Farm News, August 4, 2020

PLEASE NOTE: The Farmstand is CLOSED TODAY! We have decided that the risk to customers and farm crew is too great, given the forecast and the fact that the barn cannot be used as shelter due to COVID protocols. 

We look forward to seeing you Thursday!

This Week’s Farm News:

As I write this it looks like our two month drought is about to be extinguished by a tropical storm.  We’d like to order a steady, gentle rain, with a side of occasional thunder, hold the tornadoes/hurricane force winds, but unfortunately nature doesn’t work that way.  The last three years have been a similar pattern:  very cold springs with very dry and hot summers, and I’m beginning to wonder if climate change will be bringing us more of this in the future.  It’s discouraging that we continue to dither on making the big changes that would prevent a further warping of our already finicky New England climate.  Farmers are super exposed in this unknown future, and the effects of drought, extreme temperatures, and increased storm intensity are more visible and visceral to us than perhaps to the average citizen.  

The last of the summer scallions is overseen by corn and the mighty sun.

Due to some diligent irrigating on the part of our crew, the harvest rolls on.  Tomatoes are filling up our tomato cooler. Corn, squash, and cuke harvests roll on as new plantings come in and old plantings go out.  Given the heat, we still have surprisingly good harvests of lettuce, kale, basil, and chard. Arugula is looking good too, and the heat has given it an extra kick.  

The sunflower patch is spreading joy.

Right now I’ve got to get back to some broken truck problems that need immediate attention.  It’s part of the conundrum that small farmers face:  we’re just like everyone else living in the fossil fuel economy.  Gotta get that diesel truck back on the road so we can get crops to market…  I think it really brings home that as a nation we need to invest in carbon neutral, energy efficient technologies now and make them widely available and affordable to everyone.  America is capable of that kind of thinking:  we carried the Allies to victory in two world wars, put people on the moon, and built space stations.  We think that the Green New Deal comes closest to mobilizing the kind of response that is needed, and our hope is we can muster one last stand to keep the world’s thermostat in a livable range.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul, Rebecca, Lauren and the Fort Hill Farm crew

Paul and James get some dry soil “hak” cultivating in before the rains.

Featured this week:

Red Gold potatoes:  This early spud kicks off our potato harvest and satisfies that undeniable craving for potato salad. They are light red potatoes with a hint of yellow in the flesh, and we find them to be more moist and delicious than the more common Yukon Gold. Stores for at least a month in a dark, dry place at room temperature.  Do not refrigerate spuds!

Sungold Cherry Tomatoes:  are open to PYO! I know we featured cherry tomatoes last week, but this is an exciting moment for sungold lovers.

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. They are pretty and taste great.  We’ve found that they store particularly well (for onions), both in the fridge and on the counter for up to 2 months.

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, head lettuce (5 – 7 kinds available at any given time!), curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh basil, cilantro, chives, sage, and thyme, red and French Breakfast radishes, slicing cucumbers, scallions, red, Chioggia and gold beets, Tendersweet cabbage, red cabbage, fresh carrots, garlic, Patty Pan, Zephyr Squash and zucchini, sungold and red cherry tomatoes, heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes, sweet corn, green bell peppers, Jalapeño and shishito peppers, PYO Green and Wax beans, Ailsa Craig and Red Torpedo fresh onions, limited pea shoots and radicchio

Coming Soon:

watermelon, eggplant

Pick Your Own:

SUNGOLDS! open for PYO now

Sunflowers! are in full swing. Small heads may be included in a flower bouquet. Large heads are sold by the stem.

Flowers – open for picking!

Beans: taking a break, new planting will be in soon

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 classic farm recipe and one new one this year …

Grilled Potato Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette

By Food and Wine


1 1/2 pounds fingerling potatoes

Kosher salt

10 scallions, trimmed

1/3 cup extra- virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing

Ground black pepper

2 tablespoons rice vinegar

2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Piment d’Espelette (see Note)

1 small jalapeño, stemmed, seeded and thinly sliced

How to Make It

Step 1

In a large saucepan, cover the potatoes with water and bring to a boil. Add a generous pinch of salt and simmer over moderate heat until just tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and let cool slightly, then halve lengthwise.

Step 2

Meanwhile, light a grill or preheat a grill pan. Brush the scallions with oil and season with salt and black pepper. Grill over high heat, turning, until lightly charred, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a plate, cover with plastic wrap and let steam for 10 minutes. Cut the scallions into 1-inch lengths.

Step 3

Brush the potatoes with oil and season with salt and pepper. Grill cut side down over high heat until lightly charred, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate.

Step 4

In a large bowl, whisk the 1/3 cup of olive oil with the vinegar and lemon juice. Add the scallions and potatoes and toss well. Season with salt and piment d’Espelette and toss again. Scatter the jalapeño slices on top, garnish with a large pinch of piment d’Espelette and serve warm or at room temperature.


Piment d’Espelette, a mildly spicy ground red pepper from the Basque region of France, is available at specialty food shops and

Italian Grilled Zucchini and Red Onion

By Anthony Rosenfeld of Cooking Light     Yield 8 servings (serving size: about 3/4 cup)


1 tablespoon olive oil

4 (1/2-inch- thick) slices red onion (about 1 large)

2 pounds small zucchini, cut lengthwise into (1/4-inch- thick) slices

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided

1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1/3 cup (about 1 1/2 ounces) shaved fresh Parmigiano- Reggiano cheese

2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh mint

Step 1

Prepare grill to medium-high heat.

Step 2

Combine first 3 ingredients in a large bowl. Sprinkle zucchini mixture with 1/4 teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper; toss gently to coat. Arrange vegetables in a single layer on a grill rack; grill 4 minutes on each side or until zucchini is tender and vegetables are well marked. Remove zucchini from grill; reduce grill heat to medium-low. Grill onion an additional 5 minutes or until tender. Combine zucchini, onion, and vinegar in a large bowl, tossing to coat. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, cheese, and mint.

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