Farm News, October 1, 2019

Another week of sunny, bright days and pleasant temperatures has me feeling like we have been beamed over to California.  It’s made bringing in the harvest so much easier since we were able to get in the field EVERY day this September.  This is good, because even though it was a very hot summer, we got enough timely rains (and plenty of irrigation), and most crops really responded.  

Parsnip harvest is a big deal (see details under Featured Veg).

The lack of water has made it a little hard to get the cover crops to sprout, and we’ve had to water many of the plantings to make sure the seeds get on their way. With wet weather forecast for the end of this week, looks like the warm, sunny days may be numbered for bringing in the harvest, but we also see an end to irrigation efforts for 2019.

Lauren broadforks the ground of our former propagation greenhouse for what will be the first winter spinach house.

This time of year also brings some big transitions in our greenhouses.  We are cutting down the early tomatoes, clearing out the vines, and prepping the ground for winter spinach and lettuce plantings.  The timing on these plantings is so critical! Luckily Rebecca keeps track of when everything should go in the ground, because being off by even a few days can mean that a crop won’t mature at the time we need it, or conversely, we get bombed with thousands of heads of lettuce in week when we don’t need it.

Luminous Guarding Mountain watches over the field of autumn salad mix.

Otherwise we’ve just get our heads down filling barrels and bins and crates with produce, while occasionally looking up to check out the brilliant blue sky or the leaf show beginning to fire up on the hill.  We hope you enjoyed the September weather as much as we did!

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

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

Featured this week:

Fresh young turmeric: This symbol of health and the tropics is a sticky wicket for us, because of the long, long growing season it requires. Although we start the growing process in February, the shoots don’t emerge until July, and we barely get a crop by the first frost in October! It’s not a money-maker for us in CT, but it sure does keep things interesting. Aside from healthful teas, elixirs, and turmeric milk, folks love to grate it into yogurt, shave onto baked fish, and add to sautés and light sauces. Store in the fridge in a waxed paper bag or a plastic container for 10 days, then freeze whole in a freezer bag. (Do not thaw entire piece, but rather, shave frozen and return piece to the freezer asap.)                                                                                                            

Parsnips: This quintessential New England crop and white member of the carrot family has a candy-like sweetness when roasted. Also yummy shredded raw into slaws or cubed into soups. It’s not widely grown on small farms because it takes nearly a month to germinate (giving the weeds a big head start), needs exacting thinning to produce a nice root (crawling on hands and knees), and has phototoxic leaves! – This means full body coverage is required for harvest, and notably on cloudy day. (This phytotoxicity is NOT persistent on the root itself.) Having said all of that, we hope you enjoy! Stores for a month in fridge crisper drawer. 

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, pea shoots, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh herbs, Chinese Cabbage, garlic, red, gold, and chioggia beets, limited amounts of Classic Italian, Rosa Bianca, and Asian eggplant, leeks, sweet Italian orange and red peppers, mixed sweet bell peppers, yellow storage onions, jalapeño, cayenne, Serrano, shishito, and poblano hot peppers, Dark Red Norland potatoes, Fingerling potatoes, German Butterball potatoes, Satina Gold potatoes, Kennebec potatoes, fresh baby ginger, baby boy choy, salad turnips, escarole, celeriac, fennel, butternut squash, Brussels sprout greens, sungold cherry tomatoes, and heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes

Coming Soon:

sweet potatoes, rutabagas

Pick Your Own:

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes are done for PYO this year. You can still find these sweet treats in the barn.

Flowers: Get these gorgeous flowers before the potential frost on Friday!

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

*** 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

Parsnip Biscuits with Black Pepper and Honey 

From Food52

2 cups all purpose flour

1 teaspoon sea salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

5 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter, cut into small pieces

1/2 cup puréed parsnips (just simmer small chunks of parsnip until quite tender, then purée)

5 tablespoons honey

1/2 cup cold buttermilk, plus more as needed


Heat your oven to 425F. In a medium mixing bowl, stir together the flour, salt, baking powder, and black pepper until combined. Using your fingers or a pastry cutter, blend in the cold butter until there’s a combination of coarse crumbs and pea-sized chunks.

In another bowl, whisk together the parsnip puree, honey, and buttermilk until well blended. Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and dump the wet ingredients into it (you’ll probably have to use a rubber scraper to get all the honey out of the mixing bowl, it likes to stick), and stir just until you have a shaggy dough. If the mixture seems too dry, add a little more buttermilk one spoonful at a time until the mixture comes together in a sticky, shaggy dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and pat it out into a 1-inch thick (or so) square. Cut the square in half, place one half on top of the other and pat it back down to 1-inch thick. Cut in half and stack again, pat it back down. Cut in half and stack one more time and pat it down to a 3/4 or 1-inch thick rectangle. Cut the rectangle into square(ish) biscuits (I prefer this to cutting circles so I don’t have to bother with rerolling scraps). Transfer biscuits to a baking sheet.Bake the biscuits until they’re golden brown and puffed, about 13-15 minutes. Take out of the oven and transfer to a wire cooling rack. Eat these guys warm spread with butter and honey or as the foundation for an epic breakfast sandwich. 

Fresh Turmeric Root Curry 

By Anupama Paliwal, via onegreenplanet


8.8 ounces fresh turmeric root

2 tomatoes, diced

1 1-inch piece ginger, peeled and sliced

4 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

2 onions, chopped

1/4 cup vegan butter

Salt, to taste

2 teaspoons red chili powder

1 tablespoon coriander

1/2 teaspoon garam masala

1 green chili chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1 cup vegan yogurt



Scrape fresh turmeric with a spoon to remove any skin. Grate the turmeric roots and set them aside.

Grind the tomato, ginger, garlic to make a smooth paste. Grind the onion to make a smooth paste.

Combine the chili powder, coriander powder, garam masala, and yogurt in a deep bowl and whisk it well until there is no lumps remain.

Heat the butter in a pan and roast the grated turmeric on medium heat until it turns golden brown.

Drain the roasted turmeric on a plate and set aside. Add the cumin seeds to the same pan. Once the cumin seeds start to crackle, add onion paste. Sauté until the onion paste is golden brown. Add the tomato paste and mix it well. Sauté everything for 2 minutes and add green chilies. Let it cook until you see ghee on sides.

Add the whisked spiced yogurt and stir it continuously for 3-4 minutes. Cover and cook on medium heat until the butter separates. At this stage, you can add water if you want. Add the roasted turmeric, and salt, and mix well. Cook it on medium heat for 7-8 until you see oil floating on the top. Your turmeric curry is ready. Serve it hot with chapati or rice. Serves 6-7.

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