Farm News, JULY 7, 2020

After last week’s soaking rain brought an end to an essentially rain-less June, we found ourselves in the opposite situation.  Almost daily showers and thunderstorms made it difficult for us to prepare new beds for planting, add fertilizer, and cultivate.  Luckily weather forecasting has improved a great deal over the past few decades and we had a good idea that the rain faucet was going from “off” to “on,” so last week we quickly dropped the irrigation pipes and we spent a harried few days getting a week’s worth of cultivating tasks done in just a few days before the rainy spell set in. 

Adam strings the peppers. The pepper trellis is one task where timing is everything … one big storm and one day late means that the plants topple and the first 3 weeks of peppers are ruined from sun scald.

The crops have responded to the heat and moisture and we are seeing bumper crops of cucumbers, summer squash, carrots, beets, kale, chard, spinach, and lettuce.  Our greenhouse tomatoes, with their roots in the compost-enriched soil we painstakingly amended this spring, are rewarding us with juicy sweet sungold and red cherry tomatoes, along with a very nice crop of heirloom and slicing tomatoes.  We are just waiting for the first corn to come in to complete the summer menu; my guess is somewhere around mid-July.

James pulls carrots on a wet day last week.

The BIG news this week is garlic. It’s time to pull, bunch, and hang the 2020 crop.  We will have fresh green garlic available this week, in all its graceful stalky glory, and the bulbs should last us all the way through mid-winter.  Our dedicated crew has taken the 90 degree days in stride, diligently weeding and planting in the afternoon sun.  Hopefully we will be able to choose some slightly cooler days to bring in all 22,000 bulbs! And I guess Mother Nature is kind, because we couldn’t pull this off during strawberry picking season either!

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul, Rebecca, Lauren and the Fort Hill Farm crew

A sea of garlic to get pulled this week. This is no small job!

Featured this week:

Fresh garlic:  just when a farmer thinks July can’t get any busier, her half acre of garlic all needs to be pulled and hung to cure within a one-week window.  We’re beginning this task in earnest today, and will have the first fresh garlic stalks pulled and available.  Enjoy the juiciness of the fresh cloves! Store on the counter for several weeks.  Our garlic is a German White (porcelain) variety with big, easy peeling cloves and wonderful flavor roasted or chopped into oil for your favorite recipe.

Purplette onions:  first onions of the season, very pretty, so tasty, and pulled fresh. Remember: good things come in small packages. Tear off tops and store in fridge crisper for up to a month. 

Green Conehead Cabbage: a pointy headed cabbage that is great for slaws and salads.  It’s a very sweet cabbage; pair it with our fabulous fennel in the recipe below. Store up to 3 weeks in the fridge crisper. 

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, spinach, fresh basil, red and French Breakfast radishes, Asian and slicing cucumbers, scallions, fennel, red beets, Chinese cabbage, radicchio, carrots, rainbow carrots, garlic scapes, Patty Pan, Zephyr, Yellow Squash and zucchini, sungold and red cherry tomatoes, heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes

Coming Soon:

Sweet corn! …the first of Chioggia and gold beets

Pick Your Own:

Perennial herbs – for your fresh summer salads and grilling:

Chives– clip a few stems at the base

Oregano, Sage and Thyme – Trim the tops 4 ” down

PYO begins 30 minutes before and goes 30 minutes beyond barn hours.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie. For more recipes, check out the Fort Hill Farm Recipe Database

To mix things up, I’m going to try to feature one farm classic recipe and one new one this year …


From AFarmGirl’sDabbles                                                                                         Yields: 2 cups

This recipe is incredibly quick and easy to make. The pickled onions are awesome with so many different meals – you’ll quickly become addicted to having them on hand at all times!


1 large red onion

1 c. apple cider vinegar

1/2 c. red wine vinegar

1/4 c. sugar

1 tsp. kosher salt

1/8 tsp. ground allspice

pinch of red pepper flakes


Slice the top and bottom off the onion and then slice onion in half, from top to bottom. Remove the outer peel. Lay the cut surfaces of the onion onto the cutting board, and then slice into half moons about 1/8″ thick using a very sharp knife. I also recommend using a mandoline for slicing the onions, especially if you like super thin or very even slices. 

In a medium saucepan, whisk together apple cider vinegar, red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt. Place over medium-high heat and bring mixture to a boil. Whisk until sugar and salt dissolve, then remove pan from heat and whisk in allspice and red pepper flakes.

Carefully add sliced onion to the pan and gently stir to combine. Let mixture cool completely at room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Cabbage and Fennel Coleslaw

From Foodista


1 small firm green cabbage

1 teaspoon sugar

1 medium fennel bulb, stalks discarded, fronds set aside

1 teaspoon salt

Juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup plain strained Greek-style yogurt

2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar

1/4 cup sour cream

1 teaspoon fennel or anise seeds, toasted

Pepper and dill, to taste

1) Remove any tough outer leaves from the cabbage. Quarter it and cut away the core. With a mandoline, slice the wedges thinly and transfer to a large bowl.

2) Cut the fennel bulbs in half lengthwise. Cut away the core. Slice the fennel thinly on the mandoline and add to the cabbage.

3) Chop the fronds finely and add to the vegetables. Toss well.

4) In a small bowl, stir together the lemon juice, vinegar, fennel or anise seeds, sugar, and salt. Pour over the cabbage mixture and toss again.

5) Refrigerate for an hour. This will allow it to macerate and the flavors to enhance.

6) With tongs, transfer the slaw to another bowl, leaving behind all but 1 to 2 tablespoons of liquid.

7) In a small bowl, whisk together the yogurt and sour cream and dill. Add to the cabbage and toss to combine.

8) Add pepper and dill, taste for seasoning, and add more salt, if you like.

9) Refrigerate for about 1 hour.

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