Essex Farm Note

Week 46, 2017

Thanksgiving, and time to celebrate the harvest that is safely home. Every year right about now I feel a deep connection between us and every other person in the last 10,000 years who has labored with hands in the dirt or among animals to foster the growth of living things. They all knew, as we know, the nameless harvest-home feeling of gratitude and security that comes with that labor’s fruition – food safely stored in abundance – just as the days grow short and the nights grow cold. Farmer or not, there is no better way to celebrate this season and the year’s accomplishments than with people you love, over food that was thoughtfully grown, joyfully prepared, and peacefully enjoyed. I’m thankful, as I am every year, for the astounding generosity of soil, sun and rain, and for the hard work and magic that transforms those things into food. And I’m thankful for each of our farmers, supporters, and members, for making this farm possible.

            It seems very quiet in front of the house now, without the chirp and gobble of 150 large, charismatic birds. When I say large, I mean large. The biggest tom dressed at 35 pounds, and the flock averaged 19-20 pounds. They finished so beautifully! As Mark said today, we got supermarket-quality presentation with organic-farm quality, processed by our own team, who had never processed turkeys before. Special thanks to Ben Christian, who suggested this project, and had a lot of turkey experience. We are really proud to offer these birds to you, members, with our thanks for your support this year. Some of you may be getting turkeys that are larger than you asked for. Please, enjoy the abundance, and use every precious part, including the bones for soup. They were pasture-raised on 100% organic feed. We also have some beautiful heirloom-variety cranberries for you, from our friend and Essex Farm alumnus William McCaffrey, who grows them on his family bog in East Taunton, Massachusetts.

            What else? We harvested some of our bumper crop of parsnips this week, to trade for organic potatoes from the Intervale, and some future organic greens from Fledging Crow’s greenhouse. That’s how surplus and deficit works, farmer style. We’re beginning to look for a clear cold window to harvest the field corn. Garlic will go in today, I hope, ahead of this weekend’s rain. Suit the Great Pyrenees stayed in her fence this week. She and Jake are guarding the whole flock in the permanent pasture on Middle Road now. The lambs grew bright and fat this year, on grass, grass, and nothing more than grass. I’m so proud of our team for rotating the flock to fresh pasture every 3 to 5 days without fail since they went out as lambs in May, which meant they grew well and stayed relatively clear of debilitating internal parasites (truly, the bane of organic sheep production) without anthelmintics. Moving those electric nets for a flock of this size is hard work, and it’s especially difficult to stay on top of it when the season is cranking. Lambs will head to the butcher shop in December. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this thanks-giving 46th week of 2017. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on Instagram at kristinxkimball and essexfarmcsa, or here on the farm, any day but Sunday.                                                       

–Kristin & Mark Kimball

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