With temperatures predicted to plunge into the teens, most of the past week’s effort went toward pulling in the crops that would be damaged by such a severe chill. Luke led the team through double-pace harvests in finger-chilling weather. They began on the carrots, but when the forecast came up a few degrees, they decided the carrots would probably make it and moved on to broccoli, chard, turnips, rutabaga, parsnip, and the last of this year’s lettuces. Eating lettuce fresh from the field the second week in November – not too shabby, huh? The only bummer, in my book, is that this year’s crop of Misato Rose radish was not good enough to harvest. The roots were shot through with worms, and looked and tasted poor. Too bad. They are one of my favorite appetizers, sliced thin and sprinkled with a little salt.
The other big event of the week was the quarterly staff meeting, which happened yesterday morning. This seems a good time to call attention to the extraordinary nature of the group of farmers working here. As staff left the year, each remaining person shouldered more and more responsibility, and somehow the spirit and morale of the entire farm rose, even as the size of the team shrank. We now have a particularly optimistic and joyful group that is also smart, gritty, and reliable. Did I mention hard working? (Continue reading Kristin Kimball’s Essex Farm Note to find out more!)