Week 39, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Sep 27, 2019

That are so many reasons to love late September on a diversified farm in the Adirondacks. This year, more than ever. We have had a stretch of perfect days that are hot in the sun and cool in the shadows, with clear crisp nights that make me want to fling all the windows wide open and pile on the blankets. The fall colors are in full swing in the peaks. The bounty of fall harvest is in full swing in the kitchen. And the fruit this year. I can’t remember a fall this rich in fruit. We’ve had apples, pears, plums, raspberries, cantaloupe – the best ever – and watermelon, and soon we should have concord grapes. I’ve been so busy enjoying it, I haven’t been preserving it, even though I know I should. Apple sauce is a cinch; apple butter is more time intensive but such a treat mixed with sour cream or spread on buttery toast.

We got an inch of welcome rain this week, which should yield a last flush of good grass for the grazing animals, and give a final push to the late fall crops before the long stretch of winter. We are feeling happy about the amount of hay and haylage we have stored. We probably have more than we can feed this winter, so must decide if we are going to sell it or hold it or buy in young stock to eat it. We are enjoying the same sort of glorious productivity in the vegetable fields. We have a bumper crop of ripe and beautiful winter squash – butternut, delicata, and even kabocha which is usually a challenge for us to grow, as well as a festive array of bright orange pie pumpkins. A few of them got brushed by that early frost I wrote about last week. You can see it as you walk down the row, a mottled quality to the skin that Mark says won’t damage its storing quality. We should have them in the share very soon. The brassicas are stellar this year, too. Broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, turnips, radishes, kale, broccoli raab, collards and more. For lunch today, Mark and I had braised mixed hardy greens cooked with giant slices of seared pork belly, topped withslices of egg, plus kraut and hot sauce. Whenever Mark cooks for me I eat so much I probably shouldn’t eat again for a day or so, but oh, it was so good!

Thanks everyone for the kind messages about Mozzie the livestock guardian dog. As I wrote last week, he was diagnosed with osteosarcoma. I’m glad to report that the pain medication is doing its work. I watched him lope across the field to meet me and Quill a few days ago, smiling as usual, with no trace of lameness. We will keep him comfortable and with his sheep for as long as we can. Quill, meanwhile, is a quick and agreeable little farm dog in training. He’s now three months old, and is in that phase of puppyhood that is all about sharp busy teeth and maniacal bursts of energy interspersed by deep, deep sleeps. He has mastered sit and lie, can walk politely at heel, and is working on stay. He is well acquainted with all the stock, because he spends five days a week on chores with Anne, but we won’t start his real stock training until he’s quite a bit older.

We’re saying goodbye today to Lauren Ellis, who has been with us for six weeks, on sabbatical from her job as school principal in the DC area. She was such an incredible help and a sheer joy to be around, and we’ll miss her a lot, and hope to see her again before long. Thank you Lauren! Members, we’re beginning to work on the share agreement for 2020 and look forward to getting signups going very soon. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this sparkling 39th week of 2019. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on the web and insta at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday. ​ ​

-Kristin & Mark Kimball

Good Husbandry