Week 34, 2022｜Kristin Kimball｜August 26, 2022
That feeling of a season ending, sunlight waning, the summer houses going dark, the beaches around the lake being cleared of toys. The white pony’s coat is just beginning to thicken, and the fields are a hodge-podge, some rows approaching peak harvest, some spent, weeds coming on fast everywhere in their last bid for reproduction before the hard wall of frost. I feel a familiar melancholic emotion, a desire to grab every bit of the sun and tuck it away for later, knowing that so much of it will slip through my fingers. But the gift of midlife is perspective: the bone-deep knowledge that everything ends. Each moment is precious, whether it is the coming or the going, sprout or husk, being born or dying, it’s all here for us, to be savored.
We sent nine beef cows to the butcher and they came back yesterday, 5000 lbs of beautiful meat, fat, bones and organs in neat frozen packages that we hefted from the truck to the freezer. Likewise, the first lamb is back from Benji’s butcher shop just down the road at Reber Rock. It’s not our first choice to send animals off to the butchers rather than doing them here ourselves, but when we are short staffed, it’s the next best choice, and while we don’t love using plastic wrapping instead of paper, it sure is convenient and helps keep the meat pristine in the freezer. Meat represents the most intense distillation of the sun’s energy, and of farm labor – a precious nutrient-dense resource that also helps build soil and sequester carbon. Resist the oversimplified vilification of meat as the enemy of the environment, or bad for your health! In many contexts, that message is accurate. Here, it couldn’t be more wrong. Meat is magic. This land is ideal for grazing, and ruminants unlike plants require no soil-destroying tillage. The water and sunlight that fall on this ground are the raw materials that grow them, and grass produces meat with healthy fat and high levels of nutrients.
My favorite vegetable this week is the gorgeous eggplant that Bethany and team are bringing in by the overflowing purple bushelful. I’ve been making a lot of ratatouille from the big globe eggplants and now I’m shifting my focus to the long skinny japanese variety. These have more tender skins, so no need to peel, they are fast to cut up and cook, and you can skip the salting/draining step that most recipes recommend for the globes. Eggplant, like tofu, is a shape-shifter, taking on whatever flavor you put upon it. The globes seem well suited to the garlic, basil, tomato treatment, but recipes that gesture to the East and lean into the garlic, soy, ginger flavors are my favorites with this variety. Instead of a project (hello, eggplant parm) it’s a fast side dish or even a midweek main course over steamed rice. Let us know what you do with your eggplant and what your favorite vegetables are this time of year.
Now, the short news and reminders. We are hiring! We have open jobs on the dairy, animal, plant and member coordination teams. We have affordable housing for our first few hires. We offer training for newcomers and supported learning for experienced farmers looking to gain skills in sustainable diversified farming. Please keep helping us spread the word. Also, don’t forget we are hosting an auction on September 10th, beginning at 9am. Even sooner, we are hosting a farm tour on September 3rd at 11:00, sponsored by Adirondack Harvest. And while this year is at peak harvest, we’re beginning to think about 2023. We’re in a listening mode right now, looking for member input on issues both general and specific. If you have thoughts, ideas, desires, or suggestions, or want to hear where we are, give us a call, text or email. Kristin is 518-645-4658 and Mark is 518-570-6399. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this end-of-summer 34th week of 2023. Find us at email@example.com, on Instagram at essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.