Week 40, 2022|Kristin Kimball|October 7, 2022

Real color in the trees now, and several mornings of frost. The power of the sun is waning, even though the grass is still green and the big fall harvests are just starting to roll in. The biggest seasonal concern so far is the sorghum sudan grass that defied our effort to kill it, and grew back in some of the annual forages we planted for fall grazing. Sorghum sudan is a miracle for summer grazing – vigorous, fast growing, drought and heat tolerant, and even allelopathic, meaning it secretes substances from its root system that help suppress weeds. It provides extraordinary amounts of energy per acre for cows and sheep. But in fall, it is tricky, because frosted-killed, wilted sorghum sudan grass effectively contains cyanide. So, you know, not ideal. We are keeping a close eye on those fields and timing the grazing to keep the herd safe. In happy dairy news, we had a new calf born in the dairy herd, to Bailey, named Bunny. Bailey had a stillborn calf as a heifer last year, so this is her first shot at motherhood. Bunny was slow to get going, maybe because she was a little chilled, so she got an extra dose of colostrum via esophageal tube, and she seems to be doing better today.

In the kitchen this week, I’m making a big batch of lamb broth from the new supply of beautiful lamb bones we have in the share. Lamb bone broth has high levels of collagen and is magic for adding flavor and body to whatever you are making. Just make sure you remove the fat from your chilled stock before you use it, because you don’t want it in your soup. My favorite fall soup for several years now has been an Essex Farm take on the classic Scotch Broth, using any leftover cooked lamb for the meat or even leaving the meat out entirely. I use steel cut oats instead of pearl barley because we have it in the share, and I think oats pair excellently with lamb. I’ve also been loving the gorgeous cauliflower in the share these last couple of weeks. We have eaten it steamed and roasted, with butter and cheese sauce, tossed with cumin, coriander and turmeric, and blanched/chilled for use in crudite. I have also managed to get some into the freezer, because cauliflower is a seasonal treat that won’t last long.

Now the news! We’re hosting an impromptu local member pot luck next Saturday the 15th at 6pm, to celebrate the fall harvest. Bring your own chairs, place settings and a dish to share. We’ll meet in the tent in front of the pavilion. Please send us an email at essexfarm@gmail.com  to let us know you plan to come. Speaking of fall harvests and parties, we are looking for groups of people who would like to join us in the field for a fun, energetic day of bringing in the bounty. Our bulk harvests of crops like potatoes, carrots, and beets are low-skill, satisfying affairs, and we could really use a lot of extra hands. Harvest is a physical form of celebration, and people tend to really enjoy this work, especially if they’ve never seen the amazing amount of food that can be pulled from the earth in the fall. We’d love to have school groups, college clubs, church groups, friend groups, and members, of course! Anyone who wants to experience the generosity of the soil and the camaraderie of working hard together toward something good is welcome. If you have ideas or know groups we might contact, please text Kristin at 518-645-4658.

And that’s all the news from Essex Farm for this cozy 40th week of 2022. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball