Essex Farm Note week 19

Essex Farm Note

Week 19, 2012


All the ag rags are leading with news of the weather. Unusual Weather Patterns Leave Farmers Scratching Their Heads, reads front page of the Farm Bureau organ, Grassroots. This was New York’s second warmest winter on record, and the warmest March in North America since 1895. The fruit trees blossomed early, and then a late-April freeze whacked them all, leading to a request from legislators to declare the weather a natural disaster, to get federal aid. I agree with the disaster part. The natural part, not so much. But back to here and now. The beauty of extreme diversification is that our chips are spread all over the table. The late freeze was unfortunate, but not a dealbreaker. The first blooms on the Early Glow strawberries got nipped, but we’ll still get a crop. The asparagus that was up and out of the ground got knocked down, but it will keep coming. (We have our first taste of that in the share today, and in a few weeks we should have enough for all members to take as much as you want.) Pasture is coming slowly, and dairy cows are grateful for the beautiful 18” tall rye/vetch cover crop they are grazing in Monument Field, to supplement the grass. The dairy crew is moving the herd three times a day, so that they don’t wreck the slightly-too-wet soil. And isn’t May milk the most beautiful of the year? Milk production leapt by 30% as soon as we moved the dairy herd outside. The cream is deep yellow, and the taste of it makes me want to live on milk alone. Rhubarb got a little bit drowned, but we should have some in the share in the next few weeks. This week, the weather report calls for warmth and sun, so it’s going to be “sun’s out, guns out” week – the moment everyone peels off their winter layers to reveal those beautiful farmer biceps. Some say it’s a sight as good as lambs cavorting in the spring grass. If you don’t want to miss it, or if you want to grow a pair of those biceps yourself, come over and volunteer with us. We can use all the help we can get during weekdays right now, and I promise you’ll have more fun here than you would at the gym. Call Amy in the farm office to arrange a time.

Now the short news. The pair of Canada geese that nested at the edge of the pond hatched out five goslings. I love watching them co-parent their little brood, one grown-up goose in front, one behind. Barbara took some of the wool from our sheep and washed, carded, spun and knitted it into a beautiful scarf for me. I’m wearing it right now. We have new horse stalls underway in West Barn. Next farm tour is scheduled for June 9th. And I’m teaching a creative writing workshop at Black Kettle Farm on Tuesday, May 22nd, from 6pm to 8:30pm. We’ll do some writing exercises, discuss goals, and talk about how to reconcile the creative force with productivity. The workshop will focus on writing but I think anyone who works creatively (for business or pleasure) will find it useful. Way back in my old life in New York City, I used to teach workshops for a living and I am really looking forward to this, so please come. All levels and genres are welcome, no experience necessary. Adults only, $10 per person, to benefit Lakeside School. Reserve a place by calling Lakeside at 518-963-7384 or And that’s the news from Essex Farm for this hurry up grass! 19th week of 2012.

Mark and Miranda check to see if the oats have germinated. Yep.

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