Last week we crossed the equinox, and fall officially began. Like clockwork, the daily highs plunged into the 60’s, which felt like a deep freeze after the preceding weeks of hot and muggy weather. It’s also left us wondering where all the days with highs in the mid 70’s have gone. Conveniently, that’s a temperature that both people and most plants prefer, and inconveniently, we’ve seen precious little conditions like that this year.
With at least a deluge or two each week, we have definitely had to be strategic about what we do on the few dry days we get. Much of the action these days is underground, and as Elliott mused, underground crops did a lot better than above ground crops this year! So, when the soil is dry, we head to the potato field and chip away at the half acre potato patch, digging up a row at a time in a slow race to get the patch all out of the ground and tucked away into a cooler before the first freeze. Now that we have the “small potatoes” like Magic Molly, La Ratte, and German Butter Ball out of the ground, we’ll convert our potato digger over to a sweet potato digger and aim to lift the entire sweet potato patch just as soon as the current rain event passes. And we still have lots of beets and carrots to dig for the late fall and winter markets to come.
On rainy days we still have to bunch and cut greens and lettuce and other perishable crops. Then we head to the greenhouses to dig ginger, and finish out the last of the tomato harvests before we begin prepping the greenhouses for late fall lettuce and spinach crops. Although we’ve had some disappointing crops this year (notably broccoli and peppers), we’ve still got a barn full of great veggies, so we hope to see you at the farm or farmers’ market soon.
We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,
Paul and Rebecca, for Elliott and the Fort Hill Farm crew
Featured this week:
Magic Molly potatoes: What more could one ask for from a potato? Deep purple color (“blue-all-the-way-through”), moist flesh, rich potato flavor, all in a plump-like fingerling size. It’s a winner all around, and has become one of our favorites. Store spuds a room temperature, in the dark, for several weeks.
Brussels sprouts greens: we break the tops off our Brussels sprouts to encourage the sprouts to swell, and lucky for us, they taste like Brussels’ sprouts-meet-tender baby collard greens. These are great used like kale or collards, but have that unique Brussels flavor, and some folks have become fast devotees. Subbing with BS greens in the kale soup recipe below would be mighty tasty.
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, trickles of eggplant, sweet peppers, Blue Gold, Red Gold, Satina Gold, Kennebec, La Ratte fingerling, and Dark Red Norland potatoes, celeriac, leeks, radishes, salad turnips, escarole, and our fresh baby ginger!
butternut squash, sweet potatoes (sweetening up as you read this!)
Pick Your Own:
Flowers – still going towards the back of the patch. 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
Roasted Peruvian Potatoes
Recipe courtesy of Aaron Sanchez via the foodnetwork
2 pounds Peruvian purple potatoes, scrubbed
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon Mexican oregano
1 tablespoon minced garlic
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon cilantro
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
Halve the potatoes and place them in a bowl. Cover them with water if you cut them ahead of time.
In another bowl, mix olive oil, oregano, garlic, salt, and pepper. Mix well.
Drain potatoes well and add them to the oil mixture. Toss with olive oil mixture. Spread the potatoes on a sheet pan. Roast for 30 minutes until potatoes are tender. Sprinkle with cilantro and serve. Serves 4 to 6.
Quick Tomato, White Bean and Kale Soup
By Martha Rose Shulman via the New York Times
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 stick celery, chopped (optional)
Salt to taste
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 14-ounce can chopped tomatoes, with juice
6 cups water
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon oregano
1 medium gold potato (about 6 ounces), diced
A bouquet garni made with a bay leaf, a couple of sprigs each parsley and thyme, and a Parmesan rind (optional – but it does add flavor; use what you have for this)
1⁄2 pound kale, stemmed, washed thoroughly, and chopped or cut in slivers (4 cups chopped)
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
Freshly ground pepper Grated Parmesan for serving
Step 1: Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy soup pot and add the onion, carrot, and celery and a pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 8 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Stir in the tomatoes and juice from the can, add another pinch of salt and cook, stirring often, for 5 to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have cooked down slightly.
Step 2: Add the water, tomato paste, oregano, potato, and salt to taste. Bring to a boil, add the bouquet garni, cover and simmer 10 to 15 minutes, until the potatoes are just about tender.
Step 3: Add the kale and simmer another 10 minutes, until the kale and potatoes are tender and the soup is fragrant. Taste, adjust salt, and add pepper. Stir in the beans and heat through for 5 minutes. Serve, sprinkling some Parmesan over each bowl.
Advance preparation: The soup tastes even better on the second day, and will keep for 4 to 5 days in the refrigerator. It freezes well. I’ve used small amounts of leftovers as a pasta sauce, adding a little tomato paste to thicken. Serves 4 to 6.