Week 42, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Oct 18, 2019

This week Jane told me that she thinks I must be a very emotional person. She’s twelve. I thought preteen girls were supposed to have a corner on that particular market? But she’s right! I’ve been a wet mess of tears this week. Mostly the joyful, thankful kind. I’m grateful for a strong book launch for Good Husbandry, and for the feeling of being supported with love from friends, family, colleagues and readers. I’m grateful for a bountiful fall harvest against bad odds after our wet, cold spring. I’m grateful for everyone here who worked so hard to make the plants grow and keep the animals safe and healthy, and for the members, who make our fertile world go ‘round. And then, the other kind of tears. Jane leaves for France tomorrow, along with her French exchange sister, Maria, who has been with us for three months and has become a beloved part of our family. I will miss them both so much! Jane comes home in mid-January, and I am certain we’ll always know Maria and her family, and would bet we will see them here within a year. But still. Parting tears are the messy ones.

In farm news, there was the excitement this week of the impressively named bomb cyclone that hit on Wednesday night. We got just over 2 inches of rain. The weather station registered 41 mph winds on Thursday morning, which pulled down trees and power lines. We lost power during chicken slaughter, with 20 birds to go. Luckily we got a generator going for the plucker (thank you Jori and Hub on the Hill, for that crucial assist!), and the artesian well supplied plenty of cold clean water. We had a brand new lamb on the ground, and there’s nothing harder on a lamb than cold wind and rain, but the mama was an experienced old ewe, and sought shelter in a portable hut that the team put out for them. Lamb is doing fine, and the total casualty report for the storm was one broiler chicken that got wet and succumbed to chilling. The power was back by afternoon milking. Now we prepare for the hard freeze predicted for tomorrow night.

Before the storm, we needed to get the rest of the carrot harvest in. We had 13 people in the field – a mix of English and Amish – led by Zohar, whose last day is today, and strengthened by Isabel Smith, one of our favorite Essex Farm alumna. The soil was so forgiving that the huge, sweet and mostly straight carrots popped out of the ground with a gentle tug. We didn’t need a plow or even a pitchfork this year. The taste of the carrots will improve in storage for the next month, as the starches convert to sugars. The large crops that remain in the field are soy and corn, which need to dry further before harvest.

A few more items of book news. The audio version is out now, along with a re-release of The Dirty Life. I read them myself, which was lots of fun. We have a sweet profile in People Magazine online this week. I gave my first reading at the Vermont Book Shop in Middlebury on Wednesday, and took Quill the puppy with me. He is not used to long drives so promptly barfed on their carpet. Happily, things improved from there. I have two readings next week: Tuesday at Oblong Books in Rhinebeck, and Friday, at Books Are Magic, in Brooklyn, featuring a conversation with one of my heroes, food writer Tamar Adler. Please come out and say hi! I’ll leave the puppy at home this time. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this tempestuous 43rd week of 2019. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on Insta at kristinxkimball, essexfarmcsa, and farmerkimball, the web at essexfarmcsa, or IRL on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball

Good Husbandry