Big Harvests

Essex Farm Note

Week 33, 2013

We are at the center of the bounty right now. My sister Kelly is visiting from New York City and this morning she and I loaded Miranda and Jane on the pony and walked out to Monument field to do some weeding. The sun was high and the shadows were sharp and Kelly made me see the fields like a newcomer does. It’s incredible, what the ground gives us, and I hope I never get so used to it as to be blind to it. We walked past the pond, where the blue heron has established her summer camp, fishing for frogs and minnows. Then Mailbox Field, where the cherry tomatoes and zucchini and green beans and field corn are up on their soapboxes, declaiming the peak of the season. Then Pine Field, full of greens, corn, carrots, the now-mature onions, rows of fodder beets, and the flowers in full bloom. We tied the pony in the linden row — the grassy, shady lane between fields that always makes me feel like I’m on a very fancy estate. We really meant to weed, but instead we played hide and seek in the corn and greeted a parade of visitors and grazed the fat, ripe raspberries until before we knew it, it was time to come in to make lunch. Luckily for you, members, while we played, the rest of the team was hard at it, harvesting for today’s distribution, pulling weeds, and preparing the ground for next year. Travis and Matt disked up the better half of the clover field in Superjoy, to be used for field crops. The other, heavier half will be reseeded to a good pasture mix, to replace the red clover, which gave us nothing but trouble this year. It caused bloat in the dairy herd, and then during the rainy weeks, a fungus took hold, producing a toxin called slaframine that causes the livestock to drool uncontrollably. Goodbye and good riddance to you, red clover.

We’ve begun the season of Big Harvests now. Garlic a few weeks ago, and now, as I type, the onions. This is an important crop for us, as everyone would like onions in the kitchen all year round. They looked fine, but we might have doubled our yield with the application of more compost or organic fertilizer. Now we have to turn our attention to the weeds in those rows. The next big harvest will probably be potatoes, with the reds coming in a week or two.

In other vegetable news, the green beans have faltered. The tomatoes are promising. The cucumbers could go either way. We have plenty of kale available, red Russian or lacinato. You can have a bushel for freezing anytime, members. We have fresh chickens in the share, and pork too. We do not have beef right now, and since we’ve pared our herd to brood cows over the last year, we will not have much of it until we can buy some in from local grass-fed producers.

The next few weeks will be focused on making second cut hay, if the weather cooperates. Essex Field will come in first. It was grazed this summer, not hayed, so there will be some old forage mixed in with the good new stuff, but on a year like this, we take what we can get, and are thankful. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this glorious 33rd week of 2013.

-Kristin & Mark Kimball

Comments are closed.