Here we are, at the beginning of our 15th season. We’ve made it through one and a half decades already, cultivating this soil, feeding our community. And yet, here we are facing a season with more bewildering unknowns than any we’ve faced before.
Also, as the entire world experiences a shared profound disruption to life and business as we know it, we feel more committed to growing food than ever before. The concept of local food security has taken on new levels of relevancy and urgency for many people, demonstrated by the recent increased interest in our CSA (and we’re hearing the same from other local farmers and producers).
We feel fortunate that as the economy stands still, our work is still needed and still seems safe to do. However, it also feels like a great responsibility to be operating during a time when staying home is the safest choice for all. The kids and I have been staying on the farm since March 12, and Casey has limited his exposure to others, only attending mandatory meetings (with physical distance between participants) and doing the necessary runs for provisions. We have one friend coming to help us weed once/week, and otherwise we are the only ones on the farm handling bins and vegetables — which is minimal anyway. We are doing our best to keep ourselves healthy so that we can provide a long season of fresh, organic fruits and vegetables for you.
This week, my top priority is helping everyone get on board with our temporary, new system, which I detailed in a recent newsletter. As a recap, we want to minimize interactions during pick-up, so we’re asking people to place their order ahead of time. We’ll email you the newsletter Monday night, and we ask that you place your orders THROUGH THE WEBSITE by the end of Tuesday. Then we’ll harvest Wednesday and bring to the storefront on Thursday (open hours are 3 to 6 pm). We will pack bags and BRING THEM OUT TO YOUR CAR. No one besides Casey will be allowed into the storefront during pick-up. We also ask that people maintain a minimum of six feet distance from us and any other CSA members when they come to pick up their veggies. It is imperative that we slow the spread of Covid-19 in our community, and we thank you for your cooperation.
Another advantage of this system is that it will help us be more efficient with our time and vegetable supply during this tumultuous season by only harvesting what has been ordered. Generally, we have extra after CSA pick-up, which often goes to good use (we eat or take to food bank), but right now it feels important to be careful with our supply, especially with increased demand during a time which is always the tightest time of the year (early spring).
All that to say, IF YOU WANT VEGETABLES, YOU NEED TO PLACE AN ORDER ON TIME! We know this requires you to do more homework than normal, and trust me we will be happy to go back to the traditional method eventually too. But for now, we thank you for your cooperation in making this system work. Also, putting in a vegetable order seems like a much more positive use of time than endlessly scrolling bad news on Facebook (which I have been guilty of doing during this quarantine time!).
A friend of mine recently described this period as “time outside of time,” which seems like the best description I’ve heard yet. With the vast majority of life on pause, we are all collectively waiting — reinventing our lives in a new, smaller, more confined reality. This too will pass, but it may last longer than we’d like, and the world will not be the same on the other side. There will be losses; we just don’t know what yet.
In this time outside of time, we hope that your weekly fresh vegetables from our farm help you stay connected to the larger world, to the soil, to the seasons — all of which are still here, still sustaining us. Our focus will on that feeling of sustenance this year, keeping our focus on growing for sustenance. We may not experiment quite as much as in prior years, sticking instead to varieties of vegetables that we know thrive on our farm — and plenty of them. We’re not going to try and ‘wow’ anyone this year, but instead be like the earth — a solid, grounding, reliable foundation for our community as we walk this new, unknown path together.
And, more than ever, thank you for the work you do in our community. Thank you to everyone who is on the front line: health workers, grocery clerks, first responders, mechanics … But everyone plays a role, even if it is a quiet, behind-the-scenes one. It has become clear to me amidst this pandemic that we need each other to be healthy and well. We truly are connected, just as the earth has been telling us since we were born. We see it now clearly: the air I breathe is the air you breathe. Thank you to everyone for doing your part right now: Staying home. Staying connected with loved ones in safe ways. Sewing masks. Checking in with neighbors. Praying.
Now, time to get this season started! Your first order form is below. Please let me know if you have any questions about how any of this works! You can call me (503-474-7661) or email ( farm (at) oakhillorganics (dot) com ). If you haven’t made your first payment yet, you can bring a check to pick-up or use a card to pay via PayPal (go to paypal.me/oakhillorganics where you can pay with any credit card). Casey will be available to answer questions (briefly and at a distance) at pick-up, 3 to 6 this Thursday.
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
Enjoy this week’s vegetables!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla