Farm News, August 11, 2020

The Farmstand is open today from 2 – 6:30 PM (PYO Hours: 1:30 – 7)

This Week’s Farm News:

Last week was all about just one thing:  Storm Isaias.  We weren’t sure what to make of this storm.  Would we get a few passing showers?  Would we get walloped by high winds and heavy rain?  We opted to play it on the safe side and canceled the Tuesday farm stand, but we were still hoping to clean up the weeds in greenhouses and trellis the tomatoes in the high tunnel. Then we got the tornado warnings and realized this was going to be more of a direct hit.  We pulled the crew off of the farm and sat in the basement for a while, and then called it a day.

Paul might be smiling on the outside, but corn harvest turned treasure hunt is not a game he or I want to play!

We were luckier than most.  We did have some corn blown down and found picking ears in a flattened patch where you can see all around you as a new experience.  We had several trees blown down, including one that landed on our deer fence.  Importantly, the electric service to the farm was not interrupted.  This was very fortunate as our four coolers were stuffed with veggies.  Unfortunately, our neighbors and customers were not so lucky, and the widespread power outages and blocked roads lead to farmers market cancellations.  Many folks did not have a working fridge, and we quickly learned that folks without a fridge don’t come to farm stands or farmers’ markets to buy veggies.  

Adam expertly cuts the arugula in what could possibly be his 1000th arugula harvest.

We hope you weathered the storm safely and have your power restored, because we have an ABUNDANCE of really great produce for you to restock your kitchen!   One of the big events of August is watermelon harvest.  Adam, Emma, and James spent most of the 90 degree Monday picking sweet red and yellow watermelons and loading them into bins to get them to the barn.  It’s also high tomato season, and with literally tons of heirloom, beefsteak, and cherry tomatoes coming in.  

Looking ahead! The ginger and turmeric got off to an usually slow start in the spring. We hope to dig the first hands of ginger in the next couple of weeks.

While uncomfortable for humans, these dog days of summer yield fruits and vegetables with some of the most memorable flavors … flavors that imprint … hopefully lasting long enough to get us through the winter to the next growing season.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul, Rebecca, Lauren and the Fort Hill Farm crew

Featured this week:

Red Watermelon:  It must be high summer because we have a barn full of delicious watermelon, both red and yellow. Chill, slice, and enjoy, or see recipe below.  They should be ripe and ready to eat, but if you must, store in fridge for up to one week.

Rainbow Swiss Chard:  familiarity breeds contempt … maybe that’s why chard is one of the most underrated yet versatile cooking greens? It has a uniquely deep flavor when paired with beans (see recipe below), cheese, or sausage, sautéed with garlic and onions, or added to stews, and it can sub for its sister, spinach, in any recipe. It is really one of the workhorses of the farm from spring to fall. I consider chard to be a MVP green!

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, Zephyr Squash and zucchini, sungold and red cherry tomatoes, heirloom and beefsteak tomatoes, sweet corn, green bell peppers, Jalapeño and shishito peppers, Ailsa Craig and Red Torpedo fresh onions, Red Gold potatoes, limited pea shoots and radicchio

Coming Soon:

fresh ginger, 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, but the new planting might be in by the end of the week – early next week for sure

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 …

Sonoran Sunset Watermelon Ice

From Taste Of Home  YIELD: 6 servings


1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup water

4 cups cubed seedless watermelon

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons pomegranate juice

1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro

Dash salt


1. In a small saucepan, bring sugar and water to a boil; cook and stir until sugar is dissolved. Cool completely.

2. Puree watermelon in a blender. Transfer to a large bowl; stir in sugar syrup and remaining ingredients. Refrigerate until cold.

3. Pour watermelon mixture into cylinder of ice cream maker; freeze according to manufacturer’s directions. Transfer to freezer containers, allowing headspace for expansion. Freeze 4 hours or until firm.

Braised White Beans with Chard

By Aida Mollenkamp 


1 pound Swiss chard

1/3 cup olive oil

1 medium yellow onion, small dice

5 medium garlic cloves, finely chopped

Freshly ground black pepper

4 (15-ounce) cans cannellini beans, drained and rinsed

1 1/2 cups low-sodium vegetable or chicken broth

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more as needed

1/3 cup coarsely chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar


Trim the ends from the chard stems and discard. Cut off the stems at the base of the leaves and slice crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces; place in a small bowl and set aside. Stack the leaves and cut them into bite-size pieces; set aside.

Heat the oil in a Dutch oven or a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat until shimmering. Add the reserved chard stems, onion, and garlic and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables have softened, about 8 minutes.

Add the chard leaves, beans, broth, and measured salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the leaves are wilted and the mixture has come to a simmer. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the chard is tender and the broth has thickened slightly, about 5 minutes more.

Remove from the heat and stir in the parsley and vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed.

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