Haymaking

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Sunset walk, solstice week.

Essex Farm Note

Week 25, 2014

Every weekday here begins with team meeting, at 6 sharp. We review notes from the previous day, set priorities, and divide tasks among the farmers. These days, the crew is as large as the days are long. Still, there is enough work to go around and then some. This stretch of heavenly weather – low humidity, breezy, sunny, clear– is one of the best haymaking windows we’ve had in June since we started farming here eleven years ago. And the sooner we can get the first cutting made, the better the animals will eat this winter. So while the first priority on a Friday is always distribution, the next one for today, emphatically, is haymaking. We’ll have horses and tractors in the field all day, mowing, tedding, and raking, and by tonight we will have fifty acres down. That’s a lot of chips on the table, but the weather report says clear through Wednesday, so off we go. We hired Jon Christian to drive tractor yesterday. He is in high school but watching him work I can still see the four year old kid he was the first year his father made hay with us here.

Meanwhile, Aubrey and her crew, and Scott and Josh and their horses, are harvesting strawberries and killing weeds. The strawberry crop looks good this year, despite some heavy weed pressure. Mark and I took a farm walk last night, and ended up, inevitably, grazing the berries. Early Glow is the variety that ripens first, producing small, squat, berries that win no beauty contests but in a taste test, run away with first prize. Jewel is the next variety, and it is also coming ripe. These berries are bigger and easier to pick and strike a nice balance between looks and taste. Cabot will come ripe last, in the next week or so.

Today is the last asparagus harvest. It has been a good run. Now it’s time to disk the patch, give it a heavy feeding of compost, and mulch it down for the year. We have a huge harvest of spinach today, and it will be in the farm store all week. Chard is also available, and will be throughout the season. We are also selling bags of beautiful unlimited spring lettuce mix. Garlic scapes should be in next week, and we will have the first of this year’s fresh chickens too. We won’t have any eggs in the store today, but the good news is that the new pullets have finally begun to lay, so supply will ramp up quickly now.

Also in the farm store, we have brand new Essex Farm T-shirts and tote bags. Check them out:

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That’s Essex Farm on the front, and Powered by Magic on the back. With a unicorn pulling the plow. Uh huh, Essex Farm style.

Put us on your calendar for 4th of July weekend. We’re hosting another Dinner in the Field on Friday the 4th, from 4 to 6:30, catered by Griddles. It is open to the public so please spread the word. $6/members, $12/guests. On Saturday the 5th, we’ll host our summer farm tour; details on the events page. And that is the news for this impossibly bright solstice week of 2014.                                                              -Kristin & Mark Kimball

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Look how much the potatoes grew in four days. This was Sunday…

 

 

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…and this was Thursday. Hello, summer!

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Definitely the happiest worker on the farm. This week she learned to kill woodchucks. Still working on moving the dairy cows at something less than a full gallop.

 

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