Week 27, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Jul 15, 2019

Peak heat, peak sun. This is when everything grows so fast, if you blink, it has changed. Another inch of rain this week, the good kind that comes all at once, and then departs completely. Now begins the turn from planting to harvest, from building to editing, from a variety of bright greens to olives and golds. Frost, remember, is but ten weeks away.

Mark is revving his way through peak growth period, working 90 hour weeks that don’t seem to drain him. I know that can’t last forever, but for now, it holds. Last night he went back to the field after dinner to plant a millet/soy/corn mix on the section of corn that the crows stole. He’s got a system of headlights plus a dangling headlamp worked out, so he can see his rows. I think he came in at eleven (I was fast asleep) and was back at it at four. The plants and the sun delight him so much, he doesn’t seem to need much sleep. I wish I had recorded his late-night soliloquy about the Lilliston rolling cultivator – a four-row machine that he loves, I think, at least as much as he loves me. The rest of the team is working long and hard too, weeding, haying, washing, butchering, and moving animals to fresh pasture and shade. Thanks to Rachel and Pearl, Ehlana and Elise, for joining the crew this week.

In animal news, we had two bull calves born in the dairy herd to veteran cows Frida and Cori. Calves and their mothers are doing well. The piglet count is around sixty now from six litters, which is phenomenal! I admit I was a doubter. We have been buying in weaned piglets for a couple years, after a convergence of cold weather, a virus, and birthing difficulties led to high farrowing losses. I resisted, and I’m very happy to say I was wrong. Cheers to animal team for their diligence and hard work in keeping the sows fit and happy, which helps make them good mamas. The lambs are getting huge! The last orphans are weaned now, and it’s nearly time to pull the ram lambs from the flock, so they don’t start breeding before we want them to.

This is to all to say production has been amazing and delicious this year, both for the plants and the animals. We have room in the farm family right now for twenty local households, and twenty delivered households, and we would like you to help us find them. Members who refer new full-year members in July and August get $100 credit on their account. If you love your farm food, please tell everyone you know. Remember that partial year shares are available, too. Now is the best time to introduce new people to the share. The food is so abundant and so delicious, the best thing you can do in the kitchen is get out of its way.

I have three dates to tell you about. Tomorrow, Saturday, July 6th, is our summer farm tour, which we’re calling the Strawberries and Cream tour, because the strawberries are overrunning our baskets. We depart from the barnyard at 10, have a potluck at lunchtime (you can probably guess what we will contribute), and the farm is yours to explore for the afternoon if you choose. A week from Monday, July 15th, Mark is pitching at Slow Money NYC. There’s more info about this event here, and tickets are available through Eventbrite. Finally, we’re working on an NYC popup dinner with Essex Farm food for Thursday, August 1st, featuring the work of our member and chef Gretchen Brinson. Mark your calendars and stay tuned for the details. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this hot 4th of July 27th week of 2019. Find us at essexfarm@gmail.com, 518-963-4613, on the web and insta at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

Good Husbandry