A sabbatical of sorts

Beautiful recent snowy morning on the farm!

Hello, farm friends! We miiiiisssssssssss you! We are now halfway through February and still enjoying our “winter break” — the longest we’ve taken from the CSA since 2007 when we were building our house! I’ll be honest: it’s felt … strange (and even disorienting in some ways) to be missing the regular weekly rhythm of harvesting and delivering seasonal produce to our community. Over the last 13 seasons that rhythm has become such an integral part of our life, and we are excited to jump back into that on April 11 as we begin our 14th CSA season.

But, at the same time, this break has been healthy for us and for our family too. The farm is such a year-round endeavor for us that it’s been positive to step back and breathe and take a long look at this farm project we’ve built over a decade. Even though Casey’s new position as Yamhill County Commissioner is what spurred this sabbatical, it’s been important for our relationship with the farm too. It’s also given us time to catch up on some “life stuff” that just never seemed to find its way into a life full of farm rhythms, including re-thinking how we set up our office (paperwork is also a part of farming!). We’ve also had time to get Casey adjusted to his new role and start planning how I (Katie) will step into a bigger management role on the farm again, which inevitably involves rethinking some of how we approach homeschooling the kids. This stage of life feels a little like one of those puzzles where you can only move one piece at a time, and so having a break from the CSA rhythm has given us more time to move those pieces, one. at. a. time.

Pea shoots! They’re now much bigger and growing in the greenhouse.

Along the way, we’ve also been doing the usual winter work: cleaning up our greenhouses, sowing seeds, pruning the orchards, working on winter paperwork (taxes, organic certification forms, etc.), transplanting into the greenhouses, beginning ground prep in the fields. We also celebrated the holidays, learned to play lots of new games (Dottie is a big fan!), played in the small amount of snow we’ve had down here in the flats, played outside as much as possible (the kids have dug a pit fort at the edge of our field), visited with lots of friends, and more. Actually, there’s one thing this winter hasn’t been much of, and that’s a rest. I imagine there are many ways to use a sabbatical — to rest deeply or to put energy into something that’s different than one’s normal job responsibilities. I’d say this “break” has fallen much more into the second category than the first. In many ways, settling back into farm rhythms will probably feel restful and familiar after months of working on the random projects of life and work.

Ordering seeds for the kids’ garden!

We still have almost two months before that begins, which will give us time to continue this work we are doing (as well as time for all those transplants to grow to maturity!). The sabbatical to do list continues! But we wanted to take a pause and check in with you all — our connection to you, our eaters, feels like a critical part of this whole endeavor. We look forward to more face-to-face time (and eating time for you!) soon! In the meantime, a few CSA business-y bits I want to share:

  1. Yes, we still have room in our 2019 CSA! Aside from the later start, it will be the same successful model we’ve operated for years and years. You can find out lots more info here.
  2. First CSA payments are due by our first pick-up on April 11, but if it works for you to mail your payment to us earlier that would be appreciated! This time of year has a lot of costs: certification fees, seeds, soil amendments, advertising expenses. So, our little sabbatical is putting a bit of a temporary crunch of farm finances in a way that most years don’t! So, thank you if it works for you to mail us a check! Payments can be sent to Oakhill Organics, P.O. Box 1698, McMinnville OR 97128
  3. We’ve slightly lengthened the pick-up window time for 2019 to better accommodate some schedules (particularly those of parents picking kids up from school) — we’re going to be open 3:00-6:30.
  4. Also, if you want to keep up with the farm beyond just these farm newsletters, I’ve been posting occasional photos and small bits of news on Instagram and Facebook! If you enjoy using those social media platforms, please follow us! @oakhillorganics and facebook.com/oakhillorganics

We hope that you too are having a fruitful winter and enjoying the magic of a season that brings the opportunities of darkness and inside time. Spring is just around the corner and already starting to show up in daffodil shoots and pushing buds!

Thinking of you all! Doing work on your behalf too … always!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

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