Week 31, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Aug 6, 2019

Every work day at the farm begins at 6 with morning meeting. That’s where the day is mapped, priorities established, and jobs distributed. Sometimes there is a nerdy group question that everyone has to answer (e.g., if you were a cheese, what type would you be? Or, what is your favorite tool?) and always, the meeting ends in a circle with a cheer, all hands joined in a pile in the middle. The cheer changes from week to week, season to season, and the tone of it ranges from earnest to ironic, sometimes nonsensical. This week, it’s “Caesar Augustus!” A tribute, I think, to the power of hard work and ambition and to this hot summer month, when so many good things come to fruition in the field. The combine came to harvest the few acres of rye/vetch in Mailbox Field on Wednesday. It yielded enough seed for a whole year’s worth of cover crop. The tomato harvest has begun in earnest. We are swimming in summer squash and zucchini, and are beginning to harvest eggplant and peppers. The kitchen is a riot of greens, herbs, sweet onions, and a rotating array of colorful vegetables. I have a pot of ratatouille on the stove now and it’s barely breakfast time. I turned the kitchen over to a pack of kids on Wednesday night, and they made delicious pizza from scratch including a killer tomato sauce, with plenty of herbs on top. All this to say that now in the month of Augustus it is such a good time to really enjoy yourself in the kitchen, because it doesn’t get any easier than this to turn out delicious meals.

As we revel in the bounty of summer, we are also planning for winter and even the next several years. We are buttoning up the fields that have been harvested already, getting them seeded to fall cover crops, thinking about the fall pasture rotations that will fatten the young animals and bring the breeding females into top condition. The asparagus patch got four tons of compost and twenty tons of bark mulch. We mowed the summer raspberries, which were not producing anything, and fought grasses overtaking the fall patch with chop hoes. Weeds are at the top of our minds, too. Weed control has been good this year, but there are some large weeds that escaped our cultivation and their seeds are getting close to viable. The soil is soft, the weeds are easy to pull, and we can leave them in the field, so each row only takes about fifteen satisfying minutes. The trouble is that there are just so many rows. We know that every one we weed now saves us tens or hundreds of hours of weeding in the future so we are trying to push through it, but we are short handed right now, with several farmers off. We’d love company in this fun work! Give a call or just turn up and we’ll point you to a fun place to pull weeds.

Mark is on his way home from New York City now, after last night’s Essex Farm dinner in Brooklyn, with chef Gretchen Brinson. It sounds like it was a great success. I’ll post details and photos on Instagram when I get them. The next big event is Sunday, August 11th, when we will be at the Taste of the Adirondacks Farmers Market at Fulton Stall Market. Finally, I just want to send a wave of gratitude to all of our members who support us throughout the year. We love growing food for you. Thank you for allowing us to practice a wildly diverse and exciting form of agriculture, and for fueling this system that feeds us all so bountifully. That’s the news from Essex Farm for this Augustus 31st 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