Week 52, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Dec 30, 2019

Miranda and Quill and I are away, visiting with my mother, so I am reporting the farm news from afar. We hope everyone is enjoying this holiday week and gathering energy for 2020.

Mark and most of the farm crew stuck to the usual schedule of chores, milking, and distribution this week, with a little time taken out for skating and broomball on the pond. When the temperature rose and the ice got too mushy, Mark took a road trip with Anne, Charlie and Essex Farm alumni Scott Hoffman, to look at a tractor in New Hampshire. They didn’t buy the tractor but it sounds like they had a lot of good conversation about how and why to farm.

Why do we farm? It’s a vital question, especially as we launch into our seventeenth season and ask our members to commit for another year. We know what a commitment it is! The Essex Farm answer is and has been: to discover a form of agriculture that is economically viable, environmentally beneficial, and socially just. Our mission is to feed our members a full diet of the highest quality, from one piece of land, sharing with you the same sense of abundance and in-season variety that farmers feel at the table, meant to keep you satisfied and exceptionally well-nourished, year-round. We believe in grass over grain, natural over synthetic, good management over advanced chemistry, sweat over diesel, and in the vital importance of carbon sequestration. We push the boundaries of agricultural diversity in order to nourish the health of our soil, which feeds the plants, which feed the animals, which feed you. Our perspective on the ground grants us clarity: the rampant consolidation and industrialization of our food system is bad for the planet, for rural communities, and for your health, and so we work in the opposite direction. Of course, this is a team effort. It wouldn’t be possible if we were selling what we grow piece by piece, at the best price we can get, and shaping our decisions around maximal production and minimal cost and diversification. We can only do what we do with the support of members like you who see the benefits not only to your families but to the community and the world. We really hope you will join us for the 2020 season. We are as always absolutely delighted to feed you. Anh Thu is sending out the membership agreements this week, and if you have questions, please get in touch.

What changes are afoot for 2020? We got a grant for a new greenhouse, which will be built by August, and should increase our capacity for specialty crops and really extend our season for fresh greens. On the animal front, we have pigs, sheep and beef cattle that are fully and beautifully grown now, ready to feed you for the year. We have a lot of young heifers coming toward production in the dairy, and a new cheese vat on order, which should be up and running before the winter is out. Our collaboration with the Hub on the Hill continues, with an added emphasis this year on developing consistent, delicious and convenient new products. Our team gained a lot of experience this year, and will carry on into the new season, so we have the capacity for a lot of growth, which is exciting and necessary to keep the price of the share down and the farm profitable. We will add more staff as the spring comes, and welcomed a new farmer from Uganda this week. Martin plans to be with us for the year. We are all going to learn to say “awesome dude” in Uganda. (Ijok Jo is our phonetic approximation in case you want to follow along at home). And that my friends is the news from Essex Farm for this final week of 2019. You can find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on InstaFB, and the web, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball