Planning … again & again

(CSA Newsletter: Week 16)

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Lettuce — This week’s lettuce is a “Blushed Butter Cos” — one of the prettiest spring lettuces. It’s related to a butter lettuce, so look for the beautiful blanched yellow heart inside!
  • Salad mix — This salad mix is half lettuce and half spinach! The spring spinach is tender and delicious!
  • Cooking greens mix — This week’s cooking greens mix features much of the same elements as last week (but we were more careful to only pick the most tender and new leaves), along with lots of chard and cauliflower! You might be asking: “Cauliflower in cooking greens mix?” Yes. Lately Casey has been sautéing cauliflower with our morning greens, and he thought you’d enjoy that treat too!
  • Radishes OR Turnips OR Kohlrabi — Your choice between these three spring vegetables. All three are great served as a side or chopped onto a fresh salad. We recommend eating all of these vegetables raw. They are all sweet as can be!
  • Parsnips — The last of the winter’s parsnips! Celebrate by cooking your favorite parsnip recipe (roasted? soup? fried?).
  • Onions — These are also the last of the stored onions! Yes, the transition to new crops is almost complete …
  • Green garlic
  • Well, we had a brief nice dry warm window there. Thanks to Casey’s diligence and long work hours, we managed to get a lot of things planted (although not everything that needs to go out in May). And, now, it’s … March again? Or, maybe November? The weather has been extra cool and wet.

    We’ve been hearing reports from other farmers that they don’t think they’ll get to market until July. A chef told us that the Portland markets are unusually empty of the good spring stuff.

    So, what do we do when the weather turns cold in the spring? Weed. Weed. Weed.

    And, also, think about the future and planning.

    It’s funny to reflect on our initial months and years here on the farm. We did quite a lot of planning and envisioning then, and at the time we thought, “This is it! We have the long-term plan for our life on the farm!”

    Except that of course, it changed almost immediately. The farm and the farm plans have constantly evolved in response to all kinds of factors — successes, failures, frustrations, hopes, dreams, babies …

    Just as one example, when we built our current house we built a work space into the first floor and living space upstairs. At the time, we thought that the 24 x 24 space below would be adequate for storing our tractor and most of everything we need for the farm.

    Um … no. Not even close. In fact, I don’t think we put the tractor down there even once, because it’s quite a tight fit for our behemoth tractor.

    Instead, we’ve used that space for extended living space (laundry, personal storage, freezer), winter crop storage (winter squash, onions, garlic), field vehicle parking, bin storage, and the occasional dance party location (yes, really). We’ve built other spaces for storing the tractor and washing vegetables: greenhouses, pole barns, shed roofs …

    Fortunately, in all this shifting around of vision, we find that everything we’ve done fits our purposes, even if its not the purpose we originally intended. The very first shed we built for storing our tractor (a shabby little shed roof thingy that definitely wasn’t big enough for our tractor) is now where we store our winter fire wood, irrigation equipment, field tools and our sowing bench. These things work out. Spaces get used.

    But they also have to be adapted too. Now that we have a baby, we are considering our living space in that manner. We mentioned in the newsletter a few weeks ago that we’d be moving next-door into the big farmhouse. For various reasons, we don’t think we’re going to do that anymore. We love the little house we built and are happy to stay here a little while longer.

    Eventually, however, we will need more space for our family. To that end, we’re eyeing the downstairs work area for remodeling into living space. Which would of course require finding new spaces for all the functions it currently serves (I mean, where would we have our dance parties then? This is important!). So, now we’re also drawing maps of new possible wash station locations and plans for temperature controlled onion storage in our pole barn.

    If I knew we’d be redoing things so frequently when we started this, I might have balked at that thought. It seems like so much effort and thought work each time, so I always hope it’s the last. But after a few years of planning and changing, I think that we’ve sort of grown into the process. And, there’s no question that it’s better for us and the farm to make changes when necessary rather than stubbornly hold onto our original ideas. Evolution!

    Hopefully we’ll get some good conversations and planning done in the next few days, even though we won’t be able to start implementing many of the changes until late summer or fall. And, hopefully, our planning will be cut off by a significant shift in the weather! Once that sun comes back out, we won’t have the time or energy to think so hard, because we’ll be back at the work of farming!

    Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

    Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

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