Week 29, 2022｜Kristin Kimball｜July 23, 2022
Sultry weather this week, the kind Mark calls ‘good growing weather’. We had an inch of rain on Monday, which drew the water saturation level in an undrained clay field from a dry .25 m3 to a decent .35 m3. None of the crops have suffered too terribly from the lack of rain, but the pasture has not regrown well. As a consequence, we have been feeding hay to the dairy cows for the last two weeks, which is highly unusual for us in the summer. You’ll have noticed that the milk supply has been low! That’s why. Also, the yogurt flavor is off this week, which I attribute to the way the change in feed and the heat affected the culture. Luckily, the sorghum sudan grass that we planted is ready to graze this week, so the cows will be happier and so will we.
We are celebrating fresh chickens in the share this week! We shifted our chicken raising system this year, finally letting go of our old Salatin style mobile coops, which were in bad repair, and roundly despised by the team for the heavy work required to move them every day. We’ve had the first batches on pure clover pasture in electric nets, with portable shade and trusty Stella the Anatolian Shepherd as their guard against all the predators that enjoy chicken as much as we do. I can’t wait to cook one. These birds are so precious, in terms of the certified organic grain and minerals that we grind fresh for them to eat, plus the labor required to raise them on pasture, that we ask you to please be mindful of how you use them, take only what you will eat in one week, and use every delicious bit, down to the bones. I keep a bag of chicken bones in my freezer until I have enough for a pot of stock. Excellent homemade stock is one of the things that transforms a serviceable home cook into a really good one, so don’t miss out on that. Remember to follow all the normal safe handling and cooking guidelines for chicken. No matter how it’s raised, raw or undercooked chicken presents some special risks for food-borne illness.
We’ve been enjoying a lot of zucchini in our kitchen, thinly sliced, and sauteed in butter with onion or garlic and salt and pepper, and a handful of fresh basil added at the end. Seems like no matter how much of that I make, there are no leftovers. We’ve also been really loving the summer cabbage this week. It’s sweet and crunchy and can be used raw (in slaw, or as a refreshing wedge salad drizzled with a zippy dressing) or cooked. I’m going to try it on the grill this week, in foil packets with butter, garlic, salt and pepper. Now the tomatoes are just starting to come in, along with the first few green peppers, and sweet corn is a week or two away, and it’s all so delicious and easy to prepare I can’t wait for the next meal.
In the exciting news department, we’re tentatively planning to hold an auction to sell the arsenal of draft horse equipment and harness that we’ve accumulated over the years, and are no longer using. As long as we’re at it we have some other equipment and items to move. We just called the auctioneer, and are looking at a Saturday in September for the big event. Even if you’re not in the market for horse equipment, an auction is a spectacle worth seeing. I’ll let you know soon as we have a solid date on the calendar.
Our member/farmer potluck is this Saturday, from 6-8pm. Compostable plates and flatware will be provided. Please come, and bring your own lawn chairs and a dish to share. Huge thanks to Ana Moore for organizing this! I’m sorry to miss it, as I’m traveling this weekend, but Mark and a bunch of the Essex Farm farmers will be in attendance. And finally, in community news, the Whallonsburg Grange is hosting the Zonta Club of the Adirondacks for the Lunafest Film Festival: 8 Short Films By and About Women, next Friday the 29th at 7pm. More details at Lunafest or Zonta. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this fast-growing 29th week of 2022. Find us at 518-963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org or on the farm, any day but Sunday.
-Kristin & Mark Kimball