Farm News, October 13, 2020

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

This Week’s Farm News:

Last week brought us more abundant sunshine, and some great weather to bring in the harvest.  The fall greens harvest continues to be a good one, with plenty of kale, collard, chard, spinach, radishes, and salad turnips.  The fall cabbage began last week, along with the more exotic Romanesco cauliflower, which is great tossed in oil and salt and broiled in the oven- this is one crop we can’t seem to get good consistent yields on and will keep trying for.  

Connor scores some nice Romanesco – delish!

Another fall highlight is our spinach. Spinach is considered a “heartbreaker” for many organic growers. First, it is tough to get spinach to germinate at all, so overseeding is a necessity. Rebecca laboriously pre-treats the seeds by the bucket-full, by soaking and then drying it –all to accelerate and promote good germination. Then, even when a beautiful stand emerges, we often watch 80% of the seedlings die-off due to the soil-borne fungus Pythium. Unlike conventional growers, we don’t have commercial fungicidal seed treatments at our fingertips to combat Pythium. So we are always pleased when we have a nice crop!

James flame weeds the beds prior to planting winter lettuce. Yes, that carpet of weeds is predominantly made up of pesky tomato seedlings!

The crew put the finishing touches on converting the greenhouses from the summer tomato crops to fall and winter spinach and lettuce.  We still have tomato plants in one of the greenhouses that are chugging along and will hopefully put out tomatoes for the next month or so, with a little supplemental heat.  But the focus is clearly on lettuce and spinach, which become scarce in November without some frost protection.  

It is all hands on deck for planting the lettuce for winter … Faye, James, Michelle, Connor, Selenna, and Lauren (behind the camera).

Out in the field, we’ve got most of the bulk harvests completed.  We’ve got just a few more rows of potatoes to dig, and then it’s on to the parsnips.   Most of the fields have been put to bed for the winter and have a green blanket that’s very pleasing to the eye.  If you haven’t made a visit to the farm this year, now is a great time to come out and check out where we grow your food, during our farm stand hours (Tuesday and Thursday afternoons, and Saturday mornings).  

We hope you enjoy the farm and the harvest, 

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

Connor and Dana both took a crack at sowing the winter spinach this year.

Featured this week:

Cut Leaf Spinach:  This is the early harvest of one of our winter gems, offering fresh, bright green leaves to remind us of summer. The leaves will begin to sweeten up as the cold temperatures approach, which increases the plant’s sugar content. Great cooked or fresh for salads – 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.

Magic Molly potatoes: What more could one ask for from a potato? Deep indigo color (“blue-all-the-way-through”), moist flesh, and rich potato flavor. It’s a winner all around, and has become one of our favorites (see recipe below). Store spuds a room temperature, in the dark, for several weeks.

Also available:

salad mix, arugula, pea shoots, head lettuce, curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, escarole, radicchio, Senposai (Japanese Collards), spinach, parsley, cilantro, chives, sage, and thyme, red radishes, red beets, Chioggia and gold beets, fresh fall carrots, garlic, storage onions (at the farmstand), sungold cherry tomatoes, heirlooms and beefsteak tomatoes, sweet Italian red peppers, orange snacking peppers (limited), 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, and gold fingerling potatoes, Carnival, Koginut, and Butternut squash, pie and Jack O’ lantern pumpkins, sweet potatoes, fresh leeks, fresh baby ginger and fresh turmeric

Coming Soon:

parsnips, Brussels sprouts

Pick Your Own:

Flowers – open for picking!

Perennial herbs – for your fall soups and roasts:

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 …

Spinach “Brownies”

Adapted from Allrecipes


1 (10 ounce) package spinach, rinsed and chopped

1 cup all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 large eggs  

1 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, melted

1 onion, chopped

1 (8 ounce) package shredded mozzarella cheese or feta


Step 1

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9×13 inch baking dish.

Step 2

Place spinach in a medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil. Lower heat to simmer and cook until spinach is limp, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, drain, and set aside.

Step 3

In a large bowl, mix flour, salt and baking powder. Stir in eggs, milk and butter. Mix in spinach, onion and mozzarella cheese.

Step 4

Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool before serving. Yield: 24 servings.

Vegan Potatoes Au Gratin

From Healthiersteps


2 pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into thin slices

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 fennel bulb, sliced


1/4 cup non-dairy butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/4 teaspoon dried thyme

1/4 cup all purpose gluten-free flour

3 cups vegetable broth

1/4 cup yeast flakes

2 tablespoons Bragg’s liquid aminos

Salt to taste


Heat oil in a large skillet on medium-high, add onion and fennel and cook stirring occasionally until caramelized, for about 10-15 minutes.

Scoop the onion/fennel on one side of the skillet. Add butter to the skillet until melted, add garlic, thyme and cook until fragrant, about 1-minute.

Add gluten-free flour and yeast flakes and stir cook for another minute but don’t brown. Add vegetable broth and stir vigorously until sauce is thick and creamy. Add Bragg’s Liquid Aminos and salt to taste.

Preheat oven 425 degrees F. Spray or brush a casserole pan with oil. Spread a layer of potato slices, followed by sauteed onion/fennel, pour half the sauce over them. Add a final layer of potato slices and top with remaining sauce.

Cover casserole pan with parchment paper and or foil and bake for 1 hour in a preheated oven at 425 degrees F. Remove the cover and bake for 15 minutes or until top is golden brown and potatoes are tender.

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