Week 32, 2019 | Kristin Kimball | Aug 10, 201

There’s a fresh breeze blowing away the humidity that descended on us in the wake of some welcome rain. Before the rain, the last of the first cut hay came in, thanks to Jon Christian and Brandon Herringshaw, who are making it for us this year. It’s very late for first cut, which means it has low nutritional quality, but what can you do? You can only make hay when the sun shines and we all did the very best we could. The upside of late first cut is its sheer volume. The barns are stuffed full and it will make great bedding and good-enough feed for all but the most hungry and productive animals (like the lactating dairy cows and the breeding ewes). Now we hope for steady rains so that the forage grows back quickly for the second cut, which is always the best feed, provided we can get it made before the days grow too short to dry it.

Mark and Jane are heading to New York City this Sunday August 11th from 11am to 5pm to sell Essex Farm produce at the Adirondacks & 1000 Islands Festival at Piers 16 & 17 near the Fulton Stall Market. I see Mark is also packing his flaming torches, his unicycle, and some juggling equipment into the van, so I think he plans on entertaining while selling. This special market will feature music, kids’ events, and products from all over the Adirondacks, so if you are in or around the city please stop in and see what this region has to offer. Mark will be giving a talk and offering tastes of our farm from 1:10 to 1:25. (So precise!)

We were sorry about the lack of lettuce last week, members. The deer had a party and got a whole week’s worth of it in one night. I don’t know why they found the lettuce so irresistible when there was a whole field of tender millet available right next door, but they did. We moved future lettuce production out of Blockhouse Field and into Monument Field where we have a better chance of keeping the deer out, so we should be back in plenty starting next week. Meanwhile, so many vegetables are rolling in. What do you think of the heirloom tomato varieties we are growing this year? I like the purple ones and the bright yellow ones, but for tomato sandwiches I always go for the reds. With good butter, homemade bread and maybe a little basil, they are the taste of summer itself.

The last litter of pigs is growing well and has been earmarked now. We have all the sows and their litters grouped together and I notice there’s a lot of co-mothering going on out there, with some sows consenting to suckle another pig’s babies, and other sows so totally over the whole nursing thing that they stay defiantly on their bellies to keep their teats out of reach. We are thinking this week about where to move all 70 piglets after they are weaned. Free range pastured pigs are tricky because their feed is heavy and some of it (skim milk) is difficult to transport. Plus, pigs really like shade, and they also need to be moved frequently so they don’t completely destroy the soil with their strong and curious snouts. It’s hard to find a place to satisfy all the requirements at once. This is why most pork is raised in industrial scale cement barns! But we think freedom, good feed and pasture is worth the effort. Will let you know when we decide where to put them so you can visit and watch them grow. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this fresh 32nd week. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on the web at essexfarmcsa, on Insta at essexfarmcsa, farmerkimball, and kristinxkimball, in NYC on Sunday near Fulton Stall Market, or here on the farm, any day but Sunday.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball