Essex Farm Note

Week 40, 2017

The harvest moon is on us, fat and full. We had two frosts this week. The first one, on Saturday morning, was unpredicted, and hard enough to leave an actual skim of ice on the cows’ water, only three days after the afternoon high reached 90 degrees. Squash plants were nipped by it but the squashes themselves unharmed; the field corn was touched but it’s already mature; tomatoes were brushed, too, but still harvestable. The basil, however, is black and dead.

            The farmscape is torn apart with new projects today. I have to remind myself that it won’t look like this forever; the bare ground will soon have a soft green covering. There’s a new pond in Long Pasture, one in the low no-man’s-land west of Firehouse Field, and a giant one just west of the house. The inch of rain we got on Wednesday night – the first rain in several weeks – gave us a sense of how things will flow, and brought a little water to the bottom of the dry pond pits. Fencing for that project begins soon. Today, John Barnes is digging a water line, to bring water to Superjoy and Pine. Roofing goes onto the compost barn next week. 

             Cauliflower is having its moment of perfection this week. It was an excellent year for it, and Andrew and his team harvested a huge load of creamy white heads yesterday. I love cauliflower any way you cook it, but this week I’m obsessed with cauliflower rice. I’m a latecomer to this game -- the keto- and paleo people have been onto it for years now. It is a no-grain, low-carb substitute for rice or couscous, or just an easy, healthy, flavorful base for anything you want to top it with. To make it: cut the head into quarters, and remove the hardest part of the core. If you have a food processor, throw the pieces into it and pulse until the cauliflower is the size of rice. If you are processorless, as I am, you can do the same thing on the large side of a box grater. (It doesn’t take long, but beware: the pieces will fly all over the kitchen.) Sautee the rice-sized pieces in butter for about five minutes, salt, and serve. You can add herbs or extras as you see fit. We ate it with some sautéed mushrooms mixed in, under a beef stew. You can also freeze the chopped cauliflower in Ziploc before cooking, to use this winter. 

            What else? We have a new heifer today from Wonder the dairy cow. Wonder, who really is a wonder: Ten years old (which is old!), easy to breed and one of our strongest producers, on only three teats. Her calf, named by Emi McConnell, is Wily.

            Turkeys are getting heavy now. We should have one per household, for Thanksgiving or the winter holidays. Members please request yours this week, online or at the pavilion. We’ll fill them best we can in the order they are received. In related news, we are toward the end of our current supply of meat, and will have limited variety for a few weeks. If you have questions on how to use less familiar cuts please ask. Finally, all these fall projects have put pressure on our cash flow. Please send quarterly payments now if you haven’t already; if you pay the 2018 share price in full now you receive a 3% discount and 2017 pricing, plus lots of love from Anne Brown, who keeps the books. That’s the news from Essex Farm for this spectacular 40th week of 2017. Find us at essexfarm@gmail.com, 963-4613, on Instagram at kristinxkimball and essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.                                                                                            

–Kristin & Mark Kimball 

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