Week 47, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Nov 25, 2019

Things went from cold and hard to warm and mushy this week, a state that is more in line with the calendar. I forgot to tell the dogs this. I had them out for a run before bed on Wednesday, and took them to the pond behind the house where they have been hunting muskrats, and Mary found that the ice two yards off the shore was no longer solid. I guess that’s her bath for the year, then. Quill the puppy watched, taking notes. He’s almost 5 months old, weighs a whopping 33 lbs, and is becoming a real contender against Mary in the wrestling and running departments. He lost his baby teeth, got his big molars and canines, and with that has gained the ability to crunch through whole feathered chicken carcasses, and tear apart a fresh sheep head. (Ask me how I know, and I’ll tell you that allowing a fresh sheep head on the house porch during a thaw was exactly as foolish as it sounds. My mistake.) I can’t wait to see what he’s like on livestock, soon as he grows a brain with the maturity to match his legs and choppers. Meanwhile, we’re working on the basics, and enjoying his vast reserves of energy.

The team pivoted from emergency cold prep to slightly less frantic work this week. Mark, who loves a bargain, went to Vermont to pick up a load of used cattle panels that Evan spotted on Craigslist. We use them to build corrals and section off different areas in the covered barnyards, where the livestock spend the winter, and these will help a lot, given how much the beef herd grew this fall. Mark and Elise worked in the butcher shop, getting back in the groove by slaughtering seven sheep (see head, above). There was also lots of general farm cleanup, and post-harvest kitchen work. Beth led a team of helpers at the Hub on the Hill, turning cabbage, radish and other fresh veg into kraut and kimchi. What a miracle that vegetables, plus salt, plus time equal so much intense flavor. I and my gut microbiome are looking forward to eating a lot of those nutritionally dense fermented products this winter. We have another 20,000 lbs of cabbage and a near-ton of leeks that need to be cleaned, so if anyone feels like doing some non-rushed, social, low-skill work, feel free to join in.

As we wind toward the end of the year, I feel the usual desire to sum up the growing season. The word of 2019 is abundance. The quantity and quality of food we have harvested this year is just astounding. How lucky are we to live in the opposite of a food desert? A food oasis, I think we can call it. I’m never more grateful for that than I am this time of year. I’m starting to think about what I’m going to cook for Thanksgiving, and since I’m perfectly OK with chickens taking the place of turkey, everything I want to cook from soup to pie course comes from the acres I can see from my window. Who else gets to say that? We have the land, skill and desire to provide this food for a larger group of people in 2020, so please, if you like what you’re eating, spread the word. A larger number of members means a better share for everyone.

And finally, While Mark is hunting Craigslist for farm bargains, I have something cooking in the newly renovated (OK, half renovated) farmhouse kitchen. I’m looking for a deal on a used Viking or Wolf 36” or maybe even 48” all-gas 6-burner pro-style residential range. Older is great! Cosmetics don’t matter. I just crave big big fire. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this fickle 47th week of 2019. Find us via the web at essexfarmcsa, on Insta there and at kristinxkimball and farmerkimball, or IRL, on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball