Farm News, November 10, 2020

Hours this Week! The Farmstand is open today and Thursday from 2 – 5:30 PM, and Saturday from 9 AM – 1 PM

This week’s Farm News is written by Field Manager Lauren Henderson:

Has it only been a week?

The election loomed large over last week and with divided attention we slogged through our daily work. Tuesday brought anticipation and excitement. Wednesday brought uncertainty and distraction, the rest of the week felt like a blur – but here we are.

Emma dug a big part of the drainage ditch for the new wash station.

Fall and spring are times for infrastructure improvements and projects. We make ambitious lists of everything we want to achieve. Inevitably unfinished fall projects get carried over to spring and vice versa. Looking back over old ‘to do’ lists is both satisfying (Look at how much we got done!) and humbling (Eeek we have so much left to do!). It feels reassuring to acknowledge the blurry line between seasons. Particularly this year when there is such abundance of vegetables still in the field (shout out to bok choy!). The seasons feel continuous – with some row cover and plastic, the spinach, kale, and lettuce season keeps rolling on. With continued mild weather forecast for the week surely there will be plenty of time to finish all these tasks!  

The gang “pops” the garlic bulbs into individual cloves for garlic planting.

The high tunnel tomatoes didn’t make it through the freeze and so we said goodbye as we cut strings and removed the trellis. Thankfully, our late season beefsteak tomatoes we planted in the greenhouse are still producing, so tomato season goes on! We celebrated our last field planting – all the garlic is now in the ground for next year. This upcoming week we will spread leaves and straw to ready it for overwintering (mulching also helps with weed control).

What a tomato season it has been (as Lauren mentions, the greenhouse keeps on trucking)! It’s a huge job to take it all down in the high tunnel.

Inevitably the weather will turn cold and wet, so we started preparing one of the greenhouses to become our new winter wash station. We hand dug a 3 cubic yard pit which was then filled with gravel so water will drain more efficiently when we move the root washer in. We also dug a trench outside greenhouse 2 to replace its leaky plastic bottom with a new insulated and varmint-resistant combination. It’s time consuming but will mean less heating in the spring. 

As always thanks for your continued support. We couldn’t do it without you! 

Lauren, for Paul, Rebecca, and the Fort Hill Farm crew

Available autumn veggies:

salad mix, arugula, pea shoots, head lettuce (6 varieties!), curly green and lacinato kale, rainbow chard, escarole, radicchio, red cabbage, Collards, spinach, parsley, sage, and thyme, radishes, salad turnips, red beets and Chioggia beets, sweet fall carrots, garlic, fresh leeks, storage onions (at the farmstand), celeriac, fennel, beefsteak and green tomatoes, limited sweet peppers, green bell peppers, Jalapeño, poblano, cayenne, and shishito peppers, limited Classic Italian, Rosa Bianca, and mixed Asian eggplant, Dark Red Norland, Blue Gold, and Satina Gold, Kennebec, and gold fingerlings, German Butterball potatoes, Carnival and Butternut squash, pie pumpkins, sweet potatoes, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, fresh baby ginger (ON SALE AGAIN THIS WEEK!)

Pick Your Own:

Perennial herbs – for your fall soups and roasts:

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

Fennel al Forno

By David Tanis

4  medium fennel bulbs, about 2 1/2 pounds, topped, a few green fronds reserved

 Salt and pepper

3  tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to oil the baking pan

½  teaspoon fennel seed, crushed or roughly powdered in a mortar or spice mill

3  garlic cloves

⅛  teaspoon red pepper flakes

½  teaspoon chopped rosemary

½  pound fresh mozzarella, sliced or shredded

2  teaspoons rosemary leaves

¼  cup coarse dry homemade bread crumbs from an Italian or French loaf

½  cup grated Parmesan (about 1 1/2 ounces)

2  tablespoons chopped parsley, or a mixture of parsley and fennel fronds


Heat oven to 375 degrees. Remove a thin layer of the fennel bulbs’ tough exterior with a paring knife or sharp vegetable peeler. Cut the fennel crosswise into half-inch-thick slices. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Boil the fennel for 1 minute, then put it in a bowl of cold water, drain and pat dry. Season with salt and pepper. Lightly oil an oven-proof baking dish. Layer in the fennel to a depth of 1 1/2 inches (pushing down, if necessary).

In a small bowl, stir together 3 tablespoons olive oil, the fennel seed and the garlic, smashed to a paste with a little salt, the pepper flakes and the chopped rosemary. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of this mixture over the fennel. Sprinkle with the rosemary leaves. Cover with a layer of sliced or shredded mozzarella, then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Drizzle the remaining oil mixture, then sprinkle with Parmesan. (The dish may be prepared to this point several hours before baking.)

Bake, uncovered, for 20 to 25 minutes, until nicely browned. Garnish with the chopped parsley or a mixture of the parsley and fennel fronds.

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