Week 37, 2018 | Kristin Kimball | Sep 14, 2018

We have a small but fierce team now, at the beginning of the swell of harvest work. It has made for a busy and satisfying week in the field. I hope you are busy in your kitchens, too, enjoying the bounty, and maybe putting some of it away for winter. The inch (!) of rain we got this week, coupled with warm temperatures, gave all of the plants and grasses a late-season boost. Mark just called me from among the peppers, where he and Chris are harvesting a devastating number of jalapeños. He reports we are now caught up on sweet peppers and there are fewer perfectly ripe red ones, but still plenty of serviceable green ones. I have to say, my all-time favorite, Jimmy Nardello, was displaced from the top pepper slot this year by the newcomer, Cornito Rosso, which was firm, sweet, and even more delightfully complex than my old friend Jimmy. Remember, you can throw peppers (also, tomatoes) in the freezer without blanching and use them for cooking all winter.

After peppers, Mark and Chris are going to harvest some of the green soybeans, for edamame. This is our regular soybean crop, not a variety like Beer Friend that’s been selected for green eating, but, after sampling some in the field, I can’t tell any difference. To prepare, pull the pods off the stems but leave the beans in their pods. Rinse. Bring a pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add the pods, and boil for 5 minutes, or until the pods turn bright green. Drain, sprinkle with more salt and a bit of black pepper. Toss and serve, with a bowl on the side for the empty pods. They freeze well, too, with or without pods, after blanching.

I’m starting to obsess a little about not having enough herbs in the house freezer. This happens every year, when the end of basil is upon us! Which it is. Maybe. The bugs have taken a hard toll on it, but, thanks to the rain, there is some re-growth happening, so we’re not going to mow it just yet, but can’t promise it will be good enough to harvest again before frost. Despite the amazing basil production this summer, I failed to put any up, so am hoping we have a reprieve. We are still extremely rich in parsley and cilantro; now would be the time to request quantities for your freezer. My favorite way is to wash and roughly chop the herb of choice, then blend it with oil (I use avocado or olive, but any oil will do) and a little salt. Freeze in ice cube trays, then pop the frozen cubes into ziplock bags. We also have a vast quantity of thyme in the field; that should be dried rather than frozen. Best method is to lay it out on an unused window screen somewhere out of the way, with good air circulation, until thoroughly and completely dry. On the non-herb side of things, this is a good time to get spinach, chard and kale in the freezer. Ask for the quantity you can handle and we will harvest it for you. Other harvest news: The delicata squash is stunningly good this year, and ready to go. Pie pumpkins and carnival acorn squash are ripe, too, but not cured yet. We may – may! – have grapes next week.

If you have a spare day or week and would like to join us for harvest, your help and company would be most welcome. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this bountiful 37th week of 2018. Like us on Facebook to see what we post there, or find us at 518-963-4513, essexfarm@gmail.com, on Insta and the web at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

–Kristin & Mark Kimball