Farm News, October 23, 2018

Farm News

This week old man winter is giving us a preview of what’s to come in late November.  While folks in Anchorage bask in unseasonably warm weather, lots of cold air has been pouring into the Northeast.  Last week brought us some big frosts, and it looks like the hammer is coming down this week to finish the job.

After a lovely flower season, even our irrigation couldn’t keep the freezing at bay… but it did make for a beautiful winter scene, taken by Elliott McGann.

But fear not, all you veggie loving folks!  Our crew has been braving the cold mornings to bring in some very yummy crops.  All this cold air causes the plants to pack more sugar into their leaves and roots to keep from freezing, resulting in some of the best tasting lettuce, spinach, kale, collards, and cabbage of the season. Our peppers finally decided to set some fruit, and we’ll clean out the patch ahead of what looks to be a deep freeze Thursday night.

Renata and Dana had a big hand in caring for the ginger and turmeric crops this year – thanks for all of the weeding! Photo by Elliott McGann

We put in some extra hours this weekend to get in the last of what has become a barn buster year for potatoes.  We are currently displaying 9 varieties, a Fort Hill Farm record.  Becca and I have been trying them out to find out which are the best for cubing, tossing in olive oil, and oven roasting, our favorite way to prep them.  So far Red Maria, Satina, German Butterball, and Blue Gold are big favorites.  Hopefully the paleo diet is fading from everyone’s minds, so you can grab an armful of spuds to cook up while the frost is on the pumpkin.

Amanda dons ski goggles to survive the wind on Sunday. Photo by Paul Bucciaglia

This week we need to take a moment and reflect on what fall tasks are done and what we have left to tackle. Spuds, sweet potatoes, butternut squash, and fall cabbage are safely tucked away in their respective storage spots. We still need to finish off the carrots, parsnips, and leeks.  We’ll be tilling beds and spreading compost for the 20,000 garlic cloves we will need to plant next week.  And boy do the clean up jobs multiply this time of year!  Potholes in the roads from weeks of trucks slogging through saturated farm roads, a new greenhouse to put up, and hundreds of  yards of pipe and hose and row cover to tuck before the snow flys.

We hope to see you at the farm or a farmer’s market soon!  You’ll be surprised by the wide range of produce we have out for you, and the extra snap and taste that a bit of frost can impart.

Hope you enjoy the farm and the produce,

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

Featured this week:


Red Maria potatoes: These large, round, ruby red spuds have a contrasting pure white center. They have great flavor and are notably waxy, making them tasty for potato salads, roasting, and you name it. Give Red Maria a try!

Also available:

arugula, salad mix, tatsoi, pea shoots, sunflower sprouts, microgreens, head lettuce, garlic, chioggia and red beets, carrots, parsnips, fresh herbs, curly green and lacinato kale, Brussels sprouts, Italian and Asian eggplant, 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, Red Maria, and Dark Red Norland potatoes, green and red cabbage, leeks, radishes, salad turnips, collards, escarole, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, and our fresh baby ginger and turmeric! 

Pick Your Own:

Fresh Herbs: there is still plenty of  Italian and curly parsley, sage, and oregano out there. Feel free to mix and match for your bunch.  Pick up an Herb Ring in the barn for bunch size.

… 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


Pan Roasted Brussels Sprouts Subzi with Cumin and Mustard Seeds

Recipe by veganricha


1 tsp oil

1/2 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp black mustard seeds

6 to 8 fresh or frozen curry leaves optional

3 cloves of garlic finely chopped

1 green chili finely chopped

2 cups Brussels sprouts tough stems removed and halved or quartered

2 tsp or more sesame seeds

1/2 tsp coriander powder

1/2 tsp garam masala optional

1/4 tsp turmeric

cayenne to taste

1/2 tsp salt or to taste

1/4 cup water

cilantro and lemon for garnish


-Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat., When hot, add cumin and mustard seeds and cook until they change color or start to pop.

-Add curry leaves, garlic and chili carefully. Cook for a minute.

-Add Brussels sprouts and toss well. Cook for 4 to 5 minutes until some edges get golden brown. Stir once or twice in between.

-Add sesame seeds, mix in and cook for a minute.

-Add ground spices, salt and mix in and cook for a minute.

-Add 1/4 cup or more water. Cover and cook for 7 to 9 minutes. This will steam the sprouts.

-Taste and adjust salt and heat. Add a dash of lemon and cilantro and serve with your favorite Indian meal or Buddha Bowl.

Creamy Vegan Potato Leek Soup

Recipe by Melissa Huggins

1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil (or preferred oil)

1 tablespoon vegan butter

1 small onion , diced

3 large leeks , cleaned well & thinly sliced (white & light green part only) *See note

5 medium russet potatoes, peeled and chopped [note: Red Gold or Kennebec would be great here]

3-4 cloves of garlic , minced

1 teaspoon salt , more to taste

Fresh ground pepper , to taste

1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary

1/2 teaspoon ground coriander (optional)

5 cups vegetable broth (low sodium) *See note

2 bay leaves

1-2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (optional)

1 cup canned coconut milk (or any unsweetened plant-based milk)

Toppings Ideas

Green onion , chopped

Pieces of cooked potato

Fresh ground pepper


Make sure leeks are washed well first. *See note on instructions

Heat the oil, butter and a pinch of salt in a large pot over medium heat. Add the leeks & onion, sauté until softened, about 5-6 minutes.

Add the potatoes, garlic, thyme, rosemary, and coriander. Sauté for 2-3 minutes.

Add the vegetable broth, bay leaf, salt, and pepper. Raise heat so it starts to simmer. Now reduce heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15-20 minutes, or until the potatoes are fork tender.

Remove from heat and remove bay leaves. Stir in the coconut milk and optional lemon juice. Taste for seasoning and add more to taste.

Using an immersion blender, blend until smooth and creamy. You can also use a regular blender and carefully blend in batches. Before blending, set aside a few pieces of potato for the garnish.

Serve in soup bowls and top with chopped green onion, fresh ground pepper and a few pieces of cooked potato. Serves 6.


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