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the garlic with tongs and discard. Add the pine nuts, raisins, capers, and pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the pine nuts are golden and the raisins puff, about 1 minute. Add the escarole, increase the heat to medium high, and cook, tossing often, until heated through and tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Sprinkle with the lemon juice and season to taste with salt. Serves 4.


Grilled Leeks With Romesco Sauce 

By Joshua Bousel via seriouseats

Kosher salt

4 large leeks, dark green tops discarded, leeks split in half, and thoroughly washed

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly ground black pepper

1 recipe Romesco Sauce (see below)

  1. Prepare a large bowl of iced water and bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Boil leeks until they start to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer leeks to ice water and let stand until cool. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate and pat dry.


  1. Light one chimney full of charcoal. When all the charcoal is lit and covered with gray ash, pour out and spread the coals evenly over the charcoal grate. Clean and oil the grilling grate. Brush leeks lightly with oil and grill over direct, medium-high heat until they start to brown, about 3 to 5 minutes. Flip over and continue to grill until second side browns, about 3 to 5 minutes longer. Transfer leeks to a platter, season with salt and pepper, and serve immediately with Romesco sauce.


Romesco Sauce Recipe

By Joshua Bousel via seriouseats

1 1-inch thick slice of crusty bread, crust removed and cut into 1-inch cubes

1 large tomato

5 cloves garlic

1/2 cup almonds

2 medium sweet red peppers

1/4 cup olive oil

2 tablespoons sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon smoked paprika

1 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil. Place almond, garlic, bread and tomato on baking sheet and place in the oven. Roast almonds until fragrant and bread is crusty and just starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Remove almonds and bread and continue roasting garlic until soft and tomato until tender, about 20 minutes more. Remove from oven, let cool slightly and remove skin from tomato and peel garlic.


  1. While other ingredients are roasting in the oven, roast peppers over an open flame on a gas stove or grill until the skins are blackened. Place in a bowl and cover with plastic wrap and let sit until cool enough to handle, about 20 minutes. Remove charred skin, seeds, and cores.


  1. Place bread, tomato, almonds, peppers, olive oil, vinegar, paprika, salt, and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. Purée until smooth. Taste and season with additional salt and cayenne pepper as needed.


  1. Place in and airtight container and place in the refrigerator until cool. Store refrigerated up to 5 days.

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