Welcome!

Welcome to our farm’s blog and website! Oakhill Organics is a family-run farm located on Grand Island. We grow everything we sell right here on our 100+ acres, and everything that we grow is sold directly to customers here in Yamhill County! You can find out more information about what and how we grow by following the links above; or, scroll down to read our latest farm newsletter on our blog!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla & the whole Oakhill family

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Sign up for 2015! + Holiday Harvest order reminder

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday morning farm news for all you fine folks:

Have you signed up for our 2015 CSA yet? I’ve got a fun new development in this area: You can now sign up on our website! Pop over to this form and take three minutes to fill it out. Boom, you’re done! I’ll get you in the system and send you the usual confirmation packet at the New Year! So easy! You can also order meat online using this new form. (And, while you’re on our website, take some time to read all the new content and look at all the pretty photos I’ve added recently!)

And, our Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest is coming up this Wednesday! Pick-up will be 2-4 pm at our NEW downtown Mac storefront home: the backside of Yamhill Valley Dry Goods (the address is 416 NE 3rd St, but we are accessible from the 2nd St parking lot). This is a great opportunity to come and check it out! Also, this opportunity is open to non-members too! Try out our veggies for yourself!

Place your orders by Tuesday evening (preferably via email). Here is the availability list again:

  • Salad mix — A mix of the hardy salad greens in our field. $7/lb
  • Brussels sprouts — Order by the lb. $3.50/lb
  • Cabbage — Order by the each. We will weigh for price. $2/lb
  • Kale — Order by the bunch. $3/bunch
  • Collards — Order by the bunch. $3/bunch
  • Chard — Order by the bunch. $3/bunch
  • Parsley — Order by the bunch. $2/bunch
  • Leaf celery — Order by the bunch. $2/bunch
  • Kohlrabi — Order by the each. They are large! $1/lb
  • Carrots — Order by the lb. $2/lb
  • Beets — Order by the lb. $1.50/lb
  • Sunchokes — Order by the lb. $2.50/lb
  • Celery root — Order by the lb. $2.50/lb
  • Potatoes (Yukon Golds) — Order by the lb. $2.50/lb
  • Parsnips — Order by the lb. $2/lb
  • Apples — Order by the each. We will weigh for price $3/lb
  • Walnuts — In shell. $5/lb
  • Oat flour — Order by the lb. $5/lb
  • Corn flour — Order by the lb. $5/lb

Our December Holiday Harvest will be on Dec 19 — I will post that list as we get closer to the date.

Wishing you all a very Happy Thanksgiving! You are all on our thanks list this year. May you enjoy your friends and family (and lots of good nourishing food!).

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Thanks for a fabulous 2014!

Meet us at our downtown Mac storefront for delicious eating in 2015!

It’s here!!!!! This is the final week of our 2014 Vegetable CSA season. We still have two more opportunities for you to stock up on delicious seasonal veggies for your holiday events and winter eating (see “Holiday Harvest” info below), but there will be no more CSA pick-ups again until 2015.

Everyone here on the farm is very excited about our 2015 plans. It feels good to be mixing things up, improving how we distribute our yummy foods, and adding a new enterprise (the goat milk dairy dream is universally popular around these parts). But, it also feels good to be closing up shop from this season. We opened 2014 with the farm theme of “maintenance” — our primary goal was to catch up with ourselves, tie up loose ends, take care of everything and everyone in the best possible ways (including ourselves). Every season has its vagaries and surprises, but looking back, it’s clear that we met that goal. Smiles abounded most of the season, which is always the best sign of our farm’s success. We grew a lot of amazing food. We continued growing into our role as stewards of 100+ acres of beautiful Grand Island farmland. Truly a satisfying year.

And, now, we will take our pause. Advent is right around the corner, and even as we look toward 2015, we still know we need this moment of rest in the annual rhythm of our life. The darkness and the cold naturally bring introspection into our lives. You’d hardly know in popular culture, but in the liturgical calendar Advent is a penitential season (the counterpart to Lent in the calendar) — a season of waiting and preparing ourselves for what is to come. A time to take stock of who we are, where we are, where we are headed. It’s not always a comfortable time of year, in terms of the hardships outside our door or the inner work that needs to be done. Already, I have found myself chafing against the forced rest of the season. After a long beautiful glorious warm season, spent running around outside with the kids, I have found myself annoyed with fall’s weather and our household’s rounds of colds. Nonetheless, I can also feel myself slowly building up reserves again, feeling those places that were stretched thin by the activity of summer starting to renew themselves amidst those hours spent reading on the couch with sick kids. Truly every season brings something necessary to our lives!

In that spirit, I want to share with you one of my favorite poems as we walk into even darker days. The tone of this is in the spirit of these short days, when we may feel a bit sadder or lonesome than in the brilliance of summer. Plus, the geese are back, filling the air with their calls. Here you go:

Wild Geese ~ Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting—
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.

Peace to you all as take your own breaks this coming winter. May the lights of friendship and family fill your hearts as we wait for the sun to return. We wish you a very merry holiday season, followed by a happy new year! And, then we are excited to welcome you to our new space as we all begin 2015 together! I can promise you that there will be many delicious vegetables (and more!) awaiting you!

(And, I should add here that although the next month and a half will feel restful, we also have a lot of fun projects on our “to do” lists: greenhouse construction, storefront build-out, dairy start-up! Oh my! But there will be plenty of sitting by the fire in the dark too, because this season is full of such things.)

As always, thank you for being a part of our farm. Feeding your family is an honor. Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Sign-up now for 2015! Our first CSA pick-up of 2015 will be on January 15!!!! (Yes, we are changing to THURSDAY pick-up.) If you haven’t filled out your paperwork for 2015 yet, we invite you to do so soon! You can bring your form to our final pick-up this week, or you can mail it to us at our P.O. Box.

Not in our CSA yet? You are welcome to sign-up now too! We would be happy to have you!

Need more time to consider your options? That’s fine! There is plenty of room, but we hope to hear from you within the coming weeks so that we can best plan for 2015.

Need the info and form again? I included a lot of info in last week’s newsletter. Or you can download the info and form here: 2015OakhillCSACommitment (click to download the file). We will also have hard copies at pick-up again this week.

Want more info about our farm and the new offerings? Take some time with the info on our website. I’ve spent many hours this last week updating it and adding content, so you’re likely to learn something new! (More updating to come too, so keep checking back.)

Have specific questions? Email us: farm (at) oakhillorganics (dot) com. If you prefer to talk to a person, you can call me at 503-474-7661, but I warn you that you may hear screaming children in the background! Ha!

Want some veggies to get you through the break period? Order veggies from our Holiday Harvest! See below!

~ ~ ~

Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest info! This is a long-standing tradition of our farm, to offer the opportunity for members to order extra food, which we will carefully custom harvest and bring into town for you to pick-up. You can order food for your holiday meal or just to store for eating during our CSA break time! Our first Holiday Harvest will be next Wednesday, November 26 (the day before Thanksgiving). The actual pick-up location is to-be-determined — somewhere in downtown Mac. I will email you the details after you place your order. Here’s how it will work:

You look over our availability list below and make a list of the items and quantities you’d like to order. Email us your order by 7 pm on Tuesday, November 25. (Email is farm (at) oakhillorganics (dot) com) Wednesday morning, we will carefully harvest and gather your order and bring it into town 2-4 pm for you to pick up (again, exact location is TBD). You can pay for your veggies with cash or check.

This is also a great opportunity to give some of our grains and nuts a try! Find out more info and see recipe ideas for flour here. Find out more about our walnuts here.

Items available for order (this is the Holiday Harvest list — scroll down for the usual list of CSA veggies):

  • Salad mix — A mix of the hardy salad greens in our field. $7/lb
  • Brussels sprouts — Order by the lb. $3.50/lb
  • Cabbage — Order by the each. We will weigh for price. $2/lb
  • Kale — Order by the bunch. $3/bunch
  • Collards — Order by the bunch. $3/bunch
  • Chard — Order by the bunch. $3/bunch
  • Parsley — Order by the bunch. $2/bunch
  • Leaf celery — Order by the bunch. $2/bunch
  • Kohlrabi — Order by the each. They are large! $1/lb
  • Carrots — Order by the lb. $2/lb
  • Beets — Order by the lb. $1.50/lb
  • Sunchokes — Order by the lb. $2.50/lb
  • Celery root — Order by the lb. $2.50/lb
  • Potatoes (Yukon Golds) — Order by the lb. $2.50/lb
  • Parsnips — Order by the lb. $2/lb
  • Apples — Order by the each. We will weigh for price $3/lb
  • Walnuts — In shell. $5/lb
  • Oat flour — Order by the lb. $5/lb
  • Corn flour — Order by the lb. $5/lb

We’ll have a second Holiday Harvest opportunity on December 19. A few days prior, I will send out an email and post a list on our blog (and do a little Facebook posting too). It will be a fun moment to touch base amidst all of our busy holiday celebrations! Plus, you can stock up on good food again!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Peppers — These are for sure the last of the season. When the very cold weather showed up on the forecast, Casey and Jasper went out and harvested the last of the peppers, knowing that the plants would be done. And, they are! (It is November after all!)
  • Pie pumpkin or Delicata squash — Your choice between these two items, either of which makes for delicious seasonal eating! Winter squash has been a staple of our diet lately, making an appearance at least once/day in some form (pumpkin muffins, pureed squash, Delicata rings …). To me, there’s nothing quite so satisfying as squash on these very cold days.
  • Rainbow chard
  • Parsley
  • Kohlrabi — Be prepared; these kohlrabi are large. We grow this variety for winter storage, and surprisingly it is also the most delicious kohlrabi we’ve ever tasted. The hardest part of eating these giants is the peeling and slicing. A large chef knife is useful. I usually hack off a chunk and then peel it with a paring knife. Our favorite ways to eat kohlrabi? Sliced and peeled as a snack (great for dipping in your parsley pesto!). Sauteed in liberal amounts of butter until soft and then pureed (so good!). Chopped and added to brothy soups (we made a turkey soup this weekend that featured kohlrabi, carrots, onions, and chard — so satisfying!). Chopped fine and tossed with a creamy dressing to make a unique winter slaw (this is probably our all time favorite way to eat kohlrabi; add chopped chicken or canned tuna to make it a meal!).
  • Parsnips
  • Garlic
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2015 season details!

We enjoyed a lovely weekend here on the farm! Dottie checked on the chickens.

Phew! What a weekend! I spent a lot of time on the computer, organizing and working through details for our 2015 season. Casey and I spent many hours in [often interrupted] conversation last week hammering out how exactly we’re going to do things. Because, as I said last week, change is in the air.

After we figured it out, I took the time this weekend to write you all a letter explaining the changes and organizing it all into a sign-up form! I also began the process of updating the other information on our website to help folks learn more about all these other enterprises on our farm that will now be available to everyone (I have the animal information updated and will work on the crops information this week. I also wrote a new page sharing our story with folks who might not know all of it!) You can download our 2015 season letter and form in a Word document here (click link to download):

2015OakhillCSACommitment

Casey will also have printed versions of the letter and sign-up form for folks at pick-up. We are so excited to share all of our news with everyone and hope you will take time to read it. We welcome 2015 CSA Commitment Forms as soon as this week (if you’re ready, go for it!).

In the meantime, here is the same text from the letter for you to read through easily on our website now if you prefer (I think this counts as my newsletter for this week!):

Dear friends,

Prepare yourself: 2015 (our tenth season!) is going to be an awesome year for our farm. We are unveiling a new improved CSA program that will bring together all the best components of everything we’ve done so far! Much of this experience will be familiar to everyone, with a few tweaks that we believe will put smiles on everyone’s faces and put new delicious farm foods on many tables.

One awesome CSA program ~ Back to multiple share sizes & flexibility

First, of all, we will once again have one CSA program, with one pick-up per week. Everyone involved will have access to our full range of food products. Here’s how it will work:

The base of our program will be our successful and popular 45-week long vegetable CSA. In 2015, we’re going back to offering share sizes and flexibility. When you sign up, you choose your share size based on the number of “items” you want to select each week from our harvest offerings. An “item” would be a standard and useful unit for that veggie: for example, a plentiful bunch of kale, 1.5 lbs carrots, a cabbage, 1.5 lbs tomatoes, 2-3 apples, etc. When you come to pick-up each week, you will assemble your own share based on what we have available and the number of items you have purchased. We plan to bring enough variety each week that folks can find what they are looking for.

Improved pick-up location in downtown Mac!

Our pick-up will be at a new improved location — this is still in the works, but it is most likely going to be a storefront space in downtown McMinnville. We will provide exact details in your confirmation materials. This will be spot that we will be able to tailor for our use and make extra comfy and inviting for you, our members. Pick-up will be Thursday afternoons, from 2 – 7 pm (a longer window to accommodate more people coming through and folks with varying schedules).

Access to other farm products too! Eggs, grains, nuts & extra fruit!

In addition to finding your vegetables, each week at pick-up we will also have other foods available for purchase: eggs, oat and corn flours, walnuts, and extra fruit (for folks who like to buy this in bulk quantities). On your sign-up form, we’ve asked you to estimate your interest in these extra items so that we can plan how much to produce and bring each week.

Opportunity to order bulk veggies and fruit too (or do u-pick)!

You will also have the opportunity to order ahead of time larger quantities of vegetables for putting up or storage — we will include an availability list with our weekly newsletter email each week; place an order and we’ll bring it to pick-up! Or, if you prefer, during the summer we’ll offer some u-pick opportunities on the farm itself (at a reduced price per lb) — a unique opportunity to pick your canning foods in an organic environment.

Meat available for purchase in 2015

We will also have pork, lamb and beef available for you to purchase for your freezer. We will sell the pork and lamb in halves and whole portions, and the beef in quarters, halves, and wholes. We will also have batches of roasting chickens available throughout the season and turkeys for Thanksgiving. All of these animals will require advance notice with a deposit — priority for purchase will be given to CSA members. See the sign-up form for more details and our website for more information about our livestock operation and the meat.

Goat milk possibly too!

Finally, we are still working through the details on this one, but aim to have goat milk available for purchase at pick-up starting in late spring. More information will come as this enterprise develops.

A Full Diet experience for all!

So, in 2015, you will have the unique opportunity to buy the bulk of your food from one Yamhill County farm, selecting the items and quantities that work best for your household and its particular appetites and preferences!

More on-farm opportunities

But there are other fun things in the works for 2015: For the first time ever, we’re planning to organize several work parties here on the farm so that you can come out and more fully connect to the place that feeds you. We’ll follow each work party with a potluck, so we can enjoy each other’s company while savoring the delights of the season. We’ll also host our two annual CSA open houses, including another awesome outdoor concert at our pumpkin patch event in October.

Organic certification again in 2015

Also, 2015 is the year our farm is going to pick back up our organic certification. After taking three years off, we are excited to put our ducks in order and give our healthy growing methods the official “organic” label once again (since that is how he we have always farmed!). The crops will be certified in 2015, and we will consider the process of certifying our livestock in 2016.

And a new cookbook!

And, I’m still working on a farm cookbook to share with you in 2015 (I am still taking submissions, by the way!). This will be a gift to all 2015 members, available probably in the spring.

This food is amazing

Those are the basic details, but before signing off on all this 2015 info, I also wanted to say a word about all these other farm products (eggs, meat, grains, etc.) and where they come from. We grow all of them here on our farm on Grand Island. More details about each food item can be found on our website (I didn’t want to overwhelm this season summary), but suffice to say that every single item has been very carefully selected and grown for absolute peak health for everyone — health for the land, the plants, the animals, the human eaters. Additionally, they are all exceptionally tasty foods, the likes of which simply cannot be purchased elsewhere. The longer our own family consumes these farm fresh seasonal foods as the base of our diet, the more we love them and find them to be an integral part of our household’s daily joys. I cannot emphasize enough: these are fundamentally different foods. They are vibrant with health and flavor and consuming them will change your life. Really. We are excited to share them with our entire CSA community beginning in 2015.

Commit now; pay in 2015

Phew! That’s quite a lot of news regarding next season! Please see the sign-up form for more details re: pricing and season calendar, etc. Take some time to consider what you’d like to purchase in 2015 — some of the items are a commitment, and in other cases we are just asking for your best estimate.

To sign-up, please fill out the form and return it to us this year. You can bring it to pick-up or mail it to us: Oakhill Organics, P.O. Box 1698, McMinnville OR 97128.

No money is necessary now! We will contact you just after the New Year with an official invoice and more details regarding the season (including exact location for pick-up).

Please let us know if you have any questions! We are so excited about this upcoming season. We hope you are too!

That’s the news! Read it over. And, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

End of season news! The final CSA pick-up of 2014 is next week (Nov 18 in Mac and Nov 19 in Newberg). The following week, we will offer our annual Thanksgiving “Holiday Harvest,” which is when we take orders for vegetables from you to help you fill your tables with good food for the holiday. Or, you can just use the opportunity to fill your pantry with good local foods! I will include the list of items and prices in next week’s newsletter so that you can place orders for pick-up on Wed, Nov 26 (in the afternoon). More details to come next week! (We will also have a Christmas “Holiday Harvest” in December — we will email you with details and a list as we get closer to that date!)

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Brussels sprouts — This will be the last of our “mixed” fall shares, featuring both the hardy and the tender crops of the season. Cold weather is coming. These beautiful Brussels sprouts will survive, but the peppers and summer squash won’t. Hopefully you enjoy savoring the last of these summer crops as you stay warm amidst the freezing rain and whatever else comes our way this week!
  • Apples
  • Peppers — Green and sweet
  • Butternut winter squash — I’m sure that I think every kind of winter squash is my “favorite” — or, more accurately, I probably think whichever one I’m preparing and eating is my favorite, because they are all so good. But today, butternut is my favorite. When cooking butternut, I start by peeling. I use a paring knife to do this, since the skin is rather thick. I usually cut off the long part and use that for one meal and save the round part for another. Cutting them apart also gives me a nice flat surface for peeling the squash. I put the cut edge securely on my cutting board and use my knife to peel long strips down. Then I chop it, at which point it could be added to broth to make soup (so simple and satisfying — cook until soft and then puree!), but I almost always roast it. The key to crispy roasted butternut is even sized pieces, not too much fat on the pan (some, but not too much), high heat (425°), and not too many pieces on the pan. A seasoned pan helps too. I check them through cooking and sometimes shake the pan or stir them. These are like candy.
  • Collards — Collards can be prepared in all the ways you would cook kale, but they generally require slightly longer cooking time and/or more liquid/fat.
  • Parsley — This weekend Casey made a delicious parsley “pesto” that we ate with some delicious wild caught salmon a friend gave us. Casey pureed the pesto in our food processor (stems included! so sweet and tender!) and added salt, garlic, a bit of olive oil and vinegar, and tahini (which added a nice richness to the resulting sauce). You could tinker with this idea, using different ratios or slightly different ingredients (pine nuts, anyone?), but do try it! It’s such a wonderful way to eat loads of parsley (which, by the way, is an herb that winters well here in Oregon and just gets sweeter and sweeter!).
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Summer squash & zucchini
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Change in the air

Walnut tree leaves changing and falling in the wind ...

Saturday morning, we flipped to the next month on our calendar and then turned to build the season’s first fire (the latest we can remember!). Without a doubt, November puts us in the second half of fall and at the beginning of the darkest, dreariest third of the year (November – February). Change is all about us, being blown in on these cold, wet winds, tearing yellow leaves from trees and littering the ground.

Amidst all this seasonal shifting, other shifts are happening at the edges of our life as well. Perhaps we are just paying better attention than at other times, but it feels like this fall has brought with it quite the wave of endings. So many people we care about are closing significant chapters of their lives. My father has retired, after decades years of practice as an anesthesiologist. While this represents a loss to the community as a whole (he is such a skilled doctor), we are overjoyed to have him here on the farm full-time now.

Yet, as joyful as such big transitions can be (because they almost always point to new adventures and opportunities), they can still be disorienting too. The earth shifts a bit, and we all have to learn new ways of being and understanding changed relationships and lives. Much more disorienting to Casey and me this fall has been the news that many farming friends are calling it quits — either totally or in some significant fashion. Some of these farmers started their enterprises a year or two before or after — they are people who feel like we’ve shared our farming journey with and we are so sad to lose that special form of companionship (although we know the friendship will transcend their first link).

Quite frankly, it’s also eye-opening and sobering to realize that we’ve been farming long enough now that it could be its own good-sized chapter of our lives already. But, while we celebrate our farming friends’ choices to seek new adventures, Casey and I are going to keep on with this one. Farming continues to feel like The Work of Our Lifetime (not to mention that this farm represents both our livelihood and our home!). So, while we bid so many farmers blessings in their next steps, we stay put, feeling our way through this dark season and savoring a bit of the nostalgia it brings to our days. We can, for the moment, peacefully reflect on so much, while we sink into these restful months and find next year’s momentum hidden like a seed under the darkness of winter’s soil.

And momentum we shall have. Because with all this change in the air, we are reminded that even a continued adventure such as our farm must offer growth and change in order to be sustained.

After this week, we only have two more weeks left in our 2014 Vegetable CSA (the last pick-ups are Nov 18/19). So, amidst all these feelings of change and shifts and nostalgia and seeking of deep rest, we are also pondering our own growth pattern in terms of 2015. Our goal is to publish our 2015 CSA materials and sign-ups by next week, giving you time to ask us questions in person before we take our winter break. We also hope that a large number of you will be ready to commit for 2015 by the end of this season.

In order to get those materials to you soon, we’ll be spending many of our early morning dark hours reflecting on the changes that make sense for our farm. Like I said, we feel change in the air. Change that can bring the best components of our farm together into something slightly new, slightly old, and totally awesome. Lots to work out on the front this week. Thank goodness for November’s cozy fires, warm tea, and pumpkin soup. The season has set the mood for us to reflect and dream — something about all this dark and decay makes it easier to let go, to change, to shift. The world is actively letting go of this year in preparation for next year, and it is time for us to do the same. You’ll hear more from us next week!

In the meantime, enjoy the growing dark and all the gifts it does bring to our homes and families — that forced rest that can feel unwelcome but is a necessary complement to summer’s wakefulness. Savor it and dig in deep while holding onto that promise of light. Before too long, we’ll turn again, but for now hold onto your lanterns, and enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

“Paleo Spaghetti” — This week you have in your share the ingredients to make one of our family’s all-time favorite meals. We call it “Paleo” spaghetti. This is a reference to our family’s primary “diet” choice, which might be called “Paleo” by some (i.e. we don’t eat grains or beans or much sugar, blah blah blah …). Anyhow, it’s really just an amazing dish on its own, but the flavors and textures (and satisfaction level) reminded us once-upon-a-time of spaghetti and the name stuck. This dish is best when it has had plenty of time to cook, so allow 1-2 hours (this is low maintenance time, for the most part).

In a deep, wide saute pan, saute an onion in butter. Prepare to use lots of butter if you want your dish to be awesome, ok? Next add chopped garlic and tomatoes. Use plenty of both. When I am cooking with fresh tomatoes, personally I don’t bother to peel them. I find that the peels from chopped tomatoes just curl up and mostly disappear, and I’d rather just cook lots of food and eat it than stand around peeling tomatoes all day. You may prefer to blanch, shock and peel yours. I’m sure that would be delicious too! Anyhow, let your tomatoes, onions, and garlic simmer together in butter over medium heat for a bit. Once it’s starting to smell yummy, start adding finely chopped cabbage. If you let this cook long enough to be amazing, your cabbage will cook down a lot, so I recommend using a whole cabbage (also this dish makes great leftovers). After adding the cabbage, I often put the lid on my pan to help aid the cooking down process. Ultimately, you’re going to want to simmer off most of the liquid from the tomatoes and cabbage so that you eventually the cooked cabbage is frying in butter (again, lots of butter helps this whole dish). Depending on my patience level, I may turn the heat up to high and stand at the stove stirring more carefully, or I may lower the heat so I can just come and stir every few minutes without worrying about burning. A thick bottomed pan helps with this too.

We usually add pre-cooked meat to this dish as the cabbage is cooking down. Any kind is awesome. I like to cook a lot of roasts dry in the slow cooker and then keep the cooked meat in the fridge for use later. Our favorite meat for Paleo Spaghetti is chopped pork shoulder roast (so good!). I have to be careful to not add too much meat at this stage, because the cabbage will keep cooking down and we like there to be substantially more cabbage than meat in the final product. You could probably add other vegetables too, but we like it plain for the ultimate comfort food quality.

As the cabbage cooks down and the moisture simmers off, lower the heat to low or medium-low and keep cooking until it’s sweet perfection (or until it’s dinner time). The cabbage will begin to caramelize eventually. That’s how we like it. Salt to taste (we like lots — remember, this is comfort food!). For a truly divine experience, top your “spaghetti” dish with dabs of good quality chevre (soft white goat cheese, such as made locally by Briar Rose Creamery — that’s our favorite). Enjoy!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Salad mix
  • Cabbage
  • Chard
  • Delicata winter squash
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
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Finding fall

The sun shone on our farm walk at the open house this weekend!

Ah, after a beautiful (and at times maddeningly) warm and dry early October, fall made its presence known on the farm this last week. Last Wednesday was the wettest day of the year with two inches of precipitation falling here. Bare spots on the farm (roadways, edges) went from dry packed dirt to mud in just a few days. We had to navigate our farm anew, avoiding certain roadways for fear of getting stuck (and on Wednesday, several vehicles did almost get stuck!). Fall is here!

It turns out, however, that said mud was very welcome at our Sunday Pumpkin Patch Open House. Welcome mud? Yes! What a surprise! Leading up to the event, we were worried that we’d be rained out (since it was all in all a very stormy weekend around here). But, just as we were setting up the band (Awaken Jane — so very lovely!), the clouds parted, and the sun shone down on the farm. Yes, the sun! (Of course, how funny is it to rejoice so fully about the sun just a week after its departure!)

Awaken Jane — this awesome trio really brought some class to our humble farm porch ... and good music too!

And so, folks came. We drank hot chocolate (prepared when we thought we’d all be hiding under cover, but still delicious!), tasted different varieties of peppers, picked out pumpkins, walked the farm, listened to good music (Awaken Jane — so very lovely!), and played in the mud. One parent joked later if there was going to be a contest for the dirtiest child. It would have been a tough contest, as some kids get really into the mud puddle adventures, ditching their shoes and socks to squish their toes through all that organic goodness. What a joy it was to watch that fun exploration!

Thanks to all of you who came out and helped a Sunday afternoon turn into a bit of farm community magic. And, if you missed it this year, hopefully you can make it next year! We’ll have to find another good musical act (have I mentioned yet that Awaken Jane was lovely?).

For now, we’re starting to really feel that “hunker down” energy of fall. The rainy days had the kids and me scurrying to the art store for all kinds of painting and drawing supplies (which have been the main interest around the house of late), and the crew is enjoying a slightly later start time in the morning. Casey is already asleep on the couch as I write this, because of course it’s fully dark outside. It is here and building — that quiet fullness of late fall. Welcome!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Brussels sprouts
  • Kohlrabi
  • Chard — To me, chard feels like a very unique cooking green. So many cooking greens in the fields are of the brassica or cole family — kale, mustards, collards, cabbage. But then there is chard, which is a beta, putting it in a completely different family of plants (the chenopods, a family that also includes spinach and beets). In fact, the plants we grow as “chard” are technically the same species as beets! I suppose through selection and breeding, chard has become a leafier plant and beets have become a “rootier” plant (although chard also grows a big bulbous root too! and beet leaves are delicious to eat!). Anyhow, I always marvel in the kitchen at how chard brings us a novel cooking green experience. And chard itself can be cooked in different ways to achieve different results. My preferred way to cook it is to chop and saute in lots of fat (butter is my favorite) until the leaves and stems are soft and wilted. In my experience, using just fat for cooking leaves quite a bit of body in the leaves, which I enjoy. However this takes a while to do, and some people prefer chard that tastes more like spinach. To achieve that result, add some liquid during the cooking process (we like to use broth) and put a lid on the pan. The chard will cook more quickly and achieve a texture very similar to cooked spinach (which it seems people either love or hate). I also really love adding chopped chard to broth soups — in that scenario it achieves a texture very similar to seaweed (such as you might find in miso soup). Casey also wanted to point out that this particular harvest of chard is very heavy in stem. Chard stems are the overlooked awesomeness of chard when it comes to American cooking. Some people even go so far as the strip the leaves off the stem and send the stem to the compost! We have heard that in France and Italy, the stem is the vegetable and the leaves are torn off and discarded (which also seems like a waste). That stem can be chopped and cooked as a vegetable — it’s especially delightful in omelets or gratins. Of course, I like to use stem and leaf together. I generally just add the chopped stems first since they do require slightly longer cooking time.
  • Parsnips — Tonight we roasted up our first batch of parsnips of the season. I am always amazed by this root vegetable and its complex flavor — I find myself tasting all kinds of hints of spices (cinnamon? what is that flavor?). We generally peel then chop our parsnips into bite sized pieces for roasting until soft inside and crispy outside.
  • Beets
  • Green & sweet peppers — At our open house this Sunday, we presented several different peppers for taste testing. This has become a tradition for our fall open house — to offer different varieties of one food for comparison. Even as farmers, I love the opportunity it presents, because we so rarely take the time to savor the diversity of vegetables in quite that way. In this case, tasting the peppers one-by-one, I was really struck by the variance in sweetness and the different textures of the walls. Our “lipstick” peppers offered very thick juicy flesh in their walls, while the “Jimmy Nordellos” were sweet and had much thinner walls. Always interesting! We’ll have to think of what to compare next year!
  • Summer squash & zucchini
  • Potatoes
  • Garlic
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