Week 15, 2023|Kristin Kimball|April 14, 2023

Mark and I took a walk to see the dairy herd yesterday, just as the sun was sinking. The air was moving down the sugarbush hill in currents, some carrying the heat of the day, and some the cool of the evening. The peepers were rioting in the pond, singing their song of joy for the sudden shift in the weather. The cows looked so happy to be outside, and for their first little taste of grass, meager though it is just yet.

We were scratching hair from the shedding cows when Mark glanced north and said, “Fire.” I looked up to see a dense column of smoke drifting upward from the cedar trees outside the Amish cabin, which has been empty since the Millers moved to their own farm last fall. How the heck could we have a fire in an empty cabin that doesn’t even have any electrical wiring? I’d been in it briefly the day before. Had I done something stupid? In a hurry, Mark used his handkerchief to squeeze through the hot high tensile fence and investigate. I was too chicken to risk the shock and watched from the pasture. The smoke was strange. Not gray or black or white but a shade of yellowish brown. I saw more rising up in a big puff, upwind of the cabin. There’s only swamp in that direction. Was the swamp on fire? Mark had reached the door of the cabin by then, and opened it. It was cool inside, no sign of fire. Come to think of it, why didn’t we smell any smoke? He chuckled, and as I watched, he walked to the nearest white cedar tree, and gave it a gentle shake. The yellow brown cloud of pollen wafted away from it, rose up, dispersed. A dense column of new life.

So much to report this week! I’ve got the new contract all ready for members who are signing up for the May through December share. I’ll be at distribution today, and will have printed copies available that we can go over and fill out together. Or, if you can wait a few days, we will have an electronic version available very soon – by next week, at latest – which will simplify signups and automatically capture all the little data details. You’ll get a link to it via email as soon as it’s ready. Either way works!

I’m happy to say we are welcoming quite a few new members in May, and also welcoming back some wonderful former members. We’ve set a cap on our memberships so we can be sure we can meet everyone’s needs with the number of farmers we have on board this year. And we are utilizing the Essex Farm Food Fund so beautifully, to bridge the gap between what this food costs and what more folks in our community can afford to pay. We still have some money available in the fund, so if you know someone who might be interested but needs a boost, have them email me at essexfarm@gmail.com. We are working on the details of how more people can contribute to this fund as a tax deductible contribution. Stay tuned.

We’re all so excited to get the season rolling. This week, Bethany and Nick are at the helm in the potting shed, Anne and Jackie are rocking the animal world, Harmony and Catherine are focused on dairy (where we have a new heifer calf, born today to one of our favorite cows, Keene), and everyone else is washing eggs, washing glass, fielding phone calls, sourcing our supplies and animals and tools for the season, and so much more. Come peek into the greenhouses today, breathe in the oxygen-rich plant breath, and feast your eyes on the plants you’ll be feasting on as the season rolls along. Please send me an email at essexfarm@gmail.com with any question about the share, or any other thing. That’s the news from Essex Farm for this very pollinated 15th week of 2023. You can see more of what we do on Instagram at essexfarmcsa, or here on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball