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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Winter update + Holiday Harvest!

Greenhouse building time!

Greenhouse building time!

Hello friends! We are writing to you from the midst of the darkest days here on the farm. Although I must admit, the recent days on the farm have been lovely for mid-December — mild weather and a bit of sun. We still look forward to the Winter Solstice, however. The slow return of the light brings the end of our winter rest and the energy we need to get the next season going (we’ll start sowing seeds in January!).

In the meantime, we’re keeping plenty busy on these short days. In addition to our continued harvests for restaurants and the Full Diet CSA, Casey has been working on a new high tunnel greenhouse for growing crops in the field in these colder seasons (such as this one). In our many years of winter harvest, we’ve learned that winter is defined by its variability. One year may be mild, leaving all our greens alive in the fields; the next might be frigid and cold. It happens! So, adding another high tunnel to our set of winter growing tools seems like a wise investment of our time and money so that we can be more sure of good tasty eating (especially those beloved greens like kale!).

I have been busy preparing all the behind the scenes stuff for 2015 — processing CSA sign ups (have you signed up yet? You can do it RIGHT NOW here on our website!), making budgets, etc etc etc. October through February are my fullest months of paperwork, which works out perfectly with the rest of the farm work load!

We are also of course fully in the midst of birthday and Christmas celebrations for our family (Rusty turned five last week!). The days are chock full of wonderful things like bowling, choir concerts, parties with extended family, tree decorating, and lots of delicious holiday foods.

And, to help you eat exceedingly well this holiday season, it’s time for our second Holiday Harvest for this winter! The harvest day will be this Friday, December 19. The list of available items is below. All are welcome to place an order. Here’s how it will work: You make a list of what you what and send it to us by Thursday evening (for your convenience, you can use the form at the bottom of this post, but you can also email it). Then on Friday, we’ll gather all your items and bring them to our new storefront in downtown Mac — the backside of Yamhill Valley Dry Goods (416 NE 3rd St — but we are accessible from the parking lot on 2nd St). Come by between 2 and 4 pm to pick up your veggies!!! Here is the list:

  • Seasonal salad mix — A mix of hardy salad greens with a beautiful range of colors and textures. Order by the lb. ~ $7/lb
  • Brussels sprouts — Order by the lb. ~ $3.50/lb
  • Kohlrabi — These are large! Order by the each. ~ $1/lb
  • Collard greens — Order by the bunch ~ $3/bunch
  • Carrots — Order by the lb. ~ $2.50/lb
  • Beets — Order by the lb. ~ $1.50/lb
  • Parsnips — Order by the lb. ~ $2/lb
  • Yukon Gold potatoes — Order by the lb. ~ $2.25/lb
  • Leeks — Order by the lb. ~ $4/lb
  • Garlic — Order by the head ~ $6/lb
  • Apples — Order by the each. Please choose Honeycrisp (great for fresh eating) or Newton Pippin (great for cooking. ~ $3/lb
  • Corn flour ~ $5/lb
  • Oat flour ~ $5/lb
  • Walnuts — In the shell ~ $5/lb

Here is the form for sending us your list! Please get it to us by Thursday evening. Let us know if you have any other questions. Thank you!

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your phone number (required)

Your Holiday Harvest order

Questions or other comments?

Your farmers, Casey & Katie Kulla

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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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