Farm News, September 22, 2020

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

This Week’s Farm News:

Last week was a bit of a whirlwind for us here at the farm.  One minute we’ve got our heads down in the sweet potato patch watching a bumper crop dump over the digger chain; pulling up one of the nicest fall crops of carrots we’ve had at the farm in years, and bunching greens for the daily harvest, and then we check the weather and see the warning:  frost!  Frost is a funny thing in that it can form at temps as high as 40F, if the wind is calm and the sky clear enough.  All the heat in the plant leaves just bolts for the universe, and freeze pockets develop in the field as the cold air drains into the valley.  Fridays are already a busy harvest day for us, but the crew dug deep and set up frost blankets and irrigation pipes to protect the flowers, peppers, lettuce, basil, and other sensitive greens.  

Butternut exemplifies an interesting juxtaposition between the vibrancy of a vegetable itself and the less than aesthetic growing environment it leaves behind: purely sweet, moist and vivid orange flesh vs. dead vines and vast open space. Winter squash is a liability in farming because it takes up a lot of space and also creates weeds for the future.

Friday Night the temp. got just below 40F, and there was a light frost on the ground, with even colder temps predicted through the weekend.  We patched up some bins and headed to the winter squash field, and brought in the bulk of the crop: 5 beautiful bins of golden squash.  Monday night seemed to be the last cold night in this snap, and so far, it looks like everything made it through. We uncovered the sweet potatoes and continued digging, and then it’s on to the potatoes, carrots and beets.  Never a dull moment!

Emma demonstrates the beauty of Senposai, Japanese Collards.

With fall firmly in the air, we’ve set up our pumpkin display.  We’ve got a good range of jack o lanterns, and pie pumpkins for baking too!  We’ve also got apples from our friends Howie and Cathy at Maple Bank Farm in Roxbury, so when the next cold snap comes, you’ll have the makings for pumpkin bread and apple crisp to go along with your veggie fix.

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest, 

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

This year’s fall carrots cannot be stopped – they are mighty!

Featured this week:

Butternut squash:  A New England classic and everyone’s favorite winter squash!  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, let cool a bit, and enjoy.  Serve with butter.  Or peel and cube, toss in olive oil, and roast in the oven with other fall roots. Don’t forget to roast the seeds too! It should store for many weeks in a dry place between 55F and 65F.

Japanese Collards (Senposai): these mighty greens resemble classic collards in shape and in flavor too, but come in a little earlier for us. New to us, they prove to be a delicious addition to the fall greens lineup- give them a try! See the recipe below for a quick and healthful dinner. You can use Brussels sprouts greens there as well, just add a little cooking time.

Brussels sprouts greens: we break the tops off our Brussels sprouts to encourage the sprouts to swell, and lucky for us, they taste something like Brussels’ sprouts-meet-tender baby collard greens. These are great used in place of kale or collards, but have a hint of unique Brussels’ flavor. Some folks have become fast devotees. 

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, pea shoots, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, escarole, fresh basil, dill, parsley, cilantro, chives, sage, and thyme, red and French Breakfast radishes, red beets, Chioggia and gold beets, fresh fall carrots, garlic, storage onions (at the farmstand), sungold and red cherry tomatoes, heirlooms and beefsteak tomatoes, sweet Italian red peppers, orange snacking peppers, red bell peppers, green bell peppers, Jalapeño, poblano, cayenne, and shishito peppers, Classic Italian, Rosa Bianca, and mixed Asian eggplant, Dark Red Norland, Blue Gold, and Satina Gold, and Kennebec potatoes, Carnival squash, fresh leeks, fresh baby ginger,

Coming Soon:

sweet potatoes

Pick Your Own:

Flowers – we protected them from the last few early frosts and they are open for picking!

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 …

Butternut Tabbouleh

By Cookie and Kate                                                                   Yield: 2 to 4 servings 


1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds), sliced into little 1/4-inch cubes

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon salt


1/2 cup bulgur

1 cup water

Pinch salt

Everything else:

1 cup chopped fresh parsley (about 1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped)

1/2 cup chopped fresh mint (1 small bunch of mint, chopped)

1 shallot, minced (about 1/3 cup minced)

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1 lemon, juiced

2 to 3 tablespoons olive oil

Optional garnish: crumbled feta cheese


To cook the butternut, warm 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is shimmering, add the cubed butternut and 1 teaspoon salt. Toss to coat. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, then uncover and continue cooking until the butternut is tender and the edges are nice and caramelized, about 7 minutes. Transfer the butternut to a medium-sized serving bowl to cool.

While the butternut is cooking, combine the bulgur and water in a pot. Bring the mixture to a boil over high heat, then cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Remove from heat and let the bulgur rest for 5 minutes in the covered pot. Fluff the bulgur with a fork and season to taste with salt. Let the bulgur cool.

Once the butternut and bulgur have cooled down, toss them together in your serving bowl. Add the chopped parsley, mint and shallot, as well as the dried cranberries. Squeeze the juice of one lemon into the bowl and drizzle in 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, to taste. Toss and serve with crumbled feta on top, if you’d like.

Japanese Collards (Senposai) over Fried Rice 

(Use your favorite fried rice recipe or see recipe below.)

By Rebecca Batchie

3 large cloves garlic, chopped

2-3 T olive or canola oil

2 bunches Senposai, stemmed and chopped into 1” pieces

toasted sesame oil


fresh ginger (optional)

1 can of beans of your choosing (optional)

Sauté the garlic in 2 T vegetable oil for 30 seconds. Add the greens and stir to coat with oil, adding 1 T more if necessary. Senposai cooks quickly, so you probably won’t need to add a bit of water to the pan to prevent sticking. When the greens are brightly colored, add sesame oil and tamari to taste. 

I didn’t add ginger this time but will try some the next time. Despite crossing cooking cultural barriers, I added a can of cannellini at the end to bulk up the protein content – it was so delish we nearly ate the whole thing in one sitting.

Fried Rice Restaurant Style

From AllRecipes                                                                              Yield: 8 servings


2 cups enriched white rice

4 cups water

⅔ cup chopped baby carrots

½ cup frozen green peas

2 tablespoons vegetable oil

2 large eggs

soy sauce to taste

2 tablespoons sesame oil, to taste


Step 1

In a saucepan, combine rice and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 20 minutes.

Step 2

In a small saucepan, boil carrots in water about 3 to 5 minutes. Drop peas into boiling water, and drain.

Step 3

Heat wok over high heat. Pour in oil, then stir in carrots and peas; cook about 30 seconds. Crack in eggs, stirring quickly to scramble eggs with vegetables. Stir in cooked rice. Shake in soy sauce, and toss rice to coat. Drizzle with sesame oil, and toss again.

Leave a Reply