Week 21, 2022|Kristin Kimball|May 27, 2022

You know how Teslas have a mode called ludicrous, for moments of extreme acceleration? Mark’s gears have been stuck in ludicrous for weeks now. How long can this go on? It seems weirdly sustainable, for him. He loves farming so much. Yesterday, when he blew into the kitchen for refueling, which happens twice a day at unpredictable times, I said to Jane, don’t you wish you loved anything as much as your dad loves everything? He’s wild about planting right now, about cultivating corn, about watching the first good hay come in, and as always, about the food we make here. Nobody eats as well as we do, he says several times a day. I agree with that. We’ve been feasting on asparagus and spring greens, lamb and radishes, the fresh herbs that are suddenly plentiful, the rich May milk, and appreciating the last of last year’s roots. I’ve been on a sourdough bread tear, using Tartine’s method for a country loaf, which requires a little more effort than my usual no-knead bread recipe, with results that justify the extra steps. With wheat prices as high as they are, I can’t bear to discard any of my sourdough starter. If you too have been nursing a sourdough starter, here’s a way to use the discard, easy enough you can make them even when you are in ludicrous mode.

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Sourdough Crumpets

  • 1 cup unfed sourdough starter
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda (or a little more if your starter is super sour)

Mix all ingredients together. Heat a buttered skillet over medium heat, and place the ring from a ball jar into it. Fill the ring with crumpet batter. Cook like a pancake.

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I should never have hit send last week, after writing that I enjoy the complications the farm throws at us, now that we have seen them all and are competent to handle most of them. The farm pricked up its ears at that, and got creative. First, the west cooler and freezer’s temperature began to creep up. This trailer holds thousands of pounds of frozen meat and hundreds of pounds of chilled vegetables, and it would have been a disaster to lose them. Thankfully, our long time member Mark Bimonte is also our refrigeration expert, and he came right away. The compressor fan, he found, was full of snakes. I guess they were attracted to the warm machine. Two had been there a while, but the third one was too much, and stopped the fan. He cleared them out, and we were back in business. Then, I got a note from the milking team that three of the cows looked off when they came in for milking, were drooling profusely and spitting out their cud. That doesn’t adequately describe the drama of what was happening. In front of their milking stanchions, there were pools of saliva a yard wide, drool coming from their mouths in a steady stream, and a large collection of green cuds the size of nerf footballs. This, I had never seen before. After consulting with Ben Christian, who really has seen it all, and looking closely at what they’d been grazing, we decided they had ingested very tough fiber from a field of overmature rye, and it was too much for even the formidable force of their mighty rumens to digest. They moved to soft grass, and are improving quickly.

Mark is leading a Farm Tour this holiday weekend, departing on Saturday at 10am sharp from in front of the farm store. We’d love to show you everything. That’s the news from Essex Farm for this ludicrous 21st week of 2022. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on Instagram at essexfarmcsa, or here on the farm this Saturday at 10.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball