Essex Farm Note

Week 42, 2017

The leaves are still showing some color; they are at their best with the sun shining through them, as it is right now. Mark and Jane are spending ten days hiking and camping in the high peaks, and so far they have hit the weather lottery. They are lucky to have waited until now, instead of doing this trip in the summer, when we barely had three days in a row without rain. Here on the farm, we’re using this glorious time to bring in the big fall storage crops. Beets came in yesterday, filling 9 one-ton totes, which is about 8.5 more totes than we need to fulfill everyone’s beet wishes for the year. (I’m joking. You like beets. I like beets. But they do move slowly until spring, when our choices are more limited.) Today, the carrots are coming in. Next up, next week: potatoes. Get in touch if you’d like to help gather them. It takes no skill, and it’s always fun. Many thanks to the whole farm team for planning and executing these big projects without Mark here to give guidance. Special thanks to Anne Brown and Chris McConnell for shouldering so many of his responsibilities.  

This warm stretch has given us an unexpected bonus of summer-ish greens and vegetables. The lettuce is producing wildly, and we had an enormous final harvest of green beans, which are tender and delicious. They take so much labor to pick, it’ll kill me (and the pickers) if any of these go to waste, so, members, please take lots for fresh eating and for putting up. I really like canned green beans, mushy as they are, and our kids love them, so I will be pressure canning a load of them this week. (Check reliable sources for time and method.) I’m not a huge fan of frozen green beans, but some people really like them, and they are the backbone of your classic ‘merican standard, the green bean casserole. Technically, you’re supposed to blanch green beans before freezing but plenty of experienced kitchen folk say it’s ok not to. That said, we all know the most satisfying way to eat green beans is fresh, and I plan to do that several times this week. Yesterday, I googled up a recipe for Oven-Baked Green Bean Fries that I’m eager to try. You can’t go wrong with simple steamed, buttered beans. They’re also great stir fried until just blistered, with a little minced garlic added toward the end, along with a splash each of soy sauce and vinegar, and a spoon of our fermented hot sauce.

Speaking of bumper crops, we’re still rolling in beautiful heads of cauliflower. The Hub is going to process some into frozen cauliflower rice for us, which will appear in the share this winter, but please make good use of it fresh this week. I have been enjoying it cut into slices, tossed with olive oil, and roasted at 375 until slightly brown at the edges, about 30 minutes.

What else? The new compost barn will be finished today. We have only the road to complete before we can check off this giant item on the do list. We have a new Jersey heifer calf from Cream, named Ceci. And we have a recipe in the November issue of Food and Wine, which is hitting newsstands now, though ‘recipe’ is too strong a word – it’s for our favorite whole food, farm-based breakfast, which is popcorn and milk. Thanks to Food and Wine for including us. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this bright 42nd week of 2017. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on Insta at kristinxkimball and essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.                                               

–Kristin & Mark Kimball

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