Week 38, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Sep 24, 2019

First patchy frost this week, the earliest we have had in many years. It was a light one, and mostly beneficial. It killed the galinsoga that was threatening to drop seed all over Monument Field, but spared nearly all the soy plants in adjacent Pine Field, just yellowing the tips in the cold pockets. Every day of life for our corn and soy right now is another measure in the bin. And most of the tender vegetables made it, too. The tomatoes are still producing a bit, the sweet peppers are fine, and so is the eggplant. The melons are ridiculously good, aren’t they? There’s so much to eat that’s fresh right now, but still, the brush with the end of the season put me into overdrive preserving things in the kitchen. I made a huge batch of baba ganoush this week, ate loads of it, and put a bunch in the freezer to put on homemade pita this winter. I got twelve large flats of tomatoes reduced to a thick sauce and canned into quart jars. I still haven’t blanched any greens or sweet corn for the freezer yet – every time they come into the kitchen, we end up eating them – but they are on my weekend goals list.

Domestic life has been busier than usual these days, with an extra kid in the house, and all three of the girls playing on different soccer teams. Also, I was working in Vermont most of the week, recording the audiobook version of my new book, Good Husbandry, and re-recording The Dirty Life, for its re-release this fall. Mark has been flat out in the fields with harvest and the rest of the fall work. But people still have to eat, right? So, for our meals, I’ve been hanging around that good old intersection, where easy meets delicious. Maria (our totally delightful 11-year-old exchange student from France) is not much of a meat eater, so we are dwelling mostly in the vegetable part of town, which is a rich and varied place this time of year. Yesterday, I had to be away all day, and knew we’d all be coming home at the same time, hungry for a late dinner, so before I left for the day, I threw an enormous uncut head of cauliflower into the Instant Pot, along with a pint of crushed tomatoes, a little water, and salt. Then I sautéed some garlic, ginger, turmeric, cumin, and coriander in an obscene amount of butter, and poured it over the cauliflower’s dome. I set the Instant Pot on delay cook to come on while I was on my way home on ferry (five minutes cooking under pressure for this extra large head, then let it stay about 8 minutes under pressure before releasing it) and off I went. When we all got home and sat down at 7:00, it was a perfectly done and really delicious main dish served over some jasmine rice, with hot sauce for those who like spicy and none for the rest of them. Prep took about 3 minutes. Who says whole food cooking has to be labor intensive?

I’m sorry to report that Mozzie, our Great Pyrenees livestock guardian, was diagnosed with osteosarcoma this week. He’d been lame in one of his front legs, and for a while we thought he’d just tweaked it while working or taken a quill from a porcupine, as he has in the past. But it got worse, and Anne took him to the vet, and it was clear from an x-ray what the problem was: a tumor in the bone near his shoulder. This disease is fast and aggressive and, while it is relatively common in giant breeds like the Great Pyrenees, it hit Mozzie very young, at the age of 5. He’s on medications to control the pain and to slow the progress, and he’s getting a lot of extra love from all of us. He’s still on duty with his sheep, as I expect he will be until the end. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this precious 38th week of 2019. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on the web and insta at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball