Sometimes the Farm News breaks down into a “there’s so much rain we can’t get in the fields and all our crops are rotting” or “it hasn’t rained, and we are irrigating like crazy” dichotomy. Not to be a broken record, but we are definitely in the latter camp. The very wet April, May, and June are a distant memory, as thunderstorms have passed all around us the last couple of weeks and temperatures have peaked in the high 80s and low 90s. Of the two conditions, we’d rather have it on the dry side. Although irrigating adds an additional set of tasks to an already huge to-do list, at least we have a cure.
And the crops have responded well! Tomatoes are coming in steadily now, as are tons of cukes and summer squash. We pick the squash and cukes daily to keep them on the high quality side of things. Lettuce, salad mix, and arugula are receiving frequent sprinkles to keep them cool and crisp, and the carrots are some of the best we’ve had in years. First corn, the dainty “Trinity” variety that puts out the earliest corn we can grow, is in this week. We’ve got several more successions of main season corn coming to keep us in the sweet stuff through early September.
Mid-July also brings the first big bulk harvest of the season, our super popular German Extra Hardy porcelain garlic. The crew put their heads down and got to work on Monday. First, we lifted the beds with a tractor, pulled and bunched the garlic, and hung it to cure in a greenhouse covered with shade cloth. By the end of the day we pulled up seven beds, 4 rows each bed, or 14,000 bulbs, which I am pretty sure is a Fort Hill Farm record. We’ve got another 6,000 to go, just ahead of some much needed rain predicted for later in the week.
We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,
Paul and Rebecca, for Lauren and the Fort Hill Farm Crew
Featured this week:
Fancy Beets: Chioggia (Kee- oh – jee – uh) is a sweet Italian heirloom beet with red and white concentric circles that form a distinctive ‘bulls eye’ pattern, and it is growing strong. Gold beets are also sweet like our Red beets but not quite as ‘earthy’ tasting and don’t bleed like red beets. Gold beets are noticeably less robust and come in more slowly, so if you don’t see them on your next visit, you will soon. We are always happy when the foliage is good enough to bunch, as it gives folks “2 for the price of one!” Grate fresh into a salad with nuts and goat or feta cheese!
Cabbages! We have three kinds this week: Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbage: a pointy headed, heirloom cabbage great for slaws and salads. The folks who steer clear of this very sweet cabbage because of its higher price per pound do not realize just how light these little cone heads are. We were shooting for an earlier and more abundant harvest but Mother Nature had other plans. Purple Conehead cabbage: new to us, fun, pretty, and tasty. Tendersweet cabbage: a flattened disc of a cabbage; the name does not lie. All three varieties promise refreshing summer salads. Store up to 3 weeks in the fridge crisper.
salad mix, arugula, pea shoots, microgreens, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh herbs, scallions, salad turnips, baby bok choy, French Breakfast and red radishes, Chinese Cabbage, Tendersweet cabbage, “conehead” cabbage, fresh garlic, garlic scapes, carrots and rainbow carrots, red, gold, and chioggia beets, cucumbers, zucchini, zephyr, and yellow summer squash, frozen baby ginger, cherry tomatoes, and heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes
Full sized Sweet corn! Red Gold potatoes
Pick Your Own:
Flowers 🌸 they started opening last week and there are plenty for bouquets. Some folks wait all year for this moment!
Beans! The first yellow wax beans are in and there may be green beans by the end of the week!
Fresh herbs: parsley, cilantro, thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, chives, dill
*** 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
Lemon-Herb Roasted Beets
From Eating Well
1½ pounds golden or red beets, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces or wedges
4 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil or canola oil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh or 2 teaspoons dried herbs, such as marjoram, oregano and/or rosemary
1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon lemon juice, (optional)
1. Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat to 450°F.
2. Combine oil, herbs, lemon zest, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Add beets; toss to coat with the seasoning mixture.
3. Spread the beets evenly on a rimmed baking sheet.
4. Roast, stirring once or twice, until the beets are tender and browned, 20 to 25 minutes. Toss the roasted vegetables with lemon juice, if using.
Cut Down on Dishes: A rimmed baking sheet is great for everything from roasting to catching accidental drips and spills. For effortless cleanup and to keep your baking sheets in tip-top shape, line them with a layer of foil before each use.
Oven Roasted or Grilled Cabbage Steaks with Bacon, Garlic, and Lemon
8 slices Bacon
1 head Cabbage
8 cloves Garlic (minced)
1/4 cup Olive oil
2 tbsp Lemon juice
1/2 tsp Sea salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper
Cabbage Steak Marinade
Place the slices of bacon onto a large, cold pan. Place on the stove and turn to medium-low heat. Fry the bacon for 8-10 minutes, until crispy, flipping as needed.
Meanwhile, cut the cabbage into 3/4-in (2 cm) thick slices.
In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, sea salt, and black pepper.
Remove the bacon from the pan and set aside to drain, leaving behind the bacon fat in the pan. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about a minute, until fragrant.
Let the pan with bacon fat cool for 5-10 minutes. When the bacon fat has cooled enough to not melt the plastic, pour the bacon fat (along with the sautéed garlic) into the plastic bag. Scoop any remaining garlic with a spatula and add it in. Seal and mix well to form the marinade.
Add the sliced cabbage steaks to the marinade bag. Coat well. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
Grilled Cabbage Steaks Instructions
Preheat the grill at medium heat.
Grill cabbage steaks for about 4-8 minutes on each side, until tender and crispy on the edges.
To serve, top with cooked bacon and parsley for garnish (optional).
Oven Roasted Cabbage Steaks Instructions
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (218 degrees C).
Grease a large baking sheet well. (You can line with foil or parchment paper if you prefer. Arrange the cabbage steaks in a single layer.
Roast cabbage steaks in the oven for about 30-35 minutes, until tender and crispy on the edges.
To serve, top with cooked bacon and parsley for garnish (optional).