Week 40, 2018 | Kristin Kimball | Oct 6, 2018

I’m so happy to be back on the farm this week, even if what I see, for the most part, is through the window, from my desk, where I’m writing like mad on the sequel to The Dirty Life. The light turned golden while I was gone and the trees lit up the hillside with their brilliant colors, all the more precious because we know how soon they will go dim. I can feel the earth’s metabolism beginning to slow now. There is still plenty of grass, oats and peas for grazing, but once grazed, it won’t grow back. When Mark and I walked out to move the dairy cows yesterday, I ran my boot over a cow pie that was three days old. In the summer, the whole pile would have been alive with beneficial dung beetles. Yesterday, there were only a few, and tucked close to the surface of the soil.

There’s a frost predicted tonight. Today, there was a big hustle in the field to bring in everything that can’t survive a nip. Tomatoes, eggplants and peppers are all in now. The habaneros are stunning. We’ll bring in green tomatoes later today if we have enough time and enough hands to do it. They can ripen slowly in the basement. Please take what you can this week to put up for yourselves. Remember that tomatoes and peppers can go straight into the freezer without blanching – as easy as it gets.

It was a big harvest week for other items, too. We got all of the squash and pumpkins in, 27 bins, about 21,000 lbs. We have New England Pie Pumpkins, Waltham Butternut, Carnival Acorn, and Delicata this year, all curing now, and going into the share next week. I have some delicata in my oven right now, split in half and roasting at 450 degrees with a little lard, salt, pepper, and a sprig of rosemary in each cavity. That’ll be our whole dinner tonight, I think. The squash really loved the dry conditions this year. Every time I make the delicata Mark asks me if I’ve put sweetener on them. (Nope.) Don’t forget you can eat the skins on these guys, so preparation is extremely easy. I haven’t tasted the other varieties yet but I expect them to be as good.

Most of the beets came in too, two rows of the carrots, and the whole year’s worth of turnips. This is a sweet, mild, Japanese variety called Hakurei and is popular even with people who are not big fans of turnips. They won’t last for long so enjoy them now. We had a huge harvest of broccoli today. Gorgeous heads, and equally beautiful and copious leaves. Mark is pushing the idea of broccoli leaf as a proper vegetable, on its own, and is thinking of rebranding it as oak leaf kale. I haven’t tried it yet but he promises it’s sweeter and more delicious than any of the kale varieties. It’ll be in the share this week, and if you agree, we’ll keep harvesting it all fall.

We’re hosting our Fall Farm Tour tomorrow, rain or shine. We leave from the barnyard at 10. Bring something to share for lunch, and your walking boots. That’s the news from Essex Farm for this brilliant 40th week of 2018. Like us on Facebook to see what we post there, or find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on Insta and the web at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

–Kristin & Mark Kimball