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Cultivating the Future at Essex Farm, Essex, New York

I've always wanted to go back to the future. So, when I heard about Essex Farm in the Adirondack Park near the shores of Lake Champlain, I knew it was a road trip we'd be making in 2018. The 1,100 acre farm is horse and solar powered and offers a full diet, year round CSA Membership. They produce grass-fed beef, pastured pork, chicken, eggs, fifty different kinds of vegetables, milk, grains and flour, fruit, herbs, maple syrup and soap. All animals are fed certified organic food and Essex does not use any conventional pesticides, herbicides or fertilizers.

Wow! Not many farms in New York offer all year CSA shares. When I heard members could get 100% of a well rounded diet, even during winter, I had the immediate urge to visit and learn how they were operating. Not surprisingly, I found out that the farm established an institute to teach farmers how to cultivate local food resilience and are inspiring a network of sustainable farm endeavors which are spreading throughout this picturesque region of New York State and beyond.

Photo above via The Greenhorns.

Mark and Kristin Kimball co-founded Essex Farm in 2003. Kristin’s memoir, "The Dirty Life", chronicles the startup year of Essex Farm CSA.

Kristin and Mark state on their web site: "Farming is a community effort and we look forward to enabling our CSA program to support other farms that live up to our standards of sustainability. We envision the Champlain Valley as the birthplace of a new generation of sustainable agriculture. We foresee a future where farms power themselves, their communities and the world. In 10 years of operating the farm, we have trained and mentored over 50 beginning farmers who have started more than 12 new farms to date. In 2012, Essex Farm Institute began as a formalization of the success of Essex Farm in training new farmers."

Kristin and Mark Kimball at Essex Farm in Essex, New York

We plan to stay right in the heart of the historic Village of Essex when we visit the nearby farm. Originally settled in 1765, Essex has one of the most unspoiled ensembles of Federal and Greek Revival village architecture in rural America. There is a ferry crossing Lake Champlain from Essex to Charlotte, Vermont. Lake Champlain is a 110 mile glacial lake which stretches north all the way to Montreal, Canada. The 30 minute ferry from Essex to Charlotte has spectacular views of the Adirondack Mountains in New York and the Green Mountains of Vermont.

View of Ferry across Lake Champlain from Essex, New York to Charlotte, Vermont

We're in love with Essex and Essex Farm and we haven't even been there yet. Since we love ferries and crossing water to discover new places, we might take the ferry and visit Burlington, Vermont which is about 20 miles away on the other side of Lake Champlain. Gardeners Supply Company is based in Burlington and I've been buying things from them for our little yard farm. We just got a new compost bin. Last year, I also ordered a few foldable metal trellises for the butternut and acorn squash to climb up in the USG kitchen garden.

See you soon Essex Farm. Can't wait to meet you and get a taste of our green future.

Copyright 2018 Paul E McGinniss

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