Week 32, 2022|Kristin Kimball|August 12, 2022

First touch of dullness in the greens of the trees this week, signaling the height of summer harvest, and harbinger of fall. The combine came for the rye, sweeping the bent prickly heads into its great maw, leaving stubble in its wake. The year’s onions and garlic are curing, the sweet corn and tomatoes are abundant, and the first melons graced our table yesterday, a few days short of dead ripe, but delicious nonetheless. We spoke at the New Marlborough Meeting House in the Berkshires last weekend, and the farmers in attendance all carried the weight of August with them, that well-muscled, sun-baked look, tired around the eyes. It was good to relax with a group of them, at a lovely dinner afterwards (thank you Mark Firth and the whole Prairie Whale team), and hear their challenges. They sound familiar: land access, farmer housing, making ends meet. Also, the joys: supportive restauranteurs, loyal customers, and the perpetual miracle of pulling food out of earth. We are really grateful to the New Marlborough Meeting house for making us so welcome and to everyone who came for what turned into a deep dialogue about the future of independent farming. 

Back at home, the sweet corn harvest is amazing. We should have plenty for several more weeks. Please note that there will be some worms in the ears because we don’t spray our corn with pesticides. Worms can be plucked out when you shuck and they won’t hurt you. We lost some plantings of lettuce to a combo of deer and high temperatures. We expect to have it back in the share in a few weeks.

What to do with all the gorgeous tomatoes? I’ve been making fresh tomato sauce with the best very ripe ones. Gently sauté garlic in plenty of olive oil, and rub the tomatoes into it through a box grater to keep the skins out. You can throw in some whole cherry tomatoes and let them cook just until they burst. Then some handfuls of chopped fresh basil, plus salt and pepper. Some of our family like to stir in cream or sour cream. Either way don’t cook too long or you lose the bright fresh flavors. For winter storage, remember that it is so easy to put bags of whole raw tomatoes in the freezer. They don’t need to be blanched, only washed and bagged. The limiting factor of course is freezer space. 

The season’s transition is apparent in the exodus of our amazing summer farmers, who are heading back to school. We said goodbye to Madeline last week, and this week, to Casey and Annie. Summer work can be the most grueling and repetitive and we are so incredibly thankful to each of them for what they did here. Send them a wave of gratitude when you sit down to eat this week! We’d love some volunteer harvest help with all this bounty, Mondays and Fridays especially. Reach out to Mark at 518-570-6399 for schedule details.

We are hosting an auction here on Saturday, September 10th beginning at 9:00 AM. We are selling our whole arsenal of horse drawn machinery, collected over fifteen years of diversified horse farming, including forecarts, cultivators, manure spreaders, mowers; eight complete biothane D ring harnesses, bridles and collars, assorted eveners and yokes, plus tractor powered machinery consigned from other parties. Concessions provided by the auctioneer. Even if you’re not in the market for a draft horse harness, come for the spectacle, the auctioneer’s song, and maybe a doughnut. Please help us spread the word. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this fruitful 32nd week of 2022. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on Insta at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball