Week 12, 2020 | Kristin Kimball | Mar 18, 2020

The equinox comes this week. The earth is rolling into the light of spring, just as civilization is rolling toward shadowy uncertainty. Schools closed here on Monday and the children are home for the duration. So, that settles a long-running debate in our household. We are homeschooling at last, along with almost everyone else. I’m drafting study schedules and chore lists for the kids, trying to retain a sense of structure for them. There’s a buzzy tight feeling in the house, as if a blizzard were coming, only it looks this one will likely last for months. I know that feeling will fade into other feelings, some good and some difficult, and we have to stay nimble above all. 

On the farm, it’s the same. We’re working hard to foresee what can be foreseen, proceeding with loving hearts and focused minds. We are doing everything we know to do to keep the farmers healthy, safeguard the most vulnerable individuals, and keep food flowing to our members and community. We’ve moved the morning meeting out of the enclosed space of the office and into the fresh air of the pavilion. We are strict about social distancing. We sanitize everything, all the time. And we are planning for the growing season with new eyes for what our members and our community might need. Yesterday, it occurred to me that between Mark and Jori, we have a pandemic dream team in place. Mark thrives in emergencies, and the farm has given him plenty of practice in dealing with them over the years. His brain is good at calmly sifting through possible outcomes, choosing a new direction, and implementing big changes quickly. Jori, who runs the Hub on the Hill and manages our New York City deliveries, is the resident logistical genius, and she’s highly motivated to help people, known or unknown. We’re sitting on about half a billion calories of nutritious food for people right now, and have the capacity to produce many times that this year. Between the two of them, and with the support of all our amazing farmers and members, I know we are well positioned to help, and that’s what we want to do. 

The earth doesn’t know civilization has been thrown a curveball. She’s her usual generous self. The sun grows stronger, the soil warms, and greens begin to appear in the fields, just like every spring. It’s comforting to know those forces are bigger than we are, and when I feel unsteady, I turn my attention to observing them. I am fully aware of the privilege we have here. I know how many people around the world are suffering, either from illness or from the economic and emotional stress that these rapid changes bring. I also feel that great disruption offers great opportunity. We have a big choice to make now. And I have faith that we will choose the joyful sharing of resources, of care and concern. We can reflect and amplify the generosity of the earth, and not the shadow of uncertainty. 

This farm was built on an intimate connection between the food we produce and the people who eat it. We don’t have a giant supply chain to tangle. It’s just us, and you. We support each other, and I trust we will continue to do so. In that spirit, here are the things we need from you in this little corner of the world:

  1. Please don’t take more than you need for the week. We have plentiful supply on hand, and good planning in place. The last thing we want to do right now is waste perishable food, or strain our team. Trust we will be back next week and order accordingly. 
  2. If you have expertise or resources that can help us expand production for the coming year, text Mark at 518-570-6399 to discuss. This is a crucial week, as we map out planting. 
  3. Please sanitize everything that you send back to the farm. We sanitize everything again before it is re-used, and there is a two week lag before your bins and glass are back in circulation here, but we want to protect our delivery personnel.  
  4. Pay your farm invoices on time. We need to keep money coming in so we can keep food rolling out. If you are in a situation of economic distress, please don’t ignore your invoice. Call or email us so we can work with you. 
  5. We have capacity right now to feed 40 more delivered households plus another 45 local households. We can expand that as the season goes on. Please spread the word. 

Remember too that cooking is soothing and the results are edible. I have heard a lot of people this week talking about making bread for the first time. I have a pot of chicken soup on the stove as I type. And the kids and I made a stunningly good savory carrot pie yesterday, a copy of something our friends from France made for us when they visited in January. 100% of the ingredients were from the share except for the salt and allspice. Here’s what I did:

Estelle’s Carrot Pie 

  1. Roll out the pie crust and place into a tart pan. Put it in the freezer for a few hours, then take it out about half hour before baking. 
  2. Peel and hunk 3 or 4 large carrots into rough chunks. Steam them until they are soft enough to pierce with a fork. Let cool slightly so you don’t scramble the eggs in the next step. 
  3. Using an immersion blender or a food processor, blend the cooked carrots with 1 cup cream or sour cream, and then three eggs. Season generously with salt and pepper and a pinch of allspice. 
  4. Pour into the crust. Top with shredded cheese if you have some. Bake at 400 degrees until the filling is puffy and the cheese and crust are slightly brown. Serve warm. 

And that is the special news for this special 12th week of 2020. Find us at essexfarm@gmail.com, or 518-963-4613, and on social media and the web at essexfarmcsa, kristinxkimball, and farmerkimball. Be well everyone and we will be in touch. 

-Kristin & Mark Kimball