What the winter has brought

When the river floods ... go kayaking in the field!

When the river floods … go kayaking in the field!

I keep just a few items on the windowsill behind my standing desk in my office, one of which is a falling apart book my grandmother Dorothy gave me years and years ago. It was originally given to her, and I think she probably just gave it to me because she was cleaning out her things and thought I might like it. I don’t know why I managed to hold on to this book when I myself have given away so many things in my life, but I have, and it has become one of my handful of mementos from my grandmother. For some reason, I found it touching as a child and kept it through every single purge and declutter I’ve done (which, if you know me, is a lot).

The book is called If You’re Afraid of the Dark, Remember the Night Rainbow. And, on each page we’re offered a little disappointment, such as “If you lose the key …” and on the next page, we’re offered a solution, “throw away the house” (with a colorful illustration of a hand tossing a toy house into the air). Each is a bit nonsensical, including the last one: “If there is no happy ending … make one out of cookie dough.”

I thought of these funny solutions this weekend as we accompanied the kids to the flood waters for our annual “Field-Floodwaters-Boating-Adventure.” To me, this is a real life version of my grandmother’s book: When the river floods … go kayaking in the fields! It feels almost as impossible, and yet it is wholly impossible. And wholly wonderful in its radical hilarity.

Dottie's paddling is not as effective yet as Rusty's, but she can get out there anyway!

Dottie’s paddling is not as effective yet as Rusty’s, but she can get out there anyway!

In past years, our adventure was a family one — all of us exploring in a canoe together. But this year, the canoe we used to use is gone, and all we have left is Casey’s old white-water kayak. We weren’t sure if the kids were ready for solo kayak, but it turns out that they are (in calm, shallow flood waters anyway). And the fun remains the same in this new version, with all of us marveling at the craziness of traveling by boat where we normally travel by foot — cruising by the tops of weeds, no less!

I love when things that people might normally see as hard can be turned on their heads like this. To be accurate, the high water we’ve experienced on the island lately really hasn’t been much to speak of. People often reach out to us when the weather gets exceptionally wet and drainage ditches fill all along county roads — they want to know if we are okay down here on the island! The truth is, we flood less frequently than many folks who are higher! The Willamette is a big river, and it takes a lot of river to bring it up. And, our fields drain well, so in the meantime, we don’t have drainage issues (there aren’t even drainage ditches on the island … we just don’t need them!).

But, my goodness, it has been wet this winter. And cold. And snowy. And wet some more! I’m sure you’ve already heard that Portland has broken its record for rainfall in February … and we still have a week of February left to go, with more rain falling!

Winter is known for its cold. And its wetness. And its snow. We’re not super surprised or anything, but it is always a notable experience when we go through seasons that are the farther end of a spectrum away from “average” (the “average winter” doesn’t really exist, of course, except in the numbers created by all the vagaries that go on the record!).

And, unlike these normal high waters (which are nowhere near our over-wintered crops), the more extreme measures of winter do have an effect on the crops in the field. The extended cold spells killed off or set back crops that we normally harvest in late winter or early spring. And, the continued extreme wetness (and accompanying darkness) slow down the growth on the plants that are the fields.

It is what it is — every year has its vagaries. Each winter I daydream (only briefly!) about the upcoming season, when every crop will perform as predicted … which is of course always a daydream. Each year, there are are unexpected surprises with one or more crops. Casey is happy to have crops growing in high tunnels right now, and we feel confident that our CSA will roll merrily along, with nary a blip. But we also feel like it’s useful for our CSA members to have insight into what has and is happening on the farm and how that might affect our CSA shares from week to week. The last few winters were ones when our long CSA season felt relatively easy (the winters were relatively mild and dry), and this winter is one when we’re going to feel more like rock stars for pulling this cold-season growing/harvesting thing off. At the very least, it takes Casey just a little extra “gumption” and persistence to put on full body raingear and go out to harvest, wash and pack produce on very wet and cold days like we’ve been having!

But: the daffodils under our walnut tree are up and open. And nettles are emerging in the forest. And Indian-plum are blooming. Even though many other signs of spring still feel weeks off (and later than we’ve come to expect), these are big seasonal markers for us. We can feel the sap rising in our souls, as we put seed after seed into trays in the greenhouse — seedlings that will grow into peas and tomatoes and zucchini and more! We’ve just got a few more weeks of official winter!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

  • Apples — Mainly Jonagold this week
  • Salad mix — Winter salad mix is such a wonderful treat! You’ll encounter lots of different textures and flavors in the blend, including items that are only available briefly this time of year (such as thinned baby radish greens — so tender!). To get the feel for this salad, we recommend tasting a few of the different leaves individually before dressing so that you have a better sense of what you’ll want to apply. We usually make a simple homemade mayonnaise that I whip up in a mason jar with an immersion blender: I put one egg in (farm-fresh eggs are the safe bet since it will be raw), then I pour in a little vinegar and add olive oil while blending until it is the texture I want. Then I toss it with the salad before serving.
  • Kale
  • Cabbage
  • Marina di Chioggia winter squash
  • Carrots — The carrots are limited in supply for now, so we’ll ask folks to limit themselves to 1 items worth/household. Thank you!!!! We know everyone loves them, so we want to make sure everyone gets some! And in the greenhouse, the spring carrots are just showing their first leaves.
  • Beets
  • Sunchokes — Sunchokes are a crop that outperformed our expectations last year. For many years we’ve had lackluster harvests of this veggie and it’s been an item we’re only able to give out to the CSA once or twice before it’s gone. This year we bought our seed from a different source, and WOW! The sunchokes were abundant and more beautiful than any we’ve grown before! Since we have a lot (and they are so awesome), we’ll be giving them out regularly and we encourage you to experiment with this fun winter crop.
  • Potatoes
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

We’re back!

Casey getting back in the swing of winter harvest and wash. Dottie accompanying him.

Casey getting back in the swing of winter harvest and wash. Dottie accompanying him.

The 2017 CSA begins tomorrow!!!!!! Hoorah! So this is our first (of 40) newsletters of the year, one of many habits we are restarting after our winter break.

As returning members know, we added a few extra weeks to our break this year, and BOY OH BOY are we grateful that we made that decision! The weather turned out to be extra winter-y through January, and each time a Thursday would roll around and we’d look out at frozen and/or snowy fields, we’d feel happy that we just got to enjoy the winter without feeling unnecessarily burdened by it. We even decided to make the unprecedented decision to take a break for harvesting for restaurants as well. It just felt like we needed to give the fields a break from our presence and our mud-making boots. It was nice to not have to work harvest miracles in the middle of those dark months.

Winter Wonderland (aka Holden Village)

Winter Wonderland (aka Holden Village in January)

We made good use of the extra time — both for play and work. Our family left the farm for seven nights, which is a first since we started the farm in 2006. We drove up north to Washington to visit friends and Holden Village (all around the Lake Chelan area). Our trip was a veritable Winter Wonderland adventure, with feet of powdery white snow everywhere, sub-zero temperatures, starlight at night, and priceless visits with wonderful people.

Back at home, we’ve all kept busy with various adventures and bits of work: pruning the orchards, cutting firewood for next winter, and working on some building projects. Casey also built our fifth (and probably final) high tunnel for the farm. So now we have two on our lowest ground and three on our highest ground. The new one was planted the moment it was completed … because we already had plants in the ground ready to go! We knew this high tunnel was going to be built this winter, so Casey planted with it in mind and worked around it.

Crops growing in one of our high tunnels -- picture taken this very afternoon! Looks like spring in there already.

Crops growing in one of our high tunnels — picture taken this very afternoon! Looks like spring in there already.

Last year was our first year really carefully managing our high tunnels (the benefit of scaling down our farm: we have more time for some “smaller” spaces!), and we were amazed at what they were able to produce for us, especially in these shoulder seasons that have historically been stressful for us. We found that vegetables were consistently ready earlier in the season (which was not a surprise to us) AND that they were higher quality AND more productive. We also realized that they allow us to work better in the winter and early spring, because we can actually do things like weed on rainy days (impossible outside for most of the winter!). We even branched out and planted our garlic in a high tunnel this year for that very reason, since our winters are often mild enough to allow weeds to grow but not mild (or dry) enough for us to weed them properly when they need it. So, we’re happy to have a fifth such space for our use this year. We’re especially grateful now, when the harder-than-average winter has cut back on many of our typically-available-over-wintered veggies in the field. We’ll be leaning on the greenhouses hard this spring thanks to all that cold and snow. The high tunnels don’t actually cover that much ground on our farm, but they provide us so much.

Into the woods of Airport Park, one of our weekly outdoor outings.

Into the woods of Airport Park, one of our weekly outdoor outings.

I (Katie) and the kids have been busy with our homeschooling related activities. We start each morning with “school.” I always put that in quotes because what we do doesn’t really look like school, but it’s our equivalent — a little structured time when we do sit down to work. We practice handwriting, do some math, read together from several classic books, practice Spanish, move around a bunch, and do other little projects depending on the day. We’ve also added a few other activities to the kids lives this year: ballet for Dottie, swim lessons for both kids, among other things. We’ve also been going on a weekly outdoor outing, just me and the kids. We explore all the amazing places near our farm, enjoying the outdoors regardless of the weather.

And, today we all got home from our 11th annual trip to Breitenbush Hot Springs for a farmer gathering. We always think of this trip as a big turning point in the season. Often the time leading up to the trip feels like winter and there will even be snow on the ground while we are there. But it often turns while we are there, which happened again this time — the temperatures up there rose above freezing, and today it was even raining on top of the snow. Returning feels like pressing the “start” button for so many of our spring-like activities. We’ve already sown some transplants and some in the greenhouse, but those types of projects will just pick up now that we’re back.

Including, of course, the start of our 2017 CSA! We are excited to see all of you again tomorrow after our winter break. We miss your friendly faces and weekly routine of touching base with you.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

First CSA payment due tomorrow! Have you made a first payment yet? If not, please bring cash or check to pick-up for either one-quarter or the full value of your share. If you can’t remember the amounts, you can ask me at pick up or email me.

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples — This week’s apple selection are mainly Honeycrisp
  • Cabbage
  • Baby kale — These bunches of baby kale are super tender from our high tunnels! We’re picking whole plants small now in order to give other plants the space to grow big for picking later. These are absolutely delicious, suitable for making a salad (or cooking too).
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Marina di Chioggia winter squash — This winter squash has a been mainstay of our winter diet. We gave out the smaller ones in the fall and now mostly have the TRULY ENORMOUS ones left. We’ll be cutting them into quarters for you all, since some of these literally would not even fit into an oven. To cook them, we recommend just putting them on a baking pan and baking at 350° until they are soft all the way through (depending on the thickness and size, this could be up to one hour). We usually put the cooked squash in the fridge and eat a little bit of it every day. We like to cut slices and reheat them in the oven with butter so that the squash is crispy on the outside (a well seasoned pan helps with the browning, and you can also do this on the stovetop). We eat the skin and all. That’s the simple way to eat it, but you can also use the cooked flesh to make any kind of pumpkin baked good or soup.
  • Sunchokes (aka “Jerusalem Artichokes”) — I don’t really know how this delightful (and funny looking) vegetable ever picked up that second name, since they are neither from Jerusalem nor related to artichokes! Sunchokes are the tuber of an American plant related to sunflowers. We mostly eat them raw, sliced thin into cole slaw type salads. But they are absolutely delicious roasted as well. When we roast them, we typically cut them small (cutting can also help clean any soil left in all those tight crevices!) and roast them until they are crispy outside and chewy/soft inside. They take longer to soften than potatoes or carrots, so leave plenty of time (in relation to how small they are).
  • Beets
  • Garlic
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Happy 2017!

We spent a fun morning recently throwing sticks onto our frozen creek.

We spent a fun morning recently throwing sticks onto our frozen creek.

Hello, friends! It feels like it has been a long time since I last came to this space with an update, and I miss it! We’re about halfway through our winter break, and I wanted to pop in here to say howdy and give folks an update on what we’re doing around these parts when we’re NOT doing the CSA.

First, of all, as expected the first few weeks of our break were almost wholly consumed by sicknesses and holiday gatherings. I predict this will be the same every year, and I dislike that it seems so pessimistic to expect illnesses in November/December. But this just seems to be the case! Certainly, a few rounds of coughs or colds don’t completely shut us down, but they really do limit our productivity. Combine feeling under the weather with actually dark/rainy weather and shorter days, and it becomes a time when we prioritize deeper levels of rest. Perhaps as it should be in those weeks of Advent!

Of course, punctuating those moments of rest were wonderful get togethers with friends and families, as well as the other random kinds of things that we “save” for when our schedule is more open (doctors visits and the like). A few highlights from December: Katie led a panel discussion at the Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Portland; Katie’s choir concert; taking the kids to see the Nutcracker for the first time; and placing an order for another new greenhouse (this is often our end-of-year bonus to ourselves if we’ve had a good season!).

Rose hips on a sunny winter day

Rose hips on a sunny winter day

Now that January has arrived, we feel invigorated by the new year and are happily making lists in our notebooks again of all those big tasks we want to get done before the CSA begins in mid-February. We’ve got just over a month to do some BIG stuff, but the lengthening days and occasional bright sunny winter sunshine help make it feel possible!

And, perhaps the most note-worthy item of all (and one you’ve likely noticed yourself if you are local to us!) — this has been a very wintery winter so far here in Western Oregon! My goodness! Snow is falling again as I write this post, and it’s become almost ho hum and normal after many, many days of snow already in the last month. Casey and I can’t remember a winter quite like this in our 11+ years of farming here, where we faced seemingly endless days of sub-freezing temperatures and/or actual snowfall. Certainly, we remember some wicked cold snaps and snowfall events, but they were always events that ended. This is just winter, ongoing.

Watching the snow begin to fall ... again!

Watching the snow begin to fall … again!

Overall, our life this year is not overly complicated by the wintery winter — we are grateful that we had already decided to extend our winter break a bit longer. We even decided to take a few weeks off from restaurant harvests (the first time ever!) so that we can just leave the fields be during all this freezing weather. Honestly, when it is this cold, just regular harvest is about 10 times more complicated, and just being out in the fields can feel like we are damaging plants that are working really hard to get through the low temperatures alive!

And, we’ve had a lot of fun on our break too. After we recouped from our various illnesses, we rededicated ourselves to playing outside regularly, regardless of the weather. We also discovered that snow and ice make for lots of fun play opportunities! The kids, naturally, are delighted by it all. Here are a few of our fun occasions of late:

Casey invented a new game to play during morning P.E.: farm snow hockey!

Casey invented a new game to play during morning P.E.: farm snow hockey in the driveway!

On a recent outing to Willamette Mission, the kids and I found a GIANT frozen-over puddle and had a blast crunching all over it.

On a recent outing to Willamette Mission, the kids and I found a GIANT frozen-over puddle and had a blast crunching all over it.

And, apparently it was even fun to lie down on the ice! I'm sure the brilliant winter sun helped!

And, apparently it was even fun to lie down on the ice! I’m sure the brilliant winter sun helped!

We hope that you have also been making the best of winter’s challenges and joys! We look forward to returning to our normal routines toward the end of February, perhaps most of all because we miss seeing all your friendly faces at pick-up.

Before then, we will work diligently on our to do lists, including building our new greenhouse, planting seeds in our existing greenhouses and starting seeds in the hothouse! 2017 is commencing with a flurry of activity already!

Much gratitude for the New Year and old friends ~

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. Have you signed up for our 2017 CSA season yet? Now is the time! You can do so now here.

Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

December Holiday Harvest

Our 11th annual December Holiday Harvest is next week!

Here’s how our Holiday Harvests work. You look at our list of available fruits and veggies (see below) and decide what you’d like to order. Maybe you just want some extra delicious organic produce for your holiday meals; or maybe you want to stock your pantry — either works for us!

Once you have your list, send your order to us by Sunday evening using the handy form supplied below the list! How easy is that?

On Tuesday, December 20, we’ll harvest for you and bring your order to our downtown McMinnville storefront (off of the 2nd Street parking lot between Evans and Davis St.). You can pick up your produce any time between 3 and 5 pm that day. We accept cash or check payments.

We will also have farm meat in the freezer available for purchase at the time of pick-up.

All are welcome to participate! Any other questions? You can email us farm (at) oakhillorganics (dot) com.

Now, make your list! …

  • Apples, Goldrush — Yellow skin, great for eating and cooking — $3/lb
  • Apples, Liberty — Red skin, good for eating — $3/lb
  • Pears — $3/lb
  • Seasonal salad mix — Mix of fall greens — $4/bag (0.5 lb bags)
  • Kale — $3/bunch
  • Collards — $3/bunch
  • Chard — $3/bunch
  • Cabbage — $2.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Brussels sprouts — loose — $6/lb
  • Pie pumpkins — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Butternut squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Marina di Chioggia squash — $1/lb (order by the each)
  • Spaghetti Squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Beets — $1.50/lb
  • Red potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Yellow potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Garlic — $8/lb

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your phone number (required)

Your Holiday Harvest order

Questions or other comments?

Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest

Our 11th annual Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest is next week!

Here’s how our Holiday Harvests work. You look at our list of available fruits and veggies (see below) and decide what you’d like to order. Maybe you just want some extra delicious organic produce for your holiday meal; or maybe you want to stock your pantry — either works for us!

Once you have your list, send your order to us by Sunday evening using the handy form supplied below the list! How easy is that?

On Tuesday, November 22, we’ll harvest for you and bring your order to our downtown McMinnville storefront (off of the 2nd Street parking lot between Evans and Davis St.). You can pick up your produce any time between 3 and 5 pm that day. We accept cash or check payments.

We will also have farm meat in the freezer available for purchase at the time of pick-up.

All are welcome to participate! Any other questions? You can email us farm (at) oakhillorganics (dot) com.

Now, make your list! …

  • Apples, Goldrush — Yellow skin, great for eating and cooking — $3/lb
  • Apples, Liberty — Red skin, good for eating — $3/lb
  • Pears — $3/lb
  • Seasonal salad mix — Mix of fall greens — $4/bag (0.5 lb bags)
  • Kale — $3/bunch
  • Collards — $3/bunch
  • Chard — $3/bunch
  • Cabbage — $2.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Brussels sprouts — loose — $6/lb
  • Pie pumpkins — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Butternut squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Marina di Chioggia squash — $1/lb (order by the each)
  • Delicata winter squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Spaghetti Squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Carrots — $3/lb
  • Beets — $1.50/lb
  • Celery root — $4/lb (order by the each)
  • Red potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Yellow potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Garlic — $8/lb

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your phone number (required)

Your Holiday Harvest order

Questions or other comments?

Posted in News & Updates | Leave a comment

Thanks for a great season!

Red cabbage always seems like a jewel in the end-of-fall fields ...

Red cabbage always seems like a jewel in the end-of-fall fields …

Endings. Here we are, at the end of another season. Our 11th! How did that happen? Where has the time gone?

I have to admit that Casey and I get excited about the end of each season. We always feel ready for a period of less structured time and a chance to refresh ourselves before the next wonderful growing season begins. We count down the final weeks, both as a way to joyfully anticipate our upcoming break but also as a way to celebrate the many weeks we’ve already fed everyone that year as we count down like this: “44 down; 1 to go!”

Breaks feel like an important part of a rhythm. For most people, the most common rhythm in life is the academic calendar, and I know that the many students and teachers in our community can relate to the joy at both ends of that cycle — the fun anticipation of each new year, followed by the pride of work-well-done at the end.

I recalled this afternoon the end-of-school-year ritual at the school I attended for middle school. It was a very old school (founded in 1907!) and had had time to develop traditions around transitions. Every school year ended with an all-school assembly, which always — ALWAYS! — closed with the singing of the school song. Nothing quite rings “vacation is here” to me quite like a rousing rendition of “Coeur de Jésus”! I think that before the end of next year’s CSA season, I need to come up with a farm song that we can sing as we close up shop for the last time.

Until then, life goes on! Because endings are never the end! Just today, in perfect timing really, we received the first of next year’s seed catalogs in the mail. I had to laugh, because this particular seed company always strives to be the first to arrive, and they deliver on their promise, giving us good reading for over the Thanksgiving break each year. Rusty is looking through it now eagerly, because seed catalogs are truly among some of the most exciting browsing materials. Already we can see our 2017 season forming in our heads and hearts, even as we joyfully look toward a break for our bodies over the winter.

So, friends, as we close the season, I want to remind you of all the important things coming up for our farm and community:

  • This week is the final CSA pick-up! Are you all paid up for the season? More importantly, have you signed up for 2017 yet? Find details and sign up now HERE! You can also sign up in person at pick-up tomorrow. It’s easy peasy. Please let me know if you have any questions about next year’s program dates, pricing or other details. We are excited to have you join us again (for our 12th season!).
  • Please your submit your Holiday Harvest orders to us by the end of this coming Sunday, November 20th (the list and order form are conveniently located in this newsletter below!).
  • Tuesday, November 22, 3-5 pm — Come to the storefront to pick-up your Holiday Harvest orders (more details below!)
  • Saturday, December 3, 3 & 7 pm — The McMinnville Women’s Choir’s winter concert: “Lighting Freedom’s Fire.” The concert will be in the Great Room at the McMinnville Co-op Ministries at 544 NE 2nd St, McMinnville. Tickets are $8 purchased in advance for adults ($10 at the door) and free for children/students under 18. You may purchase tickets now at Oregon Stationers. I sing with the choir along with many other members of our farm’s extended community! Join us!
  • Tuesday, December 20, 3-5 pm — Our Christmas-season Holiday Harvest. I will email everyone the week in advance with all the information. Place orders by Sunday evening again.
  • New Year’s — We will mail you all your 2017 season information and begin accepting payments.
  • Thursday, February 16 — Our 2017 CSA season begins!

And, now, rather than a song, we end this season with a very simple, very heartfelt, very true phrase: Thank you. Thank you for making our 11th season a reality, and thank you for helping us look forward to another delicious year.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Holiday Harvest information (this week’s CSA list is at the very bottom of this post!)

Here’s how our Holiday Harvests work. You look at our list (see below) and decide what you’d like to order. Maybe you just want some extra veggies for your holiday meal; or maybe you want to stock your pantry — either works for us! Once you have your list, send your order to us by Sunday evening using the handy form supplied below! How easy is that? On Tuesday, November 22, we’ll harvest for you and bring your order to our downtown McMinnville storefront (off of the 2nd Street parking lot between Evans and Davis St.). You can pick up your produce any time between 3 and 5 pm that day. We accept cash or check payments.

We will also meat in the freezer available for purchase at the time of pick-up, including beef, lamb, and possibly leftover stewing hens.

Any other questions? You can email us farm (at) oakhillorganics (dot) com.

Now, make your list! …

  • Apples, Goldrush — Yellow skin, great for eating and cooking — $3/lb
  • Apples, Liberty — Red skin, good for eating — $3/lb
  • Pears — $3/lb
  • Seasonal salad mix — Mix of fall greens — $4/bag (0.5 lb bags)
  • Kale — $3/bunch
  • Collards — $3/bunch
  • Chard — $3/bunch
  • Cabbage — $2.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Brussels sprouts — loose — $6/lb
  • Pie pumpkins — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Butternut squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Marina di Chioggia squash — $1/lb (order by the each)
  • Delicata winter squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Spaghetti Squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Carrots — $3/lb
  • Beets — $1.50/lb
  • Celery root — $4/lb (order by the each)
  • Red potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Yellow potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Garlic — $8/lb

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your phone number (required)

Your Holiday Harvest order

Questions or other comments?

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables: (This is the list of what’s available for our CSA share — the Holiday Harvest list is above!)

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Seasonal salad mix
  • Summer fruits — The very very very last of this year’s peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini!
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Winter squash — Available this week: Spaghetti squash, Butternut squash, and Pie pumpkins
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Potatoes

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Stewing hens — We have a limited number of stewing hens available for purchase this week. These hens were fed exclusively organic chicken feed (plus lots of grass and veggie scraps!). $4/lb
  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

In community

November evening sky over the farm

November evening sky over the farm

In the lead up to the presidential election, I happened to read The Long Loneliness, Catholic Worker activist Dorothy Day’s memoir of her life in the first half of the 20th century. Day helped found the Catholic Workers movement, which opened and ran “hospitality houses” all across the country, where anyone could come to rest, live, commune, and be fed. They became centers of activism as well as a radical kind of community, where the lines between those being served and those serving were blurred.

Community was one of the primary themes through the book, presented as the solution to “the long loneliness” she describes. In fact, she closes the book on this point:

We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that loves come with community.

It’d be hard to argue with that conclusion! And yet, in the main body of the book, I found myself confused at times, because her actual descriptions of real, specific community life were so … awkward. Flawed. Full of failures. Human. They certainly didn’t stand out as stellar examples of what I once thought of as ideal community.

When I was in my early 20s, community meant something golden and sweet. Community represented warm fuzzy feelings that we might get from helping each other. Community meant friendship and shared meals.

How could I reconcile that image with what Day describes, where people failed to meet each other’s needs or grew weary of shared projects or just got burned out on community life in general? Of course, my own first-hand experiences with community have probably been closer to Day’s experience. There has always been awkwardness and challenge in figuring out how to live together and share resources when every person has a different perspective and unique needs (and sometimes just decides not to engage as a community anymore for various reasons). Anyone who has lived in an “intentional” community of any kind will likely have stories about miscommunications, conflicts, and strained relationships. It happens.

This weekend, we were talking with friends about these things, and I wondered aloud where someone might have gotten community “right.” Where have people figured out how to live together in ways that feel graceful and fulfilling and consistent?

I hadn’t quite finished Day’s book at the time, and the next day I realized that I was probably thinking about it all wrong. I had — for years — been thinking of community as a refuge of some kind. A place where one can retreat to for all those warm fuzzies and support in life. And, community can be that place (and friendship certainly can be too, although I’ve realized that friendship can sometimes be easier without shared resources to discuss and sort out!).

But, maybe Day’s point about community is something entirely different. Maybe we live together because of the inherent challenges that arise. Perhaps the goal isn’t for our relationships with others to be simpler but instead to be a bit more complicated as we sort through how to serve the needs of many in shared ways. Perhaps the point is to have daily opportunities to practice those ancient sacred human arts of forgiveness and intentional loving kindness.

I mean, really, liking and accepting another human being can feel very easy in certain contexts — in the flush of new love (whether that be with a romantic partner or friend), for example. But it’s not easy for long. The more our individual lives bump up against those of others, the more moments will arise that require us to breathe deep and intentionally see another person’s humanity. To remember to see their beautiful value even when we might be annoyed or legitimately frustrated with their actions (or them with ours!).

The longer I live, the more certain I feel that learning how to love is the work of living in this world. And, it’s not easy work at all. Certainly, our work is aided and eased by all the interactions that do give us warm fuzzies — that’s why shared meals are often the heart of any community, whether it be in a family or in a wider concept of community. We need to connect, on some level, in order to love.

But, I believe that we are called to love regardless. In the communities that Day describes in her books, there were many fun shared experiences (especially many long philosophical discussions held late into the night!). But she also describes situations that were really just about serving each other and loving past the discomfort of being in the presence of another human. Loving because love matters, not because it provides warm fuzzies or is comfortable or natural feeling.

So, thanks to Dorothy Day, I now have a new way of understanding community — as a place of continual challenge that prompts us to grow every day in our walk toward love and all that goes along with that choice (compassion, forgiveness, acceptance). Community has value because of how it builds us up through work and how it offers us opportunities to see the world from someone else’s perspective. Through the inner work, we connect with the rest of the world.

I have to be honest that in my early 20s, this version of community would not have held the same appeal as my warm fuzzy version. But we grow into our own understandings as we are ready for them, and my new vision of community allows me to see community working everywhere on all of us. Whether our relationships experience conflict is not the test of the community — what matters is what happens inside us, how we let our experience of community grow us into more loving individuals in the world. By this standard, communities that are hard at times can be seen as truly beautiful and life giving. Family life. Marriages. Shared households. Churches. Farms. Schools. Workplaces. All of these are communities filled with opportunities for growth — opportunities for us to bump up against others and choose to love.

On a personal level, this week has offered me such opportunities on multiple levels — at the quarry hearing last week, where the room filled with people with varying perspectives on the question at hand, including the applicants. I found myself looking around at everyone and feeling — surprisingly! — a lot of warm fuzzies! I felt so much love for everyone who had gathered and for everyone’s humanity. Sometimes, people just shine. I’ve heard mystics say this, and every now and then I get glimpses of that. Sometimes at surprising moments. But again, community gives me these opportunities to see others in the light of love, even when our interests might be at cross purposes.

Which brings me to yesterday. United States’ presidential elections have a particular knack of leaving half of the voting population feeling elated/powerful and the other half sorely defeated/scared/frustrated. Going into this election, I was so focused on my own feelings of want and hope that it was only when I found myself in that latter camp that I realized those feelings were inevitable for someone during each election cycle. Oh, I had a bitter night, weeping tears of disappointment. If I hadn’t, someone else surely would have instead.

What do we do with that reality? That’s what I wondered today as I blearily worked through my day. The mama part of me wants everyone to be happy, but clearly in a community as vast and diverse as our country, we will always have needs and wants that seem to be at cross-purposes. So, how do we live? What is the point?

I take comfort in my new way of seeing community, of realizing that maybe the point isn’t to come to a total agreement or avoid conflict forever. But, how we each respond to these conflicts can make our community succeed, even without solving the conflicts. Conflicts are opportunities to grow in love — real, nitty gritty hard love that doesn’t necessarily give us warm fuzzies. Love that moves us past our own perspective of what is wanted or needed and helps us just to see that other people shine in this world, even when we don’t agree with each other. Love that doesn’t wait for us to feel it or until we understand others or for us to perceive that the others “deserve” our love (goodness knows, we don’t “deserve” everyone else’s love either! We could all be waiting a long time for love in that equation). Love within big, real conflicts is hard. Life gives us opportunities to practice that incredibly challenging action.

Dorothy Day’s book also helped remind me that solutions can be small. That changing the world can happen on the micro scale. That I can make a difference, here and now. I don’t have to wait for the “right” person to be in the White House to serve my fellow humans. To care and love. Dorothy Day also demonstrated that serving others is different than trying to fix everything for them. Her vision is perhaps most radical for being so pedestrian. So down-to-earth. So grounded in the reality of who we are as people.

And, yes, I am oversimplifying the complexities of what it means to live in community. But, I think that these ideas are the base, and they help us understand community in new ways that open up expanded definitions of success. Including this moment now.

That’s what’s on my mind tonight at the end of this surprisingly beautiful November day (which made for delightful harvest work for Casey!). In addition to running this farm and parenting the kids, we’re also out here in the country figuring out how to live in this world. We’ll be working on that until the very end, I suppose, and weeks like this just accelerate the process. I wish you all peace this week as you bump up against others in community too.

And, of course, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. Next week is the final CSA pick-up of the year!!!!!!! Our winter ‘to do’ list is growing and growing, and we are excited to have more time to work on it soon. However, we will also miss you and look forward to another delicious CSA season in 2017. Have you signed up yet? You can do so now on our website or in person at pick-up tomorrow. Please let me know if you have any questions.

P.P.S. We’ll post the Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest list in next week’s newsletter! We ask that you place your order by the end of Sunday, November 20, for pick-up on Tuesday, November 22.

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Marina di Chioggia winter squash — Even the small squash of this type are usually biggy big big. How does one properly handle a big squash like this? Our favorite way is to pre-cook it and use it over several days. On a quiet weekend morning, we wash and then pop a whole squash into the oven on a pan (we take the stem off first). We bake it at 350° until it is cooked all the way through and a knife inserts without any resistance. Then we take it out and let it cool off and put it into our fridge! Some of the ways we use the cooked squash: remove the seeds and skin and mash the flesh to make pumpkin muffins or other quick breads; reheat and brown slices (minus the seeds) in the oven or in a pan (good with lots of butter); puree into soups.
  • Salad mix
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet peppers
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | 3 Comments

Rusty’s view

Fall leaves, blackberries, and a mushroom. (Photo by Rusty)

Fall leaves, blackberries, and a mushroom. (Photo by Rusty)

Folks — quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of time and extra energy for a CSA newsletter tonight. I’m finishing up some BIG final details for our quarry hearing tomorrow evening (see note below!) and that has eaten up all of my creative and thoughtful energy until it is over! Instead, I thought I’d hand over my usual task to Rusty today. He took his first photo ever last weekend (Casey and I needed someone to take a picture of us in costume), and it was a fun experience. So, I thought that maybe today Rusty could take care of getting photos for the newsletter. Here they are — Rusty’s views of what is interesting on the farm today:

The blackberries are consuming the mower-conditioner that we need to sell now that we no longer make hay! (Photo by Rusty)

The blackberries are consuming the mower-conditioner that we need to sell now that we no longer make hay! (Photo by Rusty)

The hole in the walnut tree by the road. (Photo by Rusty)

The hole in the walnut tree by the road. (Photo by Rusty)

Sunflowers germinating in the kids' garden (as a result of the kids feeding the birds here!)

Sunflowers germinating in the kids’ garden (as a result of the kids feeding the birds here!)

Queen Anne's Lace (Photo by Rusty)

Queen Anne’s Lace (Photo by Rusty)

Rusty's maple tree is dressed for the season. Our "play shed" is a nice play for hanging out and swinging on cool/wet fall mornings too. (Photo by Rusty)

Rusty’s maple tree is dressed for the season. Our “play shed” is a nice play for hanging out and swinging on cool/wet fall mornings too. (Photo by Rusty)

How can anyone with a camera resist our giant walnut tree? So majestic! (Photo by Rusty)

How can anyone with a camera resist our giant walnut tree? So majestic! (Photo by Rusty)

And, for fun, the farmers on Halloween. (Photo by Rusty!)

And, for fun, the farmers on Halloween. (Photo by Rusty!)

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. In sad news, today we also stopped by Blue Goat restaurant in Amity to say good-bye. They’ve closed their doors after six years of cooking up some awesome food for the locals (made with so many good local ingredients too!). Thanks to Cassie and Dave for a wonderful partnership these last six years, as well as so many wonderful meals. We will miss their cozy dining room and tasty food so very much.

~ ~ ~

Quarry hearing tomorrow, Thursday, Nov 3 at 7 pm! The Yamhill County Planning Commission hearing is in Room 32 at the Yamhill County Courthouse, 535 E 5th St, McMinnville, Oregon. If you’d like to come and be a warm body in the room in support of Grand Island farmers, please join us! We would be so heartened by your presence.

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Brussels sprouts - these are loose (no stalk to wrangle home), and extra thoroughly washed to get little critters out!
  • Arugula/radicchio mix — Some flavorful greens for a fall salad mix!
  • Peppers
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Zucchini! — Yes, still!
  • Tomatoes! — Yes, still! Both of these crops just keep on going. They will be done eventually though.
  • Butternut squash
  • Collards/kale
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Potatoes

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Paying attention

Hey, look — it is most definitely fall! Now, how are we going to spend our time this season? Or, perhaps more important, how we will we allocate our attention?

Hey, look — it is most definitely fall! Now, how are we going to spend our time this season? Or, perhaps more important, how we will we allocate our attention?

So, at the outset, there’s some irony to me taking on this topic right now. Because, well, my attention is somewhat divided. Here I am on the computer, sitting at a picnic table at our beloved Grand Island pumpkin patch, while the kids play around on the big slides under cover. It’s a happy place to be on a rainy afternoon, when I need to get the newsletter written, and they need to work off some steam. But, it hardly makes for focus! (Not to mention the constant potential distraction here on my trusty computer — social media is always just a click away, and can I ignore it long enough to compose a newsletter! That is always a question!)

But, I want to at least bring this up, because for some reason it feels like an important fall topic. As we turn toward these darker, rainier months, it feels important to me to consider how I respond to all the shifts in my personal environment. As outdoor activities pull less on my physical body, do I let myself turn completely inward. Or, perhaps more to the point, do I let myself get pulled into the ethereal, endless, unreal world of the computer and like devices?

I think this is a big question for humanity right now. Perhaps The Question of our era. What are we paying attention to? And are we really paying attention to anything at all?

Does anybody else feel foggier, less focused, less present after time spent mindlessly scrolling? I, for sure, do. And, in contrast, I have always felt more attention shift and deepen from time spent outside. Colors become more saturated. I hear multiple layers of sound in the environment. My inner chatter eventually slows down.

I am sure that this is why I (and Casey too) gravitated toward a job that forces us outside every day. It’s not always physically comfortable work to do — especially in this season, when mud abounds and falling rain complicates even the simplest task. But there is this gift that comes from being outside — the gift of presence in the world. Of direct observation of so many fascinating parts of life that just aren’t shiny or loud or fast moving enough to be noticed if stuck in a post-screen, indoor-life fog.

In my ever-growing humility of experience, I no longer feel comfortable assuming that everyone responds the same ways to these kinds of things — that everyone walks away from a screen with a fog or comes in from a day of work tired but happily alert. Those are my experiences, and they have dictated the choices I make for myself and for our children, even though at times I feel like I am trying to hold back the tides as I carve out screen-free spaces and childhoods for all of us.

For the children, it’s actually relatively easy as a homeschooling family to simply set our boundaries and keep them (which for us means that the kids don’t use screens at home). But for me, an adult trying to live, communicate, and run a business in a 2016 world, forgoing screens just doesn’t seem like a realistic (or reasonable!) option at this point. So, I set boundaries for myself too — I use temporal and physical boundaries to keep myself from frittering away the day into fragments of lame entertainment and losing all my productive energy and focus. This can happen to me easily when at home with the kids, if I am not VERY intentional. So, I place limits, and then I pull up my big girl pants and work hard to keep them!

I had been pondering much of this after a friend recommended to me Reset Your Child’s Brain, a book about children but which I found familiar to my own experiences (both as a teenager and an adult). Then, just this month The Atlantic published an article about a Silicon Valley insider who claims that much of contemporary technologies are being intentionally designed to be addictive to users. “Oh!” I said to myself. It’s not that I am weak-willed! (Or any of us!) Social media websites are addictive! Intentionally so! Between the book and article, it has become clear to me that these technologies quite possibly affect us in [at times negative] ways that we may wrongly attribute to our selves rather than to our devices. It’s a potentially controversial notion, but an important one to consider. Does one’s mindless scrolling habit represent a weakness of will or can we instead see it as the 21st century equivalent to chain smoking? It sounds like some voices would strongly put mindless scrolling in the second category.

By bringing this up on our blog, I’m not really attempting to do anything with this questions but to just simply bring. them. up. It feels like it’s past time for us as a society to talk about the rapidly changing world of communication technologies — technologies that didn’t exist when I was a child but that are now mainstays in everyone’s homes (and pockets!). There are clearly so very many benefits — as a parent I love having a cell phone for safety and for coordinating plans with other parents when out and about. I am no luddite just wishing all technology would disappear (although I do love regular fasts from technologies when our family goes on trips!).

But I also think we need to move to a place of intentionality in how we use our time and our attention. What does it mean in 2016 to be present for a friend? To be present for our families? To bond with the people who matter to us? To set aside an uninterrupted hour or two to work on a creative project? How do we facilitate these things? For many people (myself included at times), the idea of uninterrupted time to create feels like an almost impossible proposition anymore!

Casey and I still both cling to our “old fashioned” cell phones — the kind that make calls and texts but don’t allow us to connect to anything more. These are distraction enough in our busy farm and kid-filled days. But I am trying to move more and more toward focused periods of time, where all I am doing is what I am doing — whether that is sitting to read with the kids, helping Casey harvest, or cooking lunch. Even just this fall, I feel like I have made some profound changes in this area (thanks to my self-imposed computer limits!). I feel like I am rediscovering parts of myself that were buried in a fog at times.

Moms, especially, can fall into the trap of being online a lot. And this is complicated topic, because of course in a post-village/ideal ’50s neighborhood world, online is how moms can connect with each other most easily today. (In fact, the current Orion magazine has a very thoughtful article in its current issue that attempts to untangle the complexities of the new mom experience and isolation and online temptations — I would include a link, but it’s not on the website yet!)

Like I said already, I don’t have answers. Mostly I have observations. Observations about myself — both today and in my past. Observations about my kids. Observations about what I see happening in lives around me. It’s not all bad. But could it be “better”? That’s a question to perhaps ponder these dark fall days in your own homes. As you chop vegetables for dinner, are you really there, chopping those vegetables? Can we only find that kind of presence when we’re in yoga class, or can we bring it home, bring it to our relationships, bring it to our endeavors of all kinds?

I really wonder … can we? I hope you will join me in this 21st century challenge.

And, of course, do so while enjoying this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. Yes, I’m happy to report that I resisted the urge to check social media or my email while writing this week’s newsletter! A minor victory for me!

~ ~ ~

Important Grand Island related hearing next week! A few weeks ago, I mentioned that there was a new chapter coming up in the very long work to keep a gravel quarry from the south end of Grand Island. Long time CSA members will remember that much of 2010 year was taken up with community organizing meetings, the reading of long application materials, and preparing to testify as a gravel quarry company applied to change the zoning on a 224-acre parcel from farmland to aggregate use. Eventually, Yamhill County did approve the zoning change, and in the intervening years things have been relatively quiet on the issue, as the gravel company has continued their slow permitting process with the state.

But this fall, things picked up again, as they put in their flood plain permit application to Yamhill County — another step of many for them. However, for us concerned Grand Island farmers and residents, it is another opportunity to speak out on a particularly important topic! Namely the possible affects of a large quarry on the south (i.e. upstream) end of the island!

So, here we are again, meeting after work hours to discuss a new set of paperwork (as well as digging through the old stuff). We’re getting prepared to present our thoughts on the matter at a public hearing before the Yamhill County Planning Commission next Thursday, November 3 at 7 pm. The hearing is in Room 32 at the Yamhill County Courthouse, 535 E 5th St, McMinnville, Oregon. I’m telling you about this now, because I know that some of you have watched the process closely over the years. If you’d like to come and be a warm body in the room in support of Grand Island farmers, please join us! We would be so heartened by your presence!

~ ~ ~

And, more important upcoming dates:

  • Thursday, November 17 — The final CSA pick-up for 2016!
  • Tuesday, November 22 — Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest! Place your order by end of Sunday, November 20. Pick up between 3-5 pm on Tuesday. (The list of items available for order will be in the final newsletter of the year)
  • Tuesday, December 20 — Christmas Holiday Harvest! Place your order by end of Sunday, December 18. Pick up between 3-5 pm on Tuesday. (I will email the list of available items the week beforehand.)
  • Thursday, February 16 — The first CSA pick-up of 2017! 2-7 pm at our storefront!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Brussels sprouts — Ok, they are here this week! (Sorry to have tempted you prematurely last week!) They are on the stalk still (for our ease of harvested and delivery). To prepare, begin by “popping” them off with your thumb and then prep as you would any Brussels sprouts!
  • Delicata squash — We also have pie pumpkins and spaghetti squash to choose from as well! At this weekend’s open house we had a fun winter squash tasting, with cooked samples of all our types available for trying in one sitting! It was super fun to see them all side-by-side and compare the different textures/flavors. They differ widely from type to type! (That’s on purpose, of course. We figure that if we’re going to grow several different kinds of squash, then they should be different!)
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peppers
  • Chard
  • Kale & collards
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes — Both red and yellow this week
  • Garlic

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Fall’s challenges (and opportunities)

The first big gust of Saturday's wind storm split the plastic on our oldest high tunnel right in half! Casey pulled the two pieces down and secured them safely so they wouldn't damage the structure in the wind. Time for new poly!

The first big gust of Saturday’s wind storm split the plastic on our oldest high tunnel right in half! Casey pulled the two pieces down and secured them safely so they wouldn’t damage the structure in the wind. Time for new poly!

If any of us had any doubt that summer is over and fall is here, this last week has confirmed this fact. We’ve already broken records for October rainfall (with a week and a half left in the month), and the scene outside has been dark, wet, and dreary. To me, this weather speaks more strongly of late November than mid-October (which has a way of being delightful crispy and sunny … just maybe not this year).

I have to admit to not being quite ready for this level of fall just yet. While the farm weathered Saturday’s storm with only minimal damage (the older plastic ripped off a high tunnel in a big wind gust), us people have perhaps been more shaken up by the continuous feeling of darkness and dampness outside. We may be proud native Northwesterners, but apparently that doesn’t make us immune to being affected by Very Gray Days (too many in a row anyway). From my vantage point today, fall and winter are looking very loooooong, but I know that this weather will be punctuated (perhaps regularly) by the brilliant crystal sunshine that keeps all of us living in this region anyway.

Mushrooms!

Mushrooms!

But, the season brings so many gifts amidst the rain. In fact, the rain is itself a gift and we sing to welcome it in our house. This Sunday, during a break from the bigger wind and rain, we went for a walk in the woods, knowing that we might find even another gift of the rain. And, we did … mushrooms! We brought home a bag full of Bear’s Head conifer mushrooms, which are the ones we find most consistently in our neighborhood. They are such a uniquely beautiful creation of nature — like a frozen white crystal waterfall. But edible! We joyfully brought home our harvest, which we put to use immediately by making cream of mushroom (and celery root!) soup. We dried the rest and traded some with a friend for chanterelle mushrooms that she harvested that same day (which we then ate with our Monday night dinner).

And, of course, the other big gift of the season is the imminent downshifting of our work load. We’re not there yet — fall harvests are still afoot — but it’s in sight. To be honest, we love our work. We would not want to press the “pause” button on our work for too long! But, as a seasonal rhythm, we do welcome the shortening days and the opportunity to turn our attention to different parts of our life and selves. To enjoy a bit more introspection and thoughtful reflection on our choices and place in the world. These processes aren’t always easy, but they are an important part of engaging in the restoration that comes over the winter into early spring. There are also so many holidays that bring their own energy (and their own opportunities to reconnect with our priorities — and with people!). To me, engaging in this more intense kind of reflection and rest is the important “work” of this season. It’s a kind of soul “house cleaning,” and as such it is work, and it is also necessary and gratifying when it is complete.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves! We still have five delicious weeks left in this year’s CSA season, AND a fun open house coming up this weekend (see more info and directions below!). Join us!

And, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. A reminder that we’ve begun CSA sign-ups for 2017! You can find the details and sign up here right now! Or sign up at pick-up!

~ ~ ~

Fall pumpkin patch open house! Join us between this coming Sunday (October 23), between 2-4 pm! We will have pumpkins for you (we do have a few ripe jack-o-lantern pumpkins and lots of pie pumpkins!), snacks, and trees to plant in our soon-to-be mini forest! Dress to be outside and possibly tromping through a bit of mud!

Directions to the farm: From HWY-18, take the Dayton exit. Drive straight through Dayton and head south on Wallace Rd/HWY-221 for about seven miles. Turn LEFT onto Grand Island Rd. After the bridge, turn RIGHT at the first intersection, onto SE Upper Island Rd. Our driveway is the first on your LEFT. We’ll gather on our covered porch behind our house, which is the 2-story brown one to the back-right. If you get lost or have questions, call me at 503-474-7661.

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Brussels sprouts — Some new fall flavors in this week’s share, including beloved Brussels sprouts!
  • Spaghetti squash — I can’t get enough of this year’s spaghetti squash. It’s a different variety from last year (both are named simply “spaghetti squash,” but the strains are from different suppliers). It’s easy to cut in half and bakes up fast. Even the individual squashes that don’t as strongly yellow cook up great and have fabulous mildly sweet flavor. We rarely deviate from our favorite cooking method, which is to cut in half length wise, drizzle liberally with olive oil and salt, and bake cut side up on a bake at 375-400° until cooked all the way through. Then we use a fork to pull out the “noodles” to eat as a side dish or the base for another dish!
  • Cauliflower/broccoli/kohlrabi
  • Red savoy cabbage – This one is red-tinged and beautiful!
  • Tomatoes — We may be saying good-bye soon to tomatoes and peppers for the year, but they’re still hanging on a little longer. It’s hard to believe that summer is really (really!) over already, but it’s true. Time to hunker down and fall back in love with all of those delicious fall and winter veggies.
  • Sweet peppers
  • Kale & collard greens
  • Chard
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Beef organs/bones — $6/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
  • EggsVery limited supply!
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment