Peter’s Favorites: Potter Hill Farm. August 5, 2011.

Potter Hill Farm is located in Grafton, Mass and provides Grass-fed Beef CSA. Potter Hill Farm is a local favorite with its fresh vegetables and beef. Click here for more details or read below. Happy eating!

It’s time to think about pickling, canning, and freezing Potter Hill’s delicious Grafton-grown heirloom produce so that you have nutritious local vegetables to enjoy this winter. If you have never canned or pickled anything before in your life, don’t worry – it’s easy. If you are looking for guidance, we recommend two books – the first is Putting Food By, written by Janet Greene, Ruth Hertzberg, and Beatrice Vaughan. It is an absolute classic first published in 1973 and now in it’s 4th edition. It’s a no-nonsense tome, with lots of great reference material and very easy-to-follow recipes. The second book to check out is Wild Fermentation by Sandor Ellix Katz. Katz is a fermented-food fanatic, and his book is an easy-going introduction to the fermentation process and the health benefits of eating naturally fermented foods. Over the last couple of years, I’ve made the most delicious lacto-fermented sour pickles, sauerkraut, and hot sauce using his methods. When you come to get your veggies on Monday, we’d be happy to share any tips that we have picked up over the last few years.

Once you’ve got all of your canning supplies in order, cleared out your freezer, and washed your pickling crocks, what are you supposed to start preserving? Well, our garden is about to explode with summer’s full bounty. The tomatoes are starting to turn red (or yellow or orange or purple) on the vine, and we brought the first few fruits to market this week. All of our tomatoes are heirloom varieties – this means that they were bred for beauty and flavor instead of productivity and the ability to “ripen” in an ethylene-filled gas bag on a cross-country semi-truck. In addition to juicy slicers such as Black Krim, Pruden’s Purple, and Cosmonaut Volkov, we are growing two varieties heirloom of paste tomatoes – Orange Banana Plum Paste and Amish Paste. Paste tomatoes are a bit drier and more dense than slicers, and they are perfect for cooking and making sauce.

I love cooking with paste tomatoes. Here’s a simple recipe: Saute some onion (or leeks) and garlic in butter or olive oil. Throw some chopped paste tomatoes in the hot pan. Add a pinch of salt and finely chopped fresh herbs (thyme, savory, oregano … whatever). Stir occasionally and watch as the tomatoes melt into a rich sauce. Chop up some greens (chard or kale) or green beans and add them to the sauce. Cook on low heat until the greens or beans are tender. This kind of simple cooking really lets the fresh flavorful ingredients shine.

Speaking of beans, our bean plants are threatening with 87 million flowers. There is no way we can pick all of these beans, so we’d like to invite you all to come and pick your own. We’ll let you know about the details when the beans are ready to pick.

New this week:

Carrots. We’ve got beautiful mixed-color bunches of carrots – red, white yellow, purple, and there’s even some orange ones in there. We’ve also got some bunches of short round carrots, an heirloom variety called Tonda di Parigi. About the size of a small beet, they are very sweet and perfect for roasting whole or grilling (in foil, perhaps).
Tomatoes. Paste tomatoes, slicers, cherries in all different colors. We’ve been eating these off the vine for the last week, and I swear it’s like eating fresh berries. We won’t take pre-orders for tomatoes just yet, because we can’t guarantee that we will have enough for everyone this early in the season. We will harvest what is available, however, and you can buy them by the pound when you come to pick up your order. First come, first served.
Green Peppers. Imagine my surprise when I thought I would go and pick just the few peppers that were ready and I wound up with a full 5-gallon bucket after picking only half the row! We are growing a variety called California Wonder, ironically a New England standard for the last 80 years. These blocky green peppers will add a rich depth to the flavor of any soup, sauce, or saute.
Squash and zucchini. We are starting, finally, to get some summer squash and zukes from the garden, but quantities are still limited. As with tomatoes, we will pick what is there on Monday and it will be available for purchase by the pound when you come to get your other veggies. Also first come, first served.

Again, we still have shares for sale in the Grass-fed Beef CSA. If you are interested but you you think that even a half-side of beef (100 lbs) may be too much for you, please let me know. I may be able to put you in touch with someone who is interested in sharing.


Order vegetables by email, pick them up at the farm: We are offering you the opportunity to purchase fresh produce directly from the farm. All our vegetables are grown without artificial fertilizer, pesticides, herbicides, fungicides, or any other -cides. To place an order for vegetables, please send us an email (or respond to this email) before 8pm on Sunday. Just tell us what you want and how much, and we’ll harvest your vegetables on Monday morning. Your order will be ready for pickup at the farm after 4pm on Monday. Please let us know if you will be later than 7pm. This week, we have:

Carrots (Tonda or mixed colors), $3.00 / bunch
Eggplant, $2.00 / pound
Green peppers, $3.00 / pound
Baby leeks, $3.00 / bunch
Golden beets, $3.00 / bunch
Chioggia beets, $3.00 / bunch
White Egg turnips (loose), $2.00 / pound
Kale, $2.00 / bunch
Ruby Red swiss chard, $3.00 / bunch
Fordhook Giant swiss chard, $3.00 / bunch
Herbs (basil, cilantro, dill, savory, parsley), $1.00 / bunch
Basil (large bunches for pesto), $5.00 / large bunch


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