Week 17, 2023|Kristin Kimball|April 28, 2023

Our meals in spring tend to be slap-dash things, eaten out of jars in the field, or hunched over the table late at night, hungrily, with dirt still under our nails. But once in a while, even in this busy season, we go all out. While I was scouting pastures with Mark yesterday, he spotted a little patch of volunteer plants, pulled up a half dozen of them, and shook off the soil to reveal young, tender, green spring garlic, the white at the end not yet forming cloves. I set them on the dashboard of my beat up old Honda, and as the day wore on the sun coaxed their pungent smell from them, which put me in mind of a meal. So, between meetings and herd moves yesterday I threw together an egg pasta dough, and pulled a bag of last year’s whole tomatoes out of the freezer, and when Miranda got home she set to work with the pasta machine, rolling out parchment-thin sheets that became piles of gold-tinged fettuccine. Our neighbor Beth stopped by while I was running the tomatoes through the food mill, so dinner became a party. I mixed her my current favorite cocktail – a shot of bourbon over a frozen, sweet slurry of last year’s sour cherries from the tree in front of our house, a few drops of bitters, and a lot of seltzer –  and then made the sauce. Marcella Hazan got it totally right when she insisted butter is the right vehicle for a good tomato sauce, and I’ve made her simple sauce recipe for years, using fresh frozen tomatoes instead of canned, switching onion for the green garlic this time, and throwing in some oregano. We added sour cream to the sauce at the end, because that is never a bad choice, piled the pasta into bowls, and Mark heated up some rich leftover lamb ragu from the refrigerator – made from lamb ribs, cooked with stock, wine and tomato – to spoon on the top. Good food, with friends and family, is so much more than fuel. That meal tasted of everything we do here that I find so beautiful – the sun, the season, the earth, and the work –  plus the achy sweet passage of time that turned my baby girl into a competent sous chef.

We have another semi-aquatic resident on the farm. A big boy beaver is living in Long Pond right now. We spotted him while we were looking for grass for the dairy herd, stood on the bank and watched as he cruised by and eyeballed us, unafraid, from just offshore. I don’t feel quite the same delight about a beaver as I do about the otter in the pond behind the farm store, but I appreciate his skills and ingenuity.

This is the last week of the January to April membership. If you’ve decided not to renew, we will miss you! Please return all your jars and lids to the farm as soon as possible because we are very tight on those again. Contracts for the May-December membership are online here, and paper copies are available in the pavilion. I’ll be out there during distribution today for any questions or calculations, and to receive documents from folks who have them all filled out. Those of you who have already turned in your contracts (thank you!) will be getting invoices for first payments next week. We’re so excited to build the share for the rest of the year, and to welcome some new members to the Essex Farm family.

We’re making a delivery run to New York City next Tuesday and Wednesday, and have room to deliver any whole/half lamb orders at our regular stops in Albany and New Paltz, or deliver to your door in the city. Here’s a link to the details. Please help us spread the word by passing this on to anyone you know in the Essex-to-New York City corridor who loves lamb as much as I do.

Finally, please mark your calendar for our first member potluck dinner of the year, Friday, May 19th, 6-8pm, rain date June 2nd. Thanks to Ana, Jennifer, and Eve for organizing this. More details as the date approaches!

That’s the news from Essex Farm for this semi-aquatic 17th week of 2023. Find us at essexfarm@gmail.com, on Instagram at essexfarmcsa, or here at the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball