Week 38, 2018 | Kristin Kimball | Sep 22, 2018

Summer is making a dramatic exit today, with gusty winds and rain loosening the leaves, which are just beginning to turn. Tomorrow is the autumnal equinox, when dark and light are in perfect balance. Today, everyone has that equinoctial look: strong, and also, tired, in about equal measure. The team has been small for the last couple weeks, and putting in long hours, with all the extra summer help gone and some others on vacation, or other obligations. The Amish are all away today, helping Jonas Shetler’s father and his family move in to a new farm, in Lewis. That will bring the total of Amish families in our area to six, by my count, which makes a real community. We’re sending Emmanuel Shetler and family a warm welcome.

We have an especially beautiful share this week, with the best of summer and fall crops coming briefly together. There’s luxuriant unlimited spinach, spicy arugula, and my cruciferous fall favorite, cauliflower; we’re still rich in tomatoes and herbs. The on-farm butcher shop is full of a beautiful beef cow, one that was born here, raised here, and slaughtered here, fattened on grass and hay alone. The meat is hanging now, and will be in the share next week.

Despite today’s rain the ground is still very dry, and re-growth is generally slow. We’ve been searching, once again, for grass that’s good enough to fuel the dairy cows, as we wait for the fall cover crops to get big enough to graze. This week, the herd is in Jackson Field, across Route 22 from our driveway. That field doesn’t do much on a normal year, but apparently it loves a drought. The horses grazed it to nothing a few weeks ago, and it came back strong in common vetch, reed canary, birdsfoot trefoil and clover – dairy cow heaven. Our eponymous neighbor Ron Jackson (who leases that field to us) helped us get the herd across the road for milking yesterday, in the half-dark, as he was driving by. We were grateful for his flashing red lights! And to the patient driver there who waited at our crossing while Mark chased some stragglers out of the field. Between cows and buggies, it’s a good idea to take it easy while driving on Route 22 these days.

I have a pile of reminders and requests today. Quarterly payments are due, and monthly payments are right around the corner, and we need them to pay some big bills, so please be prompt! We are looking for another farm vehicle if anyone has one to donate or sell. Preferably a road worthy, small, 4-wheel-drive truck that has seen better days but is not too rusted out; short of that we’ll consider just about anything. This is what we use to haul people and supplies around the farm for chores, bring vegetables in, move hay wagons, etc. Call or text Mark at 518-570-6399 if you have something to offer or have a lead for us. We’re also looking to hire for four permanent, full time positions. Please help us spread the word about that. And finally, if you’d like to join us for a day of harvest, we would love it. We’re bringing in the potatoes next week, if the weather cooperates, and that’s always a fun day. Get in touch if you’d like to lend a hand. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this equinoctial 38th week of 2018. Like us on Facebook to see what we post there, or find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on Insta and the web at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

–Kristin & Mark Kimball

Good Husbandry