‘Eef you eat dead food, you vill be dead!’ – from a German ex-pat living in Tuscany, lecturing Americans on health food.This newt (technically the red spotted newt in the ‘eft’ stage – babies that live on the land for 5 years or so before they move into the water) was in one of our hoop houses, next to the pond that we use for irrigation. Newts are very sensitive to pollution – agricultural runoff, salt from roads and heavy siltation (usually from poor agricultural practices) threaten their lives. So to find one in a high production area of the farm makes me remember that the food we are growing is full of life. And the fact that my daughter was there to hold this little thing made it all the more poignant a moment. So much of what we read about health (mental health and gut health) has to do with supporting the microbes within us – by eating food that will help them live, giving them the perfect conditions to thrive. I just read ‘Food Fix’ by Mark Hyman & ‘This is Your Brain on Food’ by Uma Naidoo – both books underlined the importance of supporting the life within us. The breakdown is – eat fermented foods regularly, eat lots of veg to help feed them. We spend a lot of time at Orchard Hill trying to make sure that the plants have the nutrients that they need to thrive. Sometimes it means getting the right balance of minerals – if there’s too much of one, it often means that the plant can’t access another. Or using cover crops to help feed the soil between crops of veg. We feed the soil so that the vegetables will be more nutritious & vibrantly alive. Here’s to our health! May your microbiome be teeming with all the best bugs. New this week – Parsley Root – perfect for all the fall soups that you’re surely making. Some Euros swear by it for any chicken soup – it looks almost identical to parsnip, but rather than the funky sweetness of a parsnip, you get more of an herbal flavour – like parsley meets a potato. It’s great roasted too. Ginger Hot Sauce (fermented! Spicy!) – I had a tickle in my throat, made some chicken noodle soup and dosed it up with some of this hot sauce and POOF – felt better. Seriously. I mean, it’s very anecdotal but….Curried Veg Pickle – facto-fermented cauliflower, cabbage, carrots, kohlrabi, all chunky and perfect to throw on a power bowl, in a wrap, on a salad or on top of some rice. New Soups – Ratatouille, Potato-Leek & Autumn Minestrone. Have a great week and thanks for all the support.Ellen
Take me to the store
Life is short – eat good food.

Pork & Six Bean Soup
It’s Thanksgiving week! It feels a little different to most of us this year –

we’re probably cooking for less people, which seems like the perfect time

to try a new recipe. I love to make fried chicken for Thanksgiving – there

are always lots of fresh pastured chickens available this time of year, and

fried chicken is something I love to eat but don’t treat myself to very

often (gross chicken, or too lazy to make my own). But if I’m invited

somewhere else and I’m making a dish – and this one works for

American thanksgiving too because it’s full of vegetables that are still

good in November – I love to make this shaved celeriac &

fennel salad full of Italian parsley, lemon & parmesan.

It’s super bright and flavorful – a great foil for all the rich turkey dinner

foods, crunchy and unusual, but also doesn’t take up too much space on

the plate (real estate is at a premium).What I’m cooking these days….lots

of curries with chickpeas, squash & Swiss chard, ginger & garlic. And

also so much soup! The temps and the rain make the warm kitchen a

perfectly tempting place to be and right now there are so many crops to

use – end of the season tomatoes that seem boring now, but in a few

weeks and months will seem like the most flavorful gems, imperfect

squash that won’t keep, potatoes with a few too many nibbles to sell, too

many green beans to sell for the week, pears that Martha won’t sell

because they’ve taken 15 years to finally produce good fruit and

somehow they’re more precious than money, but also all ripe and

headed to over ripe in the cooler. It’s also luxurious to have so many

varieties – and the varieties that I think are the most delicious – to choose

from, without sweating the food cost like one normally would in a

kitchen. I’m using the waste! But also a soup that has 3 different squash,

with each their own flavor profile and texture – adds depth and layers of


Most of the soups I make are free of dairy and gluten and meat because

we have a lot of vegetables and they’re delicious. However, there is a

Pork & Six Bean Soup that is smoky and rich and delicious, featuring fall

green beans and all the dry beans. Don’t be afraid to use the soup as a

canvas – if you have thanksgiving leftovers, throw some cooked chopped

turkey in the Curried Squash & Pear Soup, or add a can of black beans

and some chopped cilantro to the Roasted Tomato & Rice Soup – it also

wouldn’t be opposed to some cheese or sour cream dolloped on top.I’m so

thankful – for the land that provides, for my family’s love and support,

and for all of you. Nothing like a little pandemic to make you realize how

special it is to see the same faces week after week, even outside, for a


Thanks so much – have a great thanksgiving. Ellen