Week 43, 2020|Kristin Kimball |October 23, 2020

I roamed out of New York State this week for the first time since February, to pick up a new livestock guardian dog in Maine. It was an everyday farm errand made spectacular by the novelty of any sort of travel after all this time, by the still-fiery New England landscape, and by the dog, who turned out to be a prize worth a long drive and then some. Captain is a four year old Great Pyrenees/Anatolian, tall and lean, white with brown markings. He comes from Crescent Run Farm in Jefferson, along the central coast. Their farm is going in a new direction so the Captain was no longer needed there. He hopped right into my van like we’d known each other forever, planted his front feet on the styrofoam cooler of lobster I’d just bought, and gently waved his tail. By the time we got back to Essex it was dark, and his mellow attitude shifted just a bit when he smelled sheep, pulling me toward them on the leash. Three hundred sheep came barreling over to meet him and he greeted them sweetly, then trotted the perimeter of the fence, and settled in for the night shift, in a new state, a new flock, but home. Stay tuned for more livestock guard dog news because we have two Great Pyrenees puppies arriving on Monday. 

In the field, the late fall crops are inching closer to maturity, thanks to some mild days and the much-needed rain. Cauliflower is coming in, my snow-white fall favorite. Kale is so bountiful we can’t eat it all, and sold some extra to Ian at Fledging Crow. Carrots are in and I think you’ll agree they are some of the best-tasting we’ve grown. We are still rooting hard for the storage cabbages. They are beginning to size up now, at last, but even with luck we won’t have as much as we usually do for our sauerkraut. So, we are fermenting more of the bumper crop of savoy cabbage into kimchi. We bought the ginger for it from Adam Hainer at Juniper Hill Farm just down the road, and we grew the garlic, carrot, hot pepper and daikon, which might make it the most hyper-local kimchi west of Korea. Thanks to Liz for spearheading this project and doing a terrific job. 

Send love to Caitlin and the dairy team because the Jersey calves are hitting the ground like hotcakes this week. I bred a group of heifers nine months ago and most of them took on the first shot, so it’s going to be busy in the dairy for the foreseeable future, and the milk will be plentiful. What a great time to calve! The cover crop they are grazing is so luscious and the weather so fine.  

As Mark and I start planning in earnest for 2021, we have been talking a lot about why we do what we do the way we do it, and why it matters. If we boil it down to a single phrase, our farm’s prime directive might be soil health through agricultural diversification. That’s why we go so far beyond the organic standard, producing a full diet, year round, with a mix of plants and animals. We believe that here on our patch of earth, this is the path to the best quality food, the best quality work life for our farmers, and the best way we can steward the land and the planet. It’s not the cheapest or easiest path, it’s not the simplest, but lucky for us it may well be the most delicious. Will you join us for 2021, and help us spread the word? Prospective members who join now only commit to the end of the calendar year. If you don’t find it the most delicious and satisfying way to eat you have no obligation to continue. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this golden 44th week of 2020. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, or on the web and insta at essexfarmcsa.


-Kristin & Mark Kimball