The end of our CSA season is fast approaching. Our last CSA pick-ups are Tuesday, October 6 and Saturday, October 10. Our applications for the 2016 season are available now. Orchard Hill Farm application 2016

Kossak Kohlrabi
Kossak Kohlrabi
This year we have succeeded in growing a variety of winter storage kohlrabi called Kossak. It is as big as a cabbage, but the great thing is that it still remains tender and crisp inside and stores very well! I have added a recipe below for Kohlrabi Fritters. Here are some other ideas:
dip in Hummus;
grate into coleslaw (add some red meat winter radish);
shave into salad;
throw into soup;
roast with other root vegetables.

Kohlrabi Fritters from the kitchen of Ellen Laing
1/2 lb. kohlrabi, grated
1 carrot or sweet potato, grated
1 egg
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. cayenne
1/2 cup grape seed oil or canola oil

Squeeze the liquid from the kohlrabi and carrot/sweet potato with your hands or put in a tea towel and squeeze. Mix in a bowl with eggs, cornstarch, salt and Cayenne. Heat oil in a large skillet and drop large spoonfuls of Fritters into oil, fry until golden brown on each side.

We are about to start digging parsnips. For those of you who don’t know what to do with parsnips, I have reposted my parsnip cake recipe.

Parsnip Cake Recipe for 8 x 8 inch pan from the kitchen of Martha Laing
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ginger
3/4 cup sunflower oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups grated parsnips
1/4 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
1/4 cup crystallized ginger
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Combine sugar, flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger; beat in oil until mixture is light in colour, about 3 minutes.
Beat in eggs, one at a time, beating for about 30 seconds after each addition. Add parsnips, mixing thoroughly.
Spread in well-greased and floured 8 x 8 inch baking dish. Bake for 50 – 55 minutes or until tester inserted in centre comes out clean. Let cool in pan before spreading with Cream Cheese Frosting.
* Recipe can be doubled for a 9 x 13 inch pan recipe. It can also be doubled and divided between 3 – 9 inch round cake pans for a layered cake. For a fancy cake, I put caramelized apples between the layers and add crystallized ginger pieces to the cream cheese icing.
Cream Cheese Icing for 8 x8 inch pan
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup icing sugar, sifted
In mixing bowl, beat together cream cheese and butter, add enough milk to make fluffy spreadable consistency. Double recipe for layer cake.
Caramelized Apples for filling between layers of fancy cake
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup sugar
2 pounds Golden Delicious or Honey Crisp apples(or other firm apple variety), peeled cored, cut into 1/2 inch slices.
2/3 cup whipping cream
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat; cover with sugar. Stir until sugar begins to melt, about 1 minute. Add apples. Cook until apples are brown and tender and juices form, about 10 – 15 minutes. Add cream and simmer until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Cool before assembling cake.

Suzie and Sonny crimping buckwheat cover crop.
Suzie and Sonny Roller-Crimping Buckwheat Cover Crop


Crimper in Action
Roller-Crimper in Action
Horse Drawn No-Till Planter
Horse Drawn No-Till Planter

Ken is continuing to pursue organic no-till planting.  Conventional no-till planting uses herbicides to control weeds and or kill the cover crop. As the understanding of the value of cover crops and no-till has increased organic farmers have developed the roller-crimper to terminate  growing cover crops. They crush the stems of the plants and leave the organic matter on the surface of the soil, allowing the life in the soil to explode as millions of micro organisms work to break down the organic matter.  The field that our Suffolk horses, Suzie and Sonny, are roller-crimping what will be our squash field next season. The no-till planter was used to plant another cover crop of rye and Austrian peas into the crimped buckwheat. Next spring when the rye begins to shed pollen we will crimp the field again and transplant the small squash plants directly into the rye/pea mulch. Hopefully, the peas will help to fill in the gaps and allow for good ground cover for the squash vines to grow over. We may put down a strip of green mulch right around the plants to add some extra mulch and heat as the green matter breaks down it heats up.The added heat under the row cover gives them a jump start.We cover the squash with row cover to protect them from being eaten by cucumber beetle.  We’ll see how it goes next year.

As we move into September on the farm the CSA pick-ups start to include more of the fall crops. Today we plan to harvest our first leeks and more squash and red and yellow peppers. The out door tomatoes are beautiful with all the range of colour. When we manage to hold off the late blight the heritage tomatoes have flavour that is unsurpassed. The potatoes are being dug. This year we have grown some purple and red fleshed potatoes that are a fun addition to our array of potato options.

The brochures for next season are ready. Orchard Hill Farm application 2016


Borscht (Mennonite Cabbage Soup)

From CSA member John Neufeld

This is something I grew up with and is an example of true Mennonite comfort food. The Ukrainians made Borsch, and the Mennonites of the Ukraine modified the recipe substituting cabbage as the main ingredient rather than beets.  This thick, hearty soup with a sweet, slightly spicy tomato broth is often served at large gatherings (because it makes so much), in fall and winter as a main course.  Every Oma has her own twist to this recipe and claims it`s never as good as the last time they made it (typical Mennonite modesty).  It is often served with zwiebach (traditional homemade buns) but goes great with any homemade bread (hint, hint)!


  • 1 kg beef soup bone, with lots of meat ( pork works well too)
  • 8 cups or 2 litres of water
  • 2-4 carrots, sliced thinly
  • 4 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1 large (or 2 medium) onions, chopped
  • 1 medium head of cabbage, chopped finely
  • 284ml can of tomato soup
  • 500ml can of tomatoes, diced (optional)
  • red chillies (my mom often added Heinz chilli sauce)
  • fresh dill
  • salt and pepper to taste


  1. Cover soup bones with water and simmer for several hours until meat is tender.
  2. Remove the bone and shred the meat.
  3. Add more water to measure a total of 8-10 cups of stock.
  4. Add vegetables and seasonings.
  5. Cook until vegetables are tender.
  6. Add tomato soup, diced tomatoes (and a little chilli sauce or even ketchup for sweetness) along with shredded meat.
  7. Bring to boil and then let simmer (it gets better the longer it simmers).
  8. Serve with sour cream and fresh baked bread.
  9. Enjoy!
Horse Drawn No-Till Planter
Horse Drawn No-Till Planter
Red Fleshed Potatoes Being Washed
Red Fleshed Potatoes Being Washed
Outdoor Tomatoes are Ready
Outdoor Tomatoes are Ready
Farm Rainbow
Farm Rainbow