It’s fitting that one of the craziest weather years we can remember was topped off by a 6-inch snowfall in the second week of November. The snow caught us off guard and has caused us to put off tasks like mulching the garlic and strawberries until the white blanket melts off. With frigid temperatures in the single digits predicted for Thanksgiving, that might be a while.
In the meantime, the crew brought in all the veggies we would need for the holiday and stored it away in our coolers. Chilly temps and rainy days were no obstacle for these folks, who threw on their slickers and muck boots and got busy in the field. On the colder days we’ve been working as much as possible in a warm greenhouse, washing and processing leeks, lettuce, spinach, brussels sprouts, and potatoes and other roots for Thanksgiving. We are also busy freezing the last of our ginger crop, so while we still have it fresh now, we will have plenty for the winter markets ahead.
As I look back on this year, one thing I am very grateful for is the great crew of people that helped us through a difficult growing season. Field manager Elliott McGann again coordinated the farm’s day-to-day operations, and spent many long days making sure the job was finished. It is with deep gratitude that we say goodbye to our friend and co-manager. After seven years of working with us on the farm (and waffling about staying another year), he assures us that this is indeed his last season on the farm. We wish him success in his next adventure and beyond. We have been so fortunate to have him here. We will miss him!!
Our core crew of Lauren Henderson, Hanna Snyder-Samuelson, Michael Baker, Carly Fortuna, Sarah Henry, Dana Scott, and Renata Guimares put in long hours all season getting the crops in the ground, watered, weeded, picked, and packed. We had a big boost from our field crew, and we were happy to have Selenna Strothers, Justin Bock, and Mary Van Noordennen help us with the fall harvest. Kathy Scott planted thousands of seeds in the greenhouse and kept the Farm Stand running smooth.
Off the farm, we cannot say enough about the hardworking folks who make up our three market crews. They met us in all kinds of weather, and promptly hauled tents, tables, scales, and (literally) tons of vegetables off of our truck. They also helped convey knowledge of the farm and produce to our customers. Thank you, Sarah Jaeger, Jalna Jaeger, Jon Jaeger, Jon Clemente, Chris Barker, Shari Ramponi, Alex Gross, and Nataeza McCullough. We are deeply grateful for our on- and off-farm crew members, each of whom adds something unique to help make the farm succeed and thrive.
And most importantly, thanks to each of you who make a special trip to pick up Fort Hill Farm veggies through the CSA or farm stand, at a farmers’ market, or at New Morning Market. This year in particular we really appreciated the effort you made to get our veggies, as it seemed like more often than not, the weather presented some challenge on almost every market or farm stand day. We also appreciate your willingness to work with us as we deal with the special challenges created by organic growing in New England. We are encouraged by the positive comments throughout the season by eaters like you! We hope you’ll visit us at the New Milford and Westport Winter Farmers’ markets this winter and take advantage of our winter CSA discounts; please check our website, contact us to be put on our email list, and like us on Facebook for details.
We hope you enjoyed the farm and the harvest,
Rebecca and Paul, for Elliott, Lauren, Sarah, Michael, Carly, Dana, Renata, Selenna, and Mary
Featured this week:
Head Lettuce! It might just be a first, shoveling wet snow off of hooped and row covered head lettuce, but there we were on Friday. And after we finish our field lettuce we will have another round from our greenhouse to keep the salad devotees happy.
Brussels sprouts: We thought the rain had leached every nutrient from the soil and the sprouts weren’t going to size up this year. Well, it’s an Autumn Miracle, we have sprouts, get them while they last!
salad mix, sweet winter spinach, 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, 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!
Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie. For more recipes, check out the Fort Hill Farm Recipe Database
Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad with Lemon and Pecorino
Recipe by mom’skitchenhandbook
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1 pound Brussels sprouts
2 ounces finely grated Pecorino Romano (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup lemon juice (Meyer lemon if you have it)
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Preheat oven or toaster oven to 350 degrees F. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 8 minutes. Remove from heat and let cool.
Trim off a thin slice from the bottom of the Brussels sprouts and wash well. Use the slicer blade of a food processor to shave the Brussels sprouts. Alternatively, use a Japanese mandolin to slice them very thin.
Put the Brussels sprouts, almonds, Pecorino Romano, lemon juice, olive oil and salt into a large bowl and toss well. Serve.
Butternut Squash Soup with Coconut Milk and Ginger
Adapted from marthastewart.com
1 medium butternut squash (3 pounds)
3 tablespoons safflower or other neutral-flavored oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
3/4 cup thinly sliced shallots (3 medium)
3 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
2 tablespoons minced ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
1 tablespoon minced fresh turmeric
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
4 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
1/2 cup coconut milk, plus more for serving
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice (from 1/2 lime)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out seeds; reserve, if desired (see Cook’s Note). Drizzle cut side of squash with 1 tablespoon oil and season with salt and pepper. Place, cut-side down, on a foil-lined rimmed baking sheet. Roast until squash is very tender when pierced with the tip of a knife, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool slightly, about 15 minutes.
- In a 6-quart pot or Dutch oven, heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over medium. Add shallots and garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook until shallots are soft and translucent, 6 to 8 minutes. Add ginger, turmeric, and coriander; cook until very fragrant, 2 minutes. Stir in broth, 1 cup water, and 1 teaspoon salt. Scoop flesh from cooled squash into pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring a few times, 30 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes.
- Working in batches, puree soup in a blender until smooth. Return to pot; heat over medium. Whisk in coconut milk. Cook until warmed through, 5 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve, drizzled with more coconut milk and sprinkled with toasted squash seeds, if desired. Soup can be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 1 week. Serves 6 to 8.