Farm News, July 30, 2019

Lots of heat with the occasional rain is a good recipe for lots of sweet corn, juicy tomatoes, crispy cukes, versatile eggplant, and some big sweet Ailsa Craig onions.  Throw in some timely irrigation, and the lettuce, salad mix, and chard will join the party as well.  Time for some pickin’ and grinning on the farm!

Speaking of picking and grinning…it’s carrot time!

The peppers and melons are making good progress, and we’re taking in lots of sweet carrots now to avoid the August heat, which they don’t much care for.  All the garlic is hung, and we should have that available every week now through winter.  Big, flavorful cloves that are easy to peel have made this one of our most popular crops. 

We’re finding tarps useful for smothering crop residue, reducing tillage, and potentially even reducing our arch nemesis weed, Galinsoga.

The crew is sweating out another heat wave, harvesting like crazy, while trying to get the fall lettuce, salad mix, cabbage, broccoli, and Romanesco cauliflower planted and watered. Meanwhile, we are still trying to catch up on the weeding, which always seems to get pushed to the bottom of the list. Rain followed by a bit of a cool down is in the forecast, which should make things a lot more pleasant.

Basil hunters are in their glory with the new downy mildew resistant strains.

All in all, it’s a great time to get to the farm, or a farmers’ market!  August and September are peak production months for Northeast produce farms.  It’s really fun for us to have such great varied and quality organic veggies to offer folks.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul, Rebecca, Lauren, and the Fort Hill Farm crew

Featured this week:

Ailsa Craig sweet onions:  We’ve got a nice crop of this big sweet onion, including some that are truly “whopper” sized.  Great sliced for burgers or summer salads, but my favorite way to eat them is to brush them with olive oil and throw them on the grill.

Red Gold potatoes:  This early spud kicks off our potato harvest, the first of many!  We dug them extra early by hand, so they are truly “new” potatoes. Next week we hope the skins are tough enough to get the digger out. They are light red potatoes with a hint of yellow in the flesh. Store for at least a month in a dark, dry place at room temperature. Do not refrigerate spuds!

Also available:

salad mix, pea shoots, microgreens, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh herbs, scallions, salad turnips, French Breakfast and red radishes, Tendersweet cabbage, red cabbage, fresh garlic, 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

Coming Soon:

Red Torpedo fresh onions

Pick Your Own:

Sunflowers have begun!

Flowers 🌸 are opening in earnest! Some folks wait all year for this moment!

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

Crispy Smashed Potatoes with Garlic Pesto

From the Minimalist Baker


1 1/2 pounds baby gold/yellow potatoes

1 1/2 Tbsp olive oil (or sub other neutral oil)

1 healthy pinch each sea salt & black pepper (~1/2 tsp as original recipe is written)


2 heaping cups loosely packed fresh basil (large stems removed)

2 cloves garlic (chopped // 2 cloves yield ~1 Tbsp chopped)

3 Tbsp raw pine nuts or walnuts (for nut allergies, omit)

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 1/2 Tbsp nutritional yeast*

2-3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (or sub other neutral oil)

1 healthy pinch each sea salt & black pepper


Add rinsed potatoes to a large pot and cover with water until just submerged. Bring to a boil over high heat. Then reduce to medium-high heat to achieve a low boil. Cook uncovered for 15-20 minutes or until tender and a knife easily slides in and out.

In the meantime, prepare pesto by adding basil, garlic, nuts, lemon juice, and nutritional yeast to a food processor and blending to combine. Stream in 2-3 Tbsp olive oil (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) a little at at time until a thick paste is formed. If trying to reduce fat, thin the sauce with water instead of additional oil. I like adding a little water to mine to make it more of a pourable sauce, but this is optional.

Taste and adjust flavor as needed, adding more lemon juice for acidity, nutritional yeast for cheesy flavor, salt and pepper for overall flavor, or garlic for zing/bite. Transfer to a small serving dish and set aside.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (232 C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. When the potatoes are soft and tender, place on the baking sheet and smash down with the bottom of a saucepan. For any larger potatoes, cut in half and then smash so they are still “bite size.”

Drizzle the potatoes with 1 1/2 Tbsp oil and season with a healthy pinch each salt and pepper (amounts as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) . Roast for 20-25 minutes or until crispy and golden brown.

To serve, spoon the pesto over the potatoes (you will have leftovers). Garnish with chopped basil or parsley and additional pine nuts (optional).

Best when fresh. Store leftovers separately in the refrigerator. Potatoes will keep for 3-4 days. Pesto will keep for about 1 week (see notes for uses for leftovers). Reheat in a 350-degree oven until hot, then top with any leftover pesto.

Basil Onion Corn Bread

Adapted from Food 52

This is as beautiful as it is delicious!


1 large sweet onion, cut into thick rings

~1 teaspoon vegetable oil or butter

pinch of salt

1 cup all-purpose flour 

1 cup cornmeal

2 TB packed light brown sugar

1 ½ tsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. baking soda

1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

3/4 cup raw fresh corn kernels (from 3-4 ears of corn)

1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil

1 large egg

1/2 cup whole milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted and cooled, plus more for pan


Heat a 9” cast iron skillet to medium-high and coat with oil or butter. Fit the onion rounds (intact) with a pinch of salt in the hot skillet and cook for 5-7 minutes until nicely browned. Carefully flip the onion cakes with a spatula and brown the other side, keeping the rounds intact. Let cool slightly and butter the skillet sides if needed. Heat oven to 400. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

In a small bowl, whisk together yogurt, egg, milk, onion and ¼ cup melted butter. Gently fold wet ingredients into dry ingredients, being careful not to over mix. Stir in fresh corn and basil.

Pour batter over the onions in the skillet; smooth top. Bake cornbread 25 to 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool and serve from the pan. (It’s summer. You don’t have to wash another plate!) Makes 1, 9” cornbread.

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