Essex Farm Note

Week 35, 2017

If you want to know where the ripest, sweetest crops are, ask the wild animals. Woodchucks make their way down a line of lettuces, biting the perfect succulent center leaves out of each plant. Crows select the ripest melons, and fill them full of beakholes. And yesterday, from the tractor, Mark spotted a ten foot wide circle of flattened sweet corn stalks at the east end of Monument Field. The ripe ears had been pulled from the stalks and shucked and eaten like a large person in a big hurry, with wide bites taken out of the rows of kernels, the cobs chucked back on the ground. The scene was lazy and messy and gluttonous, and even from up high in the cab of the tractor Mark could see the prints: the ball of the paw was six or seven inches wide. That’s a pretty big black bear. In the next field, the bear had found the first ripe ears of our next variety of sweet corn, and had another – larger – circular picnic. Luckily, we have plenty of corn to share, and he or she is being quite polite about eating in one place instead of raiding the whole field. Members, I recommend you make like the bear and fill yourselves with sweet corn over the next few weeks, then fill your freezer. It’s a beautiful, bountiful crop this year and we will be harvesting plenty. What you can’t eat or put up will go to the Hub on the Hill for freezing, to be distributed this winter.

We are also rich in green beans this week, thanks to the fast Amish hands that picked them. Same story with these: please take plenty for fresh eating and for putting up, and the Hub will process the rest. There’s a low of 39 degrees predicted for tonight. You know who hates that? Tomatoes! Also, melons. It’s just not their year. But you know who loves it? Broccoli. The first of the fall heads are coming in, and they should be fantastic for the next several weeks. Also, spinach is very happy, and the radishes (delicious cherry belles in the share today), and the cool-season grasses, the cover crops, and all of the animals. That’s the way it goes. Every year has its winners and its losers. We are nearing the end of the longest dry stretch of the summer. I don’t think we’ve had a single 7-day period without rain before now. Most of the summer, the soil saturation was .55m2/m at 2” depth. Today, it was down to .2. We’ve taken advantage of it to get in the rest of the first cut hay, plus the best of the second cut. And while the quality of the first cut is not wonderful, we have made enough of it now to get through winter if we have to, so we’re breathing a little bit easier.

Thanks as always to our whole crew this week, and special thanks to Ben for
long hours of haymaking, and to Andrew Cooper, who has done a great job leading
the vegetable crew at a busy time of year. Welcome to our long-time member Kathleen Wiley who has come on board as our New York City coordinator. And welcome to John Keating who has just arrived from Chicago with his very cute dog Gideon for a stint with us. Welcome back to Hannah Shafer! It’s great to see her here again. Speaking of the team, we are still looking for a dairy team leader, and are also looking for an animal team leader to replace the irreplaceable Charlotte, who will be leaving in four weeks. Let us know if you have any leads. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this autumnal 35 th week of 2017. Find us at 518-963- 4613, essexfarm@gmail.com, on Instagram at kristinxkimball and essexfarmcsa, or on the farm, any day but Sunday.

–Kristin & Mark Kimball

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