Week 50, 2018 | Kristin Kimball | Dec 14, 2018

A good firm slap of cold this week, with the low hitting 2 on Wednesday night. Just a week from the winter solstice now, and then we begin the long swing back into the light. Work-wise, we have one foot in the old year and one in the new. The last of the 2018 leeks went into storage yesterday. The leek harvest was excellent, in quality and quantity. It took five people a whole week to trim them. They are exceptionally delicious, a good source of vitamins A, C and folate, and won’t keep as long as the onions will, so please enjoy them now.

That leaves only the 2018 corn and soy in the field. Mark made a hundred phone calls, looking for someone with a combine to harvest them, now that the ground is firm enough to hold up a tractor. Our neighbor Mark Wrisley usually does it for us, but his machine was down. No luck on finding a sub, so we’ll wait until the Wrisley’s is up again. The crops will keep in the field, but the wild animals are taking a significant cut. Turkey, deer, crow, squirrel, raven, raccoon — all the animals that are awake out there are feasting.

Looking forward to 2019, we have been discussing the balance between spending money on equipment and spending money on labor, looking for the low hanging fruit. One candidate is a two row vacuum seeder that would replace our hand powered one-row seeders. It could be pulled with the tiniest tractor and handle any size seed, from corn to mint. It would save hours planting, and make cultivation easier, since the rows would be more regular.

Breeding season is halfway finished in the ewe flock. They’ll get two 17-day cycles before we pull the rams. Last year, we gave them three, but 80% of the work at lambing came with the few ewes that failed to catch the first two times, and had a higher rate of complications. Pulling the rams sooner should simplify things, and will also help us select for fertility and early maturity in our replacement ewes.

We had a party this week to say goodbye to Matt Pounds, who has been our steadiest milker ever, and Dave Whitter, who spent his long days working with the animal team; Thanh is taking off for the winter but we hope to see her back here in April. Zohar marked her 3rd anniversary at Essex Farm this week – which made us realize we missed Anne Brown’s third anniversary back in September. The whole team gathered around a bonfire to celebrate with fried chicken, waffles, roasted roots and ice cream.

Members, your 2019 agreement is ready and waiting. We very much want to feed you next year, and the sooner you sign up, the better we can plan. Please let us know if you have any questions. Local members can hand their signed agreements to Katie or Anh Thu; delivered share members can e-sign and email them back to us, or sign the hard copy that we sent, and return it with your empties, but please snap a photo of the signature page first and email that to us. Snail mail always works too. We need agreements before the first distribution of 2019.

Cream the dairy cow is doing well after her ordeal, making lots of milk. Speaking of Cream, I wrote in last week’s note that there are no vets in our area who make farm calls on Sundays, and that is incorrect. Adirondack Veterinary Hospital does make large animal visits, even on off hours. Apologies to Dr. Goldwasser and the whole team at Adirondack Veterinary Hospital for my error. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this wintery 50th week of 2018. 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