Farm News, November 6, 2018

Farm News

Given the string of showery weather we’ve had lately, I think we have a good idea what it’s like to live in Seattle.  Luckily the clouds have been punctuated by a few of those brilliant, clear days that represent what we idealize as fall in New England.  Whether it’s rain or shine, we’ve still got a big “to do” list here at the farm.  We’ve got all the tomato and pepper trellises to clean up, where we pull the strings and posts that supported those crops. And we need to clean out the vines and plastic mulch as we put the fields to bed for the winter.


Mary, Selenna, and Dana take on clearing out the high tunnel of tomato debris. Photo by Lauren Henderson

Once we get the big high tunnel out in the field all cleaned out, we have to roll up the plastic, as this structure doesn’t support snow. This takes 6 crew members most of a day, and the timing is crucial because rain, snow, or wind over 10 mph makes what is already challenging very dangerous.  The garlic is in, but now it needs a nice blanket of leaves and straw to protect the cloves over the winter and smother weeds next spring.

The gang got the garlic planted in record time this year. Photo by Lauren Henderson

On the farm maintenance front, we’ve generated an epic number of potholes on the farm roads that need to be filled in, and we left a lot of tree branches on the ground after the spring’s storms that need to be cut and chipped. And of course there’s the still a plenty of veggies that need to be harvested!  The cold fall nights bring out some of the best flavors of the season, even though it takes a little more fortitude from our dedicated crew to get out and harvest now that the days are shorter and the mornings colder.

Dana battens down the carrot and onion low tunnels for the long winter ahead. Photo by Lauren Henderson

We also thank you for making the effort to come out on less than perfect days to stock up your fridge with Fort Hill veggies!  Please remember to check our schedule each week as it changes this time of year. Notably, the farmstand will be open on Tuesdays *only* through Thanksgiving, 2:30 pm to 6pm.  The New Milford Farmers’ market (Saturday 9 to noon) and Westport Farmers market (Thursday 10 to 2 pm) go on as usual this week, but do check the schedule on our web site for changes to come.

Enjoy the harvest,

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

Our hardworking crew… enjoying a bit of sunshine on a chilly day. Photo by Lauren Henderson

Featured this week:

Green Bell Peppers:  traditionally bountiful in the fall, our peppers produced in fits and starts this year due to poor pollination in very hot weather. But NOW is the moment for the green bells to shine. We’ve been protecting them from frost, and we’ll do a hard pick before finally throwing in the towel when a hard freeze hits. All of you sweet colored bells lovers ask, “What do I do with green bells specifically?” Pick some fresh oregano and get that Greek salad going (been doing this all week), roast them up with sausage and Magic Mollys (we love this), plug in the slow cooker and have chili done by dinnertime, or see the stuffed recipe below (can’t wait to try it).

Red Norland potatoes: I know this is a reintroduction, but we often don’t have any left at this time of year, and we’ve put them on sale this week! These classic waxy beauties are yummy almost any way you cook them; leave the skins on for a striking effect.  Store in a dark, cool place (not your fridge) for up to a month.

Also available:

salad mix, pea shoots, microgreens, head lettuce, garlic, chioggia and red beets, carrots, parsnips, fresh herbs, curly green kale, Brussels sprouts, sweet peppers, cayenne, jalapeño, poblano, shishito, and Serrano hot peppers, Blue Gold, Satina Gold, Kennebec, La Ratte fingerling, Magic Molly blue fingerlings, German Butterball Potatoes, Red Maria, and Dark Red Norland potatoes, leeks, radishes, salad turnips, baby bok choy, 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

Peppers Stuffed with Farro and Smoked Cheese

By Martha Rose Shulman

2 cups cooked farro or spelt

3 ounces smoked cheese, such as smoked Gouda, cut in very small dice

1⁄4 cup chopped walnuts (1.5 ounces)

1⁄2 pound fresh, ripe tomatoes, grated

1 teaspoon sweet paprika, and additional for sprinkling

Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

6 medium-size or smallish bell peppers, any color (1 1/2 to 2 pounds)

1⁄2 cup water

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice 1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


Step 1

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an ovenproof, lidded casserole or Dutch oven large enough to accommodate all of the peppers. In a large bowl, mix farro, cheese, walnuts, tomatoes and paprika. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Step 2

Cut tops away from peppers and gently remove seeds and membranes. Season the insides with a little salt, then fill with farro mix. Sprinkle a little paprika over the top and replace tops of peppers. Place upright in the casserole.

Step 3

Mix water, lemon juice, salt to taste, tomato paste and olive oil and pour into the casserole. Cover, place in the oven and bake 30 to 40 minutes, until peppers are tender. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly in the casserole. Remove tops and spoon liquid from the casserole over the filling. Serve warm or at room temperature.

 Kale Salad with Brussels Sprouts, Apples, and Hazelnuts

Adapted from Susan Spungen’s EpicuriousRecipe

2/3 cup hazelnuts (3 ounces)

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice (from 1 large lemon)

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot (about 1 medium)

1 small garlic clove, finely grated

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil

1 pound kale (about 2 small bunches), stemmed, leaves thinly sliced

3/4 pound Brussels sprouts, trimmed, thinly sliced

2 ounces Mimolette cheese or aged gouda, grated on the large holes of a box grater (1 cup) 1 crisp apple, such as Pink Lady or Honeycrisp, cored, cut into matchsticks

6 radishes, halved, thinly sliced



Heat oven to 350°F. Place hazelnuts on a rimmed baking sheet and toast 8-10 minutes, tossing once or twice, until fragrant and skins have blistered. Bundle nuts in a kitchen towel and rub vigorously to remove skins. Spread out and let cool, then coarsely chop. Set aside.

Meanwhile, whisk lemon juice, mustard, shallot, garlic, 1 tsp. salt, and 1/2 tsp. pepper in a medium bowl, then whisk in oil in a slow, steady stream. Set aside.

Mix together kale and Brussels sprouts in a large mixing bowl. Add about 3/4 of the dressing, and use your hands to massage dressing into greens. Taste and add more dressing as needed (you may not need all of it). Reserve any le”over dressing for another use.

Add cheese, apple, and half of the radishes; toss together to combine, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a serving bowl, and top with nuts and remaining radishes.

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