Farm News, October 9, 2018

Farm News

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The shorter days and turning tree colors tell us that fall is here, but it’s been hard to tell that from the temperatures.  We are well into October without a frost warning in sight, and some daytime highs in the upper 70’s.  That’s made for some late-season rebounds in our kale, lettuce, salad mix, and spinach crops, and gave us a few warm days to lift the last of the sweet potatoes out of the ground, even if we had to dodge a few showers here and there.

With that project done, we decided to dig up a bed of parsnips and 18 crates sweetening up in the cooler.  We still have several tons of potatoes to dig, and that’s high on the list for the next week or two.  We’ve also been cleaning out greenhouses of old tomato vines and various weeds, and prepping the ground for winter spinach and lettuce crops.  We sow them now so that they mature by late November, when they kind of hang out in the short days of winter, turning each greenhouse into basically a giant refrigerator.  We’ve got plans to put up another green house this winter, and hope to have it done by spring.

We’ve also got to get serious about sorting and cleaning the 22,000 garlic bulbs we harvested so we can set aside our 2019 seed stock to plant in early November.  Our cover crops are mostly planted now, and we are working on processing our compost piles whenever we get some dry weather.  Of course there’s the regular harvesting, washing, and packing for the farm stand and markets.  So while a big ol’ frost is definitely around the corner soon, for now we are still in full swing here at the farm!

Hope you enjoy the harvest,

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

Parsnips: this white member of the carrot family has candy-like sweetness when roasted. Also yummy shredded raw into slaws or cubed into soups. Stores for a month or more in fridge crisper drawer.

Hot Peppers: These beauties are really pumping out now, and we have a lot to choose from. New to us this year, Shishito, are actually mild (except that 1 in 10 or 20 might light your mouth on fire!) and are wonderful roasted. Poblano (“Ancho” when dried) have a rich-flavored, mild spiciness – perfect for a pot of beans or the classic Chile Rellenos. Jalapeño, next in line climbing the heat index, can be quite spicy, and are adaptable to any dish. Serrano, ramps up the heat in an even smaller package (note both jalapeños and Serranos are hotter when red). Cayenne, the hottest we grow. Dehydrate or oven dry for heat all winter long.


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, Brussels sprouts’ greens, eggplant (limited amounts), sweet peppers, cayenne, jalapeño, poblano, shishito, and Serrano hot peppers, Blue Gold, Red Gold, Satina Gold, Kennebec, La Ratte fingerling, Magic Molly blue fingerlings, German Butterball Potatoes, and Dark Red Norland potatoes, celeriac, leeks, radishes, salad turnips, escarole, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and our fresh baby ginger and turmeric! 

Coming Soon:

Red cabbage

Pick Your Own:

Flowers – are winding down but there are still plenty to pick if you want nice color for your dining table – look 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


Parsnip Pancakes with Caramelized Onions & Sour Cream

By Eva Katz via Fine Cooking

The onions can be cooked ahead and reheated just before serving; the parsnips can also be parcooked, grated, and combined with the chopped leek a few hours ahead. Serves four.

3 Tbs. olive oil

2 Tbs. unsalted butter

1 large or 2 small yellow onions, thinly sliced (to yield about 2 cups)

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 lb. small to medium parsnips (about 6 medium), peeled (if very thick, halve them lengthwise)

1 medium leek, white part only, finely chopped (to yield about 1/2 cup)

1 large egg, lightly beaten

3 Tbs. all-purpose flour

Sour cream for garnish


In a medium skillet, heat 1 Tbs. each of the olive oil and butter over medium heat. When the foam subsides, add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until very soft and golden, 20 to 25 minutes; reduce the heat if they brown too quickly. Season with salt to taste and set aside.

Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, bring 2 quarts salted water to a boil. Add the parsnips (cut them in half if they don’t fit in the pan) and cook for 3 minutes. Drain, run under cold water to cool them quickly, and drain again very well. Grate the parsnips in a food processor fitted with a medium grating disk. In a medium bowl, combine the parsnips, leek, and egg. Stir in the flour, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/8 tsp. pepper.

In a 10-to 12-inch heavy skillet, heat the remaining 2 Tbs. oil and 1 Tbs. butter over medium-high heat until the foam subsides. Shape the parsnip mixture into four equal balls. Put them in the skillet and press on each with a flat spatula to make a cake about 3-1/2 inches wide. Reduce the heat to medium and cook until browned on one side, 4 to 6 minutes. Turn the cakes over and brown the other side, 4 to 5 minutes. Flip to recrisp the first side; about 30 seconds. Drain briefly on paper towels and then serve while hot, garnished with a large dollop of sour cream and the caramelized onions.


Pickled Hot Peppers

Adapted from Allrecipes

This can be made less spicy by removing the seeds from the peppers.


1 1/2 pounds Poblano or banana peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces

1 pound jalapeno peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces

1/4-pound Serrano peppers, cut into 1 inch pieces

6 cups vinegar

2 cups water

3 cloves garlic, crushed

1 onion, chopped



Place the Poblano/banana peppers, jalapeno peppers, and Serrano peppers into a large pot. Add the vinegar, water, garlic, and onion. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer for 5 minutes.

Ladle peppers into sterile jars, and fill to the top with the liquid, leaving 1/4-inch headspace. Tap jars on the counter to remove air bubbles. Place two-piece lids on the jars.

Place jars in the rack of a large, canning pan, and fill with enough water to cover the jars completely. Bring to a boil, and boil for 10 to 15 minutes. Refrigerate jars after opening.

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