Farm Trucks and CSAs

New Idea Manure Spreader

I asked for one of these, both for my high school and then for my college graduation presents...I am still waiting.

Greenhouse with chickens_Essex Farm

One of two chicken greenhouses

I purchased a well worn farm truck this past week.

Buying this truck was all about connections…David, (good friend, godfather to my sons and GOL instructor) works at his wife Nancy’s family’s summer camp in Keesville, New York (North Country Camp). The camp was selling their truck, a forest green, 2000 Chevrolet 1 ton and because you can never have enough farm trucks, I decided to buy it.  Much to my son Wesley’s horror it has no AC, no CD player, and manual roll down windows! Although Wyatt likes the big bench seat, he does not like the loud noise the idling diesel engine makes.  

Having spent the weekend at the NOFA-VT Winter Conference, it was a quick drive over the state line to pick up my “new” farm truck, courtesy of a ride from my friend Elena. On the way over,  we stopped at the Essex Farm in Essex, NY which is owned by Mark and Kristen Kimball. Essex Farm has a unique year-round CSA where members can choose whatever they want, in whatever quantity they choose, as part of  their share: veggies, meat, eggs, milk, grain and syrup. I had also read and loved Kristen’s  book “The Dirty Life”, which describes the birth of the Essex Farm from a city girl’s perspective. Besides the fact that the CSA model is interesting and the book is a good read, they have eight draft horses on the farm and I have  been interested in using Zoey (our draft horse) for cultivating vegetables, so wanted to check out their horsepower operations.

Will and one of the draft horses at Essex Farm

Saying "hi" to one of the working boys

We caught up with Mark Kimball, repairing equipment in his machine shop. just before noon. Within 10 minutes he had efficiently extracted the basics of what I do at Under Orion Farm with questions like “How many mouths do you feed?” and “How many farmers do you support?” and what Elena does for a living (she works for a nonprofit organization that likes farmers). Mark then told us how the farm’s CSA works, his idea for a “farming college”, and before he was off to fix equipment again, he ended the conversation with “give yourselves a tour”, after inviting us to stay for lunch.

Checking out a #7 mowing machine

Although we had to skip lunch, we did enjoy checking out the horses and equipment, milk processing trailer, slaughtering trailer, and lastly, the farm stand.

From a hay tedder

What a great way to draw inspiration…just visiting other folks’ farms, seeing what they are excited about, what does and does not work for them, and maybe trying out some of their ideas…..like a New Idea manure spreader. It has not been THAT long since graduation.

Milk processing trailer

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2 responses to “Farm Trucks and CSAs

  1. I gave that book to Dad last year for christmas and read it myself. I liked that it didn’t make farming idyllic. I have wanted to go over there and see what they are doing though have not found the time or the nerve yet. They do sound like they are open to visitors.
    I like how Mark breaks things down to the important basics. How many families do you feed? My goal would be to feed myself and my family. I can only imagine feeding as many families as they do. I think I’ll try try to go over this spring when I go see Erik Andrus who is growing 5 acres of rice in Ferrisberg. I think he uses horses as well though I’m not sure quite how yet.
    The oats sound like a great idea. I would love to grow my own grains too. I’m not sure how to fit all the things I want to do into my life…I suppose it’s one thing at a time.

    • Thanks Jen! Do go visit, it is a great drive. I love that part of NY. Loads of old abandoned farms and the lake right close by.

      I have friends in Tinmouth that are growing rice…cool stuff.

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