2015 CSA Newsletters

 

Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 21
October 20, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

I remember a tinge of smugness in last week’s newsletter as I announced that we were wrapping up one of our most abundant seasons ever with tons of food  and that it should be “smooth sailing” for the last week of the CSA.  Mother Nature has very good ears, and has a way of hearing these things and deciding one needs a dope slap. She sent in the form of a very nasty freeze, which occurred over Sunday night.  The crew, and in particular Elliott and Amanda, pulled out all the stops to cover as much of the tender greens as we could, but as I write this on a frozen Monday morning, we are waiting for the farm to thaw so we can see what’s left.  The good news is much of our harvest was safely tucked away in storage (sweet potatoes and butternut squash), or under ground waiting to be dug (potatoes, parsnips, and carrots), or very cold hardy (cabbage, kale, collards, spinach).

Luca hides out in the fresh turmeric. Both the turmeric and its tropical friend, baby ginger, survived the weekend freeze under row cover.

            This is the last week of the CSA and all in all it has been a great year.  After a cold start, we had generally dry and warm conditions all summer and an ideal fall growing season.  We managed to dodge violent thunderstorms and breathed a sigh of relief as a late season hurricane churned out to the Atlantic.  Our crew was a wonderful group of young people who kept the farm chugging along despite very dry conditions and fields that seems weedier than usual.  Elliott McGann took up the slack as field manager as Rebecca and I learned how to balance parenting and farming, and his extra efforts are a big part of the farm’s success this year.  Our apprentice crew of Amanda San Fiorenzo-de Orbeta, Justin Martel, Rae Moore, and Jonathan Hayden put in some long hours and got the crops in the ground, watered, weeded, picked and packed.  We had a big boost from our farm crew staff Bailey Deutsch, Lauren Henderson-Tamowski, Mark Ventresca, and Adam Quattro, who along with volunteers Gabriella Oliviera and Carmen Pastore kept the bunched greens and roots coming in and jumped into help anywhere we needed them.  We also get a lift from CSA sharers Christin Laughlin, who helps distribute produce on Thursday, and Kristyn Candullo who handles our books.  Behind the scenes is the intrepid Westport Market crew, who shows up in all kinds of weather: John McGuigan, Sara Jaeger, Jon Jaeger and Jalna Jaeger.  It’s been a pleasure to work with these folks and we’re looking forward to seeing many of them back next season.  It’s with much sadness and thanks that we say farewell to Amanda who will head back to school to finish her studies in Puerto Rico after working on our farm for three seasons.

Writing the last newsletter of a season leaves me with some mixed emotions.  I’d be lying if I didn’t say the first emotion that comes to my mind is relief.  It’s a big project to get each week’s distribution set, the newsletter written, and all the veggies cut, bunched, or pulled.  We are definitely looking forward to turning our attention to the big fall projects at hand:  planting 22,000 cloves of garlic, pulling up hundreds of trellis sticks, cleaning up messes we have pushed aside since the spring, making and spreading compost, and generally putting the farm fields to bed.  But there’s a tinge of sadness knowing that another season has passed, the crew will disperse, and CSA sharers will be away for the winter.  The good news is that when the weather warms in the spring, we’ll fire it up and start all over, and we hope to see you then.
Hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest.

Paul, for Rebecca, Paul, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew

Mark exercises some quality control in the Gilfeather turnips.

Featured This Week

Gilfeather turnip:  if you eat only one more turnip in your life, make sure it’s a Gilfeather.  These are actually rutabagas, with a sweet, mild flavor.  Great mashed alone or with potatoes, or try them cubed into soups and stews. They really shine when roasted. Will hold for months in your fridge crisper.
Red Maria potatoes:  these are really yummy, ruby red round potatoes that don’t happen to be very pretty on the outside.  Don’t judge a book by its cover!  They are waxy and very moist, great for mashed, boiling, and roasting.
Yellow Storage Onions: we’re closing the season with some of our hard won storage onions, which can be particularly challenging to grow in our sandy soil. Keep them cool and dry, and they should store for several weeks.

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, carrots, garlic, rainbow chard, eggplant, green bell peppers, sweet bell and Italian peppers, jalapeños, red beets, Chioggia and golden beets, red and gold potatoes, Adirondack Blue potatoes, radicchio, escarole, bok choy, celeriac, collards, leeks, broccoli raab, green cabbage, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, parsnips, Brussels sprouts

Coming soon:
CSA Produce Sale November 7 and the New Milford and Westport Markets!

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)

The freeze put almost everything out of commission.  Still some herbs and parsley, take what you can use for fresh use and drying.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Butternut Squash and Rosemary Biscuits
From Completely Delicious
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 cup butter, cold and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cups buttermilk, chilled
1 cup butternut squash (from about 1/2 small butternut squash), cut into 1 inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 egg, beaten, for egg wash
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Toss the butternut squash with the olive oil and spread evenly on a sheet pan. Bake until tender, about 20 minutes. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line another sheet pan with parchment paper.
In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, sugar, and baking powder. Add the cold butter and cut into the flour mixture with a pastry cutter or a fork until the butter is the size of small peas. Add the butternut squash and rosemary to the mixture and toss together. Make a well in the center and add the buttermilk. Mix with a spoon until just combined, adding more buttermilk a teaspoon at a time if necessary to work the dough together. But be careful not to make the dough too wet or work it too much.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and flatten with your hands to be about 2 inches thick. Cut out circles and place on the prepared sheet pan. Brush the tops with the egg wash.

Bake until the tops are golden brown, 12-15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Makes 12 large biscuits

Potato and Rutabaga Gratin
From Saveur
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup flour
2 cups milk
1 cup heavy cream
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 lb. rutabagas, peeled and very thinly sliced
1 tbsp. minced thyme leaves
2 cups (about 4 oz.) grated Gruyére cheese
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Heat oven to 425°. Heat butter and oil in a 6-qt. saucepan over medium-high heat; add garlic and onion, and cook, stirring often, until soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in flour, and cook until smooth, about 1 minute. Add milk and cream, and stir until smooth. Add potatoes, rutabagas, and 2 tsp. thyme, and bring mixture to a boil; cook, stirring often, until vegetables are slightly tender and broken apart, about 5 minutes. Stir in half the cheese and salt and pepper, and then transfer to a 9″ × 13″ baking dish; top with remaining cheese and bake until golden brown and bubbling, about 25 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining thyme before serving. Serves 6-8.
Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 20
October 13, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

We’re getting into the home stretch for the 2015 CSA.  After a brief day of rain a week ago, it has been mostly dry and pleasant, with a beautiful backdrop of fall colors to make the shortening days extra special.  Last week we powered in the sweet potatoes and they are curing nicely in our greenhouse.  We’ll have them available, along with butternut squash, for the last two weeks of the CSA.  The avalanche of peppers has slowed to a crawl and we should have them mostly harvested by the end of the week. That should keep us mostly ahead of the low temperatures predicted for week’s end, which will likely bring us our first frost.  The crew cleaned up the storage onion crop and they are ready for the taking.

Now we’ll turn our attention to sorting the remainder of our garlic.  About a quarter of the harvest has to go back in the ground to give us next year’s crop, and we’ll need to start prepping ground soon for the big garlic planting we do in early November.  Once we have the cold sensitive crops safely under wraps, we can turn our attention to digging the rest of the spuds, and only then can we focus on the last of the cold hardy roots like carrots and parsnips.

Jonathan, Justin, and Gabriela pack up the morning’s leeks.
            With all this root talk it’s still amazing to look around and see the great variety and quality of our greens crops this week.  The dry weather has helped quite a bit, and the lack of frost has kept them in good supply.  We even carved out some time to take a long-awaited crew day off and swing through the trees and fly down some zip lines at an adventure park in the forest.  Looks like smooth sailing to wrap up the CSA season.
Hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest.

Paul, for Rebecca, Paul, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew

Amanda and Rae clip on and off the tree to take some scary steps high up in the adventure forest.

Featured This Week

Adirondack Blue potatoes:  blue skins, blue flesh potato and very tasty too.  We should have these in distribution for the next two weeks.
Brussels Sprouts:  one of the most challenging vegetables to grow. This year the sprouts are a bit on the small side but dry weather tends to keep them cleaner. Its always fun to see kids excited by the thought of eating them!  We cut the whole stalk for you to take home. Simply cut the sprouts off and store in the fridge.  They hold for many weeks.

Parsnips:  a quintessential New England crop.  Great roasted or in soups and stews.  Will store for months in your fridge crisper.  We suggest you refrigerate them for a few days before cooking to sweeten them up a bit, as the soil temps have been a little on the warm side this month.

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, carrots, garlic, rainbow chard, eggplant, green bell peppers, sweet bell and Italian peppers, jalapeños, red beets, Chioggia and golden beets, red and gold potatoes, radicchio, escarole, bok choy, celeriac, collards, leeks, broccoli raab, green cabbage, butternut squash, sweet potatoes

Coming soon:
Gilfeather turnips, Red Maria potatoes

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)

Cut flowers:  Gleanings
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples
By Gena Hamshaw via Food 52
1 pound butternut squash, cubed
1 pound Brussels sprouts, halved
1 medium gala apple, cut into a 1/2 inch dice
2 shallots, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided into 2 tbsp and 1 tbsp
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup celery, diced
10 slices bread of choice: crusty sourdough, dry cornbread, whole grain, or, if you are gluten free, millet bread from Food For Life will work nicely. Prior to preparing the recipe, leave bread out for a day to become slightly dry, then cut into cubes.
1 ½ cups vegetable broth (plus extra as needed)
2 teaspoons fresh rosemary, chopped
1 teaspoon fresh thyme
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup pecans or walnuts
Sea salt and pepper to taste
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Toss the squash, Brussels sprouts, apples, and shallots in 2 tbsp oil and season well with salt and pepper. Roast till vegetables are very tender (I actually like my sprouts a bit singed) and remove from oven. Reduce oven heat to 350. Heat other tbsp oil in a large pot. Sautee the onion and celery till translucent (about 5-8 min). Add the bread cubes and allow them to get golden brown with the veggies in the oil. Add a dash of salt and pepper. Add the roasted vegetables, vegetable broth, cranberries, pecans, and seasonings. Stir the mix till the broth has almost entirely absorbed in the toasted bread. Transfer to a baking sheet and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Serve hot. And delicious. Serves 6.

Smashed Parsnips with Mascarpone Cheese
Adapted from the Food Network
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 onion, diced
1/2 cup mascarpone or sour cream
1/4 cup freshly chopped parsley leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add the parsnips. Cook until the parsnips are tender, about 10 minutes. Drain.
2. Heat a pot over medium-high heat and add the butter. Allow to melt together. Add onions and saute until caramelized, 6 minutes.
3. Add parsnips to pot. Turn heat off and add the mascarpone. Stir together and mash, adding parsley, salt and pepper.
Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 19
October 6, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

This week’s Farm News is brought to you apprentice Rae Moore.  Rae helped us finish off the fall season in 2013 after working on another local farm, and last year was on staff at the Rodale Research Institute, a research and outreach center for organic agriculture.  Rae writes:

One of the things that drew me to farming was the desire to understand and connect with the earth. Farmers are always looking for more efficient and effective ways to run both the business and growing aspects of their operation. So when Paul told me how intrigued he was with biochar and its potential to improve the soil, I jumped at the chance to set up a little field trial. You may have seen it as you drove past – a 40 x 45 ft patch of zucchini on the southeast corner of the farm.
Rae stands amidst her biochar test plots in early spring.

Biochar is essentially charcoal, burned in such a way that it eliminates most of the tar found in cooking charcoal and preserves the porous structure of the wood parent material. Biochar was used for centuries by agricultural societies in South America, and these indigenous peoples were able to profoundly change the nutrient-poor jungle soils they farmed using charred wood mixed with compost.  These modified soils are still fertile even today.

Biochar may benefit soil in all sorts of ways, from increasing the nutrient holding capacity of soil to boosting soil microbe populations. We were particularly interested in its effects on disease resistance due to the sad tendency of our summer squash crops to be overwhelmed by downy and powdery mildews in late summer. Would biochar help our zucchini stand up to disease? To test our hypothesis we set up an experiment with 6 different treatments ranging from an impractically expensive dose of biochar mixed with compost, down to our control of zero amendments. We arranged them to have 4 repetitions of each treatment laid out in a randomized design. This design minimizes the influence of personal bias and environmental factors on data collection. We collected data on the number and yield of fruit, harvest end date, and a visual assessment of disease pressure.

Rae has brought a keen sense of organization to the farm – something we always welcome more of.

After a preliminary review of the data it doesn’t look like there is any difference between the treatments. The zucchini planted in soil amended with biochar showed just as much infection as those without. There doesn’t appear to be any difference in yield between treatments either. This in itself is good information to have; it means we won’t be spending money on a soil amendment that hasn’t yet shown a convincing effect on crop growth. And just because we didn’t see any difference between treatments doesn’t mean we didn’t notice something interesting: all of the test plot zucchini lasted longer than the zucchini planted in the nearby field. We are scratching our heads as to why that is, but the upside is the last zucchini you ate this season probably came from our test plot. We still think biochar may have the potential to increase the fertility of our sandy soils, and we intend to do more tinkering and testing to see how we can use it at Fort Hill.

Yours in soil and sun,

Rae, for Rebecca, Paul, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, and the farm crew

Carmela, Rae, and Lauren pick up a row of sweet potatoes. Start to finish, this harvest usually takes a couple of weeks to complete.

Featured This Week

Green Cabbage:  We have a good quality crop of fall cabbage this year.  Will store for several months in the fridge crisper.

Sweet potatoes:  Sweet potatoes is one of those rare crops that has it all:  CSA shareholders love them, we can grow them quite well on our sandy soil, they store and hold beautifully, and they are very nutritious.  What’s not to love?!  Try them baked, mashed, roasted, or see recipe below.  They will store for many months if they are kept warm (about 60-70 F), dark, and dry.  This is one crop that hates cold water, so we don’t wash them until you are ready to cook them.
Fingerling potatoes:  These little nuggets are best cut, tossed in oil, and roasted or chopped into soups and stews.  Fingerlings take extra care to grow and dig and are a special treat.  Store at room temperature in the dark for up to 6 weeks.

Butternut Squash: the queen of winter squash graced us with her presence again this season, with a modest harvest of sweet fruits to liven up the dinner table. Roast oiled/cut side down on a baking dish with water in the bottom, or see recipe below.

Purple Top Turnips: fine fall fare that adds that special comfort to soups and mixed root roasted veg. Don’t miss out!

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, carrots, tomatoes, garlic, rainbow chard, eggplant, green bell peppers, sweet bell and Italian peppers, jalapeños, red beets, Chioggia and golden beets, red and white potatoes, radicchio, escarole, bok choy, celeriac, Brussels sprouts greens, collards, leeks, broccoli raab

Coming soon:
Brussels Sprouts, Gilfeather turnips

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)

Beans: Heading into the end
Cut flowers:  Gleanings
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Grilled Sweet Potato and Red Pepper Salad
From Taste of Home
1/4 cup olive oil
2 tablespoons lime juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon chopped seeded jalapeno pepper, optional
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 large sweet red peppers
1-1/2 pounds medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
3 green onions, thinly sliced
1/3 cup minced fresh cilantro
1. For dressing, in a small bowl, whisk the first seven ingredients; set aside.
2. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill red peppers over medium heat for 10-15 minutes or until the skins blister, turning frequently. Immediately place peppers in a large bowl; cover and let stand for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, in a shallow bowl, drizzle sweet potato slices with 2 tablespoons dressing; toss to coat. Set remaining dressing aside. Arrange potato slices on a grilling grid; place on a grill rack. Grill, covered, over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side or until tender. Cut into bite-size pieces.
4. Peel off and discard charred skin from peppers; seed and coarsely chop. In a large bowl, combine the potatoes, peppers, celery, onions and cilantro. Whisk the reserved dressing; pour over salad and toss to coat. Serve at room temperature. Yield: 8 servings.

Tom Kha Gai Butternut Squash Soup
From the Minimalist Baker
1 small butternut squash, skin and seeds removed & cubed
1 14-oz. can light coconut milk
4 cups low-sodium veggie broth
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
1 small knob of fresh ginger, grated (~ 3 Tbsp)
2 stalks lemongrass (cut into 6-inch pieces for easy removal before serving)*
1 cup mushrooms, sliced
1 Tbsp fish sauce (optional)
1/2 one Thai chili or serrano pepper, thinly sliced, seeds mostly removed
For Serving: 1 lime (quartered), fresh chopped cilantro and basil for garnish
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Add butternut squash to a baking sheet and toss with 2 Tbsp olive or coconut oil and a bit of sea salt. Roast for 12-15 minutes or until tender and cooked through. Set aside to cool slightly.
In the meantime, add coconut milk, vegetable broth, ginger, lemongrass, and shallot to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Then lower heat to a simmer. Add fish sauce (optional) and sliced pepper and stir.

Add butternut squash to a food processor or blender with 1 cup of the broth and puree until smooth. Add back into the soup and stir until well combined. Add mushrooms and cook for 5 minutes more.

Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. I added more ginger and a pinch more salt at this point.
Before serving, discard lemongrass (if you used fresh stalks – otherwise ignore this instruction). Garnish with fresh lime juice (HIGHLY recommended), fresh basil and cilantro.
This would be lovely over rice or on its own. Store leftovers in covered in the fridge for several days. Freeze for longer term storage.
Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 18
September 29, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM   

Farm News
This week’s Farm News is written by Jonathan Hayden.  Jonathan trotted his way across the globe to spend a season at Fort Hill Farm and we are certainly glad he made the trip:
Fall is here. Temperatures are dropping, and we actually turned on the heat in the greenhouse last week to stay warm in the morning while we were cleaning onions. It is a nice change for everyone and we are all loving the cooler weather to work in. One is actually less tired by the end of the day when it is cooler which helps recharge the batteries to power on through the fall. It would be nice to get some rain to help with the dry ground. The soil is so dry we had to water the potatoes before digging them up because the rows of potatoes weren’t feeding through the digger. Any rain that does come our way will give a nice break for Elliot and Paul from their night time irrigation chores which have helped finish our remaining vegetable crops and given a good start to the newly sown cover crops. We are still watering almost 24 hours a day, and with that someone is always out in the dark turning on the irrigation gun for its late night run.
We can always count on Jonathan to keep things moving in the right direction on the farm.
Rebecca can be like an Italian Grandma with this beautiful fall crop: “Have-a some radicchio, it’s-a good for you!”

As the fields are quickly being covered with fast growing cover crops, it looks like there are fewer and fewer plants that produce food.  Fear not, as last week we counted over 50 varieties of vegetables to choose from. Fall is like an upside down mirror of the spring. The fall brings back the famous romaine and butter head lettuces that we have surely missed, along with plenty of new crops of cooking greens.  The only down side is spinach, which we had trouble germinating in the late summer  heat.

Unlike the spring there are many extra goodies that we get to look forward to such as leaks, peppers, celery root, eggplant, Brussels sprouts, squash, and all the varieties of potatoes. Last week we dug up our first sweet potatoes of the season.  It takes the first row to remember how it is all done and to smooth out all the quirks, but in a short period of time we were able to dig up about half the crop. The sweet potatoes still need a week to cure in one of our greenhouses but will be ready to go soon.
Enjoy the fall harvest and all of its goodies that it has to offer!
Jonathan, for Rebecca, Paul, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew

Featured This Week

Delicata squash: We were able to trade some surplus carrots this spring with our friends at Brookfield Farm in Amherst, MA, and this week we picked up some Delicata squash in return.  (Brookfield farm uses organic growing practices but is not certified organic. They grow squash exactly like we do but we are required by our certifiers to tell you this.)  Delicata are blimp shaped, with a very yummy sweet, moist flesh.  Like all winter squash, prepare by cutting in half, scooping out the seeds, oiling the cut edges, and putting face down in a baking pan with a quarter inch of water in it.  Bake at 375F until a fork slides in easily.  These squash are not the best for storage so try to eat within 2 weeks, and store at room temp in a dry place.

Papa Cacho fingerling potatoes: Paul read about these potatoes in a seed catalog and was smitten by the description.  We planted a large trial and they have good yields of gorgeous, red, thin tubers.  These Peruvian spuds are a bit on the dry side; Justin brought to our attention the light in which Papa Cachos really shine … you guessed it, fried up in grease of one form or another. Indeed, I’ve never made a successful latke in my life, but with this variety, anything is possible.

 

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, carrots, tomatoes, sierra blanca onions, garlic, rainbow chard, eggplant, green bell peppers, sweet bell and Italian peppers, jalapeños, red beets, Chioggia and golden beets, red potatoes, blue gold potatoes, savoy cabbage, radicchio, fennel, escarole, bok choy, celeriac, Brussels sprouts greens

Coming soon:
sweet potatoes

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)

Beans: Into the home stretch on beans
Cut flowers:  Amazing they are doing as well as they are.
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.

Plum Tomatoes: Pretty much done for the season, gleanings only.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Delicata Squash and Greens Salad

Adapted from Unchained Kitchen
Salad
2 small delicata squash, halved, seeded, and cut cross wise into 1/2 inch thick slices
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, mixed with 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom (optional)
pinch of ground cloves (optional)
1 bunch rainbow chard, chopped into bite-size pieces
1 small head radicchio, chopped into bite-size pieces
2 cups baby arugula or mixed lettuce greens
1/2 cup toasted pecans
blue cheese to taste
Dressing
2 tablespoons apple juice
5 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch of ground cloves
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Toss the squash slices in the melted butter and olive oil mix. Sprinkle with about 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper along with the optional cinnamon, cardamom, and ground cloves. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until tender and lightly browned, flipping the pieces over after half the cooking time has elapsed. Season with more salt and pepper to taste.

2. While squash cooks, wash and spin-dry the chard, radicchio, and greens leaves. Whisk together the dressing ingredients, adjusting seasoning to taste. Plate the mixed greens and add a few slices of still warm, roasted squash to each plate before drizzling with dressing and topping with pecans and cheese. Makes 4 side salads or 2 entrée salads.

Crispy Diner-Style Hash Browns
From the Kitchn
8 to 10 oz. Papa Cacho potatoes
1/4 teaspoon salt
Black pepper
1 tablespoons butter, olive, canola oil, or bacon grease
1. Peel and Grate the Potato – Line a bowl with a clean dishtowel. Peel the potato and grate it directly into the towel-lined bowl.
2. Squeeze the Moisture from the Potato – Gather the dishcloth and twist the neck until you form a tight package. Continue twisting the cloth and squishing the potato in your fist until you’ve squeezed as much liquid as you can from the potato. (There will be little, if any, from Papa Cachos.)
3. Heat the Skillet – Heat the skillet over medium-high heat. Melt the butter and then add the potatoes. Toss the potatoes to coat them with butter and then divide them into portion sizes. Flatten each portion with the back of a spatula to maximize contact with the hot pan.
4. Cook Until Golden-Brown on Both Sides – Cook for 3 to 4 minutes on the first side, flip, and cook for another 2 to 3 minutes on the second side. Use your best judgement on when to flip – some of us like more crispy burnt bits than others. Try not too move the hash browns too much during cooking or they’ll break apart. That said, don’t fret about the bits that break off around the edges.
5. Serve Immediately – Hash browns wait for no one and are best served hot. Plate the hash browns and serve with ketchup and hot sauce on the side. Makes 2 large portions.
Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 17
September 21, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

Last week it felt like summer was not going to go down without a fight.  Bright sunny days with highs around 90 made it feel more like early August than mid-September.  But the declining tomato plants and the very last summer squash harvest, coupled with the tinge of yellow on the trees on Guarding Mountain made it pretty clear that the end of summer is here.  Over the weekend a strong north wind ushered cool, clear air.  Usually these changes are accompanied by some rain, but as was the pattern this year, none materialized.  We’ve kept the water going on fall greens, carrots, beets, and the last crops of cabbage, broccoli, and kale.  It’s been so dry that when we can spare the water we’ve aimed it at the cover crops, which are emerging all over the farm.  The dry weather has also been a friend to our pepper crop, which peaked last week and is threatening to bulge out of our cooler.  Our hardworking crew has kept us up to speed on most tasks, so much so that we were able to spare Justin from the harvest crew to spend a few days spreading compost before we tucked in the last of our vetch cover crops, one of our favorites.

Jonathan and Carmela picking our abundant apple crop.
            We’ve also added a new task to our fall list.  Back in 2008, we planted 40 apple and a few pear and peach trees.  We didn’t know what to expect from these trees, and to be honest for the first few years we weren’t sure we could even keep them alive.  Conventionally grown tree fruit are some of the most heavily sprayed crops, especially when they are grown in a humid climate like ours.  Dozens of insect pests await them, but the big threat comes from host of fungal diseases that damage leaves and fruit.  Very few farmers will even try to grow organic tree fruit, but we figured we would jump on that steep learning curve and see what the ride would bring us.  While we are still rank amateur orchardists, the dry summer has brought us (and just about anyone with fruit trees) some really tasty fruit.  Notice I didn’t use the word beautiful, because we are bringing in some scrappy looking apples.  Many of our varieties are bred for disease resistance along with great taste, and some have unfamiliar names like Liberty or Gold Rush.  We’ll have them available for sale at distribution and we hope you’ll give them a try!
We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew

Featured This Week



Peppers
:  peppers galore this week.  They have peaked and will begin to decline soon.  Red, yellow, green, and orange bells; super sweet and crunchy pointy red and orange peppers, and jalepeño and cayenne hot peppers for the masochists out there.  We are putting red peppers in Special Harvest, with more for sale on the bulk board. They are easy to put up; just chop up and freeze in a zip lock bag for use in your favorite recipes.  Even better, try roasting the pointy red Italian peppers and freezing them for winter cooking.

Carnival Squash:  in the shape of an acorn squash, but sporting wild confetti coloring. Treat as you would acorn squash. We are trialing this variety this year, so let us know what you think. For best results, use within two weeks.
Celeriac:  Also called celery root, as it is closely related to celery.  The greens are a great potherb that add lots of flavor to any broth or stock and can also be used chopped fresh into soups as you would parsley.  The root is fabulous in soups (creamy and regular!), roasted, added to gratins, mixed in with mashed potatoes or shaved/shredded raw into salads.  Just slice off the top and bottom and peel before using.

Brussels Sprouts Greens:  There is a growing following for these come once-a-year greens. They are super tender, have that unique Brussels flavor, and are great used like kale, collards or any cooking green. We love sautéing them with garlic and onions or leeks and pairing with quinoa, rice, or topping a pizza. See delicious recipe below.

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, carrots, tomatoes, Sierra Blanca onions, leeks, garlic, rainbow chard, eggplant, green bell, sweet bell and Italian peppers, jalapenos, red, Chioggia and golden beets, Kennebec red potatoes, blue gold potatoes, savoy cabbage, radicchio, fennel, escarole, bok choy

Coming soon:
fingerling potatoes

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)

Beans: Last patch of the season. Pick fully formed pods of wax, Roma, green, and haricot vert.

Cut flowers:  Still some nice flowers out there.  Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.
Plum Tomatoes: Gleanings only.  Decent amounts for Tuesday distribution.  Expect much reduced amounts and quality for Thursday and Saturday.  Been a nice run for the plums this season!

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Brussels Sprout Leaves with Cheesy Polenta and Crispy Fried Eggs

By Analiese Paik via the Fairfield Green Food Guide
10 fresh Brussels sprout leaves, washed well, stacked, then cut into 1/4 inch ribbons
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1 cup cornmeal/corn grits for polenta (not instant)
3 cups water
2/3 cup ricotta, preferably fresh and local or organic (optional)
1/4 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
1/4 cup whole milk (optional)
eggs (at least one per person)
extra virgin olive oil
sea salt
freshly ground pepper

Bring 3 cups of water to a boil in a 1 quart lidded pot, then add 3/4 teaspoon of sea salt. Add cornmeal and stir well with a wooden spoon, then lower heat to a simmer and cook uncovered. Stir occasionally until cooked through, about 10-20 minutes, being careful to avoid being splatter as it bubbles up in the pan. Always taste test to see if the cornmeal is tender. When cooked to your liking, add ricotta (optional) and Parmesan and stir well. Cover and hold on the stove at the lowest setting until ready to serve. If it gets too thick, stir in some milk before serving.

Heat a 12″sauté pan over medium heat and add 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add red onion and sauté until it starts to become translucent, about 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and stir for 1 minute. Add sliced Brussels sprout leaves and stir well with tongs. Do not raise the heat too high or you will scorch the leaves. Add 2 tablespoon of water, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cover with a lid to wilt the greens. Lift the lid and toss the greens with tongs every few minutes until they’re limp and tender, but have not lost their color, about 10-12 minutes. If there is a still liquid in the pan, keep the lid off so it evaporates.

Heat 1-2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil over medium heat in a heavy 12″ skillet. When oil shimmers, crack and add eggs one by one, adjacent to one another. Your pan may only hold 3-4 eggs, requiring you to work in batches, or add a second skillet if you’re serving more than 4. Salt and pepper the eggs and cook until the whites are solid and crispy on the edges and the yolks are still liquid. Remove from the heat and cover briefly with the skillet lid if you’d like the centers to set up some more.

Assemble the dishes by spooning some polenta onto each plate or bowl, adding a mound of sautéed Brussels sprout leaves, and topping with an egg. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve immediately. Encourage everyone to break the yolk and use it as a sauce. Leftover polenta and greens can be stored in the refrigerator and reheated.

Baked Carnival Squash with Smoked Bacon and Rosemary
From Angie’s Recipes
1 Carnival squash (acorn or hokkaido)
Salt and black pepper to taste
¼ lb. Smoked bacon, diced
3.5 Tbsp Olive oil
1/2 tsp Dried rosemary
2 Garlic cloves, minced
1/5 tsp Nutmeg
1 tsp Sugar
Preheat the oven to 190C/375F. Cut carnival squash into halves, scoop out seeds and fibers, and cut each half into two chunks. Place them cut-side up on a shallow baking tray. Sprinkle some salt and black pepper.
Dice the bacon and combine with olive oil, rosemary, garlic, nutmeg and sugar in a bowl. Divide the mixture among the carnival chunks. Bake in the middle of the hot oven for 25-30 minutes.
Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 16 September 15, 2015
In This Issue
Farm News
Featured This Week
Pick Your Own
Recipes
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News 
Last week was one of those weeks where you wish someone would tell Mother Nature that August is over.  With temps reaching the low 90’s on Wednesday, the crew was sweating it out to bring in the harvest.  Almost everything is ready for harvest in early September because the fall crops are beginning to come in and many of the summer crops are still going strong.  Which gives us scenarios where we harvest hundreds of pounds of tomatoes and then pick up literally tons of winter squash. Butternut squash harvest began a while back when we clipped the squash and lined them up in windrows for harvest.  Then we drive through with a big bin on the back of a tractor and carefully fill up each bin.  Put a bin on tractor, pickup squash, repeat.  We were able to get the squash safe and snug in a greenhouse before some much needed rain came in on Thursday.  We’ll let the butternuts sweeten up for a few weeks and should have them ready for distribution in early October.
Gabriela and Carmela juggle squash while Justin drives.

We also grew some limited amounts of Carnival squash and will get those out to everyone sooner.  Meanwhile, in a repeat of the spring menu, most of the cooking greens are making a repeat appearance.  We’ve got bok choy, escarole, radicchio, kale, and Swiss Chard in abundance, along with some of the nicest arugula and red kale of the season.  And we’ve begun cutting leeks, which is definitely a sign that fall is around the corner.  We’re still struggling a bit with spinach plantings that withered in the late summer heat wave, but all in all its shaping up to be a great fall season.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew
Quite possibly the most beautiful planting of collards in our recent history.

Featured This Week

Leeks: a shareholder favorite, adds that unique onion-esque but not quite  onion-y flavor. Clean carefully (sometimes soil gets tucked into the leaves). Try them sautéed with cooking greens like chard or kale.  Store in the fridge for up to three weeks.

Kennebec potatoes:  a great all-purpose, white spud.  Kenenebecs are great mashed, fried, roasted, and baked.  If you get a green spot, just cut it off, the rest of the spud is fine.
Collard greens:  Super nutritious and surprisingly tasty.  Try them with onions, some bacon, and black-eyed peas. Store for up to a week in a plastic bag in the fridge.
Also available:
arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, carrots, tomatoes, sierra blanca onions, garlic, rainbow chard, eggplant, green bell peppers, sweet bell and Italian peppers, jalapenos, red beets, Chioggia and golden beets, red potatoes, blue gold potatoes, savoy cabbage, radicchio, fennel, escarole, bok choy

Coming soon:
Carnival squash, fingerling potatoes

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.
 
PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)
Cherry Tomatoes: almost done for season, expect much-reduced limits with harvest wrapping up in the next two weeks.
Beans: New patch, last one of the season. Pick fully formed pods of wax, Roma, green, and haricot vert. Great new pick of fall beans, we should have them for the next 2 weeks.
Cut flowers:  Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.
Plum Tomatoes: Still plenty of great picking but end is near.  Go to the far end or middle of the patch for best picking.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Poached Salmon, Leek, and Fennel Soup
From Martha Stewart Living
3 leeks, white and light-green parts only
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
3 carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices
1 small fennel bulb, trimmed and cut into wedges, fronds reserved for garnish
2 celery stalks, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices
4 sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
4 sprigs fresh thyme
One 14 1/2-ounce can fat-free vegetable stock
2 teaspoons coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
One 1-pound salmon fillet, skin removed, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 bunch (about 3 ounces) spinach, washed and cut into 1 1/2-inch-wide strips
Slice leeks crosswise into 1/4-inch coins. Place in bowl of cold water; move leeks with fingers so sand falls to bottom. Lift leeks from water with fingers or slotted spoon, and drain; set aside.
Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks, carrots, fennel, and celery. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add parsley, thyme, stock, salt, pepper, and 5 cups water. Bring to a boil; reduce to a simmer. Cook 30 minutes. Turn off heat; add salmon and spinach. Poach until just cooked through, about 3 minutes. Garnish with fennel fronds; serve. Serves 6.

Collard and Pecan Pesto
From Bon Appétit
1/2 small bunch collard greens, center ribs and stems removed
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted pecans
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon honey
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Cook 1/2 small bunch collard greens, center ribs and stems removed, in a medium pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 2 minutes. Drain. Transfer to a bowl of ice water; let cool. Drain; squeeze dry with paper towels. Blend greens, 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup toasted pecans, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 teaspoons honey, and 1/4 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes in a food processor until a coarse purée forms; season with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 15
September 8, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News 

It’s kind of funny that as a culture we pack up summer and give it the boot right after Labor Day.  The first calendar day of fall is not until Sept. 29, and temperatures in the 90’s are predicted for at least the early part of the week.  But of course changes are afoot.  This week we’ll likely pick our last summer squash and cukes for the season, and the tomatoes are starting to show a lot of foliar disease, with yields on the decline as a result.  Plum tomatoes are hanging in there, but with some wet weather possible for later in the week, best bet is to pick them as soon as possible.  We still have another crop of green beans and should see them nearly through the end of the month.  This is the last week for corn, and it’s been one of our best seasons ever.  On the upswing, peppers in all shapes and sizes are looking really good and harvest will peak over the next two weeks.  The plants are looking so good, with such a heavy fruit load that we had to do some extra stringing to keep them upright.  Still plenty of salad and cooking greens to be had as well.   So far it looks like the dry weather, coupled with a lot of irrigation effort from the crew, is bringing us some great crops.

Lauren hauls a barrel full of the sweetest peppers in the world!


            September can be a tough month on a farm crew because you start feeling a bit weary from the big push in the spring and summer, and yet we still have big harvests ahead of us.  We’ll start digging potatoes in earnest this week, and we need to get the butternut squash picked up and in a dry greenhouse to cure.  The dry weather is a help in that regard.  We’ll begin harvesting leeks next week, and we’ve got thousands of pounds of garlic and onions to clean and sort on the rainy days, if it ever rains again.  Most of the planning for this season is done, but we’ve already begun planning our rotations for next season and getting the late summer and fall cover crops in the ground.  These “green manure” cover crops are usually a mix of a legume and grass.  The legume (like peas) puts nitrogen in the ground, and the grasses (like oats or rye) have fibrous root systems that can mop up any nutrients that are hanging around, recycling them for use by next year’s veggie crops.  So we’ll put our heads down and keep on harvesting, cleaning up, and doing some positive things for our soil to keep the whole cycle going.
We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,
Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew
Crotalaria is a leguminous cover crop that we are trying out for the first time this year.

Featured This Week

Blue gold potatoes:   We learned about this potato (also called known by the much less descriptive moniker of Peter Wilcox) from our friend Megan Haney up at Marble Valley Farm in Kent.   We have a good amount for everyone to try this year.  Pretty blue outside; moist yellow inside, what’s not to like?

Pepper-O-Rama: our pepper harvest is peaking and we have lots of very sweet and crispy peppers of various colors, including the pointy red ‘Carmen’ sweet Italian peppers, red and yellow bells, and the super sweet, pointy-orange Oranos. Peppers are super easy to put up for the winter, and because organic peppers in the store can cost up to $8/lb it makes a lot of sense to spend a few moments to store them.  You can chop and freeze the raw peppers straight up (will be good only for cooking, not for fresh eating).  Or roast or grill the peppers, and then freeze.
Also available:
arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, carrots, tomatoes, red torpedo and sierra blanca onions, garlic, corn, rainbow chard, eggplant, green bell peppers, jalapenos, red beets, Chioggia and golden beets, red potatoes, savoy cabbage, radicchio

Coming soon:
leeks, collard greens

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.
 
PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)

Cherry Tomatoes:

hanging on; they are mostly Sungolds and some Sweet 100 reds, also look for the small Juliet plums, and the multicolored Artisan cherries.
Beans: Look to the PYO board for the best picking, and pick fully formed pods of wax, Roma, green, and haricot vert. Taste to make sure you are not picking older, woody pods.
Cut flowers:  Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.
Plum Tomatoes: Still plenty of plums for saucing but that can change with little notice.  Go to the far end or middle of the patch for best picking.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Spanish Quinoa Stuffed Peppers
From the Minimalist Baker
1 cup (168 g) quinoa or rice, thoroughly rinsed and drained
scant 2 cups (460 ml) vegetable stock (sub water, but it will be less flavorful)
4 large red, yellow or orange bell peppers, halved, seeds removed
1/2 cup (120 g) salsa, plus more for serving
1 Tbsp (4 g) nutritional yeast (optional)
2 tsp cumin powder
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 15-ounce (425 g) can black beans, drained (if unsalted, add 1/4 tsp sea salt)
1 cup (168 g) whole kernel corn, drained (or fresh)
TOPPINGS optional
1 ripe avocado, sliced
Fresh lime juice
Hot sauce
Cilantro, chopped
Diced red onion
Creamy Cilantro Dressing
Chipotle Red Salsa (or your favorite salsa)
1. Add quinoa and vegetable stock to a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Once boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy – about 20 minutes.  2.Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and lightly grease a 9×13 baking dish or rimmed baking sheet.  3.Brush halved peppers with a neutral, high heat oil, such as grape seed, avocado or refined coconut.  4.Add cooked quinoa to a large mixing bowl and add remaining ingredients – salsa through corn. Mix to thoroughly combine then taste and adjust seasonings accordingly, adding salt, pepper, or more spices as desired.  5.Generously stuff halved peppers with quinoa mixture until all peppers are full, then cover the dish with foil.  6.Bake for 30 minutes covered, then remove foil, increase heat to 400 degrees F, and bake for another 15-20 minutes, or until peppers are soft and slightly golden brown. For softer peppers, bake 5-10 minutes more.  6.Serve with desired toppings (listed above) or as is. Best when fresh, though leftovers keep covered in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Reheat in a 350 degree oven until warmed through – about 20 minutes.

Chile Tomato Jam
From Organic Gardening
1 lb. tomatoes, any red variety, peeled
5 Fresno or jalapeño chiles, roughly chopped (about ¾ c)
1 c. white vinegar
1 c. plus ¼ c. sugar, divided
¼ tsp. salt
2 star anise
1 package Pomona’s Universal Pectin

1. Roughly chop peeled tomatoes and place in a medium saucepan. Add the chiles, vinegar, 1 cup sugar, salt, and star anise. Bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes.  2. Follow the instruction in the box of Pomona’s Universal Pectin for making the calcium water. Combine 1 tsp. of pectin powder with the remaining ¼ cup of sugar in a small bowl.  3. Once the tomatoes and chiles have cooked for 20 minutes, add 1 teaspoon of calcium water. Stir. Add the pectin sugar, stir, and bring to a boil to dissolve. Remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes.  4. Ladle the jam into clean jars and allow to cool. It will thicken more as it cools. Jam will keep in the refrigerator for about 2 weeks. Makes 3 cups.

Week 14
September 1, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM   

Farm News 

The calendar says September but it sure feels a lot like August.  Persistently hot, humid, and rain-less weather is the rule, and there is no end to irrigation season in sight.  It is a little easier to keep up with irrigating, as many of the summer crops are winding down.  We are down to our last block of sweet corn which should give us corn through the end of next week, raccoons permitting.  We are seeing more ear worms in the corn, if you are squeamish just chop the tip of the ear off before shucking and all will be good.  Melon harvest is over. It was a good year for them, and it made for a lot of smiling faces at distribution.  Summer squash and cukes were hit hard by late foliar diseases and are saying goodbye.  Tomatoes are still in good supply, although yields generally drop by mid-September, so remember to freeze and can now.

We had a party in the beets this morning, as we will tomorrow; these last few beds stand in the way of cover cropping a good-sized piece of land.

On the upswing, eggplant harvest picked up a bit, and colored sweet peppers are ramping up for a late summer showing.  Elliott and I checked the sweet potatoes today and saw some nice tubers just under the soil surface, and we’ll start to clip and gather winter squash next week.  Both of these crops need to cure in a warm greenhouse for several weeks, to it will be a while before they are in the CSA share.  Rebecca spent a big chunk of the day on the seeding tractor, putting in fall greens like bok choy and arugula, along with radishes and salad turnips.  In some ways fall is a mirror image of spring, as the cool weather brings back some of the crops we stop growing during the heat of the summer. Meanwhile, the crew planted thousands of lettuce and spinach plugs on the transplanter, so we’ll have plenty of salad fixings in early October.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,
Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew

Featured This Week
Eggplant:  often a boom or bust crop for us, this year has not been a bumper crop, but this week we should have plenty to go around.  We grow 3 types of eggplant.  Rosa Bianca is a large, globe shaped Italian heirloom with white and purple color.  Nadia is the standard, dark eggplant most common in stores.  We also grow a type of Asian , the long, thin purple ‘Machiaw’.  All can be grilled or used interchangeably in many recipes.  Additionally, Nadia and Rosa Bianca are great for Eggplant Parmesan, and the Asian varieties are great roasted or for stir fry.  The Rosa Bianca and Asian varieties have shorter cooking times than the ‘traditional’ eggplant.   Asian eggplant will be in short supply this year.
White onions: These onions were grown by our friends Max and Kerry at Provider Farm, out in eastern CT.  They are a mild, sweet onion great for sandwiches, salads, and burgers.  Store in the fridge for a month or two, or room temperature for at least a week.  Kerry and Max grow using only organic methods but choose not to certify their crops. They were grown with the same attention to detail as here and without synthetic pesticides, but the certifying agency requires us to tell you they are not certified organic.

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, carrots, tomatoes, red torpedo onions, garlic, corn, rainbow chard, green bell peppers, jalapenos, red beets, Chioggia and golden beets, red potatoes, Satina Gold potatoes, savoy cabbage, radicchio

Coming soon:
leeks, sweet peppers

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.
 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)

Cherry Tomatoes: peaking; they are mostly Sungolds and some Sweet 100 reds.
Beans: A new crop of beans is out there. Look to the PYO board for the best picking, and pick fully formed pods of wax, Roma, green, and haricot vert. Taste to make sure you are not picking older, woody pods.
Cut flowers: Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.
Sunflowers: are just about over now, there may be a few flowers opening throughout the week
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.
Plum Tomatoes: plenty of plums for saucing.  Go to the far end or middle of the patch for best picking.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Eggplant Stacks with Tomato-Chipotle Salsa

From the Vegetarian Times

 

1 medium white onion, sliced (1½ cups)
3 cloves garlic, peeled
1 ½ lb. plum tomatoes
5 Tbs. olive oil, divided
2 globe eggplants, unpeeled, cut into 24 ½-inch-thick slices
2 canned chipotle chiles in adobo sauce, drained
4 Tbs. finely chopped cilantro, divided
1 ½ cups crumbled queso fresco
1. Preheat broiler. Spread onion slices and garlic cloves on broiler pan, and broil 90 seconds, or until garlic is slightly charred. Transfer garlic to bowl, and broil onion 2 minutes more. Transfer onion to bowl with garlic.
2. Put tomatoes on broiler pan. Broil 3 minutes, or until charred on top. Flip, and broil 2 minutes more, or until charred.
3. Reduce oven heat to 450°F. Brush 2 baking sheets with 1 Tbs. oil each. Place eggplant slices on baking sheets in single layer, and brush with remaining 3 Tbs. oil. Bake 10 minutes, flip, then bake 5 minutes more, or until tender.
4. Pulse broiled onion and garlic in food processor. Halve tomatoes, add to food processor with chipotle chiles, and purée until smooth. Transfer to bowl, and stir in 2 Tbs. cilantro.
5. Reduce oven temperature to 350°F. Spread 12 eggplant slices with 1 Tbs. salsa each. Press 1 Tbs. queso fresco atop salsa. Top with remaining eggplant slices and 1 Tbs. salsa per stack. Bake 5 minutes. Top each stack with 1 Tbs. cheese, and sprinkle with remaining cilantro. Serve remaining salsa on side.

Orecchiette with Caramelized Onions, Green Beans, Fresh Corn & Jalapeño
Adapted from Scott Conant’s recipe via Fine Cooking
Kosher salt
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
2 cups thinly sliced sweet onion (from 1 large onion)
1/2 lb. dried orecchiette or farfalle
1/2 lb. fresh green beans, sliced on the diagonal into 1-inch lengths
1 cup fresh corn kernels (from about 2 ears)
1 sweet colored pepper, thinly sliced
1 jalapeño, stemmed, halved lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced crosswise
Freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano
1 Tbs. chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and a large pinch of salt and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is beginning to soften and brown, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is very soft and a light golden brown, about 15 more minutes (if the onion begins to look like it’s burning, add 2 Tbs. warm water and lower the heat).
Put the pasta in the boiling water and cook until just shy of al dente. Add the green beans to the pasta water in the last minute of cooking.
While the pasta is cooking, add the pepper and sauté until tender. Add the corn, jalapeño, and a pinch of salt to the onions and cook until the corn kernels begin to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Remove from the heat.
Reserve 1 cup of the pasta and green bean cooking water and drain the pasta and green beans together in a colander.

Return the pasta, green beans, and 2 Tbs. of the reserved water to the pot. Add the onion mixture and toss over medium heat until the green beans are crisp-tender and the pasta is perfectly al dente, 1 to 2 minutes. Add more of the pasta water as necessary to keep the dish moist. Season to taste with salt and pepper and top each serving with the pecorino and parsley.

Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 13
August 25, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

This week’s Farm News is written by Justin Martel. He joined us in May of 2014 on the field crew, worked with us through one of the toughest winters in the farm’s history, and then returned in the spring as farm apprentice. He brings a broader farm perspective to the immediate tasks at hand, as we close out the last week of August.

           Hey, I’m Justin, a New Milford native you may also know as Alpen. I’ve watched many changes take place over the last season and a half. Right now the heat of summer persists, and we are all clinging to the final weeks of summer. And while I won’t miss the ninety-degree afternoons, my drip irrigation to-do list, a key area of my responsibility, is slowing down. The number of crops using drip irrigation is shrinking steadily, as we have pulled the onions, are picking out the cantaloupes, and much of the ground is being seeded to cover crops. The passage of time has been swift. It seems like only yesterday I was seeing both new and returning faces in the barn during the first week of distribution. The excitement of spring crops buzzed then.

We enjoy Justin’s quick-to-laugh demeanor, which is a sure bet on any given day.

But even those days were far from the short winter days of grafting tomatoes hidden away in heated coolers, and sowing onion seeds in a freshly fired up greenhouse. There’s a lot to take in over the course of a year here, because every day we all learn something new. Within this environment, change is frequent and normal. The scenery shifts from: walls of snow, to tilled earth, to crop, and finally, to cover crop. With the change of seasons, new faces become friendly and sometimes vanish, and at the same time, familiar challenges show up in unexpected ways. Meanwhile, I personally grow little by little thanks to a few of the most diligent growers you’ll meet. September is coming, and hopefully with the cooler temps we can all stop to appreciate the summer passed.

As always, enjoy the harvest,

Justin, for Paul, Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew

Paul weeds the leeks with the annual Yale orientation crew, which is spending the week on the farm. This year, Dorris, Roger, Caroline, and Max will act as the support team for the rising Yale freshman and women working on other farms.

Featured This Week
Dark Red Norland potatoes:  this potato is well loved for its creamy, waxy flesh and dark red skin. Other than screaming to be made into potato salad, it is a versatile spud, and works well for most dishes not requiring a very dry potato. Store in a dark cool place, but not in the fridge.
Also available:
arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash, kale, carrots, tomatoes, red torpedo and Ailsa Craig sweet onions, beets, garlic, corn, rainbow chard, red cabbage, green bell peppers, jalapenos, Chioggia and golden beets, red gold potatoes, mixed melons

Coming soon:
eggplant, sweet peppers

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.
 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)

Cherry Tomatoes: peaking; they are mostly Sungolds and some Sweet 100 reds.
Beans: Look to the PYO board for the best picking, and pick fully formed pods of wax, Roma, green, and haricot vert. Taste to make sure you are not picking older, woody pods.
Cut flowers:  Flowers are going strong. Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.
Sunflowers:  are past peak now, but still some nice flowers out there
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.
Plum Tomatoes: starting to come in stronger now

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Curried Potato Salad

From Moosewood Restaurant Daily Special
6 cups cubed potatoes
½ tsp turmeric
1 cup diced red or green peppers
1 cup fresh or frozen green peas (or diced green beans)
1 tsp salt
1 cup peeled diced carrots
Dressing:
1 TBSP canola or vegetable oil
1 TBSP ground coriander
¼ tsp ground cloves
1/8 tsp cayenne, or to taste
¼ cup plain yogurt
2 – 3 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp grated fresh ginger root
1 tsp ground cumin
½ tsp turmeric
4 oz. Neufchatel cheese or cream cheese at room temp

salt to taste

Put the cubed potatoes in a saucepan with water to cover.  Add the salt and turmeric, cover, bring to a boil; then reduce heat and simmer until just tender, about 10 minutes.  Drain and set aside.
Meanwhile, in a separate pot of boiling water, blanch or steam the carrots, peppers, and peas, one vegetable at a time until just tender.  Remove and transfer to a large serving bowl.
In a small skillet, warm the oil for the dressing.  Add the ginger root, coriander, cumin, cloves, turmeric, and cayenne and cook for about a minute, stirring constantly to prevent burning; then remove from the heat.  In a small bowl, whisk together the Neufchatel or cream cheese, the yogurt, 2 tsp of the lemon juice, and the sautéed spices.

Add the cooled potatoes to the bowl of blanched vegetables, pour on the dressing, and toss gently to coat.  Let the salad sit at room temperature for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to blend. Add salt and more lemon juice to taste and serve.

Caramelized Cabbage on Creamy Polenta
From Fine Cooking
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 lb. chopped pancetta
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 small sprig rosemary, chopped
2 lb. green, white, or Savoy cabbage, cored and thinly shredded
2 tsp. salt; more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
About 3 Tbs. dry white wine (or water); more if needed
A few drops balsamic vinegar
1 cup medium-coarse cornmeal, preferably organic stone-ground
4 cups water
1/2 tsp. olive oil
1 Tbs. butter
2 oz. finely grated Asiago or Pecorino Romano
Prepare the cabbage:
Heat the 2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil in a wide, deep saucepan over medium heat. Add the pancetta, garlic, and rosemary and sauté until the pancetta and garlic soften, about 4 minutes. Add the cabbage, 1/2 tsp. of the salt, the pepper, wine, and 1/4 cup water; toss to coat thoroughly. Cover and cook over medium heat for about 1 hour, adding a little more water or white wine whenever the cabbage seems too dry or begins to brown too fast, checking about every 5 minutes (the cabbage should stew slowly and brown lightly). After about 1 hour, uncover and cook, stirring, until the cabbage is meltingly tender, lightly caramelized, medium brown, and somewhat dry to the touch, about 5 to 10 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar, taste, and adjust seasonings.
Meanwhile, prepare the polenta:
Heat the oven to 350°F. In an oiled 3-qt. nonstick ovenproof skillet, combine the cornmeal, 4 cups water, the 1/2 tsp. olive oil, and the remaining 1-1/2 tsp. salt; stir briefly. Bake uncovered for 40 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven, give the polenta a good stir, and return the pan to the oven to bake another 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and half of the cheese. Pour the polenta into a greased 9-inch heatproof dish, cover evenly with the cabbage, and scatter the remaining cheese on top. Bake until the tips of the cabbage are brown and crisp, 10 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.

Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 12
August 18, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

Last week’s Farm News was about a wonderful thunderstorm that dropped some gentle rain on us and left without any messy high winds or pounding downpours.  This weekend’s storm was one of those teasers that shows up on the radar in eastern New York state, marches steadily toward the farm, and then loses steam right as it gets to us.  The kicker about these storms is you never know what to make of them, so you end up simultaneously closing greenhouses and rushing equipment back into the barn to prepare for a downpour at the same time you are setting up irrigation equipment, so that if it doesn’t rain we don’t get behind on that all important task.  This particular storm was a dud that created a beautiful lightning show to the north of us but dropped less than a tenth of an inch of rain, hardly enough to settle the dust in the farm roads.  I guess as a consolation I felt better about all the irrigation set up we had in place, and just kept the wells pumping.

Despite the lack of rain, crops are looking pretty good.  Our prettiest field is way down on the south end of the farm in the 2-acre field we rent from St. Francis church.  Peppers are starting to color up.  Savoy cabbage, planted in an amount that can only be described as irrational exuberance, are heading up nicely just in time for some late summer cole slaw.  Brussels sprouts, fall cabbage, broccoli, and kale are all looking really nice down there as well.
Lauren emerges from a misty field of booming Brassicas (broccoli relatives) to report of a giant woodchuck hole. Elliott follows suit with tales of another hole in the savoy cabbage – that makes three in this section alone!
Moving towards the north, we’ve got great fall carrots and beets, salad fixings, and tons of squash and cukes.  End of squash season may be upon us soon as the late summer diseases are taking their toll, so get some squash and cukes while you can.  Corn continues to be great, although a family of raccoons has taken to having some crazy late night romps in the corn patch.  Sometimes when we are picking we’ll get to a spot where so much corn is knocked down it looks like a rhino had a nice wallow in the crop.  We’re going to set up an electric fence around the crop to persuade them to do more foraging in the woods, though doubtful they’ll find something as sweet.  Good tomatoes to be had from the high tunnel, especially the heirloom varieties.  And it is definitely high time for the sungold cherries.  Please walk a ways into the tunnel and pick only fully orange cherry fruit so that we can have a long harvest and prevent as many from splitting as possible.
Hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,
Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew
Carly and Gigi head off to college next week, but for the moment, help us weed the baby greens.

Featured This Week
Savoy cabbage: crinkly leaved cabbage, sweet and mild flavor.  The leaves of this superior cabbage hold dressing like no other! Dig out that yummy Cilantro Lime Coleslaw recipe from last summer, or see the simply stir-fry below. Store like green cabbage.
Satina potatoes:  this potato has wonderful yellow flesh, similar to Yukon Gold.  We find them equally yummy, plus unlike Yukon Gold, they don’t drop dead when the first leafhopper bug appears.
Yellow Watermelon: We’ll do our best to get one melon per share, but these are not prolific this year. Please come early in the week!
Also available:
arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash, kale, carrots, tomatoes, red torpedo and Ailsa Craig sweet onions, beets, garlic, corn, rainbow chard, red cabbage, green bell peppers, jalapenos, Chioggia and golden beets, red gold potatoes, mixed melons

Coming soon:
eggplant? peppers?

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.
 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News.)

Cherry Tomatoes: peaking; they are mostly Sungolds and some Sweet 100 reds.
Beans: We’ve opened up a new patch. Look to the PYO board for the best picking, and pick fully formed pods of wax, Roma, green, and haricot vert.
Cut flowers:  Flowers are going strong. Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.
Sunflowers:  more opening!
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.
Plum Tomatoes: just starting to come in! We’re not going to let them go by, so first come, first served.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Ginger-Garlic Savoy Cabbage

Adapted from Chinese Food
2 tablespoons olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 large onion, sliced
1 head savoy cabbage (about 1 1/2 lbs), cored, shredded across in 3/4-inch slices
crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
1 tablespoon minced garlic
salt & pepper
1 1/4 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
1 lime, juice of
Heat wok or large skillet medium high heat; wait until oil is hot.
Add onions and red pepper flakes and stir-fry until the onion browns slightly.
Add cabbage and stir-fry until cabbage just starts to wilt (do not overcook).
Add garlic, salt and pepper cook 1 minute.
Add ginger cook 1 minute.
Drizzle with lime juice and serve.

Warm Potato and Edamame Salad
Adapted from the Vegetarian Times
1 ½ cups shelled or (1) 12-oz. pkg. frozen shelled edamame
¼ head green cabbage, finely shredded (about 1 cup)
4-65medium potatoes, cubed (about 1 lb.)
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
¼ cup olive oil
3 Tbs. red wine vinegar
4 cups baby greens
Bring pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Blanch edamame 3 minutes in boiling water, then transfer to medium bowl with strainer or slotted spoon. Blanch cabbage in same pot of boiling water 1 minute, and place in same bowl.
Drop potatoes in boiling water, reduce heat to medium, and cook 10 minutes, or until tender. Drain, and add to edamame mixture. Cool 5 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, and toss with oil and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper.
Place greens in serving bowls, and mound potato salad on top.

Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 11
August 11, 2015
In This Issue
Farm News
Featured This Week
Pick Your Own
Recipes
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News
During dry growing seasons we get so used to not having rain that we forget that some crops, at some stages of their growth, don’t like it.  So when the weathermen changed the forecast from 10 sunny days in a row to one punctuated with a very rainy forecast for Tuesday, it made for a very busy Monday for us.  We’d been keeping an eye on the onion crop, waiting for that moment when they sized up as much as possible. But with an inch of rain in the forecast, the crew had to pull most of them on Monday and spread them on the greenhouse benches to dry, safe from whatever precipitation would come our way.
Adam lines up the onions to take in.
Then we made two forays into the melon patch, one to pick ripe fruit from the first planting of cantaloupes, and then later in the afternoon we went back for the first pick of red watermelons.  In between we picked corn, and true to the norm this year, we found sweet, tender, full ears with very few bugs and only a little snacking damage from blackbirds and what appears to be a corn-loving fox.  Next we hit the high tunnel for the ripe tomatoes, which have been perking along nicely for over a month now.  We had planned to start digging potatoes this week, which can’t be dug from mud, so we added one more crop to the harvest list.  Jonathan and I hooked up the creaky old digger, greased and oiled it, found it had suffered no ills from its 10 months of inactivity, and went out to dig up some yummy Red Gold spuds.  Elliott and I made some time in the evening to get one more spray of copper on the plum tomatoes, which are pretty close to ripening.  With a lot of rain forecast, and late blight rearing its ugly head, we needed to get the plants protected or risk losing the crop.
I even found time to give the compost piles a much needed haircut before bed.  Once compost reaches the “almost done” stage, it becomes a perfect growth medium for whatever weed seeds got swept in with the original compost ingredients, and the piles get a mop of green growth that will make more work when we spread the compost on our fields.  Having put in an extra hard day, we told the crew to come in late and then awoke to the sound of showers on leaves outside our window, just as predicted.  It’s been a long time since we heard that sound, and it felt great knowing that the ground was finally getting a drink.
Hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,
Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the farm crew
The gang lays out the onions in a shade-covered greenhouse to cure.

Featured This Week
Red Watermelon:  A great crop this year, and they are ripe and ready to eat.  Store in the fridge if you must for up to a week. We carefully check all melons at harvest, but sometimes a bad one gets past us. Please let us know and we’ll try to replace it if your melon turns out to be a dud.
Red Gold Potatoes:  We started growing this potato on the recommendation of our friends at Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, CT. It’s a real beauty, with pink skin and moist, yellow flesh.  This early spud kicks off our potato harvest.  Best served mashed, boiled, or in potato salad.  Store all potatoes in a cool, dry, dark place, but never in the refrigerator.
Jalapeno peppers: just in the nick of time to add that fresh spiciness to summer fare. Sauté with potatoes and onions for yummy home fries or see recipe below.
Also available:
arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash, kale, carrots, tomatoes, red torpedo and Ailsa Craig sweet onions, beets, garlic, corn, rainbow chard, red cabbage, cantaloupe, green bell peppers, Chioggia and golden beets

Coming soon:
potatoes, Savoy cabbage?

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.
 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News).

Cherry Tomatoes:  kicking into gear now; they are mostly sungolds and some Sweet 100 reds.

Beans: Look to the PYO board for the best picking, and pick fully formed pods of wax, Roma, green, and haricot vert.  Older pods get tough and make for poor eating so taste a few to see what’s good to pick.

Cut flowers:  Flowers are going strong. Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.

Sunflowers: still opening up!

Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use. We’ve nursed our basil crop along despite the downy mildew, and hope to at least make it through another week in the PYO patch before it fully succumbs.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Spicy Caramelized Sweet Corn

Slightly adapted from Fresh Food Nation: Simple, Seasonal Recipes from America’s Farmers, by Martha Holmberg
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 cups corn kernels (from 3-4 ears corn)
½ red onion, minced, or 2 scallions, thinly sliced
1 fresh jalapeño, cored, seeded, and minced
kosher salt
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4 lime wedges
Heat the butter in a large, heavy frying pan over medium-high heat until bubbling. Add the corn, onion/scallions, and jalapeño, stirring to coat with the butter. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the corn begins to brown and stick to the bottom of the pan, about 10 minutes. (You might hear some kernels popping toward the end.) Add 2 tablespoons water and stir, scraping the bottom of the pan to deglaze any extremely delicious brown bits. When the water has boiled off, season with salt to taste. Remove from the heat and stir in the lime juice. Serve immediately with lime wedges.

Grilled Tuna Nicoise Salad with Tahini Dressing
From Fresh Food Nation: Simple, Seasonal Recipes from America’s Farmers, by Martha Holmberg
Tahini Dressing:                     
½ c. tahini
3 T red-wine vinegar
¼ c soy sauce or tamari
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 t ground ginger
1 clove garlic, minced
freshly ground black pepper
½ c. olive oil
Salad:
1 lb. new potatoes, cut in half if large
kosher salt
8 oz. small summer squash, cut into ½-inch slices on the diagonal
olive oil, for grilling
freshly ground black pepper
2 large ripe tomatoes, cored and cut into wedges, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes
4 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and cut into eighths
12-16 black olives
½ cup chopped fresh cilantro, flat-leaf parsley, mint, or a mix
Make the Dressing:
In a small bowl or food processor, combine the tahini, ½ cup water, the vinegar, soy sauce, lemon juice, ginger, and garlic. Season to taste with black pepper and then add the olive oil, whisking or processing to blend it in. Taste and adjust the seasonings.
Cook the Tuna and Assemble the Salad:
Heat a grill or grill pan to medium high.
Put the potatoes into a medium pan of water, bring to a boil, add 1 tablespoon of salt, boil until the potatoes are very tender when poked with a knife, about 20 minutes. Scoop them out wit a slotted spoon or tongs (keep the water on the heat) and put them in a bowl. Add 2 tablespoons dressing, toss to coat, and let cool.Add the beans to the boiling water and cook until tender, 3-7 minutes, depending on the thickness. Drain thoroughly and let cool.
Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 10
August 4, 2015
In This Issue
Farm News
Featured This Week
Pick Your Own
Recipes
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

 

Farm News
This week’s “Farm News” is written by Amanda Sanfiorenzo, a Puerto Rican native who found her way to Connecticut and, to our good fortune, our little farm.
It’s been a pleasure for me to be part of Fort Hill Farm for three years now. Last week we had one of the most hot, humid and sunny weeks that I can remember. Late afternoons are the hottest time to be at the farm, so we adjusted our schedule for an earlier start.  Mornings at the farm are the best, with foggy air, and so much dew that we need to put on rain gear to harvest the crops.Summer is such a busy time and we try to keep up with harvests, planting, and distributing produce but inevitably we miss some weeds that will go to seed. We do our best to mow and pull weeds to keep the seeds from holding over in our soils, especially the grasses, which are a difficult to pull once big.  We are devoting a lot of time to irrigating, as the rains have been light and inconsistent this season.
Amanda’s hard work, warmth, and generous spirit add to the farm’s cheer.
Summer crops are officially in, and the fall crops are being planted.   We are seeding popular cool-season crops like bok choy, red and green butterhead lettuce, romaine lettuce, and escarole for September and October harvests.   I am very happy for the carrot crop this year, so sweet and crisp!   And of course the corn has generated the most excitement each week, with at least three more weeks to go.

The first Western Connecticut Farm Crawl took place on Sunday.  It was good to see new faces and families coming for the first time to the farm with a genuine interest in organic, local, and sustainable farming in Connecticut.  Some of the visitors were our customers from the New Milford famers market, but many had read about the event in the newspaper and were excited to visit local farms to see what we do.
Tomatoes are still going strong and delicious! Be sure to try at least one heirloom; striped german, lemon boy, brandy wine, cherokee purple, etc. What a perfect season when you can have tomatoes, onions, and cucumbers and the most surprising, basil, all at the same time! Beets are also doing really well this year, as are cabbage, beans, sungolds, flowers, and herbs.
I hope everyone is enjoying the summer and its beauty.  We have a great team this year, and we look forward to seeing you at the farm.

 

Amanda, for Rebecca, Paul, Elliott, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the Fort Hill Farm crew

 

One hundred some odd folks showed up on Sunday to tour the farm and see how organic food is grown on a small scale.

 

Featured This Week

 

Fancy beets: Golden and Chioggia (Key OH Geeuh- an unofficial phonetic spelling for folks perplexed by this tricky name): We have a nice crop of beets, despite the leaf miners’ attempts to thwart it. These beauties are as sweet as the traditional red, but perhaps lacking a bit of the latter’s earthen beetiness. Slice thinly and dip into hummus, or roast, grill and steam like you would any beet. See recipe below.

 

Cantaloupes: We savor this moment on the farm, when we can dig into something cool and juicy on our mid-morning break. The ‘loupes are sweet and good quality, but lacking a bit in the size department this year.

 

Green Bell Peppers: The first peppers of the season are always so refreshing. Slice into the Greek Salad below, grill, or stir fry- its uses are endless.

 

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash, kale, carrots, tomatoes, red torpedo and Ailsa Craig sweet onions, beets, garlic, corn, rainbow chard, green cabbage, red cabbage, Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage


Coming soon:
Red Gold potatoes, watermelon?

 

Phlox illustration by Amanda Sanfiorenzo

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News).

Cherry Tomatoes: starting to gear up in the high tunnel. They are mostly sungolds and some Sweet 100 reds.

Beans: Look to the PYO board for the best picking, and pick fully formed pods of wax, Roma, green, and haricot vert.  Older pods get tough and make for poor eating so taste a few to see what’s good to pick.

Cut flowers:  Flowers are going strong. Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.

Sunflowers: a joy to behold, and coming in steadily

Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use. We’ve nursed our basil crop along despite the downy mildew, and hope to at least make it through the week in the PYO patch before it fully succumbs.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie
French “Peasant” Beets

Adapted from Food 52

 

4-6 beets (a mixture of Chioggia, golden, and red beets is mighty nice)

1 bunch Swiss chard

3 tablespoons butter

1 shallot

Salt

Freshly Ground Pepper

2 tablespoons white wine

2 tablespoons water

.5 pounds Bucheron or Chevre cheese (room temperature)

Crusty peasant style bread (warmed in oven)

 

Scrub and peel the beets. Slice beets into 1/4 inch rounds. Remove the ribs from the Swiss chard and coarsely chop and toss into a bowl. In a large sauté pan, melt butter. Sautee shallots. Add beet rounds to the shallot butter mixture. Crack some pepper over the beets and a toss on a pinch of salt. Reduce heat and sauté beets, turning over to ensure even cooking. About 15 minutes later when beets are beginning to glaze and become tender, add chard. Sautee for about 5 minutes, then add wine and cover. Cook until greens are wilted, adding water if necessary. Allow liquid to be mostly absorbed into greens, adjust seasonings. Scoop greens and beets into a low shallow bowl. Garnish with a sizeable wedge of Bucheron or Chevre and some crusty bread. Crack a little bit of pepper over the entire dish. Serves 2 for dinner, 4 as a side.

 

Greek Salad

Recipe suggested by Amanda; adapted slightly from The Complete Cookbook Vegetarian by Helen Aitken

 

6 tomatoes, cut into thin wedges

1 red onion, cut into thin rings

2 cucumbers, sliced

1 small green pepper, thinly sliced

1 cup Kalamata olives

200 g feta cheese

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

Dried oregano, to sprinkle

 

1. Combine the tomato wedges with the onion rings, sliced cucumber and Kalamata olives in a large bowl. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper.

2. Break up the feta into large pieces with your fingers and scatter over the top of the salad.

Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with some oregano.  Serves 6-8

 

Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 9
July 28, 2015
In This Issue
Farm News
Featured This Week
Pick Your Own
Recipes
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

The heat is on, which is mostly a good thing this time of year, as long as we get a rain or two thrown in to keep things from over cooking.   We’ve been lucky to catch a half inch of rain the last 2 weeks and in between we’ve kept the wells humming trying to top off the water needs of our thirsty crops.  So far we are keeping up with it, but it’s always a nail biter.  We are mostly staying on top of the weeds, although we have a few messes (someone hide that onion crop!) keeping us humble.

Time for a mid-season crop update.  We had a collision of broccoli plantings which landed an abundance of large, beautiful green heads in the barn.  Broccoli will subside this week and we won’t be seeing it again until early September, so if you are a fan, get your fill now.  Our spring cuke plantings are on the wane but never fear, our third planting is just beginning to produce, and if we can avoid the plague of late summer diseases that seem to put us out the cuke business prematurely, we’ll have them for another 5 weeks.  Ditto for summer squash.  We’re beginning the big onion pull this week, as Rebecca has sternly reminded me to get them under cover before they get smushy.  I have a bad habit of trying to keep them out there to turn every last drop of water, nutrients, and sunlight into savory onions to bulk up the bulb size, but it usually backfires on me, so I am heeding her warnings.

 

Paul and I never take a good carrot crop for granted. Carmela (joining us from Bari, Italy(!), Jonathan, Gigi, Hannah, Mark, and Lauren dig in.

 

Very nice summer crops of kale and cabbage, and the leaf miners seem to be taking a break from destroying chard and beet foliage long enough for us to bring in some fine harvests.  Great corn harvests so far, with just enough bugs to prove it’s organic.  Tomatoes ripening rather slowly this year, and the late blight sirens are blaring all over New England, so we will have to sit tight and see what happens.  We applied copper fungicide to the plum tomatoes out in the field to protect them from the disease; hopefully that will be enough to get us a crop.  The tomatoes in the high tunnel and greenhouse stay much drier, and that is usually all that’s needed to get us tomatoes through September.  Summer greens crops of arugula, salad mix and red kale are perking along but often take a dip this time of year if it gets too hot to sow them.  And finally, we are on the cusp of a cantaloupe harvest, keep your fingers crossed that the stars and planets align so that we can bring in a high quality crop.

 

Hope you enjoy the farm and harvest,

 

Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the Fort Hill Farm crew

 

Just one of a few majestic elements of corn harvest. Bailey drives, while Paul lays out empty barrels. The buckwheat harvest road shortens the heavy haul of full barrels to the pickup truck.

 

Events

Western Connecticut Farm Crawl

* THIS Sunday, August 2 from 9AM – 3PM
 

What’s a farm crawl?  We’re not entirely sure but the New Milford Farmers Market is organizing one and we are on the program!  The Farm Crawl is a way for folks to visit the farms that are the heart of the New Milford Farmers market.  There will be a tour at each farm on the top of each hour.  We figured this would be a great way for us to share with CSA sharers and market customers alike how we grow our produce.  Also a great way to check out other farms in the area.  More details at http://www.newmilfordfarmersmarket.com/farm crawl/.  Super flexible, go to as many farms as you like.

Featured This Week

 

Ailsa Craig big sweet onions:  these guys are great sliced thick and coated with olive oil on the grill, or on top of your favorite sandwich.  They will store for several weeks at room temperature, or for up to 2 months in the fridge.

 

Red Cabbage: very nice summer crop.  Key ingredient for kale salad, one of my favorite (healthy) recipes, reprinted below.  Store in the fridge for up to a month.

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, cucumbers, summer squash, kale, carrots, tomatoes, red torpedo onions, beets, broccoli, garlic, corn, rainbow chard, green cabbage, Early Jersey Wakefield cabbage, basil tops


Coming soon:
Chioggia beets, Red Gold potatoes

 

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times above the Farm News).

Beans: Look to the PYO board for best picking and pick fully formed pods of wax, Roma, green, and haricot vert.  Older pods get tough and make for poor eating ,so taste a few to see what’s good to pick.
Cut flowers:  Good pick of flowers out there.   Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.

Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use.

 

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

 

Chicken and Onion Tagine (Djej Besla)

From Saveur

 

1 tbsp. kosher salt, plus more to taste

6 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

2 tsp. cumin seeds, crushed

1 tsp. paprika

1 tsp. ground turmeric

5 tbsp. olive oil

4 skinless bone-in chicken thighs

4 skinless bone-in chicken drumsticks

1 tsp. crushed saffron threads

4 medium yellow onions, cut into 12 wedges each

Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 lemon, thinly sliced crosswise, seeds removed

1 1/4 cups pitted green olives

1/3 cup finely chopped cilantro

Cooked white rice, for serving

 

Make a spice paste: Using the flat side of your knife, chop and mash salt and garlic together on a cutting board into a smooth paste; transfer paste to a large bowl and stir in cumin, paprika, and turmeric. Stir in 3 tbsp. oil, and then add chicken thighs and drumsticks; toss until evenly coated. Cover bowl with plastic wrap, and marinate in the refrigerator for 4 hours.

Heat remaining oil in an 8-qt. Dutch oven or large tagine over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add chicken pieces, and cook, turning once, until golden brown on both sides, about 10 minutes; transfer to a plate and set aside. Add saffron and onions to pot, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 15 minutes. Return chicken to pot along with lemon slices and 1 cup water, and bring to a boil; reduce heat to medium-low, and cook, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 40 minutes. Remove from heat, and scatter olives and cilantro over chicken; serve with rice.

 

Peanut Coleslaw

From Heart of the Plate by Mollie Katzen

 

1/3 c. finely minced red onion

5 c. finely shredded green and/or purple cabbage (about 1 ¼ lbs)

1 t salt

2 T sugar

2 T cider vinegar

2 T peanut butter (lightly salted is OK)

½ t minced or crushed garlic

2 T hot water, or more if needed

1 large carrot, coarsely grated

crushed red pepper

cilantro leaves, torn or chopped (optional)

½ c. chopped lightly toasted peanuts

 

1. Put on a kettle of water to boil. Place minced onion in a small colander in the sink. When the water boils, pour most of it over the onion and set aside. Reserve a couple of tablespoons of the hot water for step three.

2. Place 4 cups of the cabbage in a very large bowl and sprinkle with the salt, sugar, and vinegar. Toss to coat (it will seems a bit cumbersome at first) and let it sit while you get other things ready.

3. Measure the peanut butter into a small bowl, and add the garlic and 2 tablespoons of the hot water. Mash with a spoon and then whisk smooth, adding a touch more hot water, as needed, to achieve the consistency of stirred sour cream.

4. Pour the peanut sauce onto the cabbage, add the onion, and toss with tongs or a fork until completely coated. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes, until it packs down enough to make room for the additional cup of cabbage and the grated carrot. Mix them in when that space appears.

5. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight, allowing everything to slaw-ify and meld.

6. Shortly before serving, season to taste with the red pepper and stir in the cilantro (if using) and chopped peanuts.

Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 8 July 21, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

“And what is a weed?  A plant whose virtues have not yet been discovered.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote that… maybe he never crawled a bed of carrots?
Our war with the weeds is one that connects us with thousands of years of farmers.  Like them, we can only hope to fend the weeds off long enough to escape with a crop.  The vegetables we eat are domesticated- they have been bred specifically for taste, yield, and other characteristics humans find desirable.  The weeds are wild, determined, and packed with all the tools nature has equipped them with to survive and reproduce.  We are in the middle.
Unlike a conventional farm which can use many different types of toxic herbicides to combat weeds we have two ways, by hand or by machine. Trying to defeat the weeds starts with defense.  Using a technique called stale bedding we prepare beds in advance and then wait for weed seeds to decide that the time is right to germinate.  Then we roll over them with revolving metal baskets that kill tiny weeds while hopefully not bringing up too many fresh seeds.  If we have the time we can repeat this process and have a fairly clean bed to plant into.

“Man of the Year” at Fort Hill Farm. We are grateful for Elliot McGann’s help in taming the temper of July with his knowledge of the farm and its tools of weed removal.

Once we have transplanted or directly seeded a crop we have a variety of implements to help us manage the weeds.  I have seen several shareholders admiring the small Allis Chalmers cultivating tractors we have and despite their age (67 years!), they handle a lot of the weed killing duties.  We can use them to basket weed, which kills weeds in between rows of plants; fingerweed, which kills weeds within the rows with spinning rubber fingers; or use hillers to throw soil around a crop to bury small weeds.  There is also the tine weeder, which agitates the surface of the soil with many small metal tines that are individually controlled to fit over different crops.

Each crop has a different order of operations for best weed control, but at some point nearly every crop needs to be weeded by hoe, hand, or both.  It’s not as simple as it sounds though. Depending on the situation we might “Just go through and get the big ones,” “Get everything this size and smaller,” or “Get everything.”  Often we have to “Bust the crust!,” which means breaking up areas of a bed that a tractor cultivation has missed.  The most time consuming weeding job on the farm is crawling.  Every carrot, beet, parsnip, rutabaga, and turnip you have ever eaten from the farm has had someone crawl by on their hands and knees pulling out every weed they could find.
Weeding a farm of this size is not an easy job, but it is strangely satisfying one.  Whether we are blasting through weeds on a tractor or meticulously pulling them by hand, it is a good feeling to clear a crop of weeds and give it the best chance to thrive.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Elliott, for Paul, Rebecca, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the field crew

 

Events
A big thank you goes to our garlic pulling volunteers from Saturday, Lynn Nicolson and Diane D’Isidori. We appreciate your help!


Western Connecticut Farm Crawl

Sunday, August 2 from 9AM to 3PM     *         *          *          *          * 

What’s a farm crawl?  We’re not entirely sure but the New Milford Farmers Market is organizing one and we are on the program!  The Farm Crawl is a way for folks to visit the farms that are the heart of the New Milford Farmers market.  There will be a tour at each farm on the top of each hour.  We figured this would be a great way for us to share with CSA sharers and market customers alike how we grow our produce.  Also a great way to check out other farms in the area.  More details at http://www.newmilfordfarmersmarket.com/farm crawl/.  Super flexible, go to as many farms as you like.

 

Featured This Week


Tendersweet Cabbage
:  There’s something particularly charming about this flattened, yet plump disc of a cabbage, maybe because it follows its physical polar opposite, the also charming “cone head” cabbage of last week. It’s tender and juicy, and begs to become a yummy coleslaw on your table.

Red Torpedo onions: otherwise known as ‘Red Long of Tropea.’ It takes two names to describe this distinctly torpedo-shaped onion that is crisp and packs a good red-onion punch. Perfect for summer salads, sautés, burgers, or on the grill. (See recipe below.)

 

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, kale, carrots, tomatoes, purplette onions, beets, broccoli raab, fresh garlic, corn, rainbow chard


Coming soon:
Chioggia beets, Ailsa Craig onions

 

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times at the bottom of the page).

Beans: a new planting of wax and green are in, and there are good Roma and haricots verts in the old and new beds alike. Pick fully formed pods.  Older pods get tough and make for poor eating so taste a few to see what’s good to pick.


Cut flowers
:  are revving up this week. Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.

Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use

 

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Roasted Broccoli, Gorgonzola, and Onion Pasta

From House on 30th Street

Admittedly, we’ve not yet tried this dish (tonight!), but Jonathan has been talking about broccoli and Gorgonzola over pasta for weeks now, and my mouth is watering.

 

1 large head broccoli, cut into small chunks

1-2 white, yellow, or red onions, thinly sliced

3/4 – 1 lb. chicken breast, cut into 1-inch pieces (optional)

1/2 c. Gorgonzola or other blue cheese, crumbled

1/2 lb. short whole wheat pasta (such as shells or penne)

2 Tbs. heavy cream (optional)

Salt and Pepper

Olive Oil

 

Preheat oven to 450F.

 

While oven is heating, toss broccoli with about 2 Tbs. olive oil, and 1/2 tsp. each salt and pepper. Spread evenly over foil-lined baking sheet. When oven is ready, roast broccoli for 10-12 minutes, or until florets start to brown. Set aside.

While broccoli is roasting, begin cooking onions by heating about 1 Tbs. olive oil in a large pan over medium-high heat. When oil is hot, add sliced onions. Stir to coat onions in oil. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Turn heat down if onions are burning. Season with salt, and cook for another 10 minutes until onions are soft and browned (or longer to caramelize). Set aside.

 

Bring a large pot of water to boil for the pasta. Prepare according to package directions. When draining the pasta, reserve 1 cup of pasta water to thin sauce later if necessary.

If using chicken: Season chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 1 Tbs. olive oil in large pan (you can reuse the onion pan) over medium heat. When oil is hot, add chicken, spreading it out as much as possible. Cook for 5-7 minutes, turning pieces occasionally, until chicken is cooked through.

 

Turn off heat, but keep pan of chicken on the hot burner. Add pasta, onions, and roasted broccoli. Add in the Gorgonzola crumbles and cream (if using) and stir to coat pasta. (The cheese doesn’t need to be completely melted into a sauce. Some cheese chunks can be delightful, as long as they’re softened.)  Add reserved pasta water 1/4 cup at a time if pasta seems too dry. Season with additional salt and pepper if desired.
Serve in warmed dishes and savor!

 

Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 7 July 14, 2015
In This Issue
Farm News
Featured This Week
Pick Your Own
Recipes
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

No rain last week, so we were irrigating like crazy on top of weeding at top speed and ramping up for some big harvests.  Which means this newsletter will be short and sweet!  After the first carrots we sowed in April came up poorly, we went into overdrive and seeded a bunch more beds, and they did well, so we finally have a good sized harvest of sweet carrots this week. Lettuce, salad mix, arugula, and kale coming in strong, and we were able to bring in some Swiss chard and some more beets that escaped the plague of leaf miners that has bedeviled us this year.  Spinach is done until fall where we’ll make another attempt.  Tomatoes doing well in both high tunnel and greenhouse, and we’re excited about the first corn pick of the season this week.  Plenty of cukes, zucchini and summer squash, and also a good crop of fresh onions.  Big job this week is to bring in the garlic.  Quality seems good but bulb size a bit small, as garlic is not fond of cold, dry spring weather.  All in all things appear to be picking up, and high quality crops are rolling in, so we are putting our heads down to plant, water, weed, pick and pack!

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

 

Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the field crew

Rae and Jonathan are excited about the day’s broccoli pick.

 

Events

Garlic Pulling this Saturday, July 18
    *         *          *          *          *Help the crew bring in the last of the garlic.  No tools needed.  We’ll be pulling, bunching and hanging this year’s crop and many hands make light work for the first big harvest project of the season.  We’ll be in the field from 8AM to noon, any time you care to offer appreciated.  Children welcome, especially if accompanied by hard working adults.Western Connecticut Farm CrawlSunday, August 2 from 9AM to 3PM     *         *          *          *          * What’s a farm crawl?  We’re not entirely sure but the New Milford Farmers Market is organizing one and we are on the program!  The Farm Crawl is a way for folks to visit the farms that are the heart of the New Milford Farmers market.  There will be a tour at each farm on the top of each hour.  We figured this would be a great way for us to share with CSA sharers and market customers alike how we grow our produce.  Also a great way to check out other farms in the area.  More details at http://www.newmilfordfarmersmarket.com/farm crawl/.  Super flexible, go to as many farms as you like.
Someone has to weed and thin the Gilfeather turnips – Jonathan, Christine, Adam, and Bailey take it on.

 

Featured This Week

Photo by Chris Montalvo

 

Early Jersey Wakefield Cabbagea pointy headed, heirloom cabbage great for slaws and salads.  Store up to 3 weeks in the fridge c

risper.

Fresh garlic: this is German White hard neck garlic, one of our signature crops.  The cloves are big and flavorful, and easy to peel.  Fresh garlic will store for weeks on your kitchen counter.  We’ll have fresh garlic available for just a few weeks while we wait for the majority of the crop to cure, and begin distributing again in late-August.Sweet Corn: our first pick of the season, this is the diminutive but very sweet variety called Trinity.  Eat right away for best taste!  In a pinch you can store in the fridge for up to 3 days.  Just heat enough to get warm and avoid over cooking,

especially if you are boiling ears.  Three to four minutes is plenty.
Swiss Chard:  versatile cooking green, great sautéed with garlic and onions, can sub for spinach in any recipe (see recipe below).  Store in a plastic bag in fridge for up to 5 days.Also available:arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, scallions, cucumbers, summer squash, kale, carrots, fennel, salad turnips, tomato, purplette onions, beets, broccoli raab, broccoli

Coming soon:
cabbage

 

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times at the bottom of the page).

Beans:  wax, green, Roma, and haricot vert are ready.  There is an especially good pick of our favorite, Roma. Pick fully formed pods.  Older pods get tough and make for poor eating so taste a few to see what’s good to pick.

Cut flowers:  some nice snap dragons out there.  Just a few blooms to start the season, we won’t be up to “bouquet” size for a few weeks yet.  Please bring a shears, or you can buy a pair at the farm to keep with your farm supplies.
Herbs:  Please take what you can use for fresh use only.

 

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Chard and Sweet Corn TacosFrom Martha Rose Shulman, via the New York Times

 

1 generous bunch Swiss chard (about 3/4 pound)

Salt to taste

1 medium white, red or yellow onion, sliced

3 large garlic cloves, minced

Kernels from 2 ears sweet corn

Freshly ground pepper

8 warm corn tortillas

½ cup crumbled queso fresco or feta (but not too salty a feta)

Salsa of your choice

Nutritional Information

 

PREPARATION

Bring a large pot of water to a boil while you stem chard and wash leaves in 2 rinses of water. Rinse stalks and dice them if they are wide and not stringy. When water in pot comes to a boil, salt generously and add chard leaves. Blanch for a minute, then transfer to a bowl of cold water and drain. Take chard up by the handful and squeeze out excess water, then cut into 1/2-inch wide strips. Set aside. Heat oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet and add onion. Cook, stirring often, until onions are tender and beginning to color, about 8 minutes, and add a generous pinch of salt, the garlic, diced chard stalks and corn kernels. Continue to cook, stirring often, until corn is just tender, about 4 minutes. Stir in chard and cook, stirring, for another minute or two, until ingredients are combined nicely and chard is tender but still bright. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Remove from heat. Heat tortillas. Top with vegetables, a sprinkling of cheese and a spoonful of salsa.

 

Grilled Bread Salad with Broccoli Raab and Summer Squash

This was the “Your Best Grilled Vegetable Dish Contest Winner” at Food 52.

 

For the mayonnaise marinade:

 

1 cup full-fat mayonnaise

½ cup olive oil

2 lemons, juiced and zested (about 1/4 cup lemon juice)

2 garlic cloves, mashed into a paste

1 tablespoon kosher salt

1 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (or 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes)

1 teaspoon Spanish smoked paprika

1 tablespoon cumin seed

 

For the grilled vegetables and bread salad:

 

2 or 3 mixed summer squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), cut into 1/2 inch-thick rounds

1 large bunch broccoli rabe (or young, tender broccoli)

Four 1/2-inch slices from the center of a loaf of crusty bread (ciabatta or sourdough works well)

¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil for brushing bread

Olive oil for brushing grill grate

Handful of torn basil and mint for garnish

¼ cup toasted pine nuts or toasted, chopped almonds

Extra virgin olive oil and fresh lemon juice, to taste

 

To prepare the broccoli raab, remove thick, tough lower ends of stalks. Split lengthwise any stalks that are more than 1/2-inch thick. To prepare the mayonnaise marinade: In a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise with the olive oil, lemon juice, lemon zest, garlic, salt, smoked Spanish paprika, Aleppo pepper, and cumin seed until smooth and emulsified. To prepare the vegetables: To the bowl of marinade, add the summer squash. Rinse the broccoli raab thoroughly to remove any grit hiding among the leaves. Add it to the bowl with the summer squash, then toss with the marinade to coat the vegetables evenly. (Don’t dry the broccoli raab after rinsing — the bit of water clinging to the leaves will thin the marinade and gently steam the stalks as they’re grilling, allowing any tough stalks to get tender.) Allow the vegetables to marinate at room temperature for about 30 minutes, tossing once or twice to make sure they’re evenly coated. To prepare grill: Meanwhile, prepare a gas grill with all burners on medium, or a charcoal grill with hot coals. Brush the grilling rack with olive oil. To grill the vegetables: When the grill is ready, arrange the summer squash rounds evenly across the grill grate. Grill for a few minutes on each side, or until tender and nicely blistered in spots. Remove the squash from grill. Next, arrange the broccoli raab in a single layer on the grill. Grill for 2 to 3 minutes per side, or until tender and blistered in spots. (Taste if you’re unsure if the stalks are tender.) If the stalks are charring quickly but aren’t tender, spray or drizzle a few drops of water on them. Remove from the grill and place on a large platter or sheet pan to cool. (You don’t want to stack the broccoli raab while it’s still hot because it’ll lose its crisp, papery texture.) To grill the bread: Brush each slice of bread (top and bottom) with about 1 tablespoon of oil, or enough to evenly and thoroughly coat each side. Season with a pinch of kosher salt and a few grinds of pepper. Grill the bread on both sides, checking frequently, until charred in spots, a few minutes per side. Turn down the heat if needed. You want the bread to be crusty but soft in the middle. When the bread is cool enough to handle, cut it into 1/2-inch cubes. To assemble salad: On a large serving platter, place the bread cubes, grilled broccoli raab, and summer squash. Garnish with toasted nuts, basil, and mint. Season with kosher salt and pepper to taste, then drizzle with extra-virgin olive oil and lemon juice to taste. Serve warm or at room temperature. Serves 4.

 

 

Fort Hill Farm Logo
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 6  July 7, 2015
In This Issue
Farm News
Featured This Week
Pick Your Own
Recipes
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      *  Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM

Farm News

We flipped the farm calendar to July last week, which means everything is happening twice as fast as June.  We are planting many of the fall crops this week, trying to weed the summer crops, and cleaning up after the spring crops all at the same time.  We’re crawling carrots and beets, hoeing celeriac and leeks, and picking tons of summer squash.  We’re still getting good harvests of lettuce, arugula, and salad mix, and Rebecca asked me to plug the fennel because we have lots of it ready to go and looking for a good home this week. This week we’ll finally have some beets, which were decimated by leaf miners but staged a modest comeback. We tore the tops off because they were none too pretty to look at, but the beet roots look good and are plenty tasty.

 

On the pick your own front, the strawberries are done but let’s pause to appreciate what a nice run we had.  Snap peas are on the outs but if you come early in the week we should still have some.  On the waxing side, we have a great crop of beans.  Elliott has taken the bean crop under his wing from seed to harvest and it looks like his careful attention has paid off. We have green beans, wax beans, and the thin haricot vert fillet beans.  Lagging just a bit behind are the broad Roma beans, which are my favorite kind.

The crew bunches scallions for weeks in the spring and summer.

 

And with a little luck we’ll be getting the first tomato to sharers this week.  We’ll start off with one tomato per share, as these somewhat precious fruit come from our greenhouse.  The plants were started on the first of February and planted into our hoop house in early April. The crew has been training them up to the plastic roof, and some vines are over 10 feet tall.  Most CSAs grow their tomatoes in the field, which is a bit of a boom or bust enterprise.  If thing go well, sharers wait and wait and finally in mid-August there is a torrent of tomatoes for a few weeks until early September, when rain and cool weather greatly reduce the harvest.  If things don’t go well, and they usually don’t, storms and diseases take their toll in August and shareholders get poor quality fruit and a much reduced harvest.  We followed this path until about 5 years ago when we built the big three-bay high tunnel you see out in the field.  This unheated structure allows us to capture some heat in May and early June to push the crop, and keeping the vines covered helps us manage excessive rain.  We give these plants lots of compost and water to keep them strong and healthy.  This allows us a steady supply of high quality fruit from early July through September.  So slice up this week’s greenhouse tomato on a sandwich or two, and pretty soon we’ll be in salsa mode.

 

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

 

Paul, for Rebecca, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the field crew

 

Bailey, Lauren, and Elliott pound the pepper stakes in – it’s a big job.

 

Featured This Week

 

Beets: we like to roast ours and then slice on salads this time of year.  You can also steam them or peel and grate them raw into salads.  Store in Ziploc bag in the fridge crisper for at least a week or two.

Tomatoes: these are standard slicing tomatoes from our greenhouse.  These are good tasting tomatoes when fully ripe but lack the panache of many of the heirloom varieties, which we will have in a few weeks from the high tunnel. Store them at room temperature for 3 to 5 days depending on ripeness.

Purplette Onions: we always welcome the first true onions of the season after using up the tired onions from the grocery store. Enjoy fresh in salads, or see the pizza recipe below.

Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, head lettuce, scallions, garlic scapes, cucumbers, summer squash, kale, carrots, fennel, radicchio, salad turnips

Coming soon: 

cabbage, corn?

 

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.

 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times at the bottom of the page).

Snap peas: gleanings only -come early in the week if you want peas as we don’t think they will make it until Saturday.  It’s been a great season for peas.  I think this is our fourth week which is a record for our sandy soil, which peas don’t really like.Beans:  wax, green, and haricot vert are ready.  Pick fully formed pods.

 

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Roasted Beet Pizza (Pizza alla Barbabietola Arrostito)Adapted from Cooking Light

Putting roasted beets on pizza highlights their the unique flavor. Omit the honey and sprinkle on fresh thyme if you prefer it savory like we do. Toss on some broken walnuts for some more complex flavors.

2 (1/2 lb.) beets

2 teaspoon olive oil

1 basic pizza dough for (2) 8-10″ pie (make your favorite or buy pre-made)

1 cup (2 ounces) crumbled feta cheese

1/2 cup sliced Purplette onions

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

2 teaspoon honey (optional)

2 tsp. fresh thyme (optional)

¼-1/3 c. walnuts, broken (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 450°.

2. Scrub beets with a brush and wrap in foil. Bake at 450° for 40 minutes or until tender. Remove from oven; cool. Rub off skin. Cut beets in half crosswise; thinly slice halves.

3. Position an oven rack in the lowest setting. Place a pizza stone on lowest rack.

4. Increase oven temperature to 500°. Preheat pizza stone 30 minutes before baking pizza.

5. Gently brush oil over Basic Pizza Dough. Arrange cheese, beet slices, and onions evenly over dough, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Slide dough onto preheated pizza stone, using a spatula as a guide.

6. Bake at 500° for 8 minutes or until crust is golden. Remove from pizza stone. Sprinkle with salt, and drizzle with honey. Cut each pie into 8 wedges.

 

 

Green and Red Salad with Fennel and Oranges

Adapted from a Rachael Ray recipe

 

1 head romaine

1 medium head radicchio

1 small bulb fennel

1 large orange

A generous drizzle of balsamic vinegar

3 T (3 turns around the salad bowl in a thin stream) extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Shred romaine and radicchio and discard cores. Trim tops of fennel bulb and quarter lengthwise. Remove core from each quarter with an angled cut into each quarter. Slice fennel across into thin pieces and add to salad.

Slice off both ends of the orange. Set the orange on a cutting board, one cut side down. With a sharp knife, cut away the peel (the zest and white pith) by slicing from top to bottom, following the contour of the orange. Working over a bowl to collect any juice, release the orange segments by carefully cutting them away from the membrane that separates them. (Or if you’re feeling lazy, just slice the segments!) Remove any seeds and put the orange segments in another bowl, separate from the juice. Squeeze the membranes over the juice bowl.

Dress salad with the orange juice, vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper, to taste.

 

Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 5
June 30, 2015

In This Issue
Farm News
Featured This Week
Pick Your Own
Recipes
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      * Saturday 8:00 AM12:30 PM

Farm News

Eat More Kale. We’ve all seen the bumper stickers emblemizing the craze for the leafy green stuff that packs a nutritional punch. It’s an understatement to say that kale is a staple on small-scale organic farms. And that is why we’ve been feeling a little weak in the knees this season over the Kale Situation. The trouble is, we weren’t able to get Winterbor, our no-fail, tough as nails, curly green kale variety this year.

When we heard the news in early January, it spurred a storm of research and phone calls. Paul scoured the seed catalogs and the web, and spoke to more than a few seed reps and farmer friends. The word “kale” was spoken so often that Luca will likely pick it up prematurely. For weeks packets arrived in the mail from myriad sources, sporting shiny packaging and an air of mystery.

Kaleidoscope Trials

We owe the dearth of Winterbor seed to the poor growing conditions in Europe over the last two seasons, where most of the seed crop is grown. Kale flowers and seeds biennially (every other year), and this could mean a shortage next year as well. The truth is these crop failures happen every year – what vary are the specific crops and their value relative to our farm. Other times seed companies arbitrarily discontinue production of one of our tried and true favorite varieties. Either way, we are left scrambling to find another strain to rely on. We lack the land (many crops need genetic isolation from related varieties to breed true) and the time (so many weeds to eradicate!) to engage in anything other than the occasional seed-saving event on our farm; this leaves us vulnerable to outside forces when we carry out our crop plan each year.   Assessing the kale trials was illuminating and at first a bit disappointing. The group exhibited an assortment of disadvantages: lime-green-leaved, small-leaved, narrow-leaved, super squatty statured…. At one point, I did come across a fine replacement for Winterbor, only to realize that it WAS our Winterbor control! And although the main variety we chose after all of that research has stunning blue-green leaves, it turns out to lack the beefiness of Winterbor. We also discovered too late that it might not have the longevity that we expect from kale, and therefore, a planting may not go nearly as far into the season as planned. This portends trouble for keeping kale in constant supply – something we surely intended, given our agreement with the bumper sticker, after all.  With only two kale sowings left to go, it’s late in the game to make big changes, so we’re going to make the best of what we have and plant like mad for the fall.   And what do you know …. after just a couple of good June growing weeks, the plants have flushed out and the kale scene is looking brighter. Even more, through these trials we found a superior strain of lacinato kale that we’re smitten with …  and we’ll gladly enjoy this silver lining! We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest, Rebecca, for Paul, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the field crew

Perhaps more than any other vegetable, carrots require a lot of love in the form of “crawling,” or hand-weeding with your fingertips.

Featured This Week

Kale: is back! You may see uniquely-leaved bunches in the bin this summer. Wonderful for braising, chiffonade, bakes, and soups. See recipe below. Carrots: Fresh spring carrots… so crisp and sweet…. We always breathe a sigh of relief when we get a nice stand of carrots from each sowing. This planting was not as large as expected, but more is on the way. See recipe below. Fennel: One of my personal favorites. We often just chop it up and dowse in olive oil and salt, but have more recently been adding it to the chicken salad recipe from an early summer 2014 newsletter. Radicchio: This must be my week! Radicchio is an acquired taste for non-lovers of bitter greens. Add to salads raw or, alternatively, roast alone or in bakes for a mellower taste bud experience. Stores for many weeks in the crisper drawer.
 
Also available:
arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, bok choy, radishes, head lettuce, scallions, Chinese cabbage, garlic scapes, cucumbers, summer squash Coming soon:  

beets

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase sturdy clippers in distribution.   PYO Hours:

The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times at the bottom of the page).

Strawberries: gleanings only. To newcomers, this means that pickings are thin and require a hunt, and we will have limits set.

Snap peas: are coming to an end quickly. Come early in the week for the best pick.

Herbs: small bunches of parsley, dill, and a medium bunch of cilantro; perennial herbs – choose a few sprigs each of your favorite 3 herbs (sage, thyme, oregano, chives, marjoram).

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie Kale, Avocado, and Cucumbers in a Lime Dressing
Adapted from Sara Bojarski’s recipe at Urban Cookery   3 T Vegenaise or Mayonnaise 1/2 Tablespoon Water 1/4 Teaspoon Salt Juice of 1 Lime 1/4 Teaspoon Lime Zest 1 Tablespoon Cilantro (minced) 1/3 Cup Red Onion (minced) 3 oz Kale (de-stemmed and cut into bite-sized pieces) 1 Avocado (cut into 1″ cubes) 1 Cucumber (cut into half-moon shapes)   In a small bowl, whisk together your mayo, water, salt, lime juice, lime zest, cilantro and red onion. Add a little crushed black pepper. Place your de-stemmed kale in a large bowl and toss with the dressing made in step one. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour to help break down the kale’s toughness. After the kale has sat for at least an hour, toss in your avocado and cucumber and serve. Serves 2-4.

Moroccan Carrot & Chickpea Salad By Jennifer Segal   For the Dressing: 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1 teaspoon lemon zest and 3 tablespoons lemon juice, from one large lemon 1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice, from one large orange 1-1/2 tablespoons honey 3/4 teaspoon salt 1 teaspoon ground cumin 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander 1/4 teaspoon ground allspice 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper   For the Salad: 1 pound carrots, peeled and coarsely grated 1/3 cup currants 1/2 cup slivered almonds, toasted (see note below) 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or cilantro (or a combination), plus more for serving 1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, rinsed and drained 2 tablespoons finely minced shallots, from one large shallot 1 garlic clove, minced Instructions   In a large bowl (large enough to mix the entire salad), whisk together all of the ingredients for the dressing.   To the dressing, add all of the ingredients for the salad and toss well. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes or up to a few hours. Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary (you might need more salt, lemon or honey, depending on the sweetness of the carrots). Transfer to a serving dish and garnish with more fresh chopped herbs. Serve cold.   Note: To toast the almonds, preheat the oven to 350°F. Place the almonds on a foil-lined baking sheet for easy clean-up. Bake for about 5 minutes, until the almonds are golden. Serves 6 as a side.
Fort Hill Farm Logo

Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 4
June 23, 2015

In This Issue
Farm News
Featured This Week
Pick Your Own
Recipes
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      * Saturday 8:00 AM12:30 PM

Farm News

Sometimes you just have to kill weeds. While I normally try to steer clear of the word “kill,” yesterday that was our mission, and I embraced wholeheartedly. In a rare move, we put all hands on deck for Mad Monday, hoeing, hand pulling, and cultivating like crazy. We pulled pigweed from the potatoes, hoed the broccoli, cabbage, and kale, basket weeded the greens beds, and cleared the beds for fall planting. We quite possibly covered some 80% of the exposed ground …. it was a thing of beauty, and oddly …. a luxury on this farm.

June is such a busy time on the farm because it is a true cross section of fieldwork. With summer staples like squash and cukes coming in every other day and the main cooking greens maturing, the harvest is ramping up in earnest. There is diminishing, but nonetheless, important greenhouse seeding that still demands our attention, and we still have waves of plantings bursting out of their pots and begging to get into the ground.

Potato beds are notorious for harboring weeds underneath the umbrella of foliage. Yesterday, we just pulled the biggest pig weeds.

At the same time, June offers prime weather conditions for billions of weed seeds to germinate. This month is critical for weed control because what we miss this round (and we surely will, regardless of effort!) will become downright unmanageable. Tiny pigweed seedlings transform into woody shrubs in a matter of weeks, and the haze of lime green fuzz on empty beds, if not cultivated that very instant, will become an intractable field of weeds which can only be removed by hand. This is a fine recipe for a difficult July (also referred to as the “Heart of Darkness” in the farming world).

Yesterday was a perfect setup for weeding because Sunday’s rains made the soil friable for pulling. This left us a narrow window before today’s rain within which to go a bit mad on the weeds. The crew dove headlong into the work, keeping a crisp pace all day … and today, we’ll be celebrating with strawberry pie!

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Rebecca, for Paul, Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the field crew

Paul cultivates next year’s strawberry patch one of many times.

Featured This Week

Spinach! We are pleased to be able to put spinach on the menu after the destruction of our spring plantings by leaf miners. Please bear with us – you will likely find some leaf miner damage in the leaves. Great in salads and sautés alike.

Cucumbers:

Our high tunnel planting is pumping out some nice fruit. Nothing says summer like the fresh taste of

cucumbers! Kohlrabi: alien life forms disguised as vegetables for sure, but these orbs have a unique crispiness that livens up salads (see recipe below) and makes a fun dipper for hummus…just peel and go.

 
Also available:

arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, bok choy, radishes, escarole, head lettuce, scallions, Chinese cabbage, garlic scales

Coming soon: 

kale, radicchio

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers or you can purchase the sturdy clippers in distribution.   PYO Hours:

The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times at the bottom of the page).Strawberries: are past peak; limits may be lower later in the week if conditions begin to deteriorate.  As of 6/23 extra jamming quarts available for purchase as long as we can.  Come early in week for best picking!!! Snap peas: Holding on for now, but showing signs of summer wear. Look for PLUMP pea pods-they are the sweetest and crunchiest.  Picking small peas a big no -no, because it diminishes the crop, and you’ll want to avoid the thickest, starchiest pods now also.  In the unlikely event you need to store them, they hold great for at least 5 days in the fridge.  There are recipes out there for snap peas, but we like to eat them fresh and raw.

Herbs: a new cilantro patch is open; other herbs are just starting to come in-choose a few sprigs each of your favorite 3 herbs (dill, sage, thyme, oregano, chives, marjoram).

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Thai Quinoa Salad with Fresh Herbs and Lime Vinaigrette

Adapted from Once Upon a Chef

For the Salad:

1 cup quinoa, rinsed (or pre-washed)

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 kohlrabi bulb, diced

1 large cucumber, seeded and diced

3 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced

3-5 radishes, halved and thinly sliced

1 carrot, peeled and grated

1/4 cup freshly chopped cilantro

2 tablespoons fresh chopped mint or basil (optional)

For the Dressing:

1/4 cup freshly squeezed lime juice, from 3-4 limes

2-1/2 teaspoons Asian fish sauce

1-1/2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 tablespoons sugar

1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (use less if you don’t like heat)

Add quinoa, salt and 1-2/3 cups water to a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked. You’ll know it is done when the little “tails” sprout from the grains. (If necessary add 1-2 tablespoons more water if the quinoa is not cooked by the time all the liquid is absorbed.) Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool in the refrigerator.

In the meantime, make the dressing by combining the lime juice, fish sauce, vegetable oil, sugar and crushed red pepper flakes in a medium bowl. Whisk until the sugar is dissolved.

Once the quinoa is cool, add the red bell peppers, carrots, cucumbers, scallions, fresh herbs and dressing. Toss well, then taste and adjust seasoning with more salt, sugar and lime juice if necessary (I usually add a bit more of all). Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. This salad keeps well for several days in the fridge. Serves 2 as main course, 4 as side salad.

Zucchini and Yellow Squash Fritters with Feta and Dill Adapted from Once Upon a Chef These disappeared quickly in our house!   1 pound summer squash, trimmed 1 teaspoon salt 2 large eggs 2 scallions, minced 2 tablespoons minced fresh dill 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese 2 garlic scapes, thinly sliced 1/4 teaspoon black pepper 1/4 cup corn starch or all purpose flour 1/2 teaspoon baking powder 6 tablespoons olive oil Lemon wedges, for serving   Shred the zucchini on the large holes of a box grater or in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk. Transfer the zucchini to a fine mesh strainer and set over a bowl. Toss the zucchini with the salt and let it sit for 10 minutes. Wring all of the excess liquid out of the zucchini with your hands, then set aside.   Beat the eggs in a large bowl. Mix in the dried zucchini, scallions, dill, feta, garlic and black pepper. Sprinkle the cornstarch and baking powder over mixture and stir until uniformly incorporated.   Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Drop 2-tablespoon sized portions into the pan, then use the back of a spoon to gently press the batter into 2-inch-wide fritters. Pan-fry until golden brown on both sides, 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the fritters to a paper towel-lined plate. Wipe the skillet clean with paper towels. Return the skillet to medium heat, add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil, and repeat with remaining batter. Serve warm or room temperature with lemon wedges. Makes 12 fritters.
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 3
June 15, 2015

In This Issue
Farm News
Featured This Week
Pick Your Own
Recipes
Quick Links

Distribution Hours:
*  Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM      * Saturday 8:00 AM– 12:30 PM

Farm News

Last week when we left our extremely dry spring drama story, I was talking about the line of thunderstorms a few states to the west that we were sure was going to drop some rain on us, and also about how unreliable this form of rain is.  True to form, big storm cells cruised to the south and north of us but dropped no rain on Fort Hill.  Massive irrigation efforts ensued but with only 2 wells for our 16 cropped acres, we were losing the battle.  To top it off, on Sunday the big irrigation “gun” broke down, which had us glued to the weather radar for the next 6 hours praying for rain.  (Instant access to weather radar is what finally drove us into the smart phone era.  Still haven’t played “Angry Birds” though.)
We finally caught a break on Sunday night and got a soaking rain which should hold us for the week, and give most of our crops and our prepped fields awaiting plants the drink they desperately needed.  These formerly odd “dry springs” have become very common, and unfortunately they are often followed by wet summers, which is exactly the opposite of what most crops need.  This has made farming in the East even more difficult than it was in the past, but at least we have ground water irrigation sources that naturally recharge, unlike the farmers in California who have lost access to the cheap water from the Sierra Nevada mountains, and are now pumping wells so hard they are causing the ground water to drop and collapsing their aquifers.

Snapping scapes on a cool, misty day is glorious work.
It’s a good reminder that Nature can only be pushed so hard, and we are definitely at the red line.  Of course no single storm or weather pattern can be blamed on man-made greenhouse gases, but on the whole, the evidence of global climate weirdness is piling up like cord wood.  Human-induced climate change becomes a more concrete concept when it is tied to food availability, and perhaps higher food prices and even shortages will spur us into the action we need as a society to get off the fossil fuel economy.  Even no less a staunch conservative than former president George H.W. Bush said we needed to end our addiction to oil.  Perhaps if we keep telling our leaders that we are willing to pay a bit more for clean energy and safe food, we’ll be able to steer our society to more sane and sustainable way of living
We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest, Paul and Rebecca, for Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the field crew

Featured This Week

Chinese cabbage: great for stir-fry or to shred into salad.  See recipe ideas below or check out our staple Chinese Cabbage Salad recipe (and more) at www.forthillfarm.com. Store in your fridge crisper for up to 3 weeks.

  Garlic scapes:  These are the flower stems of our top-setting hard neck garlic.  Viewed with suspicion by shareholders in the past, they have become very popular due to their great fresh garlic flavor and many uses.  Cut off an inch or two of the thin ‘whip’ at the end of the flower, and the rest is good to go.  Chop them up finely, sauté in oil and then add cooking greens.  Or check out our garlic scape pesto recipe on the website, very yummy over pasta.  Scapes will store for several weeks in your fridge crisper (and can store for months!).  They are a unique source of garlic flavor and will tide you over until we have fresh garlic available in about three weeks.   Summer Squash:  the yellow squash is coming in great, zucchini off to a slower start, but we should have more next week.  Store in fridge crisper for up to days, or in a cool humid place for a bit longer.  We pick the first crop a bit smaller so the plants can continue growing, making these squash ideal for sauté.

Also available:

basil, arugula, red kale, tatsoi, salad mix, bok choy, radishes, escarole, head lettuce, scallions

Coming soon:  cucumbers, zucchini

Pick Your Own

Please bring your own clippers! We will have sturdy clippers available for purchase soon.   PYO Hours:

The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times at the bottom of the page).

Strawberries: are peaking and it looks like we’ll have a short season.  Pick early this week as more heat and rain not helpful for ripe strawberries.  Look for firm berries red all the way to the tip.  Limits may be lower later in the week if conditions begin to deteriorate.  As of 6/16 extra quarts available for purchase as long as we can.  Come early in week for best picking!!! Snap peas: a shareholder favorite.  The notably cold spring weather caused some germination problems in the patch giving us a poor stand, which will reduce our harvest, but the plants that made it look good.  Look for large PLUMP pea pods-they are the sweetest and crunchiest.  Picking small peas a big no -no, because it diminishes the crop.  In the unlikely event you need to store them, they hold great for at least 5 days in the fridge.  There are recipes out there for snap peas, but we like to eat them fresh and raw.

Herbs: a great cilantro stand; other herbs are just starting to come in-choose a few sprigs each of your favorite 3 herbs (dill, sage, thyme, oregano, chives, marjoram).

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Garlic Scape and White Bean Hummus, by Rebecca

1 ½ cups cooked Cannellini beans

1/3 cup garlic scapes, sliced thinly (about 5-6 scapes)

1 ½ Tbsp. fresh lemon juice

4 Tbsp. olive oil

¼ tsp. salt, or to taste

¼ tsp. black pepper, or to taste

My ancient food processor doesn’t handle roughly chopped scapes very well, so I slice them thinly here. Toss everything into the processor and blend until smooth. You may breathe dragon fire after eating this hummus, but it’s worth it!

Stir-Fried Chicken with Chinese Cabbage From Food and Wine’s Quick From Scratch Chicken Cookbook   1 1/3 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken breasts (about 4) cut into 1-inch pieces 1 TBSP plus 4 tsp soy sauce 3 TBSP dry sherry ¼ tsp cayenne                        2 TBSP cooking oil 1 onion, chopped 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 tsp ground coriander                      1 TBSP wine vinegar ½ head Chinese cabbage (about 1 pound), sliced ¾ cup drained sliced water chestnuts (1- 8.oz can) 2 tsp tomato paste                          ¼ tsp dried red-pepper flakes 3 TBSP water                          1/8 tsp salt                           1 to 2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro or scallion tops                                                                           In a medium bowl, combine the chicken with 1 TBSP soy sauce, 1 TBSP sherry, and the cayenne. Let marinade for 10 minutes. In a wok or large frying pan, heat 1 TBSP of the oil over moderately high heat. Add the chicken and cook, stirring, until almost done, 1 to 2 minutes. Remove. Add the remaining 1 TBSP of oil to the pan and add the onion, garlic and coriander. Cook, stirring, until the onions are golden, about 4 minutes. Add the remaining 2 TBSP sherry and the wine vinegar. Cook, stirring, about one minute, then add the cabbage, water chestnuts and the remaining 4 tsp soy sauce, tomato paste, red-pepper flakes, and water; cook, stirring, for 3 minutes longer. Add the chicken and any accumulated juices, cilantro, and the salt; cook, stirring, until the chicken is just done, 1 to 2 minutes longer.
Fort Hill Farm

CSA Newsletter
fresh * local * organic
Week 2
June 9, 2015
In This Issue
Quick Links

Farm News

Last week’s rain was a welcome sight but more is still needed.  We’re watching some showers and thunderstorms heading in from New York and Pennsylvania and hoping they drop an inch of rain, in a gentle fashion, on the farm tonight after we’ve left the fields for the day.  We can dream, right?  Thunderstorms are amazingly hit and miss this time of year.  We can often see dark clouds and flashes of lightning off to the north in Kent and Cornwall, or southwards over Danbury, but they often seem to miss our farm.  Maybe that’s why they call it “Sunny Valley Preserve.”  Of course thunderstorms have a very dark side, as high winds, heavy rain, and hail can wreak havoc on a vegetable farm.  A violent storm in late June or July could destroy crops like peppers and tomatoes because there is no time to replant.  The best we can do is keep a sharp eye on the weather radar and hope for a “good” thunderstorm.
Lauren and Elliott string the snap peas again.

Crop growth continues at a slow pace.  We’re not sure if it’s the cool temperatures or a fertility issue, but this year even the weeds are growing slowly.  Perhaps some rain and a couple days of temperatures in the 80’s will get us back on track.  We are thankful for the good crop of strawberries that are coming in strong now, picking looks good for at least the next week.   We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,

Paul and Rebecca, for Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Jonathan, Rae, and the field crew
Adam, Amanda, and Bailey crawl one of the long carrot beds. Each row must be weeded by hand.

Featured This Week

Basil: Enjoy it while it lasts. Once a mainstay crop, basil has become elusive for us in the last few years, thanks to the onset of the downy mildew fungus. The bunch may not be perfect this week. We’re doing everything we can to find a way around this stubborn disease.

  Escarole:  a cousin to lettuce, very bitter raw but mellows to a nice flavor when cooked.  Try some escarole and beans, very healthy and tastes great!  Stores like lettuce.   Rosemary:  we’ve got a rosemary plant for each share.  They are in need of “potting up”, bring a 4-inch or larger pot to distribution and we’ll have some potting soil on hand.  Or transplant into a sunny, well-drained garden space at your home.  Rosemary grows too slowly in our PYO herb patch to keep up with demand, so this way everyone will have a nice supply.

Also available:

arugula, salad mix, bok choy, radishes, broccoli raab, head lettuce

Coming soon:  Chinese cabbage, lettuce

Pick Your Own

 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times at the bottom of the page). Strawberries are producing a nice crop and we should be able to get a good amount to shareholders this week.  Please walk in a very tight single line in the patch to avoid squashing berries and look at the berry’s bottom tip before picking-if its red, its yours!  If it’s white, leave it for another time.  Limit around 2 quarts with extra quarts available.

Cilantro: Most folks either love or hate this unique herb. Its early-season sprigs will wake up your salads.

Recipes, suggested by Rebecca Batchie

Balsamic-Macerated Strawberries with Basil

From Fine Cooking 2 lb. fresh strawberries, rinsed, hulled, and sliced 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick (about 4 cups)

1 Tbs. granulated sugar 2 tsp. balsamic vinegar 8 to 10 medium fresh basil leaves   Tip: To maintain a strawberry’s beautiful shape, use a paring knife to remove the cap with an angled cut.   In a large bowl, gently toss the strawberries with the sugar and vinegar. Let sit at room temperature until the strawberries have released their juices but are not yet mushy, about 30 minutes. (Don’t let the berries sit for more than 90 minutes, or they’ll start to collapse.) Just before serving, stack the basil leaves on a cutting board and roll them vertically into a loose cigar shape. Using a sharp chef’s knife, very thinly slice across the roll to make a fine chiffonade of basil. Portion the strawberries and their juices among four small bowls and scatter with the basil to garnish, or choose one of the serving suggestions below.   Serving suggestions:

  • Serve the strawberries over grilled or toasted pound cake. Garnish with a dollop of crème fraîche.
  • Put the berries on split biscuits for shortcakes; top with whipped cream and scatter with the basil.
  • Layer the berries with ice cream or yogurt for a parfait. Garnish with the basil.
  • Spoon the strawberries over a poached or roasted peach half.
  • Use the berries as a filling for crêpes or a topping for waffles.
  • Mash the berries slightly and fold into whipped cream for a quick fool. Garnish with the basil.

Homemade Caesar Salad Dressing From Once Upon a Chef Dress up that nice spring romaine!   Ingredients 2 small garlic cloves, minced 1 teaspoon anchovy paste or 1 anchovy fillet 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice, from one lemon 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1 cup mayonnaise or Vegenaise 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper   Instructions In a medium bowl, whisk together the garlic, anchovy paste, lemon juice, Dijon mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Add the mayonnaise, Parmigiano-Reggiano, salt and pepper and whisk until well combined. Taste and adjust to your liking. Servings: Makes 1-1/3 cups.

Distribution Hours:
Tuesday and Thursday 2:30 – 6:30 PM
Saturday 8:00 AM- 12:30 PM
 Fort Hill Farm CSA
 New Milford, CT
 Fresh * Local *Organic
Week 1 Newsletter
June 2, 2015
IN THIS ISSUE
FARM NEWS
FEATURED THIS WEEK
RECIPES: Arugula Pesto (Pesto Di Rucola); Radishes With Butter and Salt

Featured this week:
Salad mix: One of our most popular crops, our salad mix requires some extra care on your part, as it does not come ready to eat.  To prepare, wash the greens and then spin dry in a salad spinner, and either store them in the spinner or move to a clean, dry, covered bowl in the fridge.  Do not store salad or spinach for more than three days in the vented greens bag.   Spun salad mix will store up to 6 days
  Arugula:  A great salad spiker, or wilt quickly and toss over pasta.  Also makes a great pesto – see recipe below.  Will store for a week in the washed and spun dry in a salad spinner as described above, or up to three days in the vented bag. Radishes: These ruby round jewels start out sweet but then jolt you from behind with their spiciness. These are larger than usual but have maintained their quality because of the drought. Enjoy them sliced in salads, as a scoop for hummus, or buttered up in the recipe below.

Also Available:

bok choy, head lettuce Potentially on the way:
Chinese cabbage, lettuce, scallions.  It’s rabbit food season!

Distribution Hours:

Tuesday & Thursday:

2:30 to 6:30 p.m. *

Saturday:

8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m *

*Please arrive at the barn at least 15 minutes before closing time*

Farm News

Firing up the farm in the spring is a job that we thought would get easier the more we years we did it, but the reality is something different.  There’s a few forces at work. The first is that there are many jobs in the spring that are done only once a year, are fairly technical, and done by a crew that is in training.  Which leaves you scratching your head about questions like “how deep did we plant the peas last year” and “is this the heavy row cover or the light weight stuff” and “have you ever seen that many leaf miner bugs in the spinach”?  As we begin to get our groove back a bit, and the crew begins to learn their way around the farm and the tasks they need to do to make everything hum, our jobs get a little more in focus, earth gets prepared, seeds are sown, plants are planted, and it starts to look like a farm again.

The second is there is a lot going on.  We produce thousands of transplants in our greenhouses for people’s gardens as well as for the farm fields, mix hundreds of tons of compost, and prepare and plant 16 acres of land.  Then of course you have to add in weather curve balls.  Like who would have guessed that our dry little sand pit would be full of snow and mud until almost mid-April?  Or that our total amount of rain from mid-April until the end of May would be less than an inch?  When we get hit with those kinds of situations, we just try to keep moving.  We spent most of mud season either in the greenhouse or trying to clean up various messes we’ve made around the farm, and when the fields went from mush to dust, we pumped our 2 wells nearly round the clock to try to keep some moisture in the ground as cool, dry winds from the northwest slowly pulled it out.  In the end we have some spring crops to show for it, and we’re looking forward to cutting and packing them for your share.  We were heartened by this weekend’s rains, which have helped recharge soil moisture and will allow us to put away the irrigation pipe for most of the week.

Most of the crew, left to right: Paul, Rebecca, Bailey, Justin, Lauren, Kathryn, Rae, Amanda, Jonathan, and Elliott (Luca ran away from the shoot)

The “we” in all of this is our farm crew.  One of the really great things about farming is that it attracts a great group of people.  Rebecca and I are thrilled to have Elliott McGann back for another year to help us run the farm.  Elliott’s become a great asset from all the skills he’s acquired over the years and his growing farmer savvy.  Amanda Sanfiorienzo is back for her third year on the farm.  Always ready to pitch in wherever she is needed with a smile on here face, Amanda is back as a Grower to learn some new skills on the farm to add to her already impressive list. New Milford’s own Justin Martel was a big part of last year’s Bunching Patrol, and returns as an Apprentice for 2015.  Justin also braved one of the worst winters in recent memory at the farm, helping us with winter markets. Rae Moore helped us out on the farm in the fall of 2013 before working at the Rodale Institute for organic agriculture.  She came back to Fort Hill to get some on-farm experience and has been the gal behind the controls of the transplanter for most of the spring.  World traveler Jonathan Hayden joins us this season by way of farms in France and Italy.  Originally from Colorado, be sure to ask him about his work in Antarctica.  Kathryn Redmond has been with us for well over a year now, helping care for Luca and completing a myriad of behind-the-scene farm tasks; we’ve found that she can handle just about anything beautifully.  We’re also adding some hardy folk to our Field Crew to help with weeding, planting and harvesting, including Lauren Henderson-Tamowski, Bailey Deutsch, Mark Ventresca, and Adam Quattro.   We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest,   Paul and Rebecca, for Elliott, Amanda, Justin, Rae, Jonathan, and the field crew

These onions are looking fine at first glance, but starting today, we’ll go through the beds and weed each hole one by one!

Pick Your Own

 

PYO Hours: The pick your own patch is open 30 minutes before and beyond the barn distribution times. PYO patch is open in all weather except thunderstorms. (See distribution times in left column.) COMING SOON!

Arugula Pesto (Pesto Di Rucola) From Saveur This peppery pesto is fantastic drizzled over steamed artichokes, grilled fish, pasta, pizza, panini, or ripe tomatoes.   Ingredients: 2 cups packed arugula 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 cup finely grated pecorino 1/2 cup finely grated parmesan 1/3 cup pine nuts 1 tbsp. lemon zest 1 clove garlic, chopped Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste   Process arugula, oil, pecorino, parmesan, nuts, zest, and garlic in a food processor until finely chopped; season with salt and pepper. Makes about 1 ¾ cups.

Radishes With Butter and Salt From Barefoot in Paris by Ina Garten A French favorite, radishes and herb butter with toasted bread.   Ingredients: 1 bunch radishes with the tops intact Sea salt Good salted butter or Herbed Butter, recipe follows 1/2 French baguette, sliced diagonally, and lightly toasted   Herbed Butter: 1/8 pound unsalted butter, at room temperature 3/4 teaspoon minced scallions 3/4 teaspoon minced fresh dill 3/4 teaspoon minced fresh parsley leaves 1/4 teaspoon freshly squeezed lemon juice 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt Pinch freshly ground black pepper   Directions: Herbed Butter: Combine all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on low speed until combined. Do not whip.   Arrange the radishes on a bed of sea salt. Spread the butter on slices of toasted bread and arrange artfully on a platter. Serve at room temperature.

Fort Hill Farm

18 Fort Hill Rd.
New Milford, CT 06776
860-350-3158