Farm News, September 3, 2019

August is behind us, school starts up, and temperatures moderate, but summer is not quite over!  We still have plenty of cherry and beefsteak tomatoes, although the heirlooms are in a bit of a recovery mode.  Peppers are coming in strong, with fall favorites like leeks and celeriac coming out of the fields.  We’ve got one block of corn left, but the cool nights have made it a little late to the game, so it’s hard to peg exactly when we will have it over the next 10 days.  And then corn season will be over, so get it while you can!  Lettuce, chard, kale, arugula and salad mix are enjoying the cooler weather and making great crops.

James and the giant kale harvest.

Meanwhile, we’ve begun to dig potatoes in earnest.  We’ve got the gold fleshed Satina and the classic Dark Red Norland, and if we get enough time, we’ll surprise you with another variety as well.  Cool nights mean the garlic is all cured and ready for us to process on some rainy day.

We’ve unearthed Bed 2 of many of these heavy gems … let the season of back stretches begin!

We’ve been watching Hurricane Dorian with a sense of dread, as this monster storm stalled over the Bahamas and wrought terrible damage to folks on that island nation. It’s a reminder that as the oceans have warmed, largely due to all the carbon dioxide we’ve pumped into the atmosphere, new data demonstrate that storms HAVE grown increasingly stronger, with huge volumes of water to dump when they reach landfall, and catastrophic winds.  Even the remnants of a storm that big could cause a lot of damage to the crops in our field that are either completing their growth of waiting for us to harvest them.

Early morning on a farm holds great beauty.

It makes me grateful for the last couple of months, which though on the hot and dry side, were close enough to the conditions most of our crops need to bring in a great harvest. I’ve been able to make it to some farmers markets, and spend more time at the farm stand lately, and want to thank many of you for your kind remarks about our veggies, and for making the effort to support our efforts to grow the best local, organic produce we can.  We have a good plan, and a great crew, but really so much of this is out of our control.  I think back to last year at this time, when three months of torrential rain and hot weather had decimated a year’s worth of hard work, and I find it very humbling, though 2019 has been a successful season so far.  I’m concerned because I have been gardening and farming for long enough to see that it is becoming increasingly more difficult.  We are running out of time to change course, and as we go into an election year, I hope that all of us will have man-made climate change on our minds and send leaders to Washington who recognize this as an existential threat that must be dealt with now.  We need to get going with plans to de-carbonize our economy that can bring new economic growth and new opportunity while simultaneously stabilizing the climate that was gifted to us.

Keep up the good work of eating your veggies, and let’s keep doing everything we can possibly do as individuals and a community to make a difference.

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

Featured this week:

Celeriac: (AKA celery root) this is a veggie that people take some getting used to, but then become big fans. A cousin of celery, celeriac is grown for its large stem, although the greens, if in good condition, can be used in vegetable stock and soups.  The root should be washed, peeled, and then cubed.  Can be roasted with other fall root veggies, but steals the show in soups and stews.  Try the tasty recipes below, one vegan, one vegan-free. Stores for many months in the fridge crisper.  

Dark Red Norland potatoes:  a favorite classic waxy summer potato salad potato.  Also great baked and smashed or roasted.  Store for at least a month in a dark, dry place at room temperature.  Do not refrigerate spuds!

Satina Gold potatoes:  this potato has wonderful yellow flesh, similar to Yukon Gold.  We find them equally yummy, plus unlike Yukon Gold, they don’t drop dead when the first leafhopper bug appears. Folks love ’em for their distinct satiny texture.

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, pea shoots, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh herbs, savoy cabbage, red cabbage, garlic, carrots, red and chioggia beets, Classic Italian and Rosa Bianca eggplant, mixed Asian and Graffiti eggplant, leeks, sweet Italian orange and red peppers, sweet red, green, and mixed bell peppers, Ailsa Craig onions, jalapeño, cayenne, Serrano, shishito, and poblano hot peppers, cucumbers, zephyr summer squash, fresh and frozen baby ginger, baby boy choy, escarole, corn as we have it, the first of the fennel, the last of the red watermelon, sungold, red, and specialty cherry tomatoes, and heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes

Coming Soon:

Blue Gold potatoes, broccoli

Pick Your Own:

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes are OPEN while they continue to flourish! Everyone’s favorite.

Sunflowers: are winding down but still cheery

Flowers 🌸 … the late patch is still going strong. ON SALE AGAIN THIS WEEK!

Fresh herbs: parsley, thyme, sage, oregano, marjoram, chives. We’ve had a number of failed cilantro and dill plantings are waiting for the next to come in.

*** 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

Roasted Shiitake With Celeriac Potato Purée 

From One Green Planet


For the Mushrooms:

8 ounces Shiitake mushrooms, woody stems removed and sliced (or 8 ounces Portobellos, sliced)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 teaspoon minced fresh rosemary

1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

For the Purée:

1 celeriac, outer skin removed and diced

1 large gold potato, skin removed and diced

2 teaspoons coconut butter (or vegan butter)

1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

1 tablespoon chives, finely chopped, plus more for garnish

3 tablespoons nutritional yeast

2-3 tablespoons cashew milk (or other non-dairy)

Sea salt and pepper to taste


To make the mushrooms, preheat your oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Toss together the mushrooms, oil, herbs, salt, and pepper in a bowl until everything is well combined. Let the mushrooms sit and marinate for at least 15 minutes, then arrange them in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast the mushrooms for 15-20 minutes until they are tender and the edges are just starting to turn golden.

To make the purée, steam the potato and celeriac together until fork tender. Add the potato and celeriac to a food processor along with the coconut butter, lemon juice, chives, nutritional yeast, cashew milk, salt, and pepper. Run the food processor until a relatively smooth puree forms. Taste the puree and season with more salt/pepper as necessary. If the puree seems a bit too thick, mix in more cashew milk.

To serve, put down a nice bed of the puree, then top it with a heap of the roasted mushrooms and a sprinkling of fresh chives. You can also plate it up on one large platter if you want to serve it family style. Makes 2-3 dinner sized portions or 4-5 side servings. 

Smoked Haddock and Celeriac Bake 

From realfood


1 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, sliced

1 rosemary sprig, leaves picked and chopped

2 smoked haddock fillets

200ml (1/3pt) milk

1 dried bay leaf

pinch nutmeg

1 garlic clove, halved

250g (8oz) celeriac or potato, finely sliced

75ml (3fl oz) double cream

20g (3/4oz) Gruyère, grated

salad, to serve


Preheat the oven to gas 3, 170°C, fan 150°C. Heat the oil in a large pan, then cook the onion and rosemary with a pinch of salt for 5 minutes, or until softened.

Put the fish, skin-side down, in a pan with the milk, bay leaf and nutmeg. Gently bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 4 minutes.

Transfer the fish to a plate with a slotted spoon, reserving 75ml (3f oz) poaching liquid. Flake the fish and discard the skin.

Rub a small baking dish with the garlic. Add a layer of celeriac, followed by a layer of fish and the onion mixture; season with black pepper. Repeat until the ingredients are used up, finishing with a layer of celeriac.

In a jug, combine the reserved poaching liquid and the cream. Pour it over the celeriac and scatter with the cheese. Cover with foil and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove the foil and increase the heat to gas 6, 200°C, fan 180°C. Bake for 15 minutes more, or until golden. Serve with salad. Serves 2.

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