Essex Farm Week 38, 2016
Farewell, tomatoes, we’ve had a lovely time; so sorry about this latest blight, but that’s what you get for being organically raised. We’ll look forward to seeing you again next year. Eggplants, you look so well, glad to know you’ll be hanging around until frost. There’s a lot I still want to do with you, so I hope it’s a late one this year. Sweet corn, I hear you’re making your last appearance in distro this week; honestly, you took a lot of work to grow and a lot of work to pick, so don’t let the door hit you on your way out. But, Jimmy. Jimmy Nardello! Please, Jimmy, don’t go, not yet. I’m your biggest fan! You’re my favorite sweet red pepper of all time. Jimmy, every year you’re good, but this year – ah! You’ve been so sweet, so red, so complicated, I’m obsessed with you. Here’s a true story. This week, I bit into a Jimmy Nardello that was so good I wrote down its flavor profile, as though I were tasting fine wine. In one crunch of a perfectly ripe Jimmy Nardello I tasted notes of green apple and black pepper, with a sweet, juicy finish of black cherries. Here’s the sad thing. That perfect bite of sweet red pepper led me not down a wide avenue of pleasure but onto a sidestreet of minor anxiety. How can I hold onto this? I thought. A pepper this perfect might come along only once in a lifetime. What if I never taste one again? I started calculating how many Jimmy Nardellos I could pick, considering freezer space, blanching protocols, canning options, before coming back to my senses. The perfect anything is always an ephemeral thing. You can’t keep it. You can’t hold it. You just have to enjoy it, for the moment it’s perfect. Then let it go, and wait, and trust that the next perfect thing is only one harvest away. Well then, what else? Three new calves in the dairy herd, and all three are heifers. It doesn’t get nicer than that. We have Kite’s daughter Kelly, Calliope’s daughter Charlotte, and Cori’s daughter Calamity Jane, who I’m calling CJ for short. All three calves are thriving, and so are their mamas; as of today, the cows are all giving milk instead of colostrum, so the milk supply will be coming up significantly. What’s the phrase of the week? I asked Mark this morning. “Work-hard time,” he said. Harvest, repairs, cover crops, fencing, mowing - not for hay but against weeds. Prep for a lot of fall slaughter. Prep for frost, which feels, this morning, like it’s right around the corner. We bought a 12 passenger van this week from North Country Camps, which opens up more remote distribution opportunities. Mark started work in earnest on the new compost barn project, funded by NRCS. This week, he met with contractors to plan the drip trenches we’re putting around existing barns. The vegetable team is bracing for the really big harvests: dry beans, potatoes, winter squashes, carrots and beets. The pumpkins look incredible, so get your carving game on. We’ll have them for sale at the Harvest Festival tomorrow. Welcome to Morgan Looney, who is joining us from Georgia. Much, much gratitude to Amy O’Brian, who made her last delivery on Wednesday, before heading out west, and then to Poland for a long and well-deserved wander around Europe. We already miss your beautiful, positive, good-natured presence. We love you, Amy! That’s the news from Essex Farm for this work-hard 38^th week of 2016. Find us at 963-4613, firstname.lastname@example.org (mailto:email@example.com) , or on the farm, any day but Sunday. –Kristin & Mark Kimball
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