Farm News, June 25, 2019

This is one of those weeks when I sit down to write the farm news and I have trouble remembering what happened during the blur of activity that was last week.  I remember an unbroken string of rainy days, and I know we picked strawberries in that rain (and lots of people came to the farm to do the same!), and I know that rain wrecked a lot of our berry crop.   

We’re blessed with a tough and cheery crew despite all of the rainy harvests.

I also know all that rain has created some beautiful heads of lettuce and spinach which continue to grow profusely.  Lots of harvest in the rain! I know the summer squash and cukes started pumping out fruit and are ramping up to full speed.  When we needed to dry off a bit, we made use of the roofs in our greenhouses and weeded the cucumbers, tomatoes, and ginger. I know at some point it stopped raining, and the crew made a mad dash to kill weeds with tractors, hoes, knives, and hands, and after 3 straight days of sunshine we even had to move some pipe in on the greens to cool them off during the heat of the afternoon.   I know that we planted a lot of lettuce.  

I know that after a very long week, we thought it would be a good idea to wake up super early on Sunday morning and cover the new greenhouse we built over the winter, so for good measure, Lauren, Harry, Dana, and greenhouse construction professor emeritus Elliott McGann covered said greenhouse on Sunday and got the thing tacked down before the wind kicked up at noon (a huge thank you to them!). 

I also know that I have stumbled on some pretty cool wildlife moments on the farm.  This morning I got out just after dawn to check out the fields and found a snapping turtle on the far west edge of the field, just below Guarding mountain.  I know the nearest body of water is a half mile, 2 roads, and 3 fences away.  I know that is persistence

And I know that many of you have shown amazing persistence to get your Fort Hill produce at the farm or farmers’ market.  We truly appreciate that extra effort needed to get to the farm on a crappy day!  It makes all the difference to us, because the crops come in regardless of clouds, showers, downpours, or sunny days…so deep thanks to you readers and eaters too.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

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

Featured this week:

Sugar Snap Peas: This ephemeral crop is here and gone in a flash, and although we tried to extend the season by transplanting the first crop, it was a bust this year. The second planting is now peaking, so get your sugar snap peas while the getting is good! I like heating them a bit to amp up the flavor (see recipe below), but most folks just eat raw out of hand.

Zucchini:  is coming in strong and early this year.  Everyone loves spring greens, but like it even better when there is some “hard” veg like squash and carrots to cook with. Grill, sauté, stuff, and grate into breads and cakes, or see recipe below.

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, spinach, pea shoots, sunflower shoots, microgreens, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh herbs, escarole, sweet potatoes, fennel, scallions, salad turnips, baby bok choy, French Breakfast and red radishes, kohlrabi, Chinese Cabbage, garlic scapes, summer squash, carrots and rainbow carrots, sugar snap peas, frozen baby ginger, strawberries and the first cherry and slicing tomatoes as they come in!

Coming Soon:

Cucumbers and Purplette fresh onions!

Pick Your Own:

Strawberries: Strawberries took it hard in the rain are just about done.  You are welcome to check out the patch to see what you can find, but it won’t be the smorgasbord that it was.

Fresh herbs: parsley, cilantro, thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, chives

*** Just like last year, CSA members may take a small (mixed or not) PYO herb bunch for free, one bunch per share per week! Please see sample sizes in the barn.

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

Quick and Snappy Sugar Snap Pea Stir-Fry

Recipe by Rebecca Batchie

Thanks to the essence of snap peas, this is maximum flavor for minimal effort.

2 pints sugar snap peas

3 garlic scapes, mince

1.5 tablespoons olive or grape seed oil

1 tablespoon toasted sesame oil

2 tablespoons tamari

Heat the oil in a large skillet or wok to high heat.

Mince the scapes and snap off the tops and pull the string from each snap pea pod. Add the scapes to the hot oil and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the peas and toss in the pan for 4 -5 minutes, making sure the browning is minimal. In the last minute, add the toasted sesame oil and the tamari. Remove from pan, stir, and enjoy!

Penne with Zucchini, Fresh Herbs, and Lemon Zest

Adapted from Fine Cooking


Kosher salt

3/4 lb. whole wheat penne

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil

¼ cup pine nuts

2 medium zucchini (8 oz. each), cut in half lengthwise and sliced crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick half moons

4 large cloves garlic, thinly sliced (or 2-3 garlic scapes, minced)

2 tsp. finely grated lemon zest

Freshly ground black pepper

1/4  cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh mint

3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh basil

3 Tbs. coarsely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley


Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the penne and cook according to package instructions until al dente.

Put nuts in a dry frying pan and cook for 3 minutes over medium-heat, stirring frequently or shaking pan until golden. Keep an eye on pan at all times to prevent pine nuts from burning.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the zucchini and cook, stirring occasionally, until barely tender and starting to brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic (scapes) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is soft and fragrant, an additional 2 to 3 minutes. Remove from the heat. Stir in the lemon zest, 3/4 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper.

Reserve 1/2-cup pasta cooking water and drain the pasta. Add the pasta to the zucchini mixture along with the Parmigiano, mint, basil, and parsley. Sprinkle with pine nuts and season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss to combine, adding some of the reserved water if necessary to moisten the pasta, and serve immediately.

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