So far the growing season can be summed up as 3 months of flood followed by 2 months of drought. Even with the big swings in weather, crops continue to look good. We are at “peak tomato,” as the crew brought in a huge harvest of heirloom tomatoes and sungold cherry tomatoes today. We will be able to put them on sale, so time for juicy salsa, cool gazpacho, and big slices for burgers and tomato toast. On Thursday we will open the sungold patch for pick your own, for those who visit the farm.
We are starting to pick our third (of 5) sweet corn block, and its great tasting corn with very low insect damage. We are in between generations of corn borers, and it looks like the corn earworms are late to the party this season. We do our best to keep the corn as clean as possible, but it’s impossible to keep it “bug free.” If you get some damage on the tip, just cut it off and carry on. If you do get an ear that has been damaged beyond repair (usually a borer that gets in the middle of the ear and has a party), please let us know and we will happily make it right for you.
Cukes and summer squash continue to come in, and the crew brought in the first truckload of cantaloupe this summer! We’ve also got a great little pumpkin patch perking along out there in the north field and are keeping our fingers crossed for some jack o lanterns this October. Apprentice Mady Dean has been watering them diligently and keeping an eye out for deer damage; it is high time we get a fence up as once deer discover a food source, it is hard to encourage them to dine elsewhere.
Even though its high summer, there are signs of change in the air. The katydids are chirping at night, the lightning bugs are done blinking for the season, and the trees on the hillsides are showing just a shade lighter of green. We’re beginning to clean up old crops and prep the fields for sowing cover crops. Our new favorite summer cover is “Sun Hemp;” it’s the tall, light green planting in the north field just past the parking area. You can practically watch it grow on these hot days, and it’s a legume, so it’s putting lots of naturally made fertility back into the soil.
We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,
Paul, Rebecca, Lauren, and the Fort Hill Farm crew
Featured this week:
Cantaloupes: These beauties are just coming in… so you’ll be sure to see them over the next two weeks. Growing melons in the Northeast is a dicey proposition, so we are always grateful for any good fruit we can get. Most are sweet and flavorful, but there are always a few duds in the mix. We can’t see this, so just ask for a replacement if you get one. Most of them are ready to eat; if it’s a bit green with less scent, give it a few days at room temp to ripen. Store in the fridge for up to 5 days. Enjoy the taste of summer!
Red Torpedo onions: an heirloom onion from the Mediterranean regions of France and Italy. Like many long names, the original “Red Long of Tropaea” changed to “Red Torpedo” when it made it way to the USA. In any case, they taste great and are pretty to boot. We’ve found that they store particularly well (for onions), both in the fridge and on the counter, for up to 2 months.
Tomatoes: Mother Nature can be subtle, but certainly not when it comes to tomatoes. The greenhouse tomatoes waned a bit in the last week … and then – SURPRISE! A bumper crop of heirlooms are in from the high tunnel.
We’re able to put our certified organic tomatoes on SALE, so those of you who want to can, freeze, or otherwise process, NOW is the time to do it. Here’s a quick way to freeze tomatoes courtesy of our friend Megan Haney up at Marble Valley Farm in Kent:
Quick & Easy Guide to Freezing Tomatoes, by Megan Haney
Cut or pare off any questionable bits
Cut tomato in half, angle knife around the core of the stem to remove tough flesh there
Hold tomato over a compost bucket and gently squeeze, to persuade some of the juice and seeds away
Throw tomatoes in zip-lock bag and freeze
When making sauce or soup in the winter, use as you would canned whole tomatoes, keeping in mind that you might want to puree them if you don’t like how the skin curls up
If your freezer space is limited… and your time less so:
Cut or pare off any questionable bits
Cut tomato in half, angle knife around the core of the stem on each half to remove tough flesh there
Throw tomato in a stockpot with sturdy bottom
Keep going until stockpot is full
Bring to boil then simmer for 6-8 hours or until desired reduction is achieved (no need to add water … juice will prevent scorching); stir once in a while
Puree tomatoes if you don’t like how the skin curls up (an immersion or wand blender is easiest)
Let cool, then pack in plastic containers (quart-sized yogurt containers, eg), leaving one inch headroom, label, freeze
salad mix, pea shoots, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh herbs, salad turnips, Tendersweet cabbage, red cabbage, fresh garlic, carrots and rainbow carrots, red, gold, and chioggia beets, Classic Italian and Rosa Bianca eggplant, mixed Asian and Graffiti eggplant, Red Gold potatoes, Ailsa Craig fresh onions, jalapeño, shishito, and poblano hot peppers, cucumbers, zucchini, zephyr summer squash, frozen baby ginger, sungold, red, and specialty cherry tomatoes, and heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes
Pick Your Own:
Sungold Cherry Tomatoes will open on THURSDAY! In general, the half pints go on sale now too. So sweet! Everyone’s favorite.
Sunflowers keep opening!
Flowers 🌸 … it’s a bonanza of color out there! ON SALE THIS WEEK!
Fresh herbs: parsley, 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
Potato & Sage Frittata with Fresh Tomatoes
Recipe by Kayla Howey
Potato & Sage Sauté
1 tablespoon olive oil
10 oz diced potatoes (about 2 potatoes)
8 oz sliced yellow onions (about 1 medium onion)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage leaves
salt & pepper
2 tablespoons half & half
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons chopped parsley
½ tablespoon chopped fresh chives
4 tablespoons grated Pecorino Romano
10 oz whole milk ricotta cheese
7 oz chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
Potato & Sage Sauté
Preheat the oven to 425°F. In a 10-inch sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add potatoes and season well with salt and pepper. Cook for 3 minutes, lower the heat to medium-low, and add the onions. Season again, and cook until the onions are soft and caramelized, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in the sage.
Meanwhile, combine the eggs, half & half, salt, and pepper. Beat well. Whisk in the parsley, chives, and 2 tablespoons of Pecorino Romano. Pour this mixture into the pan. Stir gently, but do not let the eggs scramble. Let the eggs cook undisturbed until they set around the edges, about 3-4 minutes. Sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons of Pecorino Romano over the top and dollop with ricotta. Transfer the pan to the oven and cook until the eggs are completely set, about 5-6 minutes (see notes).
In a large bowl, toss the tomatoes with the olive oil, parsley, salt, and pepper.
Loosen the sides of the frittata with a spatula and slide it out onto a platter. Cut a piece and garnish with more Pecorino Romano if desired. Season to taste. Top each piece with the fresh tomatoes.
Tomato and Bread Salad with Anchovies and Capers
By Yotam Ottolenghi
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
6 anchovy fillets in oil, drained and finely chopped
3.75 ounces olive oil
Flaked sea salt
3.5 ounces sourdough bread, cut into .75 inch -thick slices, lightly toasted and cut again into 1.5 inch chunks
18 ounces ripe tomatoes, cut into rough 1.5 inch chunks
1 lemon, zest finely grated, to get 1 tsp, then juiced, to get 2 tsp
1 tbsp capers, drained (or rinsed, if salted) and roughly chopped
¼ cup parsley leaves, finely chopped
¼ cup basil leaves, finely chopped
1 tsp urfa chilli flakes (or ½ tsp if using a stronger chilli flake)
Put the first three ingredients and half a teaspoon of salt into a small saucepan on a low heat. Cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the garlic and anchovies soften when mashed with the back of a spoon. Take care that the oil does not get too hot, otherwise the garlic will catch and burn. If the oil does start to bubble too much, just take the pan off the heat until it cools down a little, then return to the stove.
Off the heat, toss the toasted chunks of sourdough in the hot oil until well coated, then use a slotted spoon to transfer the bread to a large bowl, leaving the anchovy and garlic oil in the pan.
Put the tomatoes, lemon zest, lemon juice, capers, three-quarters of the parsley and three-quarters of the basil in the bread bowl, and gently toss everything together to combine.
Transfer the salad to a serving platter, drizzle over the anchovy and garlic oil, scatter the remaining herbs on top and finish with a sprinkling of chilli. Serves four to six.