Week 8, 2023|Kristin Kimball|February 24, 2023

We were lucky to sidestep the worst of the predicted storm this week. We were prepared for twelve inches of snow and some freezing rain, but got only about half of that. Now the cold has returned, and the skies are clear blue, and the farm looks beautiful in this new white coat made brilliant by the sun, which is gaining vitality by the day. Some of the farmers took sleds up the sugarbush hill yesterday during lunch and I heard reports of a good time. I was not among them because I’ve been stuck inside, having succumbed to some sort of virus, on the heels of what I thought was a full recovery from Covid. So my news is all second hand this week, with extra thanks to the team for covering for me! If I’m slow to get back to you these days, please know I’m working at half speed, and don’t take it personally.

The biggest job on the immediate horizon is sugaring. We had collected 400 gallons of sap before the temperature dropped. I can’t wait to see steam rising from the stack, but we have some work to do before then. The new system is not quite set up, and still needs to be tested. But meanwhile, Mike Farrell, and our own Bethany and Nick, are placing taps in more trees, and if all goes well, our system will be collecting from over 400 sugar maples. Then, thoughts turn to seeding. Onion seeds are due to hit the soil blocks in the greenhouse very soon. Mark and I are earnestly working on the 2023 membership plan. Please bear with us as we hammer it out!

If the farm seems a little quieter this week, it might be because we have no pigs here for the first time in forever. The last of them left the farm on Wednesday, and are due back soon in the form of sausage, bacon, ribs and roasts. Sometimes at night I comfort myself with the thought that pigs don’t eat grain once they are in the freezer. The daily outflow of that precious, calorie-dense, high protein organic feed has slowed to a trickle. We still have over 50 tons of corn and soy on hand, for 2023 chickens and pigs. We weaned the older dairy calves, and freshened one more cow, so our milk supply is significantly improved, despite the once a day milking schedule. Please remember to check the board for limits, members.

Mark made a run to New York City this week with a load of curated boxes of the Essex Farm winter favorites for our New York City supporters, plus a wholesale restaurant order, and 190 pounds of grass finished beef tallow for Ancient Crunch, a company making tortilla chips from only three well-sourced ingredients. It’s wonderful to have such a delicious use for the nutrient dense fat our cattle put on. And thank you, Ancient Crunch, for supporting grass finished beef farming! We are planning another city run for the first half of March, delivering to all parts of Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Queens. If you are interested in those box deliveries but are not yet receiving the order form by email, please shoot me a note at essexfarm@gmail.com, subject line Winter Boxes, and I’ll be sure to add you. Feel free to spread the word to anyone in the delivery zone who might be interested.

Big thanks too this week to Liz Resnick who is here to put up another 55 gallons of sauerkraut from our fall cabbage harvest. Liz is moving back to Essex to take a job at Echo Farm, and we’re so happy to have her back in the neighborhood. Finally, we’re sending gratitude to Catherine Stark’s sibling Courcelle who is at the Hub today, baking a special treat for today’s distribution. We are grateful for their expertise and good work! And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this bright 8th week of 2023. Find us at 518-570-6399, essexfarm@gmail.com, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball