Week 21, 2023|Kristin Kimball|May 26th, 2023

You know how it is when you have an unusual piece of bad luck, like last week’s late freeze? You tend to think that once it’s behind you, there’s no way it’s going to happen again. Of course, that’s not how odds work. But, we’d decided to transplant the tender plants from the greenhouse to the field this week, pushed hard to get it done, and then the forecast made a surprise turn for the worse. This morning, the low was 34 degrees, and we kicked off Memorial Day weekend by scraping frost from the windshield of our car. That was a first! Luckily, we had a mad, mad crew of farmers and volunteers here yesterday, and they managed to get row cover over half the tomatoes, all the squash, the melons, the cucumbers and the basil, and it looks like that little thin layer of insulation was just enough to protect them. I have not been out to check on the strawberries yet, so standby for that report. And please spread the word, especially to people who lost their tomatoes to frost: come by for our plant sale this weekend! We have beautiful tomato plants for sale; members get 4 free per household and can take them home today before we offer them to the public tomorrow for $5/pot, $4 for 10 or more pots.

Remember that news I teased in last week’s note, about a fun addition to the farmscape? It arrives today, if all goes well, and will fulfill one of my longest held wishes: a beautiful wood fired oven, capable of baking bread, pizza, or maybe even a celebratory whole roasted lamb? My culinary imagination is going wild. I am laying plans for a popup lamb kebab stand on Saturdays this summer, starting June 10, and hope the oven will be able to pump out some delicious fresh-baked flatbreads. I have to take care that my ambitious desires do not overrun the resources we have available! But I have not been this excited about something in a very long time. Thank you so much to Peter and Carrie for selling us their beloved setup.

We’re brainstorming other ideas for farm revenue, since I seem to be the only one who believes my kebab stand is going to be a giant moneymaker. What do you think about farm stays as part of the Essex Farm business model? Do you think folks would like to come for a week over the summer, and if so, what sort of offerings would make it an attractive option? Let me know via email, if you have ideas.

Members, we’re in a glass crisis again, so please search your houses and pantries, and bring back any of the farm’s glass being used to store other things. If you could please make sure to bring jars back reliably every week, it would help so much. When we don’t have enough, Harmony and Catherine have to hand wash and sanitize jars before they fill them, and it’s no fun! Thanks for remembering.

Other news? The hens went to pasture this week, and the four guard geese with their four little goslings went with them. The goslings tucked sweetly under the mother goose’s wing for warmth, while the other three geese kept a sharp eye on any possible threat. Meanwhile, we had a bad outcome in the dairy. One of the fresh cows injured her udder beyond repair, and had to be put down. Her baby, Bumble, was only a few days old. Luckily, we had another cow that was very eager to mother her, and it looks like they’ve bonded successfully now. Raising calves on cows saves a ton of labor and produces gorgeous heifers, too. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this frosty 21st week of 2023. Find us at essexfarm@gmail.com, on insta at essexfarmcsa and kristinxkimball, or on the farm, especially this weekend, for our first annual plant sale! -Kristin & Mark Kimball