What’s on our minds

What’s on our mind this week? A smattering of random things … summer plans for all (swimming lessons, mornings at the river, day camps, hikes) … all the plants that we need to transplant in the coming week (onions! summer annuals!) … addition math facts … spring cleaning … continued gratitude for our place and our work …

Like many people, we’re also keeping one eye and ear tuned in to what’s happening on the federal level right now. Although we are managing to maintain peace here in our home and our hearts, I do think that we are living through what will go down in history as a period of profound turmoil for our country. Tonight, more breaking news that may or may not prove to be very significant. It would probably be more interesting to watch if we knew the end to the story already, but as it is the news coming from Washington can be unsettling.

Over the months since the election, Casey and I have sought to better understand many aspects of our nation’s current state and history (as well as other historical conflicts and shifts around the world). So, in that part of our mind, there’s a lot more that we’re thinking and wondering about too … the history of racism in Oregon, for example (which is a history that we now realize complicates any simple romantic narrative about our back-to-the-land impulse) … the political histories of many other countries and the outcomes of different kinds of dissent … how to better engage in fruitful, loving conversation with people who are different than us (I am currently reading this book thanks to a CSA member’s recommendation) … what we can do to make a difference as we personally witness increases in homelessness … what the future of healthcare will look like for us and our children … how our faith informs our understanding of all of these things …

I don’t think we are alone in wrestling with these bigger questions these days. It does not feel like a time when anyone can just sit back and ignore the challenges facing us, both here locally, nationally and internationally. Casual conversations seem to quickly and easily move to Big Topics these days. We went camping on Sunday night with our homeschooling co-op friends, and the adults spent most of the time gathered around the fire, deep in discussion about these things and more. We enjoyed plenty of laughter amidst all the seriousness, and the children roamed the woods looking for cougars (that weren’t there!), built “sanctuaries” for snails, played UNO, threw sticks into the fire, and joined us for meals and a hike. I don’t know that we adults came up with any novel solutions that will Fix All The Things, but I do know that it felt good to engage in that deep space with other thoughtful, diverse adults — to know that we are not alone in observing and pondering these challenges right now. Being in the woods helped, of course, too. Being in the woods always helps everything. (That’s a piece of advice, my friends. If you need help with anything, try visiting the woods for a spell.)

Now we are back and going back and forth between these two sets of mental lists — the immediate, mundane, agricultural and familial daily existence; and the more profound wrestling with the Big Questions. It’s not always easy. Emotional and mental “wrestling” can, by its very nature, be painful, and we have been learning so many hard things about our country. But we feel buoyed by our community, each other, our faith, our family. I, for one, feel like I am in a refining fire of sorts as I increase my own awareness of so many things.

It is a time to take care of ourselves too. Given how frequently these conversations come up, I do think that many people are wrestling with Big Thoughts. Remember to step back. To visit the woods (there I go again with this advice! Seriously — go to the woods!). To eat well. To laugh with children. To look forward to summer and swimming at the river. These are the things that we do all the wrestling for. Be sure to enjoy them every day.

And, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Sugar snap peas — The first of the year! Woo hoooooooo! Thankfully we already decided several years ago that we like growing sugar snap peas in our high tunnels. It took us years to get to that point, because we really felt like they are a crop that should be grown outside for some reason. I think we thought this because they do grow in cool weather. But it is always tricky getting the ground prep done early enough for planting them in order to take advantage of that early cool growing weather. Inevitably, when we’d grow them outside, they’d go in late enough that they’d be ready more in early summer than late spring, sometimes even bumping up against our green bean harvests (because beans are faster to produce!). That always felt silly, like we were missing out on peas in the season we most want them, so we committed space for them in our high tunnels, where they have performed beautifully the last two years. And this is a year when we are as grateful as ever, because even with growing in a high tunnel our harvests are fully a month behind last year’s! But, it has begun, and it will continue. The pea trellises are loaded with blooms and immature peas. This week’s share represents just the very first harvest, and as always that means it is LIMITED!!!!!!! This is so that everyone can have a taste of these first fruits!
  • Strawberries — Likewise, we now grow strawberries exclusively in our high tunnels (for all the same reasons — these earlier season crops just really benefit from all the high tunnels have to offer). And, likewise, this week’s offering is the first of the first and therefore LIMITED!!!! We want everyone to enjoy strawberries this week. Oh, and if you’re wondering, YES they are Hoods! Only the best for our CSA!
  • Carrots — More carrots! Because we want this first planting to go as far as possible, these are also LIMITED this week! Yes, this is the season for limited veggies. Thank you for rolling with this seasonal phenomenon — we are at what we call the “pinch point” in the season, when the over-wintered and storage crops are running out and the spring-planted crops are just beginning. It happens every year, often in May. These are weeks when we are often giddy just to have vegetables and fruits to fill our shares!!! A farmer friend of ours who also runs a year-round CSA actually takes May completely off in order to avoid the pinch point (also it gives her more time for the May planting push). We’ve never felt that was necessary for us, but we always appreciate how our CSA members have learned to really savor the food we have available in this season, which is so different in tone than later months.
  • Lettuce — Also LIMITED still this week! All the same reasons apply as with the carrots! We want everyone to be able to take home some of these items!
  • Kale
  • Stir fry mix — This will be a mix of several yummy greens from our greenhouses suitable for quick cooking: kale rapini, bok choy, mizuna (another Asian green), and mustard greens. Would be delicious cooked with green garlic, a little ginger, sesame oil, and a splash of soy sauce! Serve over rice! (Or do something else delicious — that was just one idea of complementary flavors. And, speaking of complementary flavors, check out this very cool website’s graphic charts of ideas for pairing foods, including all kinds of vegetables.)
  • Cabbage
  • Sunchokes
  • Green garlic
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