Essex Farm Note Week 49, 2016

Here it comes. The end of the year, in full view. Before it arrives, we begin again. Mark and I curled up with the seed catalogue last night, at bedtime. There’s a new variety of kabocha squash! That’s what passes for exciting, in farmer-world. In twelve short weeks, we’ll be seeding in the greenhouse. We are about to order next year’s laying hens and broiler chicks. So, members, please let us know you are with us for 2017, even if you are not paying now. Every year we bite our nails for six weeks, wondering. It would relieve anxiety around here (mine) if you could reassure us we have our good members to grow for. You get a 3% discount if you pay in full before the end of 2016. Sign up before the end of year to avoid a price increase. What’s to look forward to in 2017? The Hub is adding a ton of value and convenience to the share in the form of frozen vegetables, fruits, beans, and bread dough, plus pickled and fermented products. You’ll see more of these things as we go into winter. We are dreaming up new products all the time, so let us know your wishes, and if we can make them come true, we will. We changed the pricing structure to a flat per-person price, instead of a discount for each additional member of a household. This change was made so we can give an easy answer to the question, how much does the share cost?; it should not effect your household total much, if at all. The biggest change is a four week vacation hold. If you are going away for a week (or, at most, four), you can put a hold on your share, without charge. On that note, please remember that the share only works if you take just what you need for the week, without giving away (or selling!) or keeping a stash of meat at home. If you have frozen meat at your house please use all of it before taking more. We went through a larger-than-expected volume of meat this year, and we see it reflected in the bottom line, so we ask you to kindly treat meat as the precious resource it is, eat it sparingly, and enjoy every bite, all the way down to the bones. What news from out there? We have a healthy litter of 7 piglets, from first-time sow, Chrysanthemum. Two young rams from Canton are fully occupied with the ewes. Fly, a Jersey heifer, is bagging up for a calf we weren’t expecting until March, with credit due to last year’s bull. The corn is still in the field, and will have to stay there now until the ground freezes solid; some fat and happy wild animals extract a small daily tax on it. Heifers and beef cattle are in the covered barnyard but hens are still enjoying pasture. They will come in when the weather turns ugly. Next year’s garlic is beautifully rooted, and the row of overwintering onions is mulched. Essex Farm Institute is hosting a terrific workshop this Tuesday, Dec 6^th, at the Grange, from 9am-1:30. Richard Wiswall, farm-business guru and author of The Organic Farmer’s Business Handbook, is offering Farming Smarter, not Harder: Planning for Profit. I’m surprised there are still spaces available for this, but there are, so please spread the word! It’s free for full-time farmers in our region, and open to others for a suggested fee of $25. Lunch is included. Thanks to EFI programming director Racey Henderson and to all the EFI donors, the EFI board, and the Hub on the Hill for making this event possible. And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this evergreen 49^th week of 2016. Find us at 518-963-4613, essexfarm@gmail.com (mailto:essexfarm@gmail.com) , or on the farm, any day but Sunday. –Kristin & Mark Kimball