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.



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!

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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.

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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!
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