Welcome!

img_3347-copy

The farm family in 2016

Welcome to our farm’s blog and website! Oakhill Organics is a family-run farm located on Grand Island. We grow everything we sell right here on our farm, and everything that we grow is sold directly to customers here in Yamhill County! We sell primarily through our unique 40-week long Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which offers customizable share sizes and contents. You can find out more information about what and how we grow by following the links above; or, scroll down to read our latest farm news on our blog!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

Summer’s eve

Lavender is blooming in our garden!

Tomorrow is the summer solstice! Of all the seasonal shifts, this one always feels the most like an afterthought to the season itself. By which I mean it feels as if summer is already upon us in many ways, but tomorrow makes it “official.”

It also means that tomorrow will be the longest day of the year. This is it, friends! The most daylight we’ll have in one day! Last night as I went to bed just after dark finally settled over the farm I stood at a screen window and listened to the sounds of the night. In the summer, night is rarely quiet around here. Last night I heard the sound of people in the distance visiting, the chick-chick of a sprinkler running in a field, the dull roar of a motor (probably the motor on the big sprinkler itself), and the “night birds.” That’s what we call the birds that gather in trees near our house and make quiet calls and rustling sounds all through the dark.

Even though days will now begin to shorten (as we turn again in this great spin around the sun!), those night sounds will continue for months to come. This is such an alive time of year, not containable in even the many hours of the day. Here on the farm, we can see the wave of summer produce and fruit forming.

It’s such a fabulous time of year, especially here in Oregon. Happy Summer! Enjoy this week’s vegetables and all that are to come!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Cherries
  • Basil — When we move new basil starts around in the greenhouse in early spring, we might brush a plant gently and suddenly be transported directly to summer. Smell is like that, and the smell of basil is summer for us. This is the first of the season! More to come, along with other summer delights.
  • Cilantro
  • Salad mix
  • Head lettuce
  • Napa cabbage
  • Regular cabbage
  • Fava beans
  • Chard or kale
  • Zucchini
  • Spring onions
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Technology works … ’til it doesn’t

Perfectly thinned apples growing big for later this year!

It’s been one of those weeks. Thanks for rolling with our lack of newsletter last week — I believe that was a first in our entire 12.5 years of operating our CSA that I didn’t publish a newsletter! The reason being: our website got hacked!

So, rather than enjoying writing about our week I spent Wednesday evening trying to figure out how to get our website back up and running. It still “read” mostly like normal, but I couldn’t log in and publish or make other changes to the WordPress site. Since I have other commitments in my week, I could only work on it in spurts and it ended up taking several days, finally being up and running at the end of Saturday (after many hours of my tinkering plus extra money paid to our server for their services). Yikes!

In the process, I realized that most of the digital technology we rely on for farm operations is pretty overdue for updating. My cell phone (a relic “messenger” style phone with a QWERTY keyboard) was on the fritz, and our old laptop and slow internet combine to fill every work session with unnecessary (and sometimes long) p … a … u … s … e … s … And, for campaign work (such as posting to Instagram), we were relying on a clunky combination of a older, borrowed device, an older digital camera, lots of cords, and a slow process overall.

So, the unexpected and unwelcome hack has begun what will probably be a summer-long process of updating and/or replacing such things. Such work is not my favorite (we are farmers after all — we both prefer the tangible outdoors world!), but I’m finally accepting that it’s definitely an inevitable part of operating a small business (not to mention running a campaign and homeschooling!). I started by buying a smartphone — the first between the two of us! Next we’re going to look into finally burying a phone line to our house so that we can upgrade our internet to DSL (from a cell-based source right now). Then, eventually we’ll update the laptop. All as finances and time allow, of course, but we’re starting down that road. It’s inevitable, even though I feel like I would be happy to keep using the same old everything for the rest of my life (but unfortunately it doesn’t work that way!).

Around all this technology research, we’ve also been working on the annual apple thinning — a lovely process that we usually break up over several days. Casey scythes the long grass around each tree, and then we circle them together, removing apples in order to provide more room and air flow for the remaining ones. This simple task increases apple size and quality tremendously, and it also gives us a good opportunity to check in with each tree and assess its health. Our orchards overall are doing great, but this year we decided that there are a few trees that consistently seem to look and perform poorly compared to the rest, so we’ll be removing those to make more room for the thriving trees.

We were also grateful for the rain that fell over the last week! The spring has overall been very dry, which has made planting simpler and more straightforward, but it didn’t feel like the world was ready for the hot, dry season just yet. So we were relieved when the clouds rolled in and rain drenched the fields several times (conveniently irrigating many summer crops for us!). We’ll see if that was the end of the June rains or not!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Strawberries
  • Cherries — The first of the cherries! LIMITED this week so everyone can have a taste!
  • Salad mix
  • Head lettuce
  • Fava beans — The fava beans are definitely big enough to warrant shucking and peeling now, in the traditional Italian fashion. The bright green beans are so sweet and tender and delicious!
  • CarrotsLIMITED this week!
  • Napa cabbage
  • Cabbage
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Zucchini — The first of the zucchini! LIMITED this week (but I’m sure not for long!).
  • Spring onions
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

The newsletter that wasn’t

Our website was hacked, so I didn’t post a newsletter as normal. For posterity’s sake, here is the email I sent out to our members instead:

I am having technical difficulties with the farm website this evening. I am hoping to have it sorted out ASAP, but in the meantime I wanted to get out an email to folks with important information about the week:

1. Reminder that we are returning to our original CSA pick-up window of 3:30-6:30 pm, beginning tomorrow!

2. Your next CSA payment is due tomorrow if you haven’t paid it yet! Let me know if you have any questions about your balance due!

3. Here’s a list of this week’s veggies:

  • Strawberries
  • Salad mix & head lettuce
  • Cilantro
  • Fava beans
  • Cabbage
  • Kohlrabi
  • Fennel bulb
  • Spring onions
  • Garlic scapes

Hopefully you’ll be hearing from me again soon with a newsletter, but either way we’ll see you tomorrow at CSA pick-up! 3:30-6:30!!!!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Kids and gardening

Rusty was planting so fast that it was hard to get a photo of him!

We’re a farming family. But I imagine what that means differs a lot from what people might think it means. I know that it certainly looks different than how I imagined once upon a time, before the farm and kids were both an actual reality.

Before having kids, Casey and I both worked full-time on the farm, both doing the physical hands-on work. We didn’t even have employees the first three years, although we had some regular CSA member helpers (who were awesome!).

But when Rusty was born eight years ago, we had to figure out the farm dynamics all over again. During pregnancy, I contemplated our work a lot and watched my friends with their babies and pondered how (and if) the two were compatible. Our work on the farm is fast, focused, and very physical. Part of how Casey and I have been able to make our small farm profitable and thriving is because we are both incredibly driven, task-oriented workers. Before kids, we raced around the farm — not sprinting, but walking quickly from task-to-task. We loved our work, and we knew how to do it, and so there was little stress in our days. We just decided what to do and then did it, with few distractions.

The energy of pregnancy, and then early motherhood, felt very different. Much, much, much slower. Much slower. The energy felt less task-oriented and more presence-oriented. Pregnancy was so much about waiting and just being — even as I continued to work on the farm (up until the day I went into labor!), I could feel my inner drive shifting to a new pace. And certainly, caring for a newborn and baby was so much about just being. Being a lap, being arms to hold someone else, being with this new little creature who needed me so intensely — not necessarily to do anything physical, but just to be with him.

The shift from moving all day to sitting most of the day was a big one, to say the least! But motherhood brings useful shifting hormones too, so I didn’t begrudge the shift. But I did recognize that it felt wholly inconsistent with the sharp focused way I previously moved through my days. I could no longer expect to finish any task uninterrupted — or finish at all! And, in spite of many people’s fantasies about farm life, it turns out that babies don’t really love being on a mother’s back while she does farm work. Somehow Rusty could always tell when my attention was focused elsewhere, and that was not what he needed or wanted.

Thankfully, I had seen this coming. I had seen it in watching other babies, and I also observed in myself that I really don’t enjoy multi-tasking. I loved having that single-focus of farming, and I was ready to be single-focused on mothering now. I didn’t want to begrudge the farm for taking my attention away from my baby, and I didn’t want to begrudge my baby for taking my attention away from the farm.

So, our farm family shifted into new roles: Casey as the primary physical operator on the farm (and definitely more than part-time parent), and me Katie as the primary parent (and part-time farm administrator).

Over the years, as the children have grown, we’ve tried integrating me and them into the farm work in meaningful ways. It’s worked at times and not at others. That integration has always had to be “extra” labor, because it’s never “worked” for us to rely on me (and certainly not them!) to complete tasks. There’d always be interruptions — a classic one being one of the kids needing to go poop while I am helping Casey harvest! This is not a interruption that Mama can ignore! And so, I’d pause working and take whichever child up to the house and sit while they take their time and help them clean up and then eventually make it back out to the fields to harvest … until the other one had to poop! (At least they have healthy digestion systems!)

Again, perhaps we could have done more integrating, but Casey and I have both never wanted to feel cranky with the kids or with the farm, and in that regard it has always felt best to raise the kids on the farm but not force a relationship between them and the farm. If they want to help, then they are welcome, for as long as they want. Two falls ago, Rusty chipped in when we were filling our Thanksgiving Holiday Harvests. He couldn’t read yet, but he understood about numbers and weighing things, so he genuinely helped weigh out potatoes and carrots and pick out the right number of bunches of kale. But most times one of them weeds or plants for a 15 minutes and then runs off to play.

So, so far the farm has not been a major source of occupation of their time or work. It will be interesting to watch how their relationship with the farm continues to grow over the years. Will they eventually want to step up and help us more with the actual sustained work? Or, will they mostly view the farm as their home rather than their occupation?

They certainly interact with it daily. It is the entire context for their outdoor play life. We have a good sized yard, but it is not fenced and they wander to and from the grass outside our house into the orchard and the cover cropped fields and beyond. Rusty especially ventures far from the house daily as he engages in elaborate, ongoing imagination games (often reenacting historical events). They both love seeking out new fruits and enjoy being kept up-to-date on which crop is coming in next so they can be the first to taste a ripe strawberry or plum or whatever it is. And, it is very clear in how they give their friends tours that the farm is a place of pride for them. They seem to enjoy knowing this place so well and having ideas of cool things to show to other kids, which vary from season to season. They want to share tasty treats and show off hidden nooks under special trees.

Why NOT plant your garden in pajamas?

But, each year their dedication to their own little garden grows. We keep a little patch of ground between our yard and the fields that used to be the “family” garden but has morphed into the kids’ garden exclusively. In recent years, we’ve given them free creative reign over what they plant and how. They’ve purchased and planted tress of their own choosing (Rusty has a crab apple and Dottie has a plum). Each year they pick out a few items from our many seed catalogs, and they sow those seeds themselves and then plant the starts themselves. Dottie always chooses lots of flowers, and they both love growing melons.

This weekend, the kids took the initiative to plan out this year’s set of starts. Casey tilled up some of the garden (some in bed shapes, some in random between-the-trees shapes), and the kids planted their starts with the skill of someone who has grown up on a farm: efficiently and effectively both. This year they even put their plants in rows! They know now that this really is easier to tend.

They still need help at many points in their garden, of course. Although they could fill the flats with soil on their own this year, they still needed my help to sort out all the seeds and label the flats. Casey and I end up doing a fair amount of weeding and watering, but the kids keep a close eye on things, taking the initiative to trellis tomatoes and harvest when appropriate. And, each year, they seem to naturally take on more of the work as their enthusiasm for the project continues to grow. I think their ownership over it is key. This is truly their garden, the result of their imaginations and desires. This is an aspect of raising our family on a farm that I didn’t imagine ahead of time. Call me short-sighted, but long ago if you’d asked me to picture our future family farm, I would have pictured children helping us with our project. Instead, where the kids meet the farm is us helping them with their farming project.

Nelson asks, “What are the kids planting THIS year?”

Many years from now, I look forward to hearing about how the kids remember this time in our life. Already it’s clear that Rusty has memories that Dottie doesn’t, simply because she was a baby during particular phases of our farm’s life (such as when we were farming 100 acres and milking cows and raising chickens and all that!). So far, those memories seem to be sticking with Rusty, even though he was relatively young too. But certainly, they both will remember this place as the foundational context for so much of their lives: their home, their place of learning, their playground.

Like all parents, Casey and I have moments of doubt about our choices and can sometimes focus on the experiences and things we haven’t provided our children. Balancing our work here with raising children hasn’t always been easy. But the land itself … it is like another parent and a teacher and a friend and so much more. What lessons are they learning that we’ll never even know, because they won’t even know to name or share those experiences with us? We are so grateful.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

CSA payment due next week! Reminder that your next CSA payment is due next Thursday, June 7! You can bring a check or cash to pick-up (or mail a check to Oakhill Organics, P.O. Box 1698, McMinnville OR 97128). I emailed statements over the weekend, but please let me know if you have any questions about your balance due! And, please check with me if you are unsure whether you have signed up for the second half of the season! There’s plenty of room for everyone.

CSA pick-up window changing to 3:30-6:30 too! Also starting next week, we return to our former pick-up time window of 3:30 to 6:30 on Thursdays!!!!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Strawberries Limited again so that everyone can have a share of these delicious Hood berries!
  • Carrots — The first of this year’s spring planted carrots! Limited so that everyone can enjoy! These are “Mokum” carrots, a variety that we love so much we named one of our kittens after it 12 years ago (he’s now a sweet adult cat).
  • Fava beans
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Kohlrabi
  • Kale
  • Rainbow chard
  • Butternut and Marina di Chioggia winter squash
  • Spring onions
  • Garlic scapes
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Orange wheelbarrow

so much depends
upon

an orange wheel
barrow

tipped on its
side

beside the cover
crop.

~ Katie Kulla (a la William Carlos Williams)

In brief farm news, this week we took a break from spring farm work and campaign work to get away for two nights of cabin camping. It was a much needed step away from things and very restorative!

Looking ahead, the next CSA payment is coming up at the end of this month. I am emailing out statements later this week.

Have you signed up for the second half of the season yet, beginning in June? Check in with me if you are unsure.

Also, a reminder that beginning in June we will be shortening the CSA pick-up window back to our original window of 3:30-6:30! Thanks for your understanding, and please check in with us if the shift poses challenges for you.

The sun is shining and everything is growing rapidly on the farm! Hoorah! Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Strawberries — Woo hoo! The Hoods are here! Because these are the very first of the strawberries, they will be LIMITED this week!
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Fava beans
  • Kohlrabi
  • Napa cabbage
  • Butternut & Marina di Chioggia winter squash
  • Torpedo onions — These are some of our favorite onions ever. They are sweet enough to eat raw but have enough flavor that they are delicious when cooked too.
  • Green garlic
  • Garlic scapes
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | 2 Comments

A big news week

Tidy furrows in the fields …

It was big week around these parts, as I’m sure you can imagine.

Casey got the first of the potatoes planted!

Oh, wait … that wasn’t what you were expecting me to write about? That’s right, there was another big thing that happened this week too:

The primary election! Our family survived our first season of campaigning! Hoorah!

Casey on election night!

The results were positive too: Casey almost tied with the incumbent county commissioner and will be headed to the run-off general election in November!

We have a lot of work ahead of us, but we already laid most of the groundwork and we’re excited to see how the next steps go. In addition to the campaign work itself, we’ll also spend the next few months brainstorming different possibilities for next year (we’ll have to have Plan A and a Plan B, depending on possible election outcomes).

But, first, we celebrate! The next few weeks we’re going to take a bit of a break from too much campaign work and focus on enjoying the start of summer activities: kayaking, etc. Life is for the living!

Plus, there’s a lot more to plant too!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Radishes
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Salad turnips
  • Fava beans — We’ve begun picking the fava beans! They are a little on the younger side still, but we like starting to harvest them at this stage because it offers a different potential eating opportunity than the later beans (which are bigger and great for shucking). When the fava beans are long but not yet full, we love to roast them whole and eat the whole bean (pod and all). It’s delicious! Be sure to put them in a single layer so that they actually roast rather than steaming, and use good oil/butter and salt. We love this spring treat!
  • Head lettuce
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Rainbow chard
  • Kale
  • Butternut squash
  • Marina di Chioggia squash
  • Garlic scapes — Garlic scapes are also sometimes called garlic “whistles” — they’re the green shoot that pops up out of the top of the plant as the bulbs begin to grows. Technically, the buds will open into a flower, so in a way you could think of these as garlic rapini! The entire length of the stalk is usually tender enough to cook with, so chop the whole thing up and use it as you would other garlic — toss it in the pan with butter before cooking greens or add it to salad dressing, etc.
  • Green garlic

 

Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | 1 Comment

What can you see?

And, what color is the sky anyway?

I recently listened to the tail end of a fascinating Radiolab episode about how ancient cultures don’t seem to have a word for the color blue. The classic example is in Homer, when the narrator refers to the “wine-dark sea.”

I had heard of this phenomenon before and enjoyed hearing the radio show use its unique investigative techniques to tease apart the significance of no mentions of blue. Spoiler alert: the end conclusion is that human eyes have been able to see blue practically forever, but that words denoting blue don’t seem to show up in languages until the corresponding cultures find the technologies to create blue dyes and pigments. True blue is actually rather rare in nature and one of the hardest colors to create (unlike red, which can be made from simple clays and is the first named color in all languages after black and white).

Researchers have visited an African tribe that still doesn’t have a word for blue and shown them color swatches that are all various shades of green and then one blue and asked them to point out the different one. The participants didn’t seem to even see the difference even while they stood out starkly to the experiment designers.

Everyone on the radio show marveled at this phenomenon — how could someone not see blue just because they don’t have a word for it? Isn’t it so obvious that the sky is blue? (Another spoiler: actually not really when this hasn’t been pointed out as “true” fact — many days the sky is actually gray or white.)

I suppose it does seem funny at first that someone wouldn’t be able to see blue, especially in a culture where teaching children the colors of the rainbow is part of introductory language skills. Look at board books for toddlers, and you’ll inevitably see pages sorted by color because apparently we think this is a very important early skill to have!

But I had to laugh at the naivete of the radio voices. Because, of course, this is how perception works. When we learn to identify something (often by giving it a name and thereby categorizing it), it suddenly stands out to us.

Because our culture is very invested in the idea of blue, not being able to immediately distinguish “blue” from a similar tone of “green” seems ridiculous and almost unbelievable. But, my friends, you should sit down with a painter sometime and learn about all the “obvious” color differences that you have yet to notice because you don’t know their names and haven’t spent hours carefully mixing them.

Furthermore, if I were to play for you various notes for you on the piano, would you be able to pick out an E? I know people who can, but I can’t at this point. If you are singing, can you tell if you go flat? To an experienced musician, that sounds will be painfully obvious, but many people cannot distinguish that “obvious” sound.

Likewise, have you ever been at a dinner with any of our wonderful local wine industry professionals and listened to them remark on tones in the wine that you just don’t notice? I have.

It’s not always sufficient to point to something once and say “this is the color blue” (apparently not, because we stuff our children with color information repeatedly throughout childhood), but through repeated exposure and examples, “blueness” becomes obvious. This is why I (as a novice wine drinker) can’t always distinguish the same flavors in wine that people much more experienced can. It’s not necessarily because my taste buds are less sensitive, but because my mind has fewer examples of those tones to draw upon for comparison.

On the farm, we have observed in ourselves and people working with us that the longer a person works with a particular crop, the easier it is to see the markers for appropriate maturity. A classic example (and appropriate right now!) is learning to see the perfectly ripe snap pea. The first few times a person picks, they will have to consciously consider each pea for size and shape and consider to input of a more experienced picker (too small; too fat; etc.). But after years of picking, perfectly mature peas are so obvious that picking can be done much quicker and almost unconsciously while carrying on a conversation or listening to the radio. Casey and I had this experience with almost every crop we’ve grown, that our years of learning to see it translates into a kind of expertise that allows us to make very quick and accurate decisions when harvesting (or planting or weeding or doing ground prep, etc.).

One of my favorite parts of the second Genesis creation story is when God brings all the animals and creatures of the earth to name them (Gen 2:19-20). Many people read this story as a narrative of domination, but I always read it as a story about learning to know about the world. When we give names (or learn names from others) for things, we see them in an entirely different way.

For me, this is one of the true joys of living and learning. I absolutely love the experience of increasing my knowledge of the world and thereby fundamentally shifting the way I experience everything. Spending our days on the farm and learning about the world around us has brought so much more definition and richness and depth into my perception, and I know that this process will only continue as I continue to make time to observe and learn.

What is a forest if you walk through it unaware of the diversity of creatures living there? How does that experience fundamentally change if you slow down and take the time to learn to identify the differences between the plants and trees (usually by learning the names others have given them)? I have spent years now hiking the same trails near our farm, and I still see new plants each year and learn new bird calls. The more I learn, the more I am able to see what I don’t yet know. This spring, I noticed and identified blooming Western Meadowrue for the first time — a beautiful tall plant with distinctive male and female blossoms. I can guarantee you that I will not miss this plant in future springs, but I can’t say I remember seeing it at all in past years. Of course I did, but I did not see it until I took the time to notice, learn, and, yes, name.

It’s like walking through a large crowd and seeing only a blur of faces and then seeing a person you know and recognize. But with each year, I become friends with more and more of what I see in the forest, by the river, and along the hedges of our farm.

What do you see? A bunch of green leaves? Or, familiar friends with names? (See below for names.)

I could list countless more examples from different parts of life, all of which are experiences that I genuinely treasure in my heart. This is the joy of life. When we take the time to learn in these ways, our appreciation of whatever we love is enhanced, whether it be fine wines, music, the natural world, poetry, athletic endeavors …

It is a great joy to be sharing my lifelong love of learning with our growing children. I do think that a love of learning is such a natural part of who we are as people that it is an easily contagious kind of passion. Here’s to always learning and seeing new things!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. The leaf samples from our hedge are, from left to right: Linden, wild clematis, Oregon ash, redosier dogwood, hazelnut, and cherry!

P.P.S. On a different note: Oregon ballots are due by 8 p.m. next Tuesday, May 15! Remember to vote! You can find a list of Yamhill County drop sites here.

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Cilantro
  • Radishes
  • Salad turnips
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Head lettuce
  • Chard
  • Butternut squash
  • Marina di Chioggia squash
  • Spring onions
  • Green garlic

 

Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Summer is a-coming in

Sandals drying after afternoon creek fun

“Summer is a-coming in” is the first line in a very old round, and it’s been running through my head today. In the song, the singers point out the signs of summer: “Loudly sing cuckoo” and “Ewe bleateth after lamb.” Around here, the signs are a little different but present nonetheless.

Yesterday was May Day, which for me often feels like a significant turning point in the seasons, as we leave behind predictably wet cool days and head into the dry warm season. Not that May and June won’t bring showers (they often do!), but the balance shifts usually right about now. Regardless of the actual weather, the days are now lengthening significantly, with many more light hours in each 24-hour cycle. More sunlight means lots of green growth all around! Trees are putting on leaves in earnest.

More signs of summer a-coming in here on the farm: newly planted crops growing in the fields … sandals drying in the sun after an afternoon of creek wading and splashing … grass growing rapidly all around … red clover blooming in the cover crop … red-wing blackbird songs in the morning … lilacs blooming by the door … and, the first of the sugar snap pea harvest!

PEAS!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Cilantro
  • Sugar snap peasLIMITED THIS WEEK! Please only take one item worth. The first of the year! More to come … if you’re unfamiliar with sugar snap peas, these are the kind that have a delicious, sweet, tender pod you can eat along with the peas inside. Our kids are SO excited that these are in season again! For them, it’s the very first of the year’s parade of delicious fruit crops.
  • Salad turnips
  • Head lettuce — LIMITED THIS WEEK! Please only take one item worth.
  • Spinach — LIMITED THIS WEEK! Please only take one item worth.
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Chard
  • Butternut squash
  • Marina di Chioggia squash
  • Green garlic
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

A full day

Planting time!

I apologize that the newsletter is going out so much later than normal. Today was an exceptionally full day in our household.

Casey has made good use of the dry sunny weather to work up ground and get planting again (outside the greenhouses!), so between yesterday and today he harvested for the CSA and planted: kale, napa cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, broccoli raab, green onions, cantaloupe, watermelon, cucumbers, head lettuce, and rainbow chard. He also sowed: bush beans, lettuce, basil, carrots, more kale, and cilantro.

Meanwhile, the kids and I did school as usual and went on a hike with friends where we saw lots of wildflowers blooming in the woods at Airport Park.

We also both prayed a lot for Erick (see last week’s newsletter for details). I also checked social media and email a lot looking for updates and haven’t seen anything definitive yet as to whether his execution went through as scheduled today or whether he received a last minute stay. I will let you know.

We also hosted the last of a series of town halls Casey has been having, this one in Willamina. Talk about a full day!

But, it’s exciting to have plants in the ground and to be working on so many other positive projects too.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. Dottie visited Casey while he was planting and took a little field rest in the shade of the fava beans:

“Doesn’t this look so nice, Mama?”

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Cilantro
  • Bok choy
  • Radishes
  • Salad turnips
  • Lettuce or salad mix
  • Kale
  • Kale rapini
  • Chard
  • Sunchokes
  • Marina di Chioggia squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Green garlic — What is “green” garlic, you ask? This is the same plant but before the garlic have formed a bulb and dried down. In this green stage, the flavor is milder but still very savory. Prep it how you might a green onion or leek (chop the white part but also any tender greens) and add it to the oil before you cook greens … or use it in any other garlic-y application! It’s a special spring treat!
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

A caring request

Pretty spring food

Last night, I woke up with a heavy heart in the early not-yet-morning hours. This happens to me sometimes, as I’m sure it does to others too. It is amazing how out-of-proportion worries can be in those dark hours being the only person awake in the house.

My heart can feel like it literally hurts (which apparently is somewhat true with emotional pain — it can be measured in the brain just like physical pain). Last night I was weighing the wisdom of caring about the situation of others, because sometimes that feels like it just brings extra pain into my life. To put it simply, seeing injustice and pain and frustration in the world and then caring about changing those situations is hard.

The desire to help others is of course a big part of why Casey’s running for office right now, but campaigning brings its own special kind of frustration and pain as I’m sure you can imagine! But I also have another thing weighing on my heart that I want to share with you in the hopes that perhaps you too can put it in your heart and do that thing we call prayer.

I am pen pals with a 31-year old Texas man who is currently on death row. Erick and I met through the Death Row Support Project. He is scheduled for execution next Wednesday, April 25.

I have always found the death penalty to be morally repugnant — how does killing one person fix the earlier loss? That’s assuming that the person being executed is actually guilty of the original crime, which is not always true in a justice system built and operated by flawed humans who can make mistakes.

But, of course, knowing a person who is actually going to be executed gives me a new level of awareness of the death penalty and its consequences. Erick has a nine year-old son and a partner outside of prison.

With a week left before his execution, there is still the possibility that Erick’s execution could be stayed or rescheduled. But seven people have already been executed in the U.S. this calendar year, so this is a real threat to his life.

I bring this up here for a few reasons. First, it’s something that’s on our mind here on the farm. Both Casey and I have Erick in our thoughts most of the time. Second, the primary goal of the Death Row Support Project is to provide meaningful connections to people on death row, but I think an equally important second goal is to humanize people who have received a death sentence — and thereby raise awareness of the death penalty itself. For many of us, it’s not a daily reality, nor something we fear for our children. But it’s a reality that will not change without a level of awareness and attention. I wanted to spread that awareness via my story of my friendship with Erick and my own possible upcoming loss.

But, lastly, I share this story to hopefully enlist your prayers (or meditations or intentions or thoughts) for Erick. I ask for prayers for a miracle that will change the outcome. And, on April 25, I ask for prayers for Erick as he possibly departs this world in a manner none of us would choose for ourselves or our loved ones. I ask for prayers just of love and prayers that he feels held, carried, embraced. Or, simply pray for whatever feels fitting to you based on your faith or spiritual tradition.

Another American in prison, whom I don’t personally know, is scheduled for execution tomorrow in Alabama. If you feel so moved, you could also offer prayers for Walter. If you’d like to see a list of upcoming scheduled executions so that you could continue praying or meditating for people, here is a link to that information.

Thank you all for your care.

And, of course, still do please enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Fennel bulbs
  • Head lettuce — LIMITED! 1/share
  • Spinach — LIMITED! 1/share
  • Radishes
  • Turnips
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Marina de Chioggia squash
  • Butternut squash
  • Green garlic
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | 2 Comments