Week 40, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Oct 4, 2019
This is the time of year of firsts, and lasts. We had a touch of frost three weeks ago, which yellowed the soy and left almost everything else alone. But the first real one is coming tonight, with a low of 33 predicted and the wind due to still at dawn. The dark hour just before the sun rises is always the one that silvers the grass. We hauled the winter jackets out of storage and lit the first fire in the wood stove today, to disperse the chill that settled over the farmhouse this week, heavy enough that I couldn’t drive it off any longer by cooking delicious things in a very hot oven. It feels so good to have that soft radiant wood-powered warmth at my back as I type. We’ll need to leave the water running in the stock tank hoses tonight for the first time, to keep them from freezing and cracking. And the lasts! Last threat of galinsoga, last late moment of growth for thirty acres of corn. Last harvest of raspberries today. Tonight they will frost into smushy little red balls of fermenting juice. We sent Jane and Miranda out to pick as many as they could, and then they came home, and made jam. Watching them at the stove, working independently, made me nostalgic for all the hours we have spent in the kitchen together the last twelve years, transforming crops into meals, never quite believing they would someday be old enough to cook things on their own. (But then, a few hours later, watching Jane try to stab open a can of olives with a corkscrew, I realized with relief that they are not quite grown yet, and that I may have left out a few key lessons.)
We are in that annual moment of pure abundance in the kitchen now – the opposite of the dearth of early spring. Thanks for the gorgeous concord grapes, Lewis Farm! I love those sweet tart blue black beauties. This week, the team harvested all ten tons of winter squash and pumpkin in six action-packed hours. Each squash had to be clipped from the vine, then windrowed, and hoisted into a bin. I did the math, and each person in the field moved 4200 pounds of it. Also, each member family needs to eat 173 pounds of it in the next few months, or else we need to find a wholesale market! I cooked a big kabocha this week, and the dense, almost chalky flesh was bright orange, sweet and nutty. I liked it best the next day, cubed and fried in butter with leaves of fresh sage. There are still plenty of tomatoes on the vine but they don’t taste very good now, so we focused onbringing in all the peppers, cantaloupe, and watermelons. Local members, please share those watermelons with your friends because we have five giant crates of them and they will only last ten days. Speaking of ten days, that’s just about how long we have before my new book, Good Husbandry, hits the shelves. Now is the time to get the word out! You can preorder it, and get a copy on October 15th.
Zohar managed the vegetables this year, and she will be with us a touch longer, but as the curtain falls tonight on an amazing growing season, it feels like the right time to say our goodbyes. She has been here for three and a half years, moving from part time to full time, from worker to the one in charge of it all. Her competence, patience, and heart are unequaled. I will very much miss her good steady energy emanating from the greenhouses and the fields. The plants have rarely been happier, and Zohar had everything to do with it. Zohar, we are so grateful for all you have done here, and wish you a very happy next chapter. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this cold-coming 40th week of 2019. Find us at 518-963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org, on Insta essexfarmcsa, kristinxkimball, and farmerkimball, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.
-Kristin & Mark Kimball