Our Family, Our Farm

The Fisher Hill Farm Family poses for a picture

Everyday we are so happy to do what it is we do. Farm life for us isn’t just a job but it’s our identity and our way of life. Growing takes a lot of patience and time, sometimes a little luck, and a deep understanding of the land and the crops. It’s not meant to be completely cerebral but a combination of established practice, research, and accountability.

It some ways, it’s much like raising children and sometimes we see our kids walking through the crops, amazed at how fast they’ve grown, how quickly they adapt, and how much more they know than we can account for.

Our family farm is just that, a family farm. And it sounds simple and looks simple in words but honestly it couldn’t be any simpler. We would never feed our family something that we wouldn’t sell and we treat our crops and animals with the same careful persistence as our kids.

We like to share news, pictures, and crop reports with everyone because if you shop with us it’s like your part of the family too. Our ties to the community can only feel stronger when we are recognized at one of the markets we attend!

Rochester is an awesome city with a great group of people living in it. The Rochester Public Market is one of the most amazing places we’ve ever been and studies have shown that its one of the most multi-cultural meeting places in the northeast. Up there with Chicago city markets and New York city!

We couldn’t be happier to be at any of the markets we attend. And we also have on farm pickup on Wednesday’s from 4:30pm to 6:30pm. So stop on by! We’re easy to find and we’d love to have you.

Here’s a recent gallery of pictures from the farm!

Fall Harvest Begins

In the last seven days we have seen many weather extremes that have made farm life interesting. We really didn’t enjoy the stretch of hot weather as it definitely shortened the work day and production levels. Then it was much cooler weather that made everyone feel much better but that was followed by almost three inches of rain. It has been a rather long run of wet days the last few weeks. Seems like it just starts to dry out and it rains again. We have not been able to dig potatoes for a few weeks and now we are out of harvested potatoes. Hopefully we can have some nice sunny days with a little breeze to help dry out the soil because there are still more than plenty in the ground!

new potatoes - Fisher Hill Farm
Running low on harvested potatoes because of the rain

 

All of the shallots have been pulled and we started on the red onions today. One more cycle in the greenhouse and all the onions will be dried for the season. The early planting of winter squash has been cut and piled. Hopefully in the next day or two we can get it all picked up and into storage. We have wagers going among the guys on how many 20 bushel bins we will fill. The high guess is 17 and the low is 8. I would be happy with any of those numbers and only time will tell.

Squash Harvest - Fisher Hill Farm
The start of fall squash harvest

 

Sadly, watermelons are all done for the year. We really enjoyed some of the sweetest melons we have had in a couple of years. I think it was a combination of a dry June and such warm weather. I know that many people will be asking for them at the market. Cantaloupes have slowed down but warm weather should pick their production back up. Tomatoes are at their peak right now with canning and freezing quantities available.

 RECIPE

After a wet and cool market Monday I was inspired to make a warm hearty meal for dinner. Honestly the prep work took longer than the cooking and I think the results were amazing.

 Ingredients:
2 medium zucchini, cut up

        2 ears of corn, cut off the cob

        1 large onion, chopped

        1 head of garlic, peeled and chopped

        4 san marzano tomatoes, diced

 

Cook the onions and garlic in a frying pan with olive oil. When they are cooked add the rest of the ingredients at medium heat. Cover and stir for a few minutes. Transfer to a Pyrex pan and cook at 400 degrees for another 15 minutes. I added a little balsamic vinegar just before serving it. Sandi and I enjoyed it very much, the girls liked certain veggies more than others! For dessert we had baked apples with a little cinnamon and whipped cream. Nothing fancy but very tasty. Please share some of your favorite recipes and I will include them in the future newsletters.

 

Phillip

Heirloom Zucchini

squash-COSTATA-ROMANESCO

Have you seen this on our table recently? If you’ve been to any of the local farmers markets we bet you have. You may have asked yourself just what it is. Or maybe you thought that it was a zucchini but not sure what kind or what it could taste like.

squash-COSTATA-ROMANESCO
COSTATA ROMANESCO

It’s called Costata Romanesco. And it didn’t take long for the secret to get out. When our chef friend, Gabe, encouraged us to grow this Italian heirloom zucchini this year we were a little nervous when this large, ribbed squash began to take up its own crate on the table. Would the two-tone color and large size scare people off?

Turns out, just two weeks into harvest season and we can’t keep this squash on the table! Members love the very small seeds, the flesh that doesn’t get spongy or have a core even in large sizes and the almost nutty flavor of the skin. Slice one of these ribbed squash for a fun star shape to saute or throw a larger diameter slice right on the grill.

Happy Zucchini Season!

There are so many ideas out there on how to use zucchini on the grill, in a sautee, or even a salad. But we found this recipe and thought it was a bit different and wanted to share!

Zucchini Zoodles with Kale Pesto

From the GreenBeanConnection

Zucchini Recipe Zoodles with Kale Pesto

Food processor recipe makes 2 servings plus 1½ cups leftover pesto!

For the kale pesto:
3 cups chopped kale leaves
¾ cup packed fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon kosher salt
⅓ cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup pine nuts (toasted or raw)
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
3 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about ⅔ cup)

For the zucchini noodles:
4 medium zucchini
2 tablespoons olive oil
⅓ cup kale pesto (above), plus more for serving
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
Salt and pepper
2 ounces Parmesan cheese, grated (about ½ cup), plus more for serving
Grated Parmesan, for serving

 

Fisher Hill Farm - Bristol NY
Fisher Hill Farm – Bristol NY

Crop Report: All About Sweet Corn

Fisher Hill Farm - Local Sweet Corn

This week summer will be in full force. Sweet corn is finally ready and let me tell you it is amazing. We had an exceptionally cold April and an unusually warm May and that cold April kept us out of the field for an early corn planting.

Fisher Hill Farm - Local Sweet Corn
Fisher Hill Farm – Local Sweet Corn

But when you look back at May we never had a frost. How unusual is that? Many years we struggle to keep early plantings alive and this year we could have planted frost sensitive crops even earlier.

But I digress, back to sweet corn. This week’s variety is called ‘Sweetness’ and its nothing short of that. Usually, to grow early corn we have to sacrifice a few things to get the corn on the table so soon, such as ear size, flavor or height of the plant. Sweetness is a very good eating corn but it is a smaller ear. But don’t worry as the season goes on the corn will get larger but it will always be better than you can find in a store!

Fisher Hill Farm - Local Sweet Corn 2
Fisher Hill Farm -Sweetness

 Deer Report

The fences seems to be holding them back. We have one last field to fence in this week and after that the deer are out of luck. Hopefully they will find some other place to call home. Next week I hope to share some pictures of the fence itself and the solar powered fence chargers that keep the fence hot.

Fall Planning

Last week we planted more beets, chard, a mega planting of kale (for winter harvest), broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, and melons. We have since had a nice little rain shower to set the plants in but definitely could use some more. Hard to believe that it’s time to think about late fall and winter kale. But we need to have the plants well established and full of greens by fall. After mid October plants don’t grow much and we need to have all that foliage banked up and ready to harvest.

Currently Available

Garlic Scapes

Zucchini and Summer Squash

Head Lettuce

Cucumbers (slicing and pickling)

Sweet corn

Chard

Kale

Radishes

Spring onions

Scallions

Green garlic

Beans (flat, fava, green, yellow)

Sweet yellow onions

Bunched beets (red and gold)

Shoots and microgreens

Potatoes, New (red and white)

Carrots

Shallots (storage)

FRESH chicken
Free Range Eggs (chicken & duck)
Red Jacket juices

Fisher Hill Farm - Bristol NY
Fisher Hill Farm – Bristol NY

Crop Report: Oh Deer!

Fisher Hill Farm

The Straw that Broke the Camel’s Back

Whitetail deer have been an issue since we started farming vegetables. In the beginning they liked to eat peas and pumpkins. Knowing their preference for these crops we began planting those close to the barn or the road. These ideas helped but we always had some loss. Last year seemed exceptionally bad and we had serious losses and damage.

Off to a Good Start

This year we seemed to be off to a good start until last weekend. Those darn deer ate almost a whole bed of gold beets; a bed meaning rows upon rows not just a stretch of one row. They have good taste, I know! They pulled out the beets from the ground and nibbled only the beets; leaving a trail of destruction – partially eaten beets, greens, and torn up plastic. This all happened over the weekend and enough was enough.

What We Did About it

Monday I went to tractor supply with a headache but no plan, well maybe a little internet research, and left the store with what I thought I needed. 7 foot t-posts, poly wire, insulations, solar fence charger, and miscellaneous goodies. The final product was a 6 foot tall electric fence with 4 wires spaced 18 inches apart. And boy golly, it worked!!! So, the next day after another (fairly expensive!) trip to tractor supply we had one more field fenced in.

We are already seeing almost double the production of zucchini and summer squash. Hopefully next week after the heat wave leaves we can fence in the last big field and be deer free.

You may ask yourself why don’t they just hunt the deer in the fall? We tried that with several groups hunters during the entire Fall season. The deer are very smart, sleeping & limiting their movement during the day and foraging at night. If there is a little snow cover, a clear sky with moonlight the deer manage to find their daily ration just fine. I talked with the DEC about permits but I needed results fast.

 I hope that the deer get the message, move on to easier picking in another area and don’t come back!

 Harvest News

In positive, profitable news – we did harvest some new and exciting crops this week. We dug the first new potatoes and boy do they look nice. Planting them on plastic really paid off and I know I’ll be doing that next year. Also available are cucumbers and pickles, greens beans, fava beans, and larger sweet onions are coming in too.

The Current List of What is Available

Garlic Scapes

Zucchini and summer squash
Cucumbers (slicing and pickling)

Head Lettuce

Peas (shelling and sugar snap)
Beans (green, Italian Flat, fava)

Chard

Kale

Radishes

Spring onions

Scallions

Green garlic

Bunched beets (red and hopefully the return of gold)

Shoots and microgreens

Potatoes (NEW!)

Carrots (storage)

Onions (storage)

Shallots (storage)

 FRESH chicken
Free Range Eggs (chicken & duck)
Red Jacket juices