Our Current Farm Read: The Dirty Life

We've had a several random people tell us we're "doing their dream" and that we should write a book about our (baby boomer) story in reclaiming 9080 and growing food and starting a small goat dairy to make and sell our artisan salted goat milk caramels.  In between milking goats, making caramel, fixing hoses, building raised beds and planting seeds and have a market - we're definitely considering and pondering . . . a book about our story.

In the meantime, Michael and I are currently reading The Dirty Life by Kristin Kimball and we're thoroughly enjoying her memoir of farming, food, and love and at times feel as though she's peeked into our own life of love as we learn to farm and raise goats and do "the dirty life."

Together, Kristen and Mark farm 600 acres, in upstate NY, on their farm known as Essex Farm.  Here's a bit about their farm:

Essex Farm offers a year-round, full diet, free choice membership. We produce grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chicken, eggs, fifty different kinds of vegetables, milk, grains and flour, fruit, herbs, maple syrup, and soap. Members come to the farm on Fridays, from 3pm to 7pm, and take what they need for the week, in any quantity or combination they choose. We sometimes limit scarce items, like maple syrup or the year’s first tomatoes, but most food is available on an all-you-can-eat basis. Members are encouraged to take extra produce during the growing season for freezing or canning, to supplement what is available from the root cellar during winter and early spring. In addition to food, we offer members the opportunity to hike the farm, visit fields and animals, and join us as volunteers for harvest and field work.

We currently farm 600 acres and feed 222 members. We are powered by fifteen solar panels, nine draft horses, ten full-time farmers, and three tractors. We do not use synthetic fertilizer, herbicide, or pesticide. Our animals eat feed we’ve grown ourselves or local hay and local, certified organic grain.  

This is our wonky-but-useful mission statement: We strive to produce an abundance of high quality food while fostering the health and resiliency of the farm, the farmers, the members, and the community. Our desire is to build an agro-ecosystem that is sustainable economically, environmentally, and socially. We work to make a farm that is better tomorrow than it is today.

". . .a delightful, tumultuous and tender story of the author's love affair with the man who becomes her husband and the farm they work together to restore. " - Jeannette Walls

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