Farm News, September 1, 2020

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

This Week’s Farm News:

The end of August has brought some cool temps, and along with a couple shots of rain, the farm feels like a different place.   Though hints of fall are in the air, we are still in the summer harvesting groove.  Tomatoes continue to pump out lots of fruit, and the pepper and eggplant harvests have begun to ratchet up.  The fall kale and broccoli patches are ready, and we’ve begun to harvest potatoes in earnest.  Our beautiful fresh ginger is sizing up nicely, and the lettuce crops sure do appreciate the lower temps and moister soil.

Faye, Zoe, Erika, and Emma … all excited about the huge fall carrots we dug yesterday.

We’ve begun to pick our last block of corn, which will take us through Labor Day weekend but not too much beyond.  We’ll begin to bring in some of the winter squash soon, along with the very precocious pumpkins, which are a full 2 weeks ahead of schedule.  We will cut them and store them under a shaded greenhouse to keep them in good shape for Halloween, which suddenly doesn’t seem that far off.  While the action is firmly on the harvest side of things, we’ve still got some planting to do.  Rebecca has started sowing the fall spinach beds, and we’ve got the last field and the greenhouse lettuce plantings to go in too.  

Michelle gets her garlic sorting on. Categorizing garlic for sale or seed is THE “pickup project” this time of year until it’s done (it takes forever because it only gets done in the cracks of time between everything else). This hefty bulb goes back into the soil this fall.

Thus begins my favorite time of the farming season.  As our friend Laura from Riverbank Farm says, it’s too late to worry about this year, and too early to worry about next year.  That doesn’t mean there isn’t some planning to do.  The next two weeks are critical for sowing our fall cover crops of oats, peas, and vetch.  These grass and legume combinations hold our soil together over the winter, and the legumes produce nitrogen in special nodules in their roots, essentially growing fertilizer for next year’s crops.  Since the peas die over the winter, they are the ideal cover for our earliest planted crops. This means we need to get next year’s rotations figured out before we start planting, so we can match the right cover crop to each veggie crop and thereby bridge the two seasons. 

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest, 

Paul, Rebecca, Lauren, and the Fort Hill Farm Crew

Connor sends the sun hemp cover crop into its next incarnation … Soil 2021.

Featured this week:

Dark Red Norland potatoes:  our favorite classic waxy summer potato salad potato, yummy almost any way you cook them, baked and smashed or roasted…  leave the skins on for a striking effect. Store for at least a month in a dark, dry place at room temperature.  Do not refrigerate spuds!

Freshly picked red potatoes in wood basket at an outdoor farmers market

Celeriac:  rooty cousin to celery – wash, peel and cube for a yummy addition to soups and stews, roast with other root vegetables, or mix with spuds for a great gratin. Store root for months in the fridge crisper.

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, head lettuce (fewer varieties this week), curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, fresh basil, dill, parsley, cilantro, chives, sage, and thyme, red and French Breakfast radishes, red, Chioggia and gold beets, fresh fall carrots, garlic, Zephyr squash and zucchini, sungold and red cherry tomatoes, heirlooms (as they come in) and beefsteak tomatoes, sweet corn, green bell peppers, sweet Italian red peppers, Jalapeño and shishito peppers, Classic Italian, Rosa Bianca, and mixed Asian eggplant, Satina potatoes, fresh leeks, fresh baby ginger, limited pea shoots, cucumbers, and red and yellow watermelon as long as it lasts

Coming Soon:

colored peppers, Delicata squash

Pick Your Own:

SUNGOLDS! open for PYO now

Sunflowers: there are still a few small heads to include in a flower bouquet

Flowers – open for picking and booming!

Beans: are done for the season

Perennial herbs – for your fresh summer salads and grilling:

Chives– clip a few stems at the base

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

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

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

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

Celeriac, Hazelnut & Truffle Soup (Vegan)

By Sophia Godwin via the BBC Goodfood


1 tbsp olive oil

small bunch thyme

2 bay leaves

1 onion, chopped

1 fat garlic clove, chopped

1 celeriac (about 1kg), peeled and chopped

1 potato (about 200g), chopped

33 oz. veg stock (check the label to ensure it’s vegan – we used Marigold)

3 -4 oz. soya cream (or a dairy or another dairy-free substitute)

2 oz. blanched hazelnuts , toasted and roughly chopped

1 tbsp truffle oil , plus an extra drizzle to serve

In a large saucepan, heat the oil over a low heat. Tie the thyme sprigs and bay leaves together with a piece of string and add them to the pan with the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook for about 10 mins until softened but not coloured.

Stir in the garlic and cook for 1 min more, then tip in the celeriac and potato. Give everything a good stir and season with a big pinch of salt and white pepper. Pour in the stock, bring to the boil, then simmer for around 30 mins until the vegetables are completely soft.

Discard the herbs, then stir through the cream, remove from the heat and blitz until completely smooth. Stir through 1/2 tbsp truffle oil at a time and taste for seasoning – the strength of the oil will vary, so it’s better to start with less oil and add a little at a time.

To serve, reheat the soup until piping hot, then ladle into bowls and top with the hazelnuts, some black pepper and an extra drizzle of truffle oil. Serves 6

Lebanese Potato Salad

By Tarla Dalal

2 cups boiled potato cubes

½ cup finely chopped onions

¼ cup chopped parsley

2 tbsp finely chopped mint leaves (phudina)

freshly ground black pepper (kalimirch) to taste

1 tbsp finely chopped garlic (lehsun)

2 tbsp lemon juice

2 tbsp olive oil

salt to taste

Combine all ingredients in a deep bowl and toss well. Refrigerate for at least an hour. Serve chilled.

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