Week 41, 2022｜Kristin Kimball｜October 14, 2022
The farm feels washed clean this morning, after 2” of rain. The maple leaves in the sugarbush are at their fiery peak, the fall grass is bright green, and the sun is due out today, making me more grateful than ever that we get to live in this sublime edible landscape. Now, if we could just make some time to sit still and enjoy it! This week was a close race between the rain and 12 tons of potatoes. It ended in a draw: 6 tons came in before the rain turned the field to mud. Thank you to our regular team plus Christian and Toby for putting in the work to harvest them. Miranda and I helped after school on Wednesday, and hauled a bucket of them home with us for dinner. There’s nothing like a potato fresh from the dirt. Miranda peeled and boiled them in salted water, and then we sliced and cooked them in hot lamb tallow until all the sides were golden brown and crisp. If you have not had new-harvested potatoes cooked like that before, you really have not lived. Everything that’s cloying about tallow in other contexts becomes a virtue with fried potatoes. We have a little bit of lamb tallow available in the share now (first come, first served!) and an infinite amount of lamb fat in the freezer for rendering as soon as we have time to do it. If you use it, let us know how you like it.
Baby milk cow Bunny and mama Bailey are getting used to the dairy cow routine. Bunny was not a very vigorous newborn. She had a weak sucking reflex, and had a hard time finding the udder. The second time she was sent to pasture with the herd, she disappeared. Calves, like newborn fawns, will curl up and sleep for hours sometimes. Bailey is inexperienced and forgot to keep an eye on her, eager as she was to graze. Anne and Sofie spent an hour looking for Bunny while Bailey bawled halfheartedly once in a while from her patch of good forage. A few hours later Bunny popped up in some long grass next to the barn, far from her mama and hungry but safe. She’s looking a bit more lively and attentive today and has become a more skilled nurser.
The rain was good for watering in our latest round of cover crop seed. Scott and Andrew got 18 acres of rye planted, just before the storm hit. This morning there was a huge flock of turkeys in that field, picking rye seed from the dirt. Speaking of wildlife, Mark thinks he saw a young bear in the corn yesterday. It skedaddled deep into the field and the stalks made a ghost of it, invisible. That corn looks terrific, drying down nicely for harvest, and so does the field of soybeans, their leaves now lost to frost, leaving only the rattling pods on the stalks. I can’t wait to hear what the yields are on both those crops. I’ve never been happier to have our own grains in the field, with prices at 2 or 3 times what we used to think of as normal.
Tomorrow, Saturday the 22nd, is our member potluck to celebrate the harvest! 6pm at the tent next to the driveway. We’ll make a fire to keep things cozy and hope to see you there. Bring chairs, a place setting and something to share. Send us an email if you’re planning to attend. Thanks Ana Moore for organizing! Finally, we are reaching out to find some new local members who want to try out the share for the last 10 weeks of the year. This is a fantastic time to eat from the farm with only a 10 week commitment! Please get in touch with Kristin via text or phone at 518-645-4658 if you or someone you know is interested. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this well-washed 41st week of 2022. Find us at 518-963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org, on insta at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.
-Kristin & Mark Kimball