Week 36, 2021｜Kristin Kimball｜September 10, 2021
Apple cider, back to school, and color in the leaves. This week sure feels like fall, despite another twelve days of summer on the calendar. Fall harvest has begun, and we’ve said goodbye to most of our summer farmers. Jane is enrolled in 8th grade at public school and Miranda is homeschooling for 6th grade. I love this moment of the year, when the routines are fresh as the air, and comforting.
On the farm, it has been a week of movement, and escapes. Stella, one of the poultry guard dogs, has been leaping her fence for dawn skirmishes with what I presume is a coyote. She’s a very duty-bound creature (she’s the one who fought with an owl last spring and took a talon to the ankle, giving her a permanent limp) so I don’t grudge her the escape, and she always comes back, but I do worry about her when she chases something onto the road. Some mornings we find her curled up with Miranda’s orphan piglet, Tofu, in our yard. We were confused about this until Lilly told us Stella was friends with an orphan piglet when she was a pup. Those early friendships have staying power.
The flock of 500 sheep moved from the end of Blockhouse Road, through the cover crop, and now onto perennial grass next to the vegetable fields. This involved a long walk down Blockhouse Road without fencing on the sides. Anne set it up perfectly, and Miranda and her pony Abby Belle wrangled the stragglers and brought up the rear. I got to check off ‘sheep wrangling’ for her homeschool PE.
At the moment I am looking out at Jane’s buck, Bode, who is tethered by a chain to the pole of the greenhouse. If I were totally blind and deaf, I would still know he is there, by the smell coming through the window. He is a very sweet boy but the stink of a buck goat that is gearing up for breeding season has no off-farm equivalent, and it transfers to anything he touches. For the life of me, I can’t figure out how to keep him fenced or otherwise confined away from the does until we need him. I’ve used all my tricks, and I have a lot of them. He outsmarts me. In fact, he has just unchained himself from the tether… how?! Oh, goats.
We took a first load of apples to Dennis Shetler’s press yesterday. He’s busy getting it set up right now. Please keep in mind if and when we have cider in the share, it’s made the old fashioned way, and is a raw, unpasteurized product, unlike what you can buy in the store. We do not use dropped apples, to reduce the chance of e. coli contamination, but selling it is illegal, and drinking it does carry some risk. If you have concerns you can cook with it or boil and cool it for drinking, or even make it into hard cider for yourself. Cheers!
The highlights at our table this week were beef stroganoff, featuring dill and sour cream; tomatillo salsa, which we ate on chicken tacos; and a chicken liver custard from Richard Olney’s Simple French Food. I know ‘liver’ and ‘custard’ are two words Americans don’t normally associate with each other in a good way but I promise this will change your mind. I used ghee in place of the marrow.
Goodbye sweet corn, hello broccoli, savoy cabbage, and five types of potatoes: yellow, fingerling, purple, red-skinned and white. Thanks to the 13 Paul Smith’s students who are coming on Saturdays to help with harvest and other projects. We love having you here.
Finally please keep the jars coming back every week. The jar supply chain is still kinked! And delivered share members please send your bins back clean, and do not put compost or garbage in your bins. Thanks and love to all our members for making our green world spin! That’s the news from Essex Farm for this back-to-it 36th week of 2021. Find us at 518-963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org, on instagram at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.
-Kristin & Mark Kimball