What is summer without vacations? I know that many people have had trips cancelled this summer. I know we have cancelled many ourselves, including a planned week-long trip of my own to a choir festival in Minneapolis that was supposed to happen last week. Travel far from home isn’t feeling like a wise or safe choice at this point, with outbreaks of Covid increasing almost everywhere.
However, I know that many people are still getting away, albeit in different forms than expected. Much closer to home, in some cases. More primitively in others (i.e. primitive camping). Less frequently. Shorter stays. Accommodations all around, but still some attempt to get that summer feel of “ahhhhhhh, we’re away.”
As farmers, summer has never been peak travel time for us anyway. On the occasions when we’ve left the farm for a week-long trip, it’s been in the winter months when the farm work is less urgent. However, like many people in the Willamette Valley, we usually take advantage of the incredible proximity of both the beach and the mountains for day trips or quick weekend get-aways. How lucky are we to live so close to both of these glorious places?
Since Casey grew up at the beach in Lincoln City, we head most often to the west, to visit the ocean and his family at the same time. Our kids have grown up associating Christmas gatherings with cold-weather beach play with cousins, which is just about the next best thing to Christmas snow (but a lot less inconvenient for driving). But we also try to make it into the Cascades at least once or twice a year too.
It’s pained us this year to think of not touching base with these special places. We love this river valley we call home (and the river itself), but part of what makes Oregon amazing is all the different places and biomes in one state: coastlines, coast ranges, river valleys, mountains, and even multiple kinds of deserts!!!! Each place featuring its own unique flora and fauna and geology. It’s a naturalist’s dream.
But we did make it to the beach today. Casey has been over a few times in the last week to help his parents a bit — supporting family when help is needed is more complicated during a pandemic, but it’s important all the same. Today the kids and I joined him for a very brief visit. The beach was as amazing as ever. We saw pelicans and seals and jellyfish. The kids collected treasures and shells. We took deep breaths and walked barefoot in the sand. We sat and soaked in the sun. (Why does it feel so different on the beach than in the valley?) It’s astounding what even a quick half-day trip to a totally different place can do for resetting our perspective, helping us remember the world is bigger than our immediate daily surroundings.
It helps when the place we travel to is drop-dead gorgeous.
I know most of us have been staying close to home. That’s good. But if you need a reminder: Oregon is glorious. May we all remember how fortunate we are to live in this abundant, beautiful place. And may our gratitude increase our dedication to tending this landscape with care and in building a sense of unity among its people as we continue to build a better world for ourselves, our children, and all the living things that share our home.
I hope that you have been finding safe ways to connect with far-flung family and beloved places so that you too can appreciate the beautiful “reset” experience that is often an important part of summer.
Enjoy this week’s summer vegetables too!
Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla
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Important note about the traffic flow at pick-up: At the beginning of the season, when we were very much in the thick of the intense Covid shut-downs, we suggested that people drive up to the storefront and we would put bags of vegetables in cars. However, as downtown has picked up business again, the parking lot is not nearly the quiet place it was in April and May.
Since we share this public parking lot with many other businesses, I’m not sure it makes sense anymore to expect that everyone will be able to pull up and wait in front of the storefront for veggies. If there are no other cars present, this might be reasonable to do, but if we tell you we need to fill your order quickly or if there is already one car lined up, it’s probably a safer idea for you to find a parking spot and walk to the storefront. We can hand you your bag from a distance or place it on the bench for you to pick up.
We’d like to avoid creating parking lot traffic jams! Thank you for your flexibility and awareness of how the space has changed and is being used by many people again!
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Meet this week’s vegetables: New this week: beets and fennel bulbs!