Week 25, 2024|Kristin Kimball|June 21st, 2024

What a show of nature’s energy this week. First, a heat wave that forced us to acclimate to summer all at once, then a storm that hammered through Essex, leaving downed trees and powerlines in its wake. The power is still out in the hamlet this morning, but it is on here at the farm, thank goodness. I shudder to think of how many generators we would have needed to keep the meat freezers frozen, the well pump pumping water, and the milking machines milking. One day, when the world is perfect, we’ll have sufficiency and redundancy and until then, we’ll be nimble and scrappy – or just lucky, as we are today. The team is out there harvesting fresh vegetables for distribution and the farm store right now, checking on the vulnerable chicks, and Mark is cutting trees off the fence lines to make sure animals stay where they are meant to be. The strawberries are still pretty plentiful, and PYO is open for members and the public today, but the heat and the berries didn’t do them any favors.

Huge thanks to all of you who brought new life to the farm store this week, and for helping us spread the word about what we’re doing in there and why. I can’t tell you how much it means to us. The uptick in traffic has been wonderful and we’ve welcomed some new members to the farm. Yannig’s Crown Point Bread has been a huge hit. Moreover, it has been a joy to meet new neighbors, reconnect with old friends, and plan some fun events. For example! During the first hour of distribution today, from 3-4pm, we’re hosting a little informal reception at the farm store for Kirsten Liebl of Wollecru in Westport. She’ll be available to talk about her work with her flock’s wool and natural dye, and introduce her projects, which we’ll have for sale in the farm store. This little get together is a lead-up to something that makes my heart sing every time I think of it: Kirsten will soon have a set of Essex Farm throws on her loom, made from Essex Farm wool, dyed from plants and objects she’s collecting here this summer, in a pattern inspired by the layout of our fields. I love Kirsten’s work so much, and, as you know, I love sheep and wool, and I can’t wait to offer these for sale via the farm store and online. If all goes according to plan, they’ll be ready for the holidays. And if the weather cooperates today, she’ll have a dye pot brewing over a fire near the store to show us all how it works.

We got permission from the planning board yesterday to use the Main Street house a mile from the farm as a short term rental, but we have a few things to knock off the list before it passes the code officer’s inspection. Thanks to everyone who has asked about renting! We expect to have it listed for rentals in August, but all is contingent on the work getting done, so we have not opened reservations yet. It’s a charming old house with all the quirks that come with age: three big and one small bedroom, a lovely sitting room and a full kitchen but only one full bathroom; there’s a big back yard and a wide front porch (that needs some paint) with a sweet view of the lake across the street. My grand plan for the future is to use that house as a portal to the farm, and to create meaningful connections to our town, this land, and good food. Writers’ weeks, plein air painter weeks, birder weeks, farm camp weeks, and big big foodie weeks, where we harvest and butcher and cook together? What do you think of those ideas, and what more would you like to see? Please send me an email and let me know.

That’s the fast news from Essex Farm for this solstice week of 2024. Come by and visit with us at the farm this week, email us at essexfarm@gmail.com, or shoot me a text at 518-645-4658.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball