Week 39, 2022｜Kristin Kimball｜September 30, 2022
The temperature at the weather station hit 35 degrees early this morning, chilly enough to pull mist from the ponds and banks of cloud from Lake Champlain. In the cold pockets around the farm, we got a good solid frost. The glass on the car windshield was icy, some grasses were silvered, but all the vegetables and herbs survived (hooray) and so did the weeds (boo). The raspberries on the northern half of the patch were untouched, and still plentiful and good, so local members please come and pick them before a heavier frost settles on us.
We are well into prime fall vegetable season now, and the first winter squashes appear in the share today. These beauties are perfectly edible but will be much more delicious after curing. You can wait for us to do this in the greenhouse, or you can take some home and set it on a warm windowsill for a few a week or two before cooking it. If you can’t wait, go ahead and eat it now but you might want to add a sprinkle of brown sugar to your final dish! The week’s gorgeous newcomer is Brussels sprouts. They always make a regular meal feel special to me. In fact I can’t really think of a better simple fall meal for company than buttermilk roast chicken, some boiled potatoes with butter and a pan full of Brussels sprouts. The best way to bring out Brussels sprout’s sweetness is to brown them with a high-heat cooking technique – either in a hot skillet on the stovetop or in the oven. Cut them in half to maximize the amount of sweet nutty flavor you get from browning, and use enough lard or oil so the whole cut surface of the sprout is in contact with it. If bitterness bothers you, you can blanch the cut sprouts briefly in salted water before moving them to a high heat situation.
We are putting sweet corn on the grocery list for both local and delivered members this week, but we want you to know that this corn is quite different from what we had at the height of summer. Instead of intensely sweet tender kernels these ears are big and starchy. They are wonderful for creamed corn, or something like this recipe for roasted corn with jalapeno and lime. They are exactly what you want for Mexican style elote, which is high on my list of favorite foods of all time. These ears are also perfect for chowders! However, this is the time of the year when the ear worms are fat and plentiful. Worms are the price we pay for not spraying toxic pesticides, but if they make you squeamish, you won’t want to take the corn home this week.
Local members, you’ll see a new face at distro starting this week. Harmony has moved away from the front of the farm to the creamery, and Rachel is taking on a range of different duties that will pull her out of distribution. We’re delighted that Cassie, one of your fellow members, is taking over the distribution duties on Friday. Say hi to her and her adorable son who will probably be snuggled into a backpack, watching. This reminds me, local members, to request that if you can come on Fridays during regular hours rather than over the weekend, it helps on these weeks when we are short staffed, as we don’t have an extra person to refresh and restock the bins on the weekend. If the weekend is your only time to come, that’s fine, but if you have the choice, Friday is better for us.
The Miller family will be moving to their own farm next week! We are sending them much gratitude for their hard work, good cheer and excellent company this summer and will look forward to visiting back and forth as they establish their new place. Happily, we get Lydia and Amanda back three days per week after they are settled, so we will be able to keep up on their news. Many thanks too this week to Maya, volunteering with us from Minnesota for the week, and to Ana Maria and her family for hosting her. We really appreciate it and we appreciate all of our members for keeping this green world spinning. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this first-frost 39th week of 2022. Find us at 518-963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.
-Kristin & Mark Kimball