In the Black


Essex Farm Note

Week 20, 2014

Mark and I were awake extra early this morning, catching up on a few things in the dark. He left the house just as the eastern sky was lighting up, and promptly came back in to get me. The sunrise was that sweet. I took a picture of it, but my photo doesn’t convey what this late-spring sunrise delivered. It misses the dim landscape, where flats of lettuce, leeks and celery are awaiting transplant, and the cows at rest on rapidly growing grass, and the nearby fields – better groomed than I am these days – planted to potatoes, spinach, lettuce mix, peas, and herbs. In the privacy of the half-dark I allowed myself to feel all the expectation, excitement, and anxiety of the coming season. What will the weather bring us? Will everyone get along? Will the numbers work out? Will the members be happy? But there was also the security that ten years work here has knitted, the earned knowledge that the land wants to give forth in abundance, and that the one guarantee the coming day holds is an endless supply of satisfying work. When auditing the life accounts, best mark those things down on the income side.

Busy week! Potato planting was knocked off the to-do list. Scott and Josh used the horses to plow, spread compost, harrow and finish the south half of Pine Field. Michael, Mike, Luke, and Josh cut one ton of seed potatoes into planting-size chunks, and then Scott went back out with the horses to plant. I’m sending a big high five to Scott here for plowing with Brandy, our green and underutilized mare, and also with Cub, who is not quite as green, but also underutilized, because he requires focused attention and patience. It was great to see those two in the rotation; the horses gained needed experience and it spread the work more evenly around the herd during a strenuous time of year.

Luke Barns is back. He finished his first year at UVM and then appeared in the greenhouse, making soil blocks, as though he’d never left. My first Luke sighting this week was as refreshing as my first bobolink sighting. Bethany Garretson has joined us as a volunteer for part of the season, and Isabel Cochran arrived for the summer, hooray. Sad to report that Michael flew back to Berlin this week to be with his father, who is ill. Please send them your good thoughts.

We have green onions and the first harvest of asparagus in the share this week, and eggs from Latremore Farm – certified organic and local, and also super-jumbo. Thanks to Curtis Latremore for delivering yesterday. I see asparagus and green onion frittata in our near future.

Now, here’s a news flash. Next Friday, May 23rd, we’re hosting a picnic in the field. Russ Bailey will fire up his griddle to cook our pasture-raised chickens, to be served al fresco with a variety of sides. $6/plate for members; non-member guests are $12/plate. RSVP by email to so we have an idea of numbers. BYO beverages, plates, flatware, and a picnic blanket if you wish, and musicians, bring your instruments, because a little hootenanny is good for the appetite. The grill will run 3pm-6:30pm. The next day, Saturday, May 24th, is our first farm tour of the year. Details on the events page. Please help spread the word on both events. And that is the news from Essex Farm for this hit-the-dirt-running 20th week of 2014. -Kristin & Mark Kimball


Teamster in training.

Teamster in training.

Transplanted lettuce should be ready in 2 to 3 weeks. That's direct seeded spinach and transplanted cabbage on the right.

Transplanted lettuce should be ready in 2 to 3 weeks. That’s direct seeded spinach and transplanted cabbage on the right.

Too many caption possibilities to choose just one.

Too many caption possibilities to choose just one.

Mark's reward for his pre-dawn work on a very windy morning.

Mark’s reward for finishing his pre-dawn work. What a wind this morning!





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