We’ve had several nights in the mid 20’s which has effectively ended the outdoor growing season. That’s not to say we still don’t have a whole lot of food out in the field. The crew has been busy covering some very nice lettuce, bok choy, spinach, and baby kale to get the crops through the freezing nights, and when everything thaws in mid-morning the harvest can begin.
We’ve also had plenty of time to keep pecking away at the fall cleanup. Last week we were able to knock off one of the bigger jobs on the farm: rolling up the big high tunnel where we grow most of our tomatoes and all our ginger. We have a love/hate relationship with this structure. We built it back in 2008 because we were finding it just too difficult to consistently grow high quality tomatoes outdoors. Year after year, frequent heavy rains in July and August conspired to knock out promising patches.
With the high tunnel, we were excited to be able to quickly cover over a third of an acre of tomatoes, but this structure comes with one big drawback: it doesn’t hold snow. So, every fall we have to roll up all three bays (200 feet long!) and every spring we have to roll them back down. It’s a big team effort requiring 7 people a full day, and there seems to always be a hiccup in the process, which slows it down. But despite some pesky winds that delayed us a bit, we were able to get everything stowed for winter.
And just in time, because winter seems be here three weeks early! Which is just par for the course for 2018, where winter stayed three weeks late, and it started raining in late June and never stopped. The extra early cold seems like just another slap in the face, and I find myself getting more and more ready for a week long nap on the couch. Thanksgiving is coming, and we are working hard to get all the fixings for your holiday meal, and then that big couch dive is in sight!
We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,
Paul and Rebecca, for Elliott and the Fort Hill Farm crew
Featured this week:
Collards: after a sabbatical for growth’s sake, it’s the last hurrah for collards this week – before the temps in the teens take them down for good. I’ve realized recently that this crop has a cult following, and after making the soup below, I can see why! Renata is president of the collards fan club, and brought something similar to a potluck awhile back. I’ve always like collards, but now I’ve joined the cult.
salad mix, pea shoots, microgreens, head lettuce, garlic, chioggia and red beets, carrots, parsnips, fresh herbs, curly green kale, Brussels sprouts, green bell 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 parsley and sage 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
Caldo Verde (Portuguese Green Soup)
This is fabulous without the sausage. For a special presentation, cut the collards in half then into thin strips and leave them unblended. I like this soup on the thinner side, but you can simply adjust this by adding water.
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 onion, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
6 potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
2 quarts cold water
6 ounces linguica sausage, thinly sliced
2 1/2 teaspoons salt
ground black pepper to taste
1 pound kale (or collards), rinsed and julienned
In a large saucepan over medium heat, cook onion and garlic in 3 tablespoons olive oil for 3 minutes. Stir in potatoes and cook, stirring constantly, 3 minutes more. Pour in water, bring to a boil, and let boil gently for 20 minutes, until potatoes are mushy.
Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium-low heat, cook sausage until it has released most of its fat, 10 minutes. Drain.
Mash potatoes or puree the potato mixture with a blender or food processor. Stir the sausage, salt and pepper into the soup and return to medium heat. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.
Just before serving, stir kale/collards into soup and simmer, 5 minutes, until kale is tender and jade green. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and serve at once.
Roasted Veggie Enchilada Casserole
Adapted from Cookie+Kate
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (about 2 cups)
2 green bell peppers, cut into 1” squares
2 parsnips, cut into 1/3” pieces
1 medium yellow onion or leek, sliced into wedges about 1/2″wide
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin, divided
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/4 cups (18 ounces) red salsa, either homemade or jarred*
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, plus extra for garnish
9 to 10 corn tortillas**, halved
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, rinsed and drained, or 1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
2 big handfuls (about 2 ounces) baby spinach leaves
2 cups shredded Monterey Jack cheese
To roast the veggies (this can be done up to 2 days in advance): Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit with racks in the middle and upper third of the oven. Line two large, rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper to prevent the vegetables from sticking.
On one pan, place the sweet potato. On the other pan, combine the bell peppers and onion. Drizzle half of the olive oil over one pan, and the other half over the other pan. Same with the cumin.
Sprinkle both pans lightly with salt and pepper, then toss each one until the vegetables are lightly coated in oil and spices, adding another light drizzle of olive oil if necessary. Arrange the vegetables in an even layer across each pan. Bake until the vegetables are tender and caramelized on the edges, about 30 to 35 minutes, tossing the veggies and swapping the pans halfway.
When you’re ready to assemble, reduce the oven heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and lightly grease a 9″square baker. Stir the cilantro into the salsa.
To assemble, spread 1/2 cup salsa evenly over the bottom of the baking pan. Add a single layer of halved tortilla pieces, arranging them so they completely cover the salsa.
Top with 1/2 of the beans, 1/3 of the vegetables, 1/2 of the of spinach, and 1/3 of the cheese.
Make a second layer of tortillas (I pressed down on the mixture a little here to make room for the next layers). Top with 1/2 of the remaining salsa, all of the remaining beans, 1/2 of the remaining vegetables, all of the remaining spinach, and 1/2 of the remaining cheese.
Make a third layer of tortillas (again, I pressed down to make more room). Top with the remaining salsa, vegetables, and cheese.
Cover the pan with parchment paper (I tent mine in the middle and wrap the edges around the handles) or aluminum foil. Bake for 20 minutes, then remove the parchment paper or aluminum foil and bake for 10 more minutes, or until heated through.
Let the casserole cool for 10 minutes, to give it time to set and reach a palatable temperature. Before serving, sprinkle the top lightly with additional chopped cilantro.