Week 44, 2020|Kristin Kimball |October 30, 2020

There are two very important harvests every year, both dictated by the weather. There’s the sun-soaked, cool breeze kind that comes in the colorful days of September or early October, before the first frost, when we bring in the tomatoes that are still on the vine, the peppers and eggplants and the tender herbs and greens. Then there is the one that happens when a deep freeze is coming, threatening the crops like cabbage and cauliflower that can’t make it through temperatures below 20 degrees. This one comes when the darkness is closing in and the branches of the trees are bare, and it always seems to coincide with a rain that falls in cold sheets all day, so that the soil feels hostile to the hand when you have to dig down in it. With tonight’s low predicted to be 21 degrees, the whole crew pulled together to gather tons of food this week. A third of the cabbages were ripe, and came in. The remaining 2/3rds are in the field, and we’ll just have to hope they make it. All the cauliflower that sized up is in now, and so are the collards. The onions are getting topped and protected, and the squash and pumpkins moved to the heated trailer next to the dairy. Before nightfall we’ll need to drain hoses and check hydrants to make sure they won’t crack. Then we start thinking about the next six months, and the very low temperatures that are to come. 

Lots of action in the dairy again this week. We’ve got more cows than we have stanchions for milking, so the heifers who haven’t calved yet get tied in the horse stall while the rest get milked. One of the heifers, Janis, had a heifer calf, named Judy. That makes a very cute threesome of newborn girl calves in the west barn. When they are a little bigger they will join the rest of the calves to graze the heavy cover crop on Mailbox field. We have enough cover crop to last all the grazing animals another month, if the weather cooperates. 

I picked up two Great Pyrenees puppies in Lake Placid on Monday, made a pit stop at Dr. Martha’s house to get them their shots, and took them straight to the flock. They are twelve weeks old, dense balls of fast-growing cuteness with fluffy white coats. Since Miranda went with me on the drive, she got naming rights. The male is Apollo and the female is Artemis. There is a lambing jug in the field for them to eat their meals in, but they are doing well loose in the flock and are very respectful of the electric fence. Captain, the four-year-old Great Pyrenees/Anatolian that arrived from Maine last week, seems skeptical of their utility, or maybe just not sure what he’s supposed to do with them. The chore team has found him outside the sheep fence a few times since they arrived, as if in protest. The pups will be moving around a bit in the next few weeks, to get them used to all the stock we will want them to guard while their little puppy brains are still malleable and the window for bonding is wide open. 

Mark is on a tear in the kitchen these days. I never know when he’s going to cook but when he does, it’s epic. This morning he made hand pies for breakfast, stuffed with goat cheese and chopped chicken, and topped with kimchi and cilantro. This reminded me to remind you that the pastry dough in the share is as useful for savory dishes as it is for dessert. I’m going to spend any extra minutes this week freezing the hardy greens that were just harvested, for a winter’s worth of saag paneer. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this cold 44th week of 2020. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on the web and insta at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, from a distance, any day but Sunday. 

-Kristin & Mark Kimball