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Braised cabbage with bratwurst

The newsletter is running late today, so let’s make this week’s post a simple and hearty recipe – cabbage braised in beer with bratwurst.  As luck would have it, we have plenty of cabbages to go around.

Slice one large yellow onion into half-moons, satuee in about 3T of olive oil (or bacon grease, if you have some lying around) in a large pot.  Core and slice one medium (or half of one large) cabbage into 1-inch strips.  After onions have browned slightly, add cabbage to the onions and salt generously.  Cook cabbage over medium heat, periodically tossing to coat with oil.  When all cabbage is limp, add one bottle of good beer (I used Brooklyn lager, but I think any decent lager would do the trick), 1T spicy mustard, and one finely-chopped bunch of parsley.  Continue cooking on medium heat until the alcohol is cooked out of the lager.  Turn heat to low, and then nestle 4 bratwurst into the cabbage.  Cover and cook on low heat until cabbage in as tender as you like it and the brats are fully cooked.

Serve with roasted potatoes, a slice of toasted crusty bread, and a dollop of sour cream.  Enjoy!!

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Rain rain rain

After what seems like week after week of late summer dry weather, ol’ Mother Nature has decided to take a different approach.  Rain and more rain – we had about 4 inches at the farm on Wednesday – but at least it appears as if we are going to be spared a direct hit from a a hurricane.  This time.

We have tons and tons of great stuff coming out of the garden, but at this time of year it starts to get harder to predict what we’ll have two days or two weeks from now.  We hope to still have tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and summer squash on Monday… and hopefully even the week after.  But the end is nigh, folks.  The end is nigh.  Please go ahead and order these summer fruits, and we’ll do our best to get them for you.  All I can say is enjoy these beautiful fresh things while they last!  And it might be a good idea to pickle or freeze or can some summer flavors – you’ll sure be glad you did in February.  With just a little extra time in the kitchen, you can have healthy and delicious local food all year long.  And really, what better way to spend a cool October Sunday afternoon?

New to the list – winter squash!  We have a mix of different heirloom squashes that are all decorative and delicious.  In fact, winter squashes store best in a dry place at about room temperature (or a bit cooler), and I’m sure the tradition of decorating with squashes in the fall has roots in a time when poeple were just trying to find a place to store the harvest.  Corners of the house would fill with squash that were nice to look at until it came time to eat them!  We have a couple of varieties of pie pumpkins that are especially pretty and are also very delicious.  They can be on the large side (5 – 8 lbs), so processing one would give you canned or frozen pumpkin for breads and pies through the winter.

Also new to the list – celeriac.  If you’ve tried this ugly duckling already, you know what to do.  Mildly celery flavored, this lightly starchy root is a great addition to soups and stews, and it also mashes well with or without potatoes.  Potato Leek Celeriac Soup?  Yes, please.

All of the fall favorites look great – kohl rabi, rutabaga, cabbage, broccoli, kale, chard.  This is peak season for fall barassicas.

Also note that we’ll be selling beets and carrots by the pound for the rest of the season.  Bulk prices are available on all roots (and cabbages), please just ask for more information.

A few new steaks and sausages on the list – don’t forget to check the pork and beef sections of the website for good stuff to go with your veggies.

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Fall food

After a great late summer of vegetables, it really feels like fall in the garden now.  Looking out into the field, it’s all beautiful blues and greens and purples of the the fall cabbages and their relatives, vibrant green carrot tops, dark purple beet tops, and earthy yellows and browns of summer’s foliage gone by.  Some onions are bowing their tops over in deference to the change in season, others are already neatly laid out the greenhouse to cure for storage.  The fall roots – beets, carrots, rutabaga, radishes – have all reached a good size and hanging out in the soil until we can harvest.  We picked our first winter squashes out of the corn field yesterday.  We’ll have butternuts on Monday, and some other great heirloom squashes and pie pumpkins are coming soon.  The summer crops are still hanging in there, but it’s the beginning of the end for tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, and summer squash.  Maybe a couple more weeks on tomatoes, but we’re past the peak season.

Our last Douglas market is tomorrow, and then there’s two more weeks in Grafton.  The farmer’s market season may be coming to a close, but the local food season has a ways to go yet.  We count on your support through the fall – we will have tons of great fall greens and roots right up to Thanksgiving and beyond!


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Fall comes slowly

It appears that we have at least a few more summer days in store before some fall weather finally arrives.  And I’m willing to bet there will be a few more summer-like days before fall decides to commit.  In any event, it sure looks like summer in the garden, and we are still hauling in loads of summer produce.  The summer squash refuse to quit, dutifully producing a respectable amount of fruit for each harvest.  Tomatoes are really coming into peak production, especially the beautiful crimson Cosmonaut Volkovs.  All tomatoes are still $3 / lb or $50 for 20 lbs.  There’s still time to do some canning!  Peppers and eggplants are doing great, too.  It’s only a matter of time before autumn arrives in earnest, so get your fill of this summer bounty while you can.

Check out Smitten Kitchen’s caponata recipe.  I haven’t made this one yet, but it looks like a great way to use a bunch of late summer vegetables.  We don’t have any basil, so use parsley instead.

Some fall favorites are making their way onto the harvest list, too.  New additions this week include Gilfeather rutabaga, kohl rabi, and red and green fall cabbages.  I’ll leave it at that, as there will be plenty of time in the coming months to wax poetic about the virtues of a good rutabaga.  And you know I will.  More than once.

Finally, don’t forget about Pastured Pork and Grass-fed Beef CSA shares.  Both are available in limited quanities, especially beef shares.  Get your deposit in now to make sure you can fill your freezer with Potter Hill/Short Creek pork and beef.

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This is by far the most abundant time of year for New England gardens, and ours is no exception.  The stand at the farmers markets is bursting at the seams.  We continue to bring in the summer bounty while fall produce starts creeping in.

Sadly, we got washed out on Thursday at the Grafton Farmers Market.  Thanks to everyone who came out in the couple of hours before the real rain hit.  If you didn’t make it before the downpour, check us out in Douglas on Saturday morning or put an order in for Monday!  We have all the same great stuff in the barn on Monday as we have at the markets.

Speaking of abundance, we have a problem.  A big problem.  And it’s the best kind of problem to have.  At least for the time being, we have waaayyyy too many tomatoes.  So, until further notice, all tomatoes are $3.00 / lb.  And if you buy 20 lbs or more, we’ll give you the restaurant wholesale price – $2.50 / lb.  I don’t think you’ll find organic heirloom tomatoes for less anywhere, so now’s a great time to to make some sauce.  Stock up on local flavor, you’ll be glad you did once winter hits.

Cabbage is back on the list – I’m pretty sure there’s some fall cabbages that are ready to pick.  All the fall greens look great, so don’t forget kale, chard, mustards, and tatsoi as dinner time gets darker and the nights get cooler.

Coming soon – winter squash!

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Labor Day pickup, 11AM – 1PM

We’re switching things up a bit for Labor Day this year.  We’re doing an early pickup from 11AM – 1PM so you can grab some Potter Hill groceries and still have time to get things ready for the grill.  The veggie list is pared down to focus on salad fixings and grilling goods.  Ground beef and sausages will be available, of course – these are vacuum-packaged and frozen, and will thaw easily in time for an afternoon BBQ.

If that’s the case, then why is kale still on the list, you ask?  Kale salad!  The Red Russian kale is very tender and perfect for raw eating.  Just wash, trim out the thick stems, slice in 1/2″ – 1″ pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, your choice of vinegar (or lemon), feta cheese, toasted walnuts.  Dried cranberries?  Just a bit of fresh minced chili pepper?  Sure, what the hell, you are the master of your own destiny.

Some more ideas….

  • Burgers (duh) with nice thick slices of sweet Ailsa Craig onion.
  • Grilled sausages and Jimmy Nardellos peppers.  Cut the peppers in half, ditch the seeds, toss with olive oil, salt, pepper, and grill until just tender.
  • Salad.  Just salad.  I know, I’m so clever.  But if your friends have never had our heirloom lettuce, they’re in for a treat.  Dress with plenty of olive oil, balsamic, salt and pepper.  Throw in some sliced French Breakfast radishes if you’re feeling fancy.
  • Wallet feeling a bit thick (with cash, not receipts)?  Steak, then, for you and yours.  We have NY Strip steaks and tenderloin steaks.  The tenderloins didn’t make it on the website, but they’re in the freezer and can be yours for $30 / lb.
  • Grilled summer squash, an easy favorite.  Just toss with salt, pepper, oil, vinegar and grill until tender.
  • Green bean salad with herbs.  Blanch the beans, just a couple of minutes in boiling salted water.  Toss warm with olive oil, lemon, salt, pepper, fresh minced chili, fresh minced garlic, and plenty of fresh chopped parsley or cilantro.  Don’t be stingy with the herbs – it’s in the title, darn it!  Serve cold or at room temperature.
  • Salsa!  Chopped tomatoes, onions, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, fresh minced chili, lots of cilantro.  This makes a fresh salsa, which is very delicious and very soupy.  Sometimes I like to let it sit for a while and let the salt draw out the juices.  Strain the juice into a sauce pan, set aside the fresh veggies.  Cook down the salsa juice until it’s nice and thick, remove from heat, stir the concentrated juice and veggies back together.  Good stuff.
  • Tomato salad.  Really this is whatever you want it to be, as long as there’s fresh tomatoes involved.  Here’s mine.  Slice some sweet onion, put it in a bowl, add plenty of salt and balsamic.  Now really squish up the onion/salt/vinegar with you hand, mashing the onion and the vinegar all together.  Lay some thick-sliced tomatoes out on a platter.  Spread the onions out over the tomatoes, and pour on any leftover juice.  Grate some Parmesan on there (use the large shred side of a box grater), or maybe feta or sliced fresh mozzarella.  Chopped fresh cilantro on top, and then plenty of  olive oil over every thing.  Serve with good toasted bread for soaking up the oil and tomato juice.

Have a great holiday weekend!

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It always seems like we really hit our stride right around this time of year.  We’ve settled into the routine of weeding, harvesting, and caring for animals.  Maybe a few too many weeds here or there, but you wouldn’t know it to look at the quality and quantity of produce coming out of the garden.  And so we settle in and keep cruising, and let the upcoming big tasks (onion harvest, winter squash harvest, corn picking, cover crop planting, etc, etc…) linger on the horizon just a little longer.

In the fresh onion department, we’ve moved from bunches of Rossa Lunga to loose Ailsa Craigs.  Many of you will remember the Ailsa Craigs, if not by name.  These are the big mild oh so sweet onions that are similar to (and better than) Vidalias.  Fresh sweet onions are a real treat.

Moving on to mustards and foreshadowing the coming autumn.  Our first round of mustard greens are ready to go, and we’re making bunches of young tender greens with the roots attached.  Great for braising or a stir-fry.  We also have nice young tatsoi, a favorite from last year.  Very mild, tatsoi is good raw in a salad or sauteed.  If you plan to cook it, order a couple of bunches (they’re salad sized).

Hot radishes might be an acquired taste, so get to work and start acquiring.  We’ve got three varieties of hot storage radishes, and I’ve only scratched the surface of what you can do with these bad Larrys. (Aside:  Bad Larrys is a pretty funny phrase – I wonder who was the original bad Larry, and what did he do that was so bad?)  Slice them thin, salt liberally, splash with vinegar.  This cuts the heat and makes for a nice snack with a cold beer.  In fact we grow one called Munchener Bier, a large white radish traditionally served in a similar fashion in Munich’s beer halls.  We’re also going to try pickling them, a common practice in different Asian cuisines.

Tomatoes, tomatoes, tomatoes.  So. Many. Tomatoes.  This is the best kind of problem.  We’re lowering the regular price to $4.00 / lb.  Furthermore, 10 lbs or more are $3.25 / lb.  Can or freeze some sauce and stock up for winter.  Get them while they’re good – organic tomatoes can go from great to gone all too quickly.

Speaking of gone – cucumbers.  Gone.  Don’t say I didn’t warn you!  There might be a handful here and there, but not enough to take orders.  If we find any stragglers, we’ll offer them for sale during pickup.

Beets, finally!  After a rough start, we have beets on the list at last.  This is the last planting of summer beets, and the first that produced more than a handful of harvestable roots.  I blame wild swings in moisture and temperature, but honestly it’s a bit of a mystery, and one that begs solving.  The upcoming fall beets look great, as usual.

And don’t forget add sausages, ground beef, and steaks to your veggie order!  Burgers with sweet onions. Grilled sausage and peppers.  Steak and fingerling potatoes.  We’ve got all that good stuff.

Finally, it’s time to get your deposits in if you want to stock your freezer with the best grass-fed beef and pastured pork.  Beef and pork shares are available through Short Creek Farm in Northwood, NH.  Our animals are still inhabiting Potter Hill’s pastures this year, so if you’re a MA local, let me know if you want to meet your meat.

Finally, it’s been a while, so here’s a gratuitous pastured pig video.  Enjoy!


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It’s sure yoomid around here

Wicked yoomid. The kind of weather where you if you do any sort of work at all, and the sun happens to be shining like it was yesterday, it’s an immediately sweaty situation. Yesterday was a two-shirt day, and I could have easily gone for three. But, what do you think, these fancy black T-shirts grow on trees???

As much as farmers (or farmers’ significant others) might not like this weather, the plants love it. The summer crops are still pumping out fruit, and the fall crops are growing great – I’ve never seen kale, broccoli, and cabbages look so good. Rutabagas look great, and the first crop of spicy radishes are just about ready to pull. Tomatoes had a great first flush of early ripening fruit, so let’s hope it keeps up for a while.

The Jimmy Nardello’s sweet peppers are coming on in full force now, starting to ripen and turn red on the plants. Sausage and peppers on the grill, anyone?

Celery!  If you’ve had our celery in the past, you know that it’s loaded with flavor.  If you’ve read my newsletter in the past, you know Potter Hill is a wet farm.  These things are connected.  Celery likes to grow in a rich organic muck.  We’ve got muck, and plenty of it.

Rosa Bianca Italian eggplants are starting to come in – these are the larger round, light purple beauties.  I’m just leaving the more-productive (and also delicious) dark purple Diamond variety on the list for now, but if you really want a Rosa, make a note with your order.

One thing not doing fantastically well – cucumbers.  I don’t blame them, that’s just their way.  They give and they give, and then they just quit.  We still have some good ones, but it seems to be the beginning of the end.  Get them while you can!

Note that I changed the unit on some of the items, e.g. beans. Now each item you add to your cart is a half pound. So add two if you want a whole pound. Sorry to make you do math. Or “maths” (Hi Fiona!!).

Don’t forget – we have ground beef and a few steaks for sale.  More steaks coming soon.

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A bountiful harvest

For us, the planting season is just about over – just a few more late lettuce plantings to get in the ground, and maybe a couple of rows of radishes and mustard greens. Now, it’s all about the harvest.  A bunch of new items on the list today, notably tomatoes, peppers, beans, eggplants, and leeks.  This brings the total number of different vegetables available to….. drum-roll please….. 27!  That’s 27 distinct items available to order, all heirlooms, and not even counting different individual varieties.

We’re into the second planting of chard and kale, and bunches are big and beautiful.

We’re taking a break from orange carrots to give them a chance to size up a bit.  Early plantings were a bit small due to all the wet weather (even the wedge-shaped, heavy-soil-loving Chantenays won’t grow into saturated soil), but upcoming plantings look great.

It’s tomato season! We made it through the wet weather relatively unscathed, with just a little bit of leaf mold in the wettest sections (not to be confused with the dreaded late blight).  Good fruit set all around, and the recent heat is forcing ripening across all varieties.  Let’s hope for a long tomato harvest this year,

And don’t forget to check the beef and pork sections on the website.  We have plenty of ground beef, and a fresh batch of our own handmade sausages.

Finally, check out our new farm in NH, Short Creek Farm.  We’re on Facebook!  Yeah, I know, crazy.  Check it out and like us, or follow us, or whatever it is the kids are doing these days.

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Good grazing

There’s always a time of year when I look around and think to myself, “Man, things look pretty darn good out here!”. That just happened the other day as I noticed the first tomatoes coming in, other summer crops fruiting, fall roots and brassicas growing well, and the weeds basically under control (at least as much as weeds will be controlled this year).

And as good as the garden looks, the pastures look even better.  The beef cows have consistently been grazing perfect pasture – not too short, not too tall – full of grass and clover.  And the pig pasture is growing back well, with oats, peas and buckwheat interseeded with the native sod.

I mentioned the first tomatoes are coming in, but there’s not enough to take orders yet.  You may be pleasantly surprised, however, to find some of these early heirloom beauties for sale when you come on Monday.

Also, we have ground beef (and a handful of steaks) for the grill.  Plus, more sausages coming in two weeks!

If you like our beef and sausages, please consider signing up for a CSA share of one or both.  We only sell a limited amount of retail pork and beef, so buying a share is the best way to get a variety of cuts in your freezer. 

Beef shares are very limited this year, so reserve yours earlier rather than later.  Plenty of pork shares still for sale (too many, honestly), so if you intend to sign up for the Pork CSA, please get your deposit in soon to help us pay the feed bill.

If you have any questions about the CSA programs, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.


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