End of an era

Found in the forest this weekend: golden fall sunlight shining through golden fall leaves

This last week’s election marked the end of an era that was hard for many in our country (hoorah!), but today’s newsletter focus is more personal. This week is the final week of our 2020 CSA season, and it is also the final week of our CSA, period.

After fifteen wonderful, life-giving, challenging, growth-filled seasons of operating our farm’s Community Supported Agriculture program, we are moving on.

I intentionally didn’t write “we are ready to move on,” because I’m not entirely sure that would be true. While we’ve been pondering the possibility of this decision for two years, we still don’t feel entirely ‘ready’ to be done with a positive project that has defined our life for the bulk of our adulthood. The CSA has connected us to our community, sustained our family, and fed us spiritually and physically.

If we only focused on what the CSA has been to us, I’m not sure we’d ever be ‘ready’ to be done. But as we both enter mid-life, we have been realizing more and more that a good life can (and probably should) have more than one Big Adventure, more than one Defining Story or Experience. Operating a CSA is a fulfilling — and very consuming — endeavor, and over the last 15 years, there have been a lot of other projects and pursuits put on the back-burner for ‘someday’ because our full, busy CSA-farm life didn’t have room.

Also, as cliché as this has become in explanations for moving on from big responsibilities, Casey and I both want to spend more time with our family, with each other and with our children. Balancing Casey’s role as County Commissioner with our two main farm endeavors (CSA and micro-scale cannabis) and homeschooling the kids fills our ‘to do’ lists way beyond what is sustainable. This year especially we’ve become keenly aware that we have no real ‘weekends’ (as we usually do a lot of farming work then), and what free time we carve out to do fun things often feels like it ends up cutting into work that should be done on the farm or elsewhere.

Our children are 8 and 10 now, and these are such golden years of their childhood when they still want to spend time with us — and because of the pandemic, we their parents have become their primary companions too. We want to carve out more space in our life for leisurely days together, multi-night river camping trips, mountain bike rides, backpacking, working on crafts together, playing board games, and more. We already do some of these things, but always with a sense of being rushed. Can we live without that feeling of being rushed through each experience? Maybe that’s an impossible goal, but we want to give it a try by having less on our plates. We’re ready for a different pace of life.

To be clear, we still plan to farm! We will continue to grow a large garden for ourselves (and are genuinely giddy about the idea of planning our own garden full of things we love best — and lots of flowers), and Casey and Rusty are already making plans for further experimental crops (organic hazelnuts are something they’d like to try!). But we need to step back from this particular farming venture to make room for all these other potential future adventures.

There are other piddly, analytic, business-y reasons why this timing feels reasonable (I’m not sure it will ever feel ‘right’), but I’m not sure they’re significant or interesting enough to others to list out here. But suffice to say, over the last two years, Casey and I have definitely hashed this decision out over and over again.

We were 25 and 26 when we put our first seeds into the ground — so young. Operating this CSA has fundamentally shaped who we are and has grown us into adults. I wish I could write a dozen more newsletters wrapping up these years of our life, but then I realize that I’ve already written 613 CSA newsletters over the course of these fifteen seasons. The growth is well documented, to say the least!

In fact, one of the projects that I have put on the back-burner all this time is figuring out what in all those essays is worth pulling out for something that some people would call a ‘book.’ Word-count wise, I’ve written many books, but of course a book isn’t just a bunch of words. I look forward to having time to search for the cohesion and the message of these last fifteen years plus more (and honestly it’s also daunting and scary to give myself space to write and edit more!). And, as you know, Casey is already two years into his next big adventure as Yamhill County Commissioner, which is a project that certainly meets Casey’s inner needs for constant challenge paired with positive action in the world!

What more is there to say? So much. But it will have to find new outlets as this era is coming to a close.

But, of course, as always, the most important thing to close with is: THANK YOU. I mean, I think if all else fails, those are the words that are always in my heart — for you, for this land, for our wider community, for life. These last fifteen years of farm adventures and delicious food and fun parties (including the constant party at pick-up) have all been possible because of you. We’ve had a blast, and it has been our honor to feed you and your families.

With endless gratitude, we hope you enjoy this week’s final batch of CSA vegetables.

Forever your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. We are still planning on hosting our two Holiday Harvests! Dates below …

  • Final CSA pick-up ~ Thursday, Nov. 12 (place orders by Tuesday as usual) <– that’s this week!
  • Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest ~ Tuesday, Nov. 24, 3-5 pm (place orders by Sunday evening before)
  • Winter Holiday Harvest ~ Friday, Dec. 18, 3-5 pm (place orders by Wednesday evening before)

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

Place your order:

Please select the vegetable items you'd like to receive this week, to total to your share size. If you order 2 (or 3) of something, it counts as 2 (or 3) items. Some items are limited, as marked.
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