Welcome!

Spring clover!

Welcome to our farm’s blog and website! To find out more information about our farm, follow the header bar links above. To read about our latest happenings, scroll down for recent blog entries*.

* Why are the “Full Diet” entries password protected? They contain very specific logistical information for our current Full Diet CSA members — not terribly applicable to anyone else. All our newsy entries and photos are public for anyone to view!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Protected: Full Diet

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Posted in Full Diet CSA | Enter your password to view comments.

Oats, dust, and a calf

Crummy photo quality: took this with my "not-so-smart" phone as we were loading oats into our old "goat shed" (never used for goats, now used for oats -- more details below!)

A few exciting happenings on the farm and in our life this last August week: First, our neighbor farmer arrived to combine most of this year’s oat crop (a few acres, sown in the rows of our hazelnuts, are yet to be harvested). We’d been waiting several weeks for this, and even though we will pay our neighbor his time, his help with our grain harvests is really quite the neighborly favor. His own ‘to do’ list this time of year is at least as long as ours, but somehow for three years running, he has fit our funny little fields into his combining schedule so that we can have oats available for our livestock and customers both.

We’re still figuring out details with so many parts of our expanded farm, including the storage of things like lots and lots of oats. A few years back, we stored most of our oats in one ton tote bags lined up in our pole barn. This year, that same pole barn is stacked wall-to-wall-to-rafters with hay we have made. So … where to store the oats?

Perhaps our neighbor farmer helps us out as much just to bring home goofy stories to share with his family and friends. Because we did find places to store the oats — random places, in fact, kind of all over the farm. An old compost spreader (basically a big wagon) got a new floor and was filled with oats. An old goat shed we built and never used got some new walls and was filled with oats (after Casey removed a panel from the roof). More oats went into loads and loads of our blue totes, which were then unloaded into our other pole building. We will definitely use those oats first, since we need those bins! A motley collection of storage vessels, to be sure.

And, then, within a day of finishing that task, our little family took off for one night at the beach. We didn’t actually visit the beach itself once (oh my!), since our time was filled with a family picnic at Devil’s Lake and then a hike to Drift Creek Falls (my first time! oh my!). But, oh, how wonderful it was to drive over there for a quick visit. When we arrived at the lake and departed our car, Casey and I both breathed deep with big sighs of relief. We hadn’t even realized how dusty the air is here in the valley until we visited the ocean and breathed in that cool, clean, foggy air.

Upon our return, the dust was even more striking. As we drove back into the valley, we could see a layer of brown covering the whole valley. I could write a whole newsletter about dust and its making (agriculture! annual tillage! grain and seed production!), but I will refrain for now. Seeing that dust, however, does force Casey and me to ponder our own agricultural practices in the context of the larger ecosystem. How do our choices contribute or mitigate this kind of air pollution? We were pleased to reflect on our oat harvest and appreciate how minor it was in the scope of our farm’s offerings and how very little soil disturbance was created as a result. Because the oats were standing tall, there was no need for the combine to disturb the soil. Also, we reflected on how established pastures with animals on them don’t make dust. ANYHOW. Lots to pull apart with the dust scenario; all of it quite complex and without easy answers. But I will comment that poor air quality is perhaps the one part of living the valley to which I am still not at all reconciled. I miss the clean ocean air we breathed in Bellingham. The dust challenges me.

Fortunately, our own farm (and the island as a whole) feels like a little refuge amidst all this late summer brown. Casey has been watering our pastures, and they are greening up again where they were yellow. The orchards are full of beautiful red and purple fruits, hanging on the trees like Christmas ornaments. Every where we look we see such abundance and growth and ripening: tomatoes, winter squash, apples, peppers … When I grow weary of the summer brown and heat, all these fruits of the season remind me of how very special this time of year really is. How quickly it will pass, and how all this food will continue to feed us through the year.

Francine checks on her very fresh calf (less than one hour old here).

And, today, another fun inspiring note: a calf was born! We had been waiting on one of our dairy cows, Francine, for quite a while now. Apparently she was bred in a different cycle than what we had noted in our records (with a different bull too!), so while it was clear she was pregnant, no calf appeared for many weeks as we waited. But, in the last few days, she was showing more signs of readiness. This morning Casey noted that she was having contractions, and then there was a calf! A beautiful little brown calf, yet to be named. We love it when these calves arrive without our help (a big relief), but the next few days will be full of some extra intense work as we help the new calf thrive and work Francine back into the milking routine. She is currently our most “sensitive” cow, so we will need to be very patient as we help remind her where to go and when (she’s actually been kept in this routine the whole time, but she still needs our patience as it becomes more “real” again for her!).

So, those are some notes from the farm this week. Now that most of our oats are in, fall (and its rains) are starting to feel more and more desirable. It will come. For now, we feast.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Tomatoes — All of our tomatoes in the field are really on now. This is an exciting part of the year for us, when we get to eat tomatoes at every meal and know that more will come tomorrow! This weekend, our family has set aside some time for beginning our big tomato canning process. We don’t can many foods, to be honest, but we love our tomatoes.
  • Tomatillos
  • Hot peppers — I may need to help you distinguish between your hot and sweet peppers. The hot peppers are the small purple/black peppers in your share. These are called Czech Black peppers, and they are very similar to Jalapenos in terms of flavor and heat. We grow them because they mature more reliably, and years ago we grew them commercially for seed and kind of fell in love (and continued saving seed).
  • Jimmy Nardello sweet peppersThe sweet peppers are the long, thin green/red peppers in your share (which look quite a lot like some varieties of hot peppers). These are “Jimmy Nardellos,” a delicious sweet pepper favored by some of our restaurant clients. They are delicious and sweet, but I should warn you that every now and then, one of them is hot (and sweet too). Perhaps nibble a bite of each pepper if you are sensitive?
  • Apples
  • Kale — Casey is excited about this kale! Perhaps because of the heat, this year we saw a huge influx of flea beetles (and heard of this happening elsewhere too). After Casey worked in a planting of mustards (which flea beetles LOVE), the beetles jumped next door to this kale and decimated it. The leaves were totally stripped to the ribs. Then we got some cool weather, and apparently the plants remained healthy, because they miraculously regrew the most beautiful healthy leaves. These kale will take us into the fall. Plants are amazing!
  • Cucumbers — A staple in our house right now at almost every lunch and dinner: peeled cucumber, sliced into discs and served with a batch of squash-a-ganouj.
  • Summer squash & zucchini
  • Potatoes
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | 1 Comment

Protected: Full Diet

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Posted in Full Diet CSA | Enter your password to view comments.

Summer winding down

Some days I just have to document the awesomeness that is farm breakfast in our house. Thanks Casey for cooking me a delicious feast every morning. And, look at all those delicious summer treats!

Hard to believe it right now amidst more and more hot days (and humidity — where did that come from?), but summer really is winding down. We passed Lammas earlier this month, which is the cross-quarter day marking the mid-point between the Summer Solstice and Autumn Equinox. It’s also a celebration of the harvest season.

Here in Oregon, our “harvest season” lasts more or less all year, but certainly these weeks at the end of summer and beginning of fall take on a different level of frenzy around this particular farming activity. Right now we are awaiting our oat harvest (to-be-combined by a neighbor friend), picking apples as they ripen, watching our field corn ear up, and enjoying the bounty of summer fruits. Pick, pick, pick.

And, for many of you, these final days of August also mean the ending of what qualifies as your summer season, as school starts just around the corner. So few days left, especially with an earlier-than-usual Labor Day.

Even though Casey grows weary of moving pipe, and I am excited for the end of sweaty days, we are savoring this golden season on the farm. The food is outstanding, of course. I mean, really truly phenomenal. Every bite just sings with fresh warmth from the sun.

For your enjoyment, here are some sights from around the homestead bit of the farm this week:

As you may have noticed in that photo above, we harvested the very first of this season's muskmelons this week. The planting looks great, and we may just beat our soil-borne melon disease this year and have melons to share with everyone!

Rusty is also very proud of the first ripe watermelon of the year — grown in his garden! We will be eating it tonight after dinner.

Cucumbers have been a staple in our house this summer (mostly for eating our other staple: squash-a-ganouj!). Rusty often helps peel and slice the cucumbers.

Random fun bug photo #1: we found a "water scorpion" in the kid's paddling pool last week. I can see why they wanted me to remove this before they got in it!

Random bug photo #2: Casey found this ENORMOUS larva while splitting some cherry wood for the upcoming winter. It was inside the wood. It's some kind of wood borer.

... and just when I think these two kids can't get ANY cuter ...

... they climb up on the turkey gate ...

... and ham it up. These two are the perfect antidote to summer seriousness on the farm. All fun and giggles and sticky juicy faces.

Hope you all are making the most of these final days of summer heat. Certainly, the warmth can last into September in most years, but these are the guaranteed days for swimming in the river and rejoicing in abundance.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. A huge thanks to everyone who came out for our farm potluck this last Saturday! It was such a lovely group of people, and we so enjoyed the easy conversation and delicious food prepared by all. If you missed this one, come on out to our CSA pumpkin patch open house on Sunday, October 26!

P.P.S. An update since I initially posted this:

Rusty's watermelon was AMAZING! : )

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Tomatoes
  • Tomatillos
  • Apples
  • Cucumbers
  • Beets
  • Kohlrabi
  • Summer squash & zucchini
  • Potatoes
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Protected: Full Diet

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Posted in Full Diet CSA | Enter your password to view comments.

Finding balance

The whole family helped pick the first of our apples two weekends ago.

For me, each month of the year brings its own important question for us on the farm. In July, the question is, “are we caught up with our work?” For it is in July that we can first assess how well we’ve made it through springs in terms of planting and the earliest weeding. Because if we haven’t kept up with weeding, suddenly we will find ourselves in a forest of them when those warm July days arrive.

August’s question is about balance. Whereas in July we check on the progress of our weeds, in August we check on the state of our bodies and souls. For this is the time of the year when even a slight imbalance can result in extreme fatigue, brought on even more strongly with the hot sticky weather we receive in this month.

Farmers are notorious over-workers. In a different region, where perhaps most of the farm’s activities are constrained to the number of months without snow (or mud), I suppose working 12 hour days every day makes some sense. That kind of activity assumes that there will indeed be a long winter’s rest. Of course, even in that scenario, most farmers have plenty of winter’s work, just much less than the high growing season!

That trend holds some truth on our farm too. Certainly, if nothing else, the long dark nights of winter forcibly slow us down! But we harvest and deliver vegetables for most weeks of the year; we take care of the animals; we milk. So, we’ve realized over the years of our farming here, that we must rest too. Even in summer, we must play. Our bodies and souls both cannot sustain 12 hour days year-round, or even for many weeks of the summer.

I’m just guessing here, but based on how our farmer friends talk, I think we work a pretty light week. This is intentional, stemming from long-held values about The Good Things in Life. I think it’s easy for farmers to become work-aholics and not recognize the patterns they might share with an ambitious lawyer, because of course we love our work (I hope that so does the lawyer!). And, farmers work at home, outside, in the elements. It is easy in such a scenario to feel that those long hours are still Quality Time, because they are. Oh, this work is juicy and good and wonderful.

But. The Good Things in Life. They do include Nature and Work and Service and Industry. This is why we love our work and how it connects us to our deep purpose of being humans in service of the world. But The Good Things in Life also include Play and Rest and Family and Friends and Music and so much more.

So, we seek balance. This August, Casey and I are both feeling like, at least this year, we’ve found some form it. Between the farm and the kids, we certainly can’t enjoy all of The Good Things in Life — but this is a season in our life when things like long conversations over dinner just ain’t going to happen as regularly as they did in past eras (or in future ones!). But we can enjoy all these good things that do come from being farmers with a family — plenty of time just playing with the kids being at the top of our list.

If you’re wondering about specifics, our whole crew works what I think are pretty unprecedented hours of 7:30 am to 4 pm, five days per week. Casey works longer days on Tuesday and Thursday (because of CSA pick-ups), and in the summer he moves pipe on the weekends too. But by farmer standards, we’re barely working at all! Of course it must be said that Casey literally runs all day long, as he moves from task to task. He feels best when he is working at top form, and he feels like he can do this knowing that a true rest is at hand. Come Friday, he is physically very tired, but our two days (mostly) off provide a deep rest for his hard working body.

Many years ago, I read The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. Honestly, I can’t remember much from this book, but there’s one story or parable that has always stuck with me. There is a man in a forest trying to cut through a very large log with a very dull saw, and of course the going is very slow. Another man walks by and asks him why he doesn’t sharpen his saw. The first man’s response: “I don’t have time to stop and sharpen my saw; I need to cut through this log!”

Casey and I have had other seasons when we feel like that man, knowing that our saw is so dull and yet not feeling like we even have the space to pause (or even know how to sharpen it!). And those periods of life are probably inevitable and/or necessary at times to get new things launched. But not every year, year in and year out.

This August, however, we’re feeling good. Oh, what joy! We don’t get all the pieces right in any one growing season, including this one. But to find that balance in our bodies and souls feels like a very important priority, so we rejoice in that success this year!

Certainly farmers are not the only ones guilty of considering long hard hours of work necessary for a job well done! I hope that if there is anyone else out there seeking balance that they can take some time on these hot days to ponder the question of what is truly necessary and how efficient one can work when too tired.

And perhaps a little community time would help you sharpen your saw? CSA members are invited to join us here on the farm for a potluck dinner (and farm tour). See more details below. We hope you can join us!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

CSA Potluck this Saturday, August 16

CSA Members (Veggie and Full Diet both) — you are invited to join us on the farm this Saturday for a farm tour and potluck! Here’s the schedule of events and details:

  • 4:00 pm — Come out for a farm tour led by Farmer Casey. The farm is large enough that you won’t be able to see everything, but he’ll get you to plenty of interesting stuff! We’ll walk a distance, and some of the ground you walk on will be slightly uneven, so please wear sturdy shoes (also hats for sun, etc.)
  • 5:00 pm — Folks will start gathering for dinner (come at this time if you want to skip the tour).
  • 5:30 pm — We will eat! Please bring a dish to share and your own plates and utensils (we’ll have some extras if folks forget but perhaps not enough for everyone!).

Directions to the farm: From the HWY-18 bypass, take the Dayton exit. Drive south through Dayton and stay on Wallace Rd / HWY-221 heading south. Drive for about seven miles. Turn LEFT onto Grand Island Rd. After crossing the bridge, turn RIGHT at the first intersection onto SE Upper Island Rd. Our driveway is immediately on your LEFT. We’ll try to help folks park in a safe, logical manner in our driveway. We’ll be eating under our very large walnut tree, which is tucked behind our brown 2-story house at the right back of the driveway. Our address is 18705 SE Upper Island Rd, Dayton OR 97114. See you there!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Tomatoes!!!!
  • Tomatillos! — These are the surprise hit of the summer. We’ve received so many rave reviews from CSA members who are adding these fruits to cooked dishes, sauces, etc. When we first started the farm in 2006, we literally couldn’t even give away tomatillos at market. I love how culture shifts to accept new and different foods! These are certainly a good one!
  • Apples
  • Basil
  • Green peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli / cauliflower / cabbage
  • Chard
  • Summer squash & zucchini
  • Potatoes
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Protected: Full Diet

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Posted in Full Diet CSA | Enter your password to view comments.

Thanks for being in community

Our potatoes (as well as other veggies) did well last week at our Yamhill County Fair!

This weekend, our family said goodbye to the Furch family — valued members of the McMinnville community who are moving away soon to rejoin family in the Northeast. If you don’t know them by name, Jason and Laurie Furch were the founding owners of Red Fox Bakery (now owned by one of the long-time employees!). They brought a fabulous artisan bakery to McMinnville and created community out of that spot for years — the smell of good bread mingling in the air with the aroma of coffee and the sound of visiting friends.

You could also say that Jason and Laurie brought our farm to McMinnville as well. We knew of this couple before we were interested in the area, since they actually started their bakery in Casey’s home town, Lincoln City, where they were friends with his parents and sister. So, when McMinnville landed on our radar as potentially The Spot Where We Should Start Our Farm, we stopped by Red Fox to meet the Furches and were immediately welcomed as old friends and were encouraged with great enthusiasm to Move Here Now And Do It! I’m not sure if this is a true memory or something that Casey and I just made up to represent the feeling of the moment, but we both remember Laurie literally jumping on a table with excitement about our farm. How could we resist?

And, so we came. And we became friends with the Furches, who were members of our CSA from day one and connected us to many of our other first year customers. Over the years, we ate countless sandwiches and drank countless cups of coffee there at Red Fox. Good times.

And, yet, they leave. Because, of course, neither life nor community are static things — and nor should they be! In a life, there is growth and change as new adventures and priorities arise, sometimes even leading us to cross-country moves. We wish them the best of their next adventure, although we will miss them very much.

From my vantage point in my 30s, I can take these Big Changes in stride, but there was a time — before we’d started on our own Putting Down Roots In One Place Adventure (i.e. “starting this here farm”) — when I looked to the future and pictured life and community both as a picture that didn’t change much. I had this idea that once we figured out what we wanted to do and where that we’d sort of coast, hanging out with the same people (our “community”) forever, doing the same things forever. Now this seems like a ridiculous notion (and fairly horrific to boot! No growth!). Even on the micro level of our farm, every year brings new adventures and growth as we expand our offerings, bring new employees onto the farm, say good-bye to old employees, and watch our children grow.

I can’t really put my finger on why, but this year in particular seems like a big year of change within the community. I’m sure things are always shifting — people move; people pass on; people have babies — but perhaps I’m more acutely aware of it this year. Many of our friends are moving even within this community, buying homes and such. And, we were sad earlier this year to say good-bye to another important family in our farm’s life: Kent and Tricia Harrop left McMinnville after a beautifully long stint as community leaders. They too were very early and enthusiastic supporters of our farm, and great role models for us as we continually ponder how to best engage in our community in loving and supportive ways.

Of course who Casey and I are within our community evolves too, even though we’re still here farming on Grand Island. Now that we’re parents as well as farmers, we’ve been more limited in how we can reach out and contribute, simply because our “extra” mental, physical and emotional resources are quite needed here on the homefront with these little ones. But, I’m always watching for opportunities to engage and grow in our connections to the people who live here and the place itself. Sometimes those opportunities are little things, such as choosing to spend quite a lot of our summer fun playing near to home, getting to know our watershed more intimately. Other opportunities have been here all along but only revealed themselves to me when I was actively looking.

For example, our little Yamhill County Fair. Why had we never participated in this event before this year? I don’t know! Perhaps because the end of July is a busy time on the farm. Perhaps because we didn’t grow up participating in fairs and weren’t quite sure how. Either way, this year was our year to begin. So, we entered a whole slew of vegetables, which took home lots of ribbons (mostly first place ribbons and a few second place too). I also entered some crafty items of my own. Certainly winning some ribbons was a fun little thrill, but the bigger joy came from feeling like we were part of the fair this year. Seeing our veggies alongside those of other gardeners in the county helped me realize how many of us live here and care about this place enough to slow down and put seeds in the ground. The fair will definitely become a staple activity of our summers from now on.

Another opportunity that has arisen in recent years is the invitation to help support other business endeavors through “crowdfunding.” This is a phenomenon that didn’t exist when we started our farm back in 2006, but I’m inspired to help others in our community make their dreams a reality, whether it’s starting a fermented food business (as Home Grown Food Products did last year), record a music album (as Val Blaha is doing right now), or financing big improvements on an awesome existing local business (as Hopsctoch Toys is doing right now — only 13 days left on their Crowd Tilt campaign! Give now!). Certainly, these are all entities that I would support anyway, but how fun to be invited to invest a little extra and help boost awesome people who are part of our wider community. For me, it’s a totally new way to engage, and I’ve grown to appreciate the opportunity and what it creates in our community.

As some of you know, long ago, before the farm, Casey and I lived for a spell in an “intentional community” in the mountains (Holden Village, a Lutheran retreat center / community). At the time that we landed there, we had romantic notions about “intentional communities,” thinking that a formal community was the answer to being connected. And certainly our time at Holden was profound on so many levels, shaping us into the adults we are today. But, we left with our hearts leaning a different direction. We wanted to find a place and a way of living that would provide us what might be better called “organic community.” This is the old fashioned sense of the word, when and where people are drawn together because of shared interests: a place where they live, schools filled with their children, work that integrates their lives, etc. We wanted a community where these bonds would overlap at many points, somewhat forcing disparate peoples into connecting.

What we’ve found is that organic community can be slow to understand and find, but it is a rich gift. An evolving one, but all that change brings the growth that is life.

Of course, seeking community is why we started our farm’s Community Support Agriculture program right away. To connect people with food and farms — what could be more powerful or fun! To be honest, now that we’re in our ninth season, I have moments when I think of our CSAs purely as a “marketing model” (that’s language that gets used a lot in ag extension circles to describe CSA programs). I think I can take for granted the profundity of what we’ve grown from this farm. Back when it was just a dream and an early reality, it bowled me over with its beauty — people eating from our farm! People joining friends to eat! Us becoming friends with our customers! No longer even being able to see those boundaries! An integrated life and business! That’s what I saw then as our goal, and when I pause and savor our life, I see it now. As with most aspects of our daily lives, beauty can blend into background, but those pause moments of gratitude can bring it back into focus. Because, wow, what an amazing community surrounds and supports this farm. Really, truly, we live a profoundly connected daily existence.

When we lived at Holden Village, we had weekly “community” meetings. They were important for connecting and resolving conflicts and working through all the other things that might happen more “organically” (and slowly) in an organic community such as we live in now. Every week, when all the business had been worked through (including always sharing joys and gratitudes!), the meeting leaders would close with the same words: “Thanks for being in community.” That phrase has been on my lips a lot lately, and I’ve even said it to Casey regularly in place of my usual “thanks.” He laughs at the shared reference to our past, but I mean it. I am grateful to him, for being my partner in this venture, and I grateful to all of you, for all the ways you have supported us and asked us to support you over the years. Those interwoven dependencies building beauty and joy out of daily existence. Indeed: Thank you for being in community!

And, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. One last round of shout-outs for the evening … did you know that there are two new restaurants here in McMinnville? Jesse Kincheloe recently opened Valley Commissary, which serves lunch and caters for local events. They also purchase veggies from our farm! And cooking up a storm at The Diner is Kyle Chriestenson, a talented chef we’ve worked with at various restaurants over the last few years. Our family stopped by The Diner for dinner this weekend (using our fair winnings!) and enjoyed our meal very much! Check out both these great new places for eating! (Um, does this community do food well, or what? Local writer Emily Grosvenor documents that fact nicely in this recent article! Read it!)

~ ~ ~

CSA Farm Dinner on Saturday, August 16! And, speaking of community, it’s time for us to build some as we break bread together as a farm community. Hopefully folks put the farm dinner on your calendar when we first announced it months ago. In the intervening period of time, plans have changed slightly. It will still happen out here on the farm on Saturday, August 16. The food will still undoubtedly be delicious. But, our awesome caterers are moving away. Yes, last year’s amazing sit-down farm dinner was prepared with love and skill and enthusiasm by Jason and Laurie Furch, who are on their way out of town. When we heard the news, we pondered other options but found ourselves really feeling like they were a big part of the energy behind last year’s event. For now, rather than trying to recreate it from scratch we’ve decide to fall back on our favorite standby plan: A FARM POTLUCK! Our family will prepare lots of good food (a summer stew, salad, and other goodies), and we invite you to join us for fellowship and feasting. If you’d like to go on farmer-led a tour of the farm, arrive at 4 pm. We will begin the potluck dinner at 5 pm. Please bring a dish of food to share as well as plate and utensils for your family. We hope you can join us!!!! I’ll include directions to the farm in next week’s newsletter!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Chehalis apples — In the continued theme of “Everything Is Early This Year,” our family spent some time this weekend picking our Bartlett pears and Chehalis apples. Um, so early? Anyhow, the apples are delicious — the first really good apples of the season (we enjoyed some earlier apples last month, but honestly those first apples are only good because they’re the first apples!). Enjoy these delights!
  • Cucumbers — Ahem, these are BLUE RIBBON cucumbers, folks. Yep, they won 1st place at the fair!
  • Yellow romano beans — These beautiful beans can be prepared in any of the ways you would traditional green beans: eaten raw, roasted, added to cooked dishes, pickled, etc. We’ve always been suckers for their pale yellow glow.
  • Beets
  • Potatoes — BLUE RIBBON potatoes!
  • Summer squash & zucchini — And, yes, our zucchini and summer squash both won blue ribbons as well! There was actually quite a bit of competition in this category, so we are feeling proud of our zucchini! And, if you’ve wondered, the pale green summer squash that we produce so much of is called “Magda.” It is wonderfully prolific (which is why we farmers love it) and also delicious (which is why we home cooks love it). I reach for it more than the green zucchini; most often to roast but also for making Squash-a-Ganouj!
  • Onions
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Protected: Full Diet

This post is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:


Posted in Full Diet CSA | Enter your password to view comments.

Hills of sand and million dollar rains

Wee child plays with the vast ocean.

This last week we got away. In July. To the beach. As a family. To play.

As I mentioned last week, stepping away from our life this time of year takes some real work and intention. And trust that all will be well without us for a few days. But, oh, the break we provided ourselves was so worth it. To pause the routines and be more present with our children and each other and friends. To sink our toes in the sand. To surf. To play. To let our “to do” lists float out of our minds so that we had some extra mental space for appreciating everything more deeply.

We were there with another family. I watched the youngest children of the group playing in the surf — running out toward the water, wading up to their knees, and then running back wildly as the waves rolled back in. Out and in, laughing and screaming with the joy of it all. And, my mama friend and I stood there, smiling but also holding our breaths a bit. Because while the children knew this game was fun and probably recognized the power in those waves (adding to the visceral thrill), this mom friend and I really knew what they did not — we knew the massiveness of that ocean; its infinite force; the incredible vastness of its being; its hugeness. Watching these very tiny little people dancing at the edge of something so utterly powerful and awesome, I felt like I was seeing something bigger, something symbolic of life itself. This is the dance we do, always only at one moment in our whole life, at the edge of the complexity of people and relationships, life and death, the universe. We could allow the fierceness, the bigness, the immensity of it all to paralyze us into inaction. Or, we could dance. We could run and laugh.

And, then, as we returned from the beach every day, we climbed the dunes. Several times a day, in fact, we climbed up this hills of sand, usually carrying a child or a heavy bag of gear (or surfboard in Casey’s case). And it was hard work every time — each step we took up included at least a half-step slide back down. And I remembered how so often in the last few years I have compared our daily life to climbing a hill of sand — with two young kids in the house and a growing farm to manage, there have been days and weeks when it feels like we are just running around putting out fires and never getting ahead. Climbing that endless metaphorical hill of sand.

But, there I was, climbing an actual hill of sand last week, and I couldn’t help noticing these things: That even with the slippage, I made it up every time, with kids in tow or whatnot. I made it. Climbing a hill of sand is hard, but it is doable. And, I also noticed that it’s kind of fun. My muscles burned, but my feet enjoyed the feel of the sand, and I felt safe. I felt like if I stumbled, the fall would be soft. It was just a hill of sand after all.

(I should add here that this feeling of climbing a hill of sand is more of a memory than a daily reality anymore. Every day, these kids grow, and we grow as parents and farmers, becoming ever more comfortable in our roles. And what was once all new and growth has become routine in so many ways. But still — the memory of that hill of sand is a fierce and visceral one! And, I expect that we will have more hills of sand to climb in our future. Life’s best blessings are often accompanied by a fair bit of chaos and work!)

So, we danced in the surf and climbed our hill of sand and slept in a yurt and ate good food and visited with friends, and then we returned to the farm. Re-entry from a trip can be hard. After past trips away, we have returned to long lists from our employees of all the things that went wrong and need Casey’s attention (however, I’d like to point out how awesome it is that they DEAL with these crises in temporary but totally doable fashions so they do not disturb our vacations!!!! So awesome!). Anyhow, this time, all was well on the farm. And so Casey swung right back into routine by attending the CSA pick-up, and then … it rained. That night the rain began, and it continued off and on through the next day and night.

A rare sight indeed! Picking ripe blackberries in full rain gear!

If you are reading this blog from a distance, I need to stop and explain: it does not rain in Oregon in July. Like, never. July is a month of constant irrigation and dust (from combines mostly) and hot, hot days. Casey had stepped back from that urgent work of irrigation so that we could get away, and then … it rained. Ok, we realize that the universe has a lot more on its plate than our little farm, but on some level, this beautiful gentle, soaking rain felt like a gift. Or a reward for our faith as we chose to let go and find our peace again in the midst of summer. Or it’s just a fluke. But, a happy fluke nonetheless!

The farmer we used to work for in Bellingham would call these freakish summer rains “million dollar rains.” I suppose because extra rain in the midst of our prime growing season can cause such dramatic growth all around. Every single square inch of our farm got irrigated last week. And then the warmth returned, and all those trees and vegetables and pasture grasses have extra water to grow, grow, grow!!!! Oh the rain made us happy farmers! (We also appreciated the little clearing in the air and a break from the heat!)

I’m sorry for mixing up all these metaphors and images. I’d hoped I would be able to link them all together coherently upon returning, but perhaps this week is about vignettes, about little glimpses of The Bigger Picture and The Peace Perspective Can Bring. But, I’ll tell you what, if peace is to be found, for Casey and me it’s all about water. The ocean. The rain. These things revive us in the season of dust and heat. And, of course, so does the river. Our weekly trips to the river sustain us.

Hope you are staying cool and savoring summer’s surprises (and also summer’s plenty — oh, the food! The summer foods!). Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. Just for fun … with everything being so bizarrely early this year, we picked our first apples this week! They are from trees not yet in full production (they are in our newest of our three orchards), so it was just enough for our house to enjoy at a few snacks. But these were some big apples!!!!

Rusty shows you how big these Lodi apples were. WOAH!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Cucumbers
  • Broccoli
  • Fennel
  • Green & yellow beans
  • Kale & collards
  • Potatoes
  • Summer squash & zucchini
  • Garlic
Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment