Week 36, 2022｜Kristin Kimball｜September 9, 2022
The big auction is tomorrow. The front of the farm is full of metal: pieces consigned by other farms in the neighborhood, all sorts of supplies and hardware we are not using, plus the whole arsenal of horse-drawn equipment we collected over a decade, mostly acquired at auctions a lot like this one. The harnesses and hames and collars are under the tent now, plus the big pigeon wing work bridles, and a large collection of draft horse size bits. There are sets of lines that spent so many hours in my hands I can feel them when I close my eyes. I wasn’t quite prepared for the grief I’d feel at the sight of the bare tack room, where the horses’ name plates still hang over empty harness racks. When that feeling comes, I parry it with the thought that these things will be used by someone else now, hopefully in the production of good food, and good memories. Please join us for the spectacle tomorrow! It will be highly entertaining, I promise. Paul Miller is the auctioneer, coming down from the border for this. Things get rolling at 9:00, and while we don’t know how long it will go on, I expect it will continue until after lunch. There will be a concession stand and porta potties. We are working on parking, but cars will probably park across the road and buggies and horses in the barnyard. Members, Saturday will not be your best day for pickup this week. At least until evening.
Production continues to boom in the field. The highlight of the week, according to Nick Johnson, is simply the abundance and variety of produce we are bringing in right now. You might want to take this opportunity to try something new. Escarole, for instance. It’s another slightly bitter green, like rapini, but it’s a member of the chicory family, along with endive, frisse and dandelion. Unlike rapini, you can eat the tender leaves raw, but the coarser outer leaves are better sauteed or braised, on their own or in soups or pasta. It’s the highlight of the Italian classic, pasta e fagioli. Here’s a recipe to get you started. Bethany’s pick of the week is leeks. I tend to think of them later in the year when potato leek soup is on the menu, but these tender summer leeks really shine on their own. Grill them, braise them, or roast them with some olive oil and parmesan cheese and they can be the star of dinner. We are still harvesting sweet corn and tomatoes, feasting on watermelon, and happily back in abundant lettuce. We have a lot of raspberries on the canes for anyone who wants to pick. They won’t hold out much longer and they are delicious. Late breaking news: we have cauliflower this week!
Special thanks to Tritown for butchering our beef and to Benji for butchering our sheep this week. Thanks to formidable volunteer power this week: Linda I’Anson, Zuzia, and Bob Burke! This is Sarah Miller’s last week working full time with us at least until spring, as she has to go back to 8th grade. She and the whole Miller family have been an amazing asset this summer! Congratulations to the Millers for finding their own farm this fall. We’ll miss having them here but are glad they will be close by, within buggy distance for sure.
There’s a lot of news from other parts of the farm, too. We have second cut hay coming in this weekend, amidst all the action. We had a good all-team meeting, to discuss next year. It was interesting that everyone in attendance cited agricultural diversity as the most important aspect of this place, and the thing that keeps them at it, even when it’s hard. Mark leaves next week for a much needed vacation to Oregon with his college buddies, all of whom turned 50 this year. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this nostalgic 36th week of 2022. Find us at the auction, tomorrow!
-Kristin & Mark Kimball