Meet this week’s Mac veggies:
- Arugula — Tender young arugula from our fall planting. If you are unfamiliar with arugula, it is a fresh eating green that makes a great salad base but is also delicious added to sandwiches or tossed with pasta. It has a bit of spice (fairly mild in this planting though) and goes well with Italian flavors.
- Kale — Another fall flavor — kale! We are trialing numerous types of kale this year, so depending on which bunch you receive, you could have a brand new kale to eat! (At least, new to us.) We have been enjoying sautéing kale with onions to eat with eggs at breakfast.
- Sweet peppers — Even though we tend to think of peppers as summer food (along with tomatoes), in our fields they always last well into fall, outlasting the tomatoes by a large margin. So, enjoy these! If you have too many, cut out the seeds, chop and freeze for later! (No need to blanche!)
- Cherry tomatoes
- Summer squash
- Carrots — We assume no one is tiring of carrots yet! I hope not, because they are a staple in our fall and winter garden!
- Beets — For me, beets are a classic fall flavor. Our “go to” method is to chop small and roast until crispy. Yum.
This has been a big two weeks on the farm and in the extended community. The most significant shift has been the sudden arrival of fall — it is as though the world was watching the calendar, because just a short while past the equinox, everything started changing: the geese are back on the island, singing their wild songs; leaves are changing; days are darker; the rain has returned
… It’s amazing how the world can feel fundamentally different one day to the next.
The farm crew was also extra busy, trying to beat the rain in our latest priority — disking and sowing a cover crop on the new acreage next door (74 acres total that we had to work up and drill to clover and oats! That’s a lot of land!). Except for during CSA harvests, someone has been on the tractor at all times, making this happen. Casey put in over-time the last two weekends, diligently driving the tractor as fast as he felt comfortable.
Finally, late Saturday afternoon, he finished — just as the rain started to fall on 5,000 pounds of newly sown seeds and the ground. He came back into the house tired but satisfied that we managed to “handle” this greatly expanded acreage. This is really the only time ever that we will have to work all of it at once — we will soon start mapping out individual smaller fields from the big ones and manage them independently of each other. But, it’s good to know that when we need to, we actually can use our “small” tractor (only compared to the big ones around here) to work up all that ground!!!!
Hopefully this acreage next door was the last really urgent big push of the year (although I’m sure there will be some smaller ones when we have dry spells or forecasts of frosts or winter storms).
The pattern and feel of our life is slowing down, forced by the shorter days. It’s amazing how much less light in the day we have for working — Casey is no longer outside at 5:30 am moving irrigation (although he did run the tractor by lights before dawn a few times recently). Now, he’s more likely to get up early and sit with his coffee and notebook, making lists of vegetables to harvest for winter storage.
While we love and welcome fall’s arrival for what it brings to our individual family (more time to dance in the dining room after dinner!), it seems this fall has also arrived with some great sadness in our wider community. Within just a few days of each other, two fine individuals on the periphery of our life passed away after long illnesses. Our hearts have been hurting for their loved ones.
We also received disappointing news on the island gravel quarry front: last week, the Oregon Land Use Board of Appeals sided with Yamhill County in their decision to approve the large pending quarry on the south end of the island. This isn’t the end of the fight, by any means — there are many more possible steps we can take — but it was disappointing and will require all of us to spend more of our time, energy and money to continue protecting Grand Island. We have so much to lose if this quarry is approved that our perseverance doesn’t waver, but I think all of us on the island felt a little bit less enthusiastic last week after hearing the news. (To find out how to help us continue the legal battle, visit our website: www.ProtectGrandIsland.com).
And, just to add to the mood, everyone on the farm seemed to have a minor illness over the last week. Very minor one or two-day colds mostly — nothing yucky enough to skew our perspective about the bigger things, but nonetheless tiring.
So, there are have been opportunities for rejoicing and for grieving or being somber recently — so fitting with the gray wet view out my window right now.
But, as Casey pointed out yesterday, this is such an incredibly rich and abundant time of year. It is even so simple as looking at the windowsill in our kitchen, where currently sits: pears ripening, a large orange winter squash, cups of tomato seed fermenting, and fresh farm eggs.
And, the fields, even though they are starting to turn from green to brown as summer annual plants begin their descent back into the ground, are just brimming with more food for us to harvest: grain corn, winter squash, cabbages, potatoes, sweet potatoes. Plus, there are the over-wintering crops that are still in their growth stage, filling other sections of the field with robust cauliflower plants and rows of bright green arugula.
There is always some richness in the world to keep us going, and this season is perhaps the richest of all. Spring is full of potential; summer full of vibrant growth; but fall is the payday, when we literally reap our rewards from hard work all year long.
Soon, you’ll even start seeing the shift in the weather in your shares. There’s always a minor lag between what we humans experience and how that translates into what we harvest. For now, savor the lingering taste of summer in your shares! Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Pumpkin Patch Open House
Sunday, October 23, 3-5 pm
Join us for our final open house of 2011 — it’s going to be a great one with lots of fun activities planned: live music from the Davis St String Band, a potato tasting, pumpkin picking, and cider to drink! More info in upcoming newsletters!