Week 29, 2020|Kristin Kimball |July 17, 2020

It was comical, watching the radar this week. The rainstorms were all around us, big wet moving blotches that came toward us and then skirted around us at the last second. Sometimes we could see rain falling in the distance, while here all was dust. I kept getting excited messages from friends and family who were getting soaked. Are you getting this?! Nope. But still, we’re ok. Thank goodness for good soil with high organic matter, and strong well-rooted plants. Mark and I foraged for breakfast on our morning farm walk yesterday, and picked some green garlic, a small red onion, a cabbage so arrestingly beautiful I had to have it, some perfect ripe tomatoes, basil, and a handful of okra. We walked past a few remaining row feet of crispino, the iceburg lettuce variety, which is my absolute favorite thing this year. Mark cut three heads for me, but then absent mindedly bit into the center of one as we walked, and before I’d noticed he’d eaten them all like a ravaging woodchuck. I’m hoping for more of these, if they can pull through the heat. Now we’re eyeing the big fall crops. The carrots are looking healthy but small, and they are such an important crop for us we’re considering buying an irrigation system specifically for them, pumping water from the pond. It’s a big expense but probably worth it, if this pattern holds much longer. Not much we can do about the pastures or the hayfields except keep hoping. Regrowth of grazed or hayed fields is near zero. 

Anh Thu spotted a study suggesting that naturally fermented foods like yogurt, sauerkraut and kimchi may reduce the fatality rate of Covid-19 by decreasing levels of ACE2, an enzyme in the cell membrane of lungs that is used by the virus as an entrance point. (Here’s the paper, for the research nerds among you). I fermented a few cucumbers into pickles last week, and plan to do more when we have extras. I’m also starting a crock of mixed vegetables this week, heavy on the garlic and dill. If you’ve never tried your hand at lacto fermentation before, now would be a great time. It’s really easy, and requires only salt and time. There are plenty of good sources online but if you want to take a deep dive I recommend Sandor Katz’s books, Wild Fermentation (basic recipes and how-to) and The Art of Fermentation (history, culture, and science as well as recipes). 

Local members, we need to ask your help in reducing the number of prepack requests, which has ballooned recently. This service is meant for people who are sick, exposed, immunocompromised, or at high risk, to help keep everyone safe. The time and cost of packing local shares was not built into our system and it’s stressing the farmers out, so if you don’t need it please don’t use it. And per the new normal, please send just one member of your household for pickup. Masks are mandatory.   

We have a few things on our farm wish list right now. As usual, the biggest one is hands in the field. If you have time and the inclination for some socially distant weeding, we have some satisfyingly weedy rows available. We’re still looking for a road-worthy 4×4 for chores. And we’re searching for a guard llama for the sheep until we can find and train up more livestock guardian dogs. If you have leads let me know. It might be my imagination but I hear the tenor of the coyote song grow bolder every night. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this hot dry 29th week of 2020. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on the web and insta at essexfarmcsa, farmerkimball, and kristinxkimball


-Kristin & Mark Kimball