Last Leaves Falling


Essex Farm Note

Week 44, 2014

As the late leaves were falling and the harvest was coming in this week, Mark and I spent many hours discussing the state of the farm at the end of our eleventh season. One thing we wholeheartedly agree on is the quality of our food. We get to eat delicious, abundant, nutritious, clean, natural, whole food, produced with an eye to reducing our impact on the environment, and without synthetic anything. I heard someone say recently that the reason he spends so much care and money on food is that it is the only thing we buy that we actually put into our bodies. Indeed, we are made of it. Sometimes we sit around the dinner table trying to imagine a family who eats better than ours – and by ours I mean all of our members, our extended farm family. We can’t do it. I made a chicken pot pie this week, and pulled pork, squash, polenta, all kinds of potatoes, two gallons of chicken stock, caramelized Brussels sprouts, glazed carrots, bread, a miso dressing for shredded root salad, and all of it came from this land, including the miso, which I made last winter from our own soy beans. The food, I can safely say, is working. The difficult part, as always, is keeping the whole complex machine running without going broke or burning out. Mark is darn close to the latter this fall, after a year of pushing four new enterprises into being while also trying to keep the farm running smoothly. So is our farm crew, having contributed too many hard hours to the cause lately. The good news is that the heavy work of harvest is mostly over, and earlier than usual this year, thanks to two weeks of help from Gilberto and his friends. We still need to get garlic planted, and finish harvesting the carrots, but squash is cleaned and in storage, and so are potatoes. I’m sending a group shout-out here to Mark and our full time crew, plus El Equipo Guatemala, and to our friends who answered the call for part time fall help: Doug, Brent, Peter, Sabrina, Gale and Ed. Thank you for your work.

Mary made great progress in her training this week. The lesson we are working on (still) is that the fastest way to move stock is… slowly. That’s a well worn koan but awfully true. As she gains confidence and maturity, she has stopped barking and moves the herd along at a nice easy walk — at least until she forgets. Barbara said today that she is starting to look awfully grown up. I agree.

We are celebrating the return of scrapple to the share this week. It is a thick porridge made of pork, broth, whole grains and spices that solidifies into a sliceable loaf. Fried to a nice crisp, it is hearty, tasty, and possibly the most perfect breakfast food ever invented. It’s a good sandwich filling, but I like it best with maple syrup and a fried egg. And that is the news for this Halloween! 44th week of 2014.   -Kristin & Mark Kimball




Mary moving the dairy herd back to pasture.


Potato sorting. Small potatoes get culled. So do over-large ones, mushy ones, and damaged ones.



IMG_9973 Sorting, and sorted.


That is one big squash.


Harvest home.


Porcine jack-o-lantern.


Mutual curiosity.


The last fall grass. Solar panels are in their fall position now.


Autumn light.

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