Week 27, 2022｜Kristin Kimball｜July 8, 2022
A quick note from afar today. The kids and I are at my mother’s house for a little family reunion with my sister, my brother and his girls, and two bonus girls – Maria, Jane’s French exchange sister, who was with us three years ago and is back for the summer, and Elena, Miranda’s new Spanish exchange sister, who will be with us until the end of September. We have had a string of fun-filled days here, and we are heading back to the farm today and all that is happening at home.
The crops are happy with last week’s rain, which helped ease the semi-drought conditions we have been in all season. Summer squash has arrived, the salad greens are infinite, we have bulb fennel, one of my seasonal favorites, and lots of very nice herbs. The delicious newcomer this week is the sweet onion. Sweet onions are a special thing, only available in summer and much milder than our storage varieties. Cooking them is a waste. They are best used raw or for something like onion rings that highlights their bright flavor. This year’s varieties are walla walla and ailsa craig, both yellows, and a new white variety we’re trying called sierra blanca. Let us know what you think of it. The greenhouse planting of cucumbers is still producing, and the field cucumbers are getting close to harvest. The first planting of green beans is reaching maturity, and we might see them in the share next week. The sweet corn is tasseling. That means we will have sweet corn in 3-4 weeks. We’re watching the peppers, eggplant, and tomatoes grow before our eyes. The team made a big push to save the melons and carrots from weeds this week. Thanks team! We put the asparagus patch to bed for the year, with a heavy layer of mulch and many thanks for feeding us so nicely this year. The strawberries are open for picking anytime now until Mark mows them on Sunday. These are small berries that take a long time to pick but they are good ones! Signs on Blockhouse Road will direct you to the patch. Please remember to return your berry boxes so we can reuse them.
These are the weeks we ask you to love the produce and the delicious dairy and grant us some patience with the variety of meat we have available in the share. The team is working so hard to keep the weeds at bay during peak light, we don’t have much slack to staff the butcher shop. We have plenty of meat available, just not the usual variety we strive for. In other animal news, we have the broiler chickens pastured on a cover crop of clover to take advantage of clover’s good green protein, as the price of soy – our high-protein grain – has doubled over last year. It’s no guarantee they will eat less and it’s tricky to tweak broiler rations much, as the birds’ nutritional requirements are steep, but we’ll soon see.
The dry conditions have kept the grass from coming back well after the first grazing. The dairy cows are eating a lot of hay right now as we wait for the fields to grow. We needed to use antibiotics in a dry cow and a calf, who both had painful hoof abscesses, which I mention because it’s outside of the organic standard. The last of the sheep were sheared last week, and look very happy. We had a nasty round of flystrike in our ram flock. I’ll spare you the gross details but I did have to use some non-organic fly treatment on them too for a few days. These are breeding animals, not eating animals, so they won’t be in our food supply for months or years, if ever.
Finally, the Millers, the Amish family currently living and working here, are on a search for their own farmland, preferably within five miles of Essex Farm. I can’t say enough good things about this family. They are a delight to work with, and just a cheerful, kind, thoughtful group of people. If you know of anything for sale that might be right for the Millers, would you please get in touch with us, or come say hello to Dennis and Lena and the children here. That’s the news from afar for this full 27th week of 2022. Find us at 518-963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org on Instagram at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.
-Kristin & Mark Kimball