Farm News, October 22, 2019

While fall in Connecticut is famous for the red and yellow foliage in the trees, my favorite color this time of year is the beautiful green that our cover crops show as they reach their peak.  A few frosts don’t bother them at all, and they will keep growing until we get a freezing night in the low to mid 20’s – sometime in the next few weeks.  The same is true for the green in our kale, collards, and broccoli, and this week Rebecca gave the green light to start harvesting Brussels sprouts, which made a good crop this year.  We sell our sprouts on the stalk; kids love the way they look and will actually eat the sprouts once they see where they came from and how they grew.  Speaking of kids, we still have tons of carving pumpkins on sale, so pick up a bunch to carve for Halloween, which is right around the corner.

Brussels sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli thrive under an autumn sky.

This fall continues to be generous and the crew is still spending most of their time harvesting, washing, and packing veggies.  The pace is a little slower, and we’re all a bit tired, but bringing in a quality crop does a lot to brighten the mood, even as the sun sits lower in the horizon, days become cloudier, and storm fronts pass through.  We’ve also been taking some time with the crew to work on some “farmer education lessons,” everything from making a crop plan to dropping the hydraulic oil on a tractor.

Elisabeth finds some nice Gilfeather turnips – a treat that many have been waiting for in the Fort Hill vegetable world.

On the practical front, please check out our fall schedule that we’ve emailed to everyone on our list and posted on the web site.  Farm stand times and dates have changed, and we’ve got a new New Milford Winter Farmers Market to look forward to at Meadowbrook Gardens, thanks to longtime Fort Hill Farm CSA sharers, Pam and Jeff Stevens, who have generously offered us a heated greenhouse space to hold the market.  

Harry and the crew weed the high tunnel lettuce before the weeds take over.

And thanks to all of you who make a special trip to the farm or one of our markets, even in less than stellar weather conditions.  We really appreciate the great reception we have at our farm stand and farmer’s markets! 

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

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

Featured this week:

Brussels sprouts:  these are some of the hardest crops to grow, particularly in sandy soil with organic practices. They take up gobs of space and hold their place in the field from mid-June through October. They need a lot of fertility and have tons of problems with diseases. We’ve been lucky enough to have good crops the last two seasons, and we hope this one is just as good. Just snip off the sprouts, peel off the outer leaves, and enjoy. They are best parboiled/steamed and then pan fried or roasted (see recipe below). Sprouts will store for a while in the fridge

Gilfeather turnips:  if you eat only one more turnip in your life, make sure it’s a Gilfeather. Really a rutabaga, these turnips were developed by a Vermont farmer who carefully guarded his planting stock by only selling turnips with the top ‘neck’ lopped off so nobody else could propagate them.  I guess a few roots escaped ‘intact’ because nowadays they are often grown by small organic farms in the Northeast, but don’t seem to be available anywhere else. Trust us, they are really yummy and taste very different than a store-bought rutabaga, and have justly developed something of a cult following.  They will store for months in your fridge crisper drawer.

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, baby red kale, pea shoots, micro greens, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, collards, spinach, fresh herbs, Chinese, green, and red cabbage, garlic, red, gold, and chioggia beets, limited amounts of Classic Italian, Rosa Bianca, and Asian eggplant, leeks, sweet Italian orange and red peppers, limited amounts of mixed sweet bell peppers, 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 and fresh turmeric, baby boy choy, salad turnips, French Breakfast and red radishes, radicchio, escarole, celeriac, fennel, parsnips, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, sungold cherry tomatoes, and heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes

Coming Soon:

more autumn and winter veggies!

Pick Your Own:

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

Flowers: there are still some beautiful blooms out there

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

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

From Chelsea’s Messy Apron


1.5 pounds Brussels sprouts, trimmed and halved

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted

1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt

1/4 teaspoon EACH: garlic powder, freshly cracked pepper

1/3 cup Panko (or breadcrumbs)*

1/3 cup + 2 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese, separated


Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

Trim the Brussels sprouts and slice large ones in half. Place in a large bowl and drizzle over olive oil and melted butter. Add in the salt, garlic powder, and pepper. Toss gently until seasonings are evenly distributed and sprouts are well coated in the oil/butter. They need to have enough oil and butter so the panko & Parmesan will stick; add an additional tablespoon of oil IF needed. Finally, add in the Panko and 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese. Again, toss gently to ensure the panko and Parmesan coats all the sprouts.

Transfer to a large baking sheet and spread the Brussels sprouts so they aren’t overlapping. Some of the panko/parmesan will fall to the tray and that’s fine as long as most of the sprouts are well coated in it. If not, sprinkle the mixture on the sprouts.

Bake 18-23 minutes or until sprouts are lightly browned, tender, and the Parmesan cheese is melted. (May vary depending on actual oven temperature and size of sprouts). Remove from the oven and sprinkle the remaining 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese on the hot Brussels sprouts. I like to grab some of the toasted Panko from the tray and add it on top of the bowl of Brussels sprouts!

Enjoy immediately. Serves 4-6.

Alabaster (Turnip and Potato Puree)

Recipe by Rozanne Gold

2-1/2 pounds large white turnips

2-1/2 pounds large red-skinned potatoes

8 tablespoons unsalted butter

Scrub turnips and potatoes but do not peel.  Place in a large heavy pot with a cover and add salted water to cover.  Bring to a rapid boil then lower heat to medium. Cover and cook 40 minutes, or until vegetables are very soft.  Drain in a colander.  Peel turnips and potatoes under cool running water.  In a large bowl, mash both vegetables well with a potato masher.  Add butter, a little at a time.  Add salt and white pepper to taste, then whip with a wire whisk until smooth and fluffy. Serve immediately or reheat over low heat.  Serves 6 or more.

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