Welcome!

14Welcome 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 farm, and everything that we grow is sold directly to customers here in Yamhill County! We sell primarily through our unique 45-week long Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, which offers customizable share sizes and contents. 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 news on our blog!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

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Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest

Our 11th annual Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest is next week!

Here’s how our Holiday Harvests work. You look at our list of available fruits and veggies (see below) and decide what you’d like to order. Maybe you just want some extra delicious organic produce for your holiday meal; or maybe you want to stock your pantry — either works for us!

Once you have your list, send your order to us by Sunday evening using the handy form supplied below the list! How easy is that?

On Tuesday, November 22, we’ll harvest for you and bring your order to our downtown McMinnville storefront (off of the 2nd Street parking lot between Evans and Davis St.). You can pick up your produce any time between 3 and 5 pm that day. We accept cash or check payments.

We will also have farm meat in the freezer available for purchase at the time of pick-up.

All are welcome to participate! Any other questions? You can email us farm (at) oakhillorganics (dot) com.

Now, make your list! …

  • Apples, Goldrush — Yellow skin, great for eating and cooking — $3/lb
  • Apples, Liberty — Red skin, good for eating — $3/lb
  • Pears — $3/lb
  • Seasonal salad mix — Mix of fall greens — $4/bag (0.5 lb bags)
  • Kale — $3/bunch
  • Collards — $3/bunch
  • Chard — $3/bunch
  • Cabbage — $2.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Brussels sprouts — loose — $6/lb
  • Pie pumpkins — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Butternut squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Marina di Chioggia squash — $1/lb (order by the each)
  • Delicata winter squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Spaghetti Squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Carrots — $3/lb
  • Beets — $1.50/lb
  • Celery root — $4/lb (order by the each)
  • Red potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Yellow potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Garlic — $8/lb

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your phone number (required)

Your Holiday Harvest order

Questions or other comments?

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Thanks for a great season!

Red cabbage always seems like a jewel in the end-of-fall fields ...

Red cabbage always seems like a jewel in the end-of-fall fields …

Endings. Here we are, at the end of another season. Our 11th! How did that happen? Where has the time gone?

I have to admit that Casey and I get excited about the end of each season. We always feel ready for a period of less structured time and a chance to refresh ourselves before the next wonderful growing season begins. We count down the final weeks, both as a way to joyfully anticipate our upcoming break but also as a way to celebrate the many weeks we’ve already fed everyone that year as we count down like this: “44 down; 1 to go!”

Breaks feel like an important part of a rhythm. For most people, the most common rhythm in life is the academic calendar, and I know that the many students and teachers in our community can relate to the joy at both ends of that cycle — the fun anticipation of each new year, followed by the pride of work-well-done at the end.

I recalled this afternoon the end-of-school-year ritual at the school I attended for middle school. It was a very old school (founded in 1907!) and had had time to develop traditions around transitions. Every school year ended with an all-school assembly, which always — ALWAYS! — closed with the singing of the school song. Nothing quite rings “vacation is here” to me quite like a rousing rendition of “Coeur de Jésus”! I think that before the end of next year’s CSA season, I need to come up with a farm song that we can sing as we close up shop for the last time.

Until then, life goes on! Because endings are never the end! Just today, in perfect timing really, we received the first of next year’s seed catalogs in the mail. I had to laugh, because this particular seed company always strives to be the first to arrive, and they deliver on their promise, giving us good reading for over the Thanksgiving break each year. Rusty is looking through it now eagerly, because seed catalogs are truly among some of the most exciting browsing materials. Already we can see our 2017 season forming in our heads and hearts, even as we joyfully look toward a break for our bodies over the winter.

So, friends, as we close the season, I want to remind you of all the important things coming up for our farm and community:

  • This week is the final CSA pick-up! Are you all paid up for the season? More importantly, have you signed up for 2017 yet? Find details and sign up now HERE! You can also sign up in person at pick-up tomorrow. It’s easy peasy. Please let me know if you have any questions about next year’s program dates, pricing or other details. We are excited to have you join us again (for our 12th season!).
  • Please your submit your Holiday Harvest orders to us by the end of this coming Sunday, November 20th (the list and order form are conveniently located in this newsletter below!).
  • Tuesday, November 22, 3-5 pm — Come to the storefront to pick-up your Holiday Harvest orders (more details below!)
  • Saturday, December 3, 3 & 7 pm — The McMinnville Women’s Choir’s winter concert: “Lighting Freedom’s Fire.” The concert will be in the Great Room at the McMinnville Co-op Ministries at 544 NE 2nd St, McMinnville. Tickets are $8 purchased in advance for adults ($10 at the door) and free for children/students under 18. You may purchase tickets now at Oregon Stationers. I sing with the choir along with many other members of our farm’s extended community! Join us!
  • Tuesday, December 20, 3-5 pm — Our Christmas-season Holiday Harvest. I will email everyone the week in advance with all the information. Place orders by Sunday evening again.
  • New Year’s — We will mail you all your 2017 season information and begin accepting payments.
  • Thursday, February 16 — Our 2017 CSA season begins!

And, now, rather than a song, we end this season with a very simple, very heartfelt, very true phrase: Thank you. Thank you for making our 11th season a reality, and thank you for helping us look forward to another delicious year.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Holiday Harvest information (this week’s CSA list is at the very bottom of this post!)

Here’s how our Holiday Harvests work. You look at our list (see below) and decide what you’d like to order. Maybe you just want some extra veggies for your holiday meal; or maybe you want to stock your pantry — either works for us! Once you have your list, send your order to us by Sunday evening using the handy form supplied below! How easy is that? On Tuesday, November 22, we’ll harvest for you and bring your order to our downtown McMinnville storefront (off of the 2nd Street parking lot between Evans and Davis St.). You can pick up your produce any time between 3 and 5 pm that day. We accept cash or check payments.

We will also meat in the freezer available for purchase at the time of pick-up, including beef, lamb, and possibly leftover stewing hens.

Any other questions? You can email us farm (at) oakhillorganics (dot) com.

Now, make your list! …

  • Apples, Goldrush — Yellow skin, great for eating and cooking — $3/lb
  • Apples, Liberty — Red skin, good for eating — $3/lb
  • Pears — $3/lb
  • Seasonal salad mix — Mix of fall greens — $4/bag (0.5 lb bags)
  • Kale — $3/bunch
  • Collards — $3/bunch
  • Chard — $3/bunch
  • Cabbage — $2.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Brussels sprouts — loose — $6/lb
  • Pie pumpkins — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Butternut squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Marina di Chioggia squash — $1/lb (order by the each)
  • Delicata winter squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Spaghetti Squash — $1.50/lb (order by the each)
  • Carrots — $3/lb
  • Beets — $1.50/lb
  • Celery root — $4/lb (order by the each)
  • Red potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Yellow potatoes — $2.50/lb
  • Garlic — $8/lb

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your phone number (required)

Your Holiday Harvest order

Questions or other comments?

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables: (This is the list of what’s available for our CSA share — the Holiday Harvest list is above!)

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Seasonal salad mix
  • Summer fruits — The very very very last of this year’s peppers, tomatoes, and zucchini!
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Savoy cabbage
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Winter squash — Available this week: Spaghetti squash, Butternut squash, and Pie pumpkins
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Potatoes

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Stewing hens — We have a limited number of stewing hens available for purchase this week. These hens were fed exclusively organic chicken feed (plus lots of grass and veggie scraps!). $4/lb
  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

In community

November evening sky over the farm

November evening sky over the farm

In the lead up to the presidential election, I happened to read The Long Loneliness, Catholic Worker activist Dorothy Day’s memoir of her life in the first half of the 20th century. Day helped found the Catholic Workers movement, which opened and ran “hospitality houses” all across the country, where anyone could come to rest, live, commune, and be fed. They became centers of activism as well as a radical kind of community, where the lines between those being served and those serving were blurred.

Community was one of the primary themes through the book, presented as the solution to “the long loneliness” she describes. In fact, she closes the book on this point:

We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that loves come with community.

It’d be hard to argue with that conclusion! And yet, in the main body of the book, I found myself confused at times, because her actual descriptions of real, specific community life were so … awkward. Flawed. Full of failures. Human. They certainly didn’t stand out as stellar examples of what I once thought of as ideal community.

When I was in my early 20s, community meant something golden and sweet. Community represented warm fuzzy feelings that we might get from helping each other. Community meant friendship and shared meals.

How could I reconcile that image with what Day describes, where people failed to meet each other’s needs or grew weary of shared projects or just got burned out on community life in general? Of course, my own first-hand experiences with community have probably been closer to Day’s experience. There has always been awkwardness and challenge in figuring out how to live together and share resources when every person has a different perspective and unique needs (and sometimes just decides not to engage as a community anymore for various reasons). Anyone who has lived in an “intentional” community of any kind will likely have stories about miscommunications, conflicts, and strained relationships. It happens.

This weekend, we were talking with friends about these things, and I wondered aloud where someone might have gotten community “right.” Where have people figured out how to live together in ways that feel graceful and fulfilling and consistent?

I hadn’t quite finished Day’s book at the time, and the next day I realized that I was probably thinking about it all wrong. I had — for years — been thinking of community as a refuge of some kind. A place where one can retreat to for all those warm fuzzies and support in life. And, community can be that place (and friendship certainly can be too, although I’ve realized that friendship can sometimes be easier without shared resources to discuss and sort out!).

But, maybe Day’s point about community is something entirely different. Maybe we live together because of the inherent challenges that arise. Perhaps the goal isn’t for our relationships with others to be simpler but instead to be a bit more complicated as we sort through how to serve the needs of many in shared ways. Perhaps the point is to have daily opportunities to practice those ancient sacred human arts of forgiveness and intentional loving kindness.

I mean, really, liking and accepting another human being can feel very easy in certain contexts — in the flush of new love (whether that be with a romantic partner or friend), for example. But it’s not easy for long. The more our individual lives bump up against those of others, the more moments will arise that require us to breathe deep and intentionally see another person’s humanity. To remember to see their beautiful value even when we might be annoyed or legitimately frustrated with their actions (or them with ours!).

The longer I live, the more certain I feel that learning how to love is the work of living in this world. And, it’s not easy work at all. Certainly, our work is aided and eased by all the interactions that do give us warm fuzzies — that’s why shared meals are often the heart of any community, whether it be in a family or in a wider concept of community. We need to connect, on some level, in order to love.

But, I believe that we are called to love regardless. In the communities that Day describes in her books, there were many fun shared experiences (especially many long philosophical discussions held late into the night!). But she also describes situations that were really just about serving each other and loving past the discomfort of being in the presence of another human. Loving because love matters, not because it provides warm fuzzies or is comfortable or natural feeling.

So, thanks to Dorothy Day, I now have a new way of understanding community — as a place of continual challenge that prompts us to grow every day in our walk toward love and all that goes along with that choice (compassion, forgiveness, acceptance). Community has value because of how it builds us up through work and how it offers us opportunities to see the world from someone else’s perspective. Through the inner work, we connect with the rest of the world.

I have to be honest that in my early 20s, this version of community would not have held the same appeal as my warm fuzzy version. But we grow into our own understandings as we are ready for them, and my new vision of community allows me to see community working everywhere on all of us. Whether our relationships experience conflict is not the test of the community — what matters is what happens inside us, how we let our experience of community grow us into more loving individuals in the world. By this standard, communities that are hard at times can be seen as truly beautiful and life giving. Family life. Marriages. Shared households. Churches. Farms. Schools. Workplaces. All of these are communities filled with opportunities for growth — opportunities for us to bump up against others and choose to love.

On a personal level, this week has offered me such opportunities on multiple levels — at the quarry hearing last week, where the room filled with people with varying perspectives on the question at hand, including the applicants. I found myself looking around at everyone and feeling — surprisingly! — a lot of warm fuzzies! I felt so much love for everyone who had gathered and for everyone’s humanity. Sometimes, people just shine. I’ve heard mystics say this, and every now and then I get glimpses of that. Sometimes at surprising moments. But again, community gives me these opportunities to see others in the light of love, even when our interests might be at cross purposes.

Which brings me to yesterday. United States’ presidential elections have a particular knack of leaving half of the voting population feeling elated/powerful and the other half sorely defeated/scared/frustrated. Going into this election, I was so focused on my own feelings of want and hope that it was only when I found myself in that latter camp that I realized those feelings were inevitable for someone during each election cycle. Oh, I had a bitter night, weeping tears of disappointment. If I hadn’t, someone else surely would have instead.

What do we do with that reality? That’s what I wondered today as I blearily worked through my day. The mama part of me wants everyone to be happy, but clearly in a community as vast and diverse as our country, we will always have needs and wants that seem to be at cross-purposes. So, how do we live? What is the point?

I take comfort in my new way of seeing community, of realizing that maybe the point isn’t to come to a total agreement or avoid conflict forever. But, how we each respond to these conflicts can make our community succeed, even without solving the conflicts. Conflicts are opportunities to grow in love — real, nitty gritty hard love that doesn’t necessarily give us warm fuzzies. Love that moves us past our own perspective of what is wanted or needed and helps us just to see that other people shine in this world, even when we don’t agree with each other. Love that doesn’t wait for us to feel it or until we understand others or for us to perceive that the others “deserve” our love (goodness knows, we don’t “deserve” everyone else’s love either! We could all be waiting a long time for love in that equation). Love within big, real conflicts is hard. Life gives us opportunities to practice that incredibly challenging action.

Dorothy Day’s book also helped remind me that solutions can be small. That changing the world can happen on the micro scale. That I can make a difference, here and now. I don’t have to wait for the “right” person to be in the White House to serve my fellow humans. To care and love. Dorothy Day also demonstrated that serving others is different than trying to fix everything for them. Her vision is perhaps most radical for being so pedestrian. So down-to-earth. So grounded in the reality of who we are as people.

And, yes, I am oversimplifying the complexities of what it means to live in community. But, I think that these ideas are the base, and they help us understand community in new ways that open up expanded definitions of success. Including this moment now.

That’s what’s on my mind tonight at the end of this surprisingly beautiful November day (which made for delightful harvest work for Casey!). In addition to running this farm and parenting the kids, we’re also out here in the country figuring out how to live in this world. We’ll be working on that until the very end, I suppose, and weeks like this just accelerate the process. I wish you all peace this week as you bump up against others in community too.

And, of course, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. Next week is the final CSA pick-up of the year!!!!!!! Our winter ‘to do’ list is growing and growing, and we are excited to have more time to work on it soon. However, we will also miss you and look forward to another delicious CSA season in 2017. Have you signed up yet? You can do so now on our website or in person at pick-up tomorrow. Please let me know if you have any questions.

P.P.S. We’ll post the Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest list in next week’s newsletter! We ask that you place your order by the end of Sunday, November 20, for pick-up on Tuesday, November 22.

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Marina di Chioggia winter squash — Even the small squash of this type are usually biggy big big. How does one properly handle a big squash like this? Our favorite way is to pre-cook it and use it over several days. On a quiet weekend morning, we wash and then pop a whole squash into the oven on a pan (we take the stem off first). We bake it at 350° until it is cooked all the way through and a knife inserts without any resistance. Then we take it out and let it cool off and put it into our fridge! Some of the ways we use the cooked squash: remove the seeds and skin and mash the flesh to make pumpkin muffins or other quick breads; reheat and brown slices (minus the seeds) in the oven or in a pan (good with lots of butter); puree into soups.
  • Salad mix
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Brussels sprouts
  • Sweet peppers
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | 3 Comments

Rusty’s view

Fall leaves, blackberries, and a mushroom. (Photo by Rusty)

Fall leaves, blackberries, and a mushroom. (Photo by Rusty)

Folks — quite frankly, I don’t have a lot of time and extra energy for a CSA newsletter tonight. I’m finishing up some BIG final details for our quarry hearing tomorrow evening (see note below!) and that has eaten up all of my creative and thoughtful energy until it is over! Instead, I thought I’d hand over my usual task to Rusty today. He took his first photo ever last weekend (Casey and I needed someone to take a picture of us in costume), and it was a fun experience. So, I thought that maybe today Rusty could take care of getting photos for the newsletter. Here they are — Rusty’s views of what is interesting on the farm today:

The blackberries are consuming the mower-conditioner that we need to sell now that we no longer make hay! (Photo by Rusty)

The blackberries are consuming the mower-conditioner that we need to sell now that we no longer make hay! (Photo by Rusty)

The hole in the walnut tree by the road. (Photo by Rusty)

The hole in the walnut tree by the road. (Photo by Rusty)

Sunflowers germinating in the kids' garden (as a result of the kids feeding the birds here!)

Sunflowers germinating in the kids’ garden (as a result of the kids feeding the birds here!)

Queen Anne's Lace (Photo by Rusty)

Queen Anne’s Lace (Photo by Rusty)

Rusty's maple tree is dressed for the season. Our "play shed" is a nice play for hanging out and swinging on cool/wet fall mornings too. (Photo by Rusty)

Rusty’s maple tree is dressed for the season. Our “play shed” is a nice play for hanging out and swinging on cool/wet fall mornings too. (Photo by Rusty)

How can anyone with a camera resist our giant walnut tree? So majestic! (Photo by Rusty)

How can anyone with a camera resist our giant walnut tree? So majestic! (Photo by Rusty)

And, for fun, the farmers on Halloween. (Photo by Rusty!)

And, for fun, the farmers on Halloween. (Photo by Rusty!)

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. In sad news, today we also stopped by Blue Goat restaurant in Amity to say good-bye. They’ve closed their doors after six years of cooking up some awesome food for the locals (made with so many good local ingredients too!). Thanks to Cassie and Dave for a wonderful partnership these last six years, as well as so many wonderful meals. We will miss their cozy dining room and tasty food so very much.

~ ~ ~

Quarry hearing tomorrow, Thursday, Nov 3 at 7 pm! The Yamhill County Planning Commission hearing is in Room 32 at the Yamhill County Courthouse, 535 E 5th St, McMinnville, Oregon. If you’d like to come and be a warm body in the room in support of Grand Island farmers, please join us! We would be so heartened by your presence.

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Brussels sprouts - these are loose (no stalk to wrangle home), and extra thoroughly washed to get little critters out!
  • Arugula/radicchio mix — Some flavorful greens for a fall salad mix!
  • Peppers
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Zucchini! — Yes, still!
  • Tomatoes! — Yes, still! Both of these crops just keep on going. They will be done eventually though.
  • Butternut squash
  • Collards/kale
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Potatoes

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Paying attention

Hey, look — it is most definitely fall! Now, how are we going to spend our time this season? Or, perhaps more important, how we will we allocate our attention?

Hey, look — it is most definitely fall! Now, how are we going to spend our time this season? Or, perhaps more important, how we will we allocate our attention?

So, at the outset, there’s some irony to me taking on this topic right now. Because, well, my attention is somewhat divided. Here I am on the computer, sitting at a picnic table at our beloved Grand Island pumpkin patch, while the kids play around on the big slides under cover. It’s a happy place to be on a rainy afternoon, when I need to get the newsletter written, and they need to work off some steam. But, it hardly makes for focus! (Not to mention the constant potential distraction here on my trusty computer — social media is always just a click away, and can I ignore it long enough to compose a newsletter! That is always a question!)

But, I want to at least bring this up, because for some reason it feels like an important fall topic. As we turn toward these darker, rainier months, it feels important to me to consider how I respond to all the shifts in my personal environment. As outdoor activities pull less on my physical body, do I let myself turn completely inward. Or, perhaps more to the point, do I let myself get pulled into the ethereal, endless, unreal world of the computer and like devices?

I think this is a big question for humanity right now. Perhaps The Question of our era. What are we paying attention to? And are we really paying attention to anything at all?

Does anybody else feel foggier, less focused, less present after time spent mindlessly scrolling? I, for sure, do. And, in contrast, I have always felt more attention shift and deepen from time spent outside. Colors become more saturated. I hear multiple layers of sound in the environment. My inner chatter eventually slows down.

I am sure that this is why I (and Casey too) gravitated toward a job that forces us outside every day. It’s not always physically comfortable work to do — especially in this season, when mud abounds and falling rain complicates even the simplest task. But there is this gift that comes from being outside — the gift of presence in the world. Of direct observation of so many fascinating parts of life that just aren’t shiny or loud or fast moving enough to be noticed if stuck in a post-screen, indoor-life fog.

In my ever-growing humility of experience, I no longer feel comfortable assuming that everyone responds the same ways to these kinds of things — that everyone walks away from a screen with a fog or comes in from a day of work tired but happily alert. Those are my experiences, and they have dictated the choices I make for myself and for our children, even though at times I feel like I am trying to hold back the tides as I carve out screen-free spaces and childhoods for all of us.

For the children, it’s actually relatively easy as a homeschooling family to simply set our boundaries and keep them (which for us means that the kids don’t use screens at home). But for me, an adult trying to live, communicate, and run a business in a 2016 world, forgoing screens just doesn’t seem like a realistic (or reasonable!) option at this point. So, I set boundaries for myself too — I use temporal and physical boundaries to keep myself from frittering away the day into fragments of lame entertainment and losing all my productive energy and focus. This can happen to me easily when at home with the kids, if I am not VERY intentional. So, I place limits, and then I pull up my big girl pants and work hard to keep them!

I had been pondering much of this after a friend recommended to me Reset Your Child’s Brain, a book about children but which I found familiar to my own experiences (both as a teenager and an adult). Then, just this month The Atlantic published an article about a Silicon Valley insider who claims that much of contemporary technologies are being intentionally designed to be addictive to users. “Oh!” I said to myself. It’s not that I am weak-willed! (Or any of us!) Social media websites are addictive! Intentionally so! Between the book and article, it has become clear to me that these technologies quite possibly affect us in [at times negative] ways that we may wrongly attribute to our selves rather than to our devices. It’s a potentially controversial notion, but an important one to consider. Does one’s mindless scrolling habit represent a weakness of will or can we instead see it as the 21st century equivalent to chain smoking? It sounds like some voices would strongly put mindless scrolling in the second category.

By bringing this up on our blog, I’m not really attempting to do anything with this questions but to just simply bring. them. up. It feels like it’s past time for us as a society to talk about the rapidly changing world of communication technologies — technologies that didn’t exist when I was a child but that are now mainstays in everyone’s homes (and pockets!). There are clearly so very many benefits — as a parent I love having a cell phone for safety and for coordinating plans with other parents when out and about. I am no luddite just wishing all technology would disappear (although I do love regular fasts from technologies when our family goes on trips!).

But I also think we need to move to a place of intentionality in how we use our time and our attention. What does it mean in 2016 to be present for a friend? To be present for our families? To bond with the people who matter to us? To set aside an uninterrupted hour or two to work on a creative project? How do we facilitate these things? For many people (myself included at times), the idea of uninterrupted time to create feels like an almost impossible proposition anymore!

Casey and I still both cling to our “old fashioned” cell phones — the kind that make calls and texts but don’t allow us to connect to anything more. These are distraction enough in our busy farm and kid-filled days. But I am trying to move more and more toward focused periods of time, where all I am doing is what I am doing — whether that is sitting to read with the kids, helping Casey harvest, or cooking lunch. Even just this fall, I feel like I have made some profound changes in this area (thanks to my self-imposed computer limits!). I feel like I am rediscovering parts of myself that were buried in a fog at times.

Moms, especially, can fall into the trap of being online a lot. And this is complicated topic, because of course in a post-village/ideal ’50s neighborhood world, online is how moms can connect with each other most easily today. (In fact, the current Orion magazine has a very thoughtful article in its current issue that attempts to untangle the complexities of the new mom experience and isolation and online temptations — I would include a link, but it’s not on the website yet!)

Like I said already, I don’t have answers. Mostly I have observations. Observations about myself — both today and in my past. Observations about my kids. Observations about what I see happening in lives around me. It’s not all bad. But could it be “better”? That’s a question to perhaps ponder these dark fall days in your own homes. As you chop vegetables for dinner, are you really there, chopping those vegetables? Can we only find that kind of presence when we’re in yoga class, or can we bring it home, bring it to our relationships, bring it to our endeavors of all kinds?

I really wonder … can we? I hope you will join me in this 21st century challenge.

And, of course, do so while enjoying this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. Yes, I’m happy to report that I resisted the urge to check social media or my email while writing this week’s newsletter! A minor victory for me!

~ ~ ~

Important Grand Island related hearing next week! A few weeks ago, I mentioned that there was a new chapter coming up in the very long work to keep a gravel quarry from the south end of Grand Island. Long time CSA members will remember that much of 2010 year was taken up with community organizing meetings, the reading of long application materials, and preparing to testify as a gravel quarry company applied to change the zoning on a 224-acre parcel from farmland to aggregate use. Eventually, Yamhill County did approve the zoning change, and in the intervening years things have been relatively quiet on the issue, as the gravel company has continued their slow permitting process with the state.

But this fall, things picked up again, as they put in their flood plain permit application to Yamhill County — another step of many for them. However, for us concerned Grand Island farmers and residents, it is another opportunity to speak out on a particularly important topic! Namely the possible affects of a large quarry on the south (i.e. upstream) end of the island!

So, here we are again, meeting after work hours to discuss a new set of paperwork (as well as digging through the old stuff). We’re getting prepared to present our thoughts on the matter at a public hearing before the Yamhill County Planning Commission next Thursday, November 3 at 7 pm. The hearing is in Room 32 at the Yamhill County Courthouse, 535 E 5th St, McMinnville, Oregon. I’m telling you about this now, because I know that some of you have watched the process closely over the years. If you’d like to come and be a warm body in the room in support of Grand Island farmers, please join us! We would be so heartened by your presence!

~ ~ ~

And, more important upcoming dates:

  • Thursday, November 17 — The final CSA pick-up for 2016!
  • Tuesday, November 22 — Thanksgiving Holiday Harvest! Place your order by end of Sunday, November 20. Pick up between 3-5 pm on Tuesday. (The list of items available for order will be in the final newsletter of the year)
  • Tuesday, December 20 — Christmas Holiday Harvest! Place your order by end of Sunday, December 18. Pick up between 3-5 pm on Tuesday. (I will email the list of available items the week beforehand.)
  • Thursday, February 16 — The first CSA pick-up of 2017! 2-7 pm at our storefront!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Brussels sprouts — Ok, they are here this week! (Sorry to have tempted you prematurely last week!) They are on the stalk still (for our ease of harvested and delivery). To prepare, begin by “popping” them off with your thumb and then prep as you would any Brussels sprouts!
  • Delicata squash — We also have pie pumpkins and spaghetti squash to choose from as well! At this weekend’s open house we had a fun winter squash tasting, with cooked samples of all our types available for trying in one sitting! It was super fun to see them all side-by-side and compare the different textures/flavors. They differ widely from type to type! (That’s on purpose, of course. We figure that if we’re going to grow several different kinds of squash, then they should be different!)
  • Fennel bulbs
  • Cabbage
  • Sweet peppers
  • Chard
  • Kale & collards
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes — Both red and yellow this week
  • Garlic

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Fall’s challenges (and opportunities)

The first big gust of Saturday's wind storm split the plastic on our oldest high tunnel right in half! Casey pulled the two pieces down and secured them safely so they wouldn't damage the structure in the wind. Time for new poly!

The first big gust of Saturday’s wind storm split the plastic on our oldest high tunnel right in half! Casey pulled the two pieces down and secured them safely so they wouldn’t damage the structure in the wind. Time for new poly!

If any of us had any doubt that summer is over and fall is here, this last week has confirmed this fact. We’ve already broken records for October rainfall (with a week and a half left in the month), and the scene outside has been dark, wet, and dreary. To me, this weather speaks more strongly of late November than mid-October (which has a way of being delightful crispy and sunny … just maybe not this year).

I have to admit to not being quite ready for this level of fall just yet. While the farm weathered Saturday’s storm with only minimal damage (the older plastic ripped off a high tunnel in a big wind gust), us people have perhaps been more shaken up by the continuous feeling of darkness and dampness outside. We may be proud native Northwesterners, but apparently that doesn’t make us immune to being affected by Very Gray Days (too many in a row anyway). From my vantage point today, fall and winter are looking very loooooong, but I know that this weather will be punctuated (perhaps regularly) by the brilliant crystal sunshine that keeps all of us living in this region anyway.

Mushrooms!

Mushrooms!

But, the season brings so many gifts amidst the rain. In fact, the rain is itself a gift and we sing to welcome it in our house. This Sunday, during a break from the bigger wind and rain, we went for a walk in the woods, knowing that we might find even another gift of the rain. And, we did … mushrooms! We brought home a bag full of Bear’s Head conifer mushrooms, which are the ones we find most consistently in our neighborhood. They are such a uniquely beautiful creation of nature — like a frozen white crystal waterfall. But edible! We joyfully brought home our harvest, which we put to use immediately by making cream of mushroom (and celery root!) soup. We dried the rest and traded some with a friend for chanterelle mushrooms that she harvested that same day (which we then ate with our Monday night dinner).

And, of course, the other big gift of the season is the imminent downshifting of our work load. We’re not there yet — fall harvests are still afoot — but it’s in sight. To be honest, we love our work. We would not want to press the “pause” button on our work for too long! But, as a seasonal rhythm, we do welcome the shortening days and the opportunity to turn our attention to different parts of our life and selves. To enjoy a bit more introspection and thoughtful reflection on our choices and place in the world. These processes aren’t always easy, but they are an important part of engaging in the restoration that comes over the winter into early spring. There are also so many holidays that bring their own energy (and their own opportunities to reconnect with our priorities — and with people!). To me, engaging in this more intense kind of reflection and rest is the important “work” of this season. It’s a kind of soul “house cleaning,” and as such it is work, and it is also necessary and gratifying when it is complete.

But, let’s not get ahead of ourselves! We still have five delicious weeks left in this year’s CSA season, AND a fun open house coming up this weekend (see more info and directions below!). Join us!

And, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. A reminder that we’ve begun CSA sign-ups for 2017! You can find the details and sign up here right now! Or sign up at pick-up!

~ ~ ~

Fall pumpkin patch open house! Join us between this coming Sunday (October 23), between 2-4 pm! We will have pumpkins for you (we do have a few ripe jack-o-lantern pumpkins and lots of pie pumpkins!), snacks, and trees to plant in our soon-to-be mini forest! Dress to be outside and possibly tromping through a bit of mud!

Directions to the farm: From HWY-18, take the Dayton exit. Drive straight through Dayton and head south on Wallace Rd/HWY-221 for about seven miles. Turn LEFT onto Grand Island Rd. After the bridge, turn RIGHT at the first intersection, onto SE Upper Island Rd. Our driveway is the first on your LEFT. We’ll gather on our covered porch behind our house, which is the 2-story brown one to the back-right. If you get lost or have questions, call me at 503-474-7661.

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Brussels sprouts — Some new fall flavors in this week’s share, including beloved Brussels sprouts!
  • Spaghetti squash — I can’t get enough of this year’s spaghetti squash. It’s a different variety from last year (both are named simply “spaghetti squash,” but the strains are from different suppliers). It’s easy to cut in half and bakes up fast. Even the individual squashes that don’t as strongly yellow cook up great and have fabulous mildly sweet flavor. We rarely deviate from our favorite cooking method, which is to cut in half length wise, drizzle liberally with olive oil and salt, and bake cut side up on a bake at 375-400° until cooked all the way through. Then we use a fork to pull out the “noodles” to eat as a side dish or the base for another dish!
  • Cauliflower/broccoli/kohlrabi
  • Red savoy cabbage – This one is red-tinged and beautiful!
  • Tomatoes — We may be saying good-bye soon to tomatoes and peppers for the year, but they’re still hanging on a little longer. It’s hard to believe that summer is really (really!) over already, but it’s true. Time to hunker down and fall back in love with all of those delicious fall and winter veggies.
  • Sweet peppers
  • Kale & collard greens
  • Chard
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Beef organs/bones — $6/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts/shanks are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
  • EggsVery limited supply!
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

Fall and winter news

The kids helped to unload hundreds of native trees from our box truck this weekend.

The kids helped to unload hundreds of native trees from our box truck this weekend.

Here we are, at the tail end of one growing season, and so much of my mind is occupied still with planning ahead. Eleven years into this farming gig, and I am still surprised by this part of it. At least, when operating a very long season CSA, it does feel like we rarely pause or breathe in completely.

This fall is feeling especially full. We have a lot going on, both ON the farm and OFF. Choir songs to learn. Kids to teach. Cabbage to harvest. More apples to pick (we did pick a macro bin full of Goldrush this weekend though!).

The kids were so excited about the trees that we each planted one as soon as they were unloaded!

The kids were so excited about the trees that we each planted one as soon as they were unloaded!

To add to that list, we also picked up hundred of native trees this weekend (a generous gift from a neighbor landowner on the island), which we will plant through the fall and winter on my parents’ lowest acreage. These acres make an awkward little triangle shaped field that has been difficult to farm over the years because of its size and its tendency to flood in the winter (and once even in June!). After scratching our heads on how best to manage it for years, we decided to return to our naturalist roots and plant a mini forest there. We think that the vegetation will help prevent erosion (we’ve always had it cover cropped in the winter, which also works well) and provide habitat for wildlife (and wildlife is Rusty and Dottie’s #1 passion these days). So, we will be digging a lot of holes this fall and winter, and we are excited to watch the forest take shape.

Also, this fall, we are hosting our final CSA open house of the year! See more new on that below. And, we’ll be doing our 2017 CSA sign-ups! (More on that below too!) And Holiday Harvests! (Yes, more news on that below too!)

Busy busy. And it’s all good. It’s all so much growth and bounty. This season brings so many jewels of experience — food, final days of playing in the sun, golden sunlight. And also apparently some big rain and wind (so say the weather forecasts for this weekend!).

We hope you will join us for some of this coming fall fun … and more deliciousness in 2017 as well!

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Fall pumpkin patch open house! Join us between 2-4 pm on Sunday, October 23! We will have pumpkins for you (sadly this year’s jack-o-lanterns have yet to ripen, but we have lots of pie pumpkins!), snacks, and trees to plant if you would like to help us start the forest! We thought that would be a fun activity for everyone. And, if you’ve never had the pleasure of digging in Grand Island soil, you’re in for a treat. It’s easy peasy.

Directions to the farm: From HWY-18, take the Dayton exit. Drive straight through Dayton and head south on Wallace Rd/HWY-221 for about seven miles. Turn LEFT onto Grand Island Rd. After the bridge, turn RIGHT at the first intersection, onto SE Upper Island Rd. Our driveway is the first on your LEFT. We’ll gather on our covered porch behind our house, which is the 2-story brown one to the back-right. If you get lost or have questions, call me at 503-474-7661.

~ ~ ~

Sign up for 2017! We’re officially taking sign-ups for our 2017 CSA season! You can find all the details and sign up now HERE. You can also sign up at pick-up.

The season will run from February 16 to November 16, for a total of 40 weeks. This is a slight reduction in the length of the season — after operating our CSA almost year-round for a decade, we realize that the farm and our family really need more of a true winter season to allow for more farm maintenance, building/improvement projects, family travel, and deeper rest (emphasis on the first two items on this list, but the latter two will be important too!).

Otherwise, the CSA continues in its current awesome-ness! We’ll be at pick-up on Thursdays 2-7 pm at the same great storefront. The weekly price remains the same too (but the total is lower because of the shorter season)! We are excited to provide our community with another fabulous year of fresh, seasonal, certified organic fruits and vegetables!

~ ~ ~

Fall Holiday Harvests are coming too! Put these dates on your calendar now:

  • 3-5 pm, Tuesday, November 22
  • 3-5 pm, Tuesday, December 20

Those are days when we will meet folks at the storefront to deliver pre-ordered vegetables. We offer this opportunity every year as a way to supply folks with produce for their holiday meals (Thanksgiving and Christmas, respectively) and/or to stock up during the CSA break. We’ll put the Thanksgiving holiday harvest list in the last CSA newsletter and email the Christmas list a few days in advance!

~ ~ ~

Now, finally, it’s time to …

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Apples
  • Pears
  • Delicata winter squash
  • Sweet peppers
  • Juliet tomatoes
  • Kohlrabi and Cabbage — Over the years, it’s been amazing to watch the general shift in people’s appreciation of different vegetables. For example, when we first started the CSA, kale was an oddity that we had to really sell to folks at market and the CSA. But now it feels like an absolutely essential staple to many people’s diets! Now, I think kohlrabi is making that shift. It may never reach “staple” status, but it is becoming well beloved. Our favorite way to eat it is raw. We peel it coarsely with a paring knife and then either slice up to use as a crudité (yummy with dips!) or chop fine and make a cole slaw type salad. It’s also amazing fermented like sauerkraut — on its own or alongside other fermentable veggies like carrots and cabbage.
  • Chard
  • Kale
  • Zucchini
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Beef organs/bones — $6/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
  • Eggs — Very limited supply!
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment

A stormier week

Certain vantage points catch me eye regularly on the farm. I especially love this perspective, with the overlap of the north end of our farmed field (freshly worked here), one of our orchards, greenhouses, and the wild area in the background.

Certain vantage points catch me eye regularly on the farm. I especially love this perspective, with the overlap of the north end of our farmed field (freshly worked here), one of our orchards, greenhouses, and the wild area in the background. This time of year, everything seems to glow.

We experienced another profound seasonal turning this last weekend. Blustery, dark weather arrived on Saturday, bringing with it a whole new feel to our day and activities. Emotions turn in new directions (not bad or good, just with a different seasonal timbre, if you will) and we began thinking of returning to indoor activities as it became clear that from here on out the sunny dry days would be increasing in their rarity. So we asked, what puzzles do we have on our shelves? Can we build blanket forts with the chairs?

Not to say that the outdoors is no longer of interest to our family — never! In fact, in some ways the shift in weather brought new possibilities outdoors as well. We assessed all wet weather clothes and decided we were ready for a whole new season of outdoor play and adventures (except for needing new boots for growing feet, which was a task accomplished on Sunday).

And, with the shift in the weather outdoors, I’ve also seen a shift in our meals already too. The fall-like foods were arriving before the change in weather, but suddenly we were actively seeking those comforts. Well-cooked kale. Delicata rings. Roasted beets with yogurt.

Goldrush apples waiting to be picked! These were voted our best apple last year by CSA members!

Goldrush apples waiting to be picked! These were voted our best apple last year by CSA members!

This weekend will bring more sunny weather, and our big family plan is to pick the remainder of our apples from the orchards. Just a few varieties remain — the latest, and by many accounts some of the best. But these trees are loaded, making storage a bit of a challenge. Each year, our orchards produce more, and so we find ourselves seeking new homes for them for the winter. Just last Friday, Casey finally purchased our first “macro bin” (a plastic pallet tote, most commonly used for grapes during the wine harvest). We’d been pondering such a purchase for years, but it finally seemed to make sense. So, it will go in our walk-in cooler and be filled up with delicious apples this weekend!

In addition to harvest, this fall we will be planting next year’s garlic (the seed arrived today!). Casey planted three rows of kale in a greenhouse today as well. Even in this “harvest” season, we’re preparing for future seasons and putting stuff in the ground.

Also on our fall ‘to do’ list are some more CSA-specific items. First, we’ll be hosting our final open house of the year — our annual pumpkin patch open house on Sunday October 23. More details in the next two week’s newsletters!

And, it’s time to start thinking about signing folks up for our 2017 CSA season! In fact, one CSA member has already done so (he was ready, so he asked!). We’re going to finalize those details this week and post them in next week’s newsletter (which will apparently be very news-y!). This season runs through November 17, so we still have six more weeks after this one, but we’re excited to get folks signed up for what will be our 12th CSA season!

In the meantime, enjoy this week’s newsletter!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Chehalis apples
  • Pears
  • Grapes — This has been the longest grape season we’ve ever experienced, perhaps a testament to the relatively mild weather in September. So, even though it started early, we are still enjoying it now in early October! Hoorah!
  • Broccoli/cabbage
  • Pie pumpkins — We baked a pie pumpkin this morning, in part to cut the chill of a cold fall morning (but without building a fire — because we’re just not ready to start that routine yet!). But we look forward to making something with the cooked flesh sometime soon. This is often how we approach these pumpkins; we bake them and then decide what to do with the flesh later. They’re easy enough to bake: pop off the stem and place the pumpkin on a baking pan. We usually pop a few holes in the top, but it’s not critical. Then we bake at 350° until the inner flesh is soft when we pierce it with a knife. Then we pull it out to cool and use the flesh later to make delicious treats like pumpkin muffins! It’s easy enough to pull it out of the cooked pumpkin and separate the seeds/pulp.
  • Sweet peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Potatoes
  • Zucchini

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Ground beef — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! $10/lb
  • Beef organs/bones — $6/lb
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
  • Eggs — Our hens have also noticed the shorter, darker, wetter days and egg supply has responded by dropping. We have very few eggs this week!
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September’s final days

A BIG winter squash awaiting imminent harvest!

A BIG winter squash awaiting imminent harvest!

Oh September. How is it possible that this month is already almost over? And, yet, here we are so smack in the thick of early fall and all of its particular tendencies. The golden light of late afternoon and early evening. Longer nights. Yellow jackets on the hunt (several people, including me, got stung today on a hiking trip!). Winter squash to harvest and move to storage. Trees turning yellow and orange.

It all feels so beguiling. And so very fleeting. These shoulder seasons of fall (and spring) just seem to move. From one day to the next, changes in our landscape are so visible and everything feels like it is busy winding up. I feel some level of urgency in the world, beyond just the aggression of those pesky yellow jackets. Canada geese are flying in large numbers, with a clear destination in mind. It’s just time. It’s time to finish up before (eventually) those first frosts and muddy days arrive.

In preparation for the winter squash harvests, Casey cleaned out our “squash room” in the pole barn. It has been used at times as a shop as well as for squash storage, and it was time to return it to just squash. It’s simpler that way. Where the shop will go is still somewhat up in the air, as it has been for about, oh … ten years now. Maybe that’s the thing we’ll figure out in 2017, how and where to keep our random tools, most of which we rarely use in place anyway (our real “shop” is always out in the fields, but we still have to store tools somewhere in the interim!). The biggest challenge with storing random objects and materials is, as always, mice and other rodents, who seem to find their way into most spaces as they look for nesting spots (the squash room is 99% sealed from rodents, which is why we were temporarily using it for two purposes!).

We’ll figure this out eventually. It’s more of a winter project really, and I suppose that one could surmise that establishing our perfect “shop” hasn’t been a priority for this last decade, so what’s another year or two really? Farming and living on land like this has instilled in me a deeper level of patience; a greater understanding of how somethings really just take time. Especially big projects, like farming and managing land. Each year, we really do figure out another piece of how to manage this big puzzle more effectively. Next year that will be true too.

And tonight, I’m trying to ignore the ache on the back of my head (from the sting) and looking out at the golden evening light and anticipating a dinner of fall flavors (roast beef with cabbage and spaghetti squash). It’s funny how sometimes deep relaxation can co-exist with deep urgency — it feels like this season brings both so strongly, co-existing in a vibrant paradox of experiences.

Enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

P.S. I owe you all a follow up on last week’s newsletter about Grand Island and gravel quarries, but I am honestly still sorting out some of the information and am not ready to post something coherent! Soon!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Grapes
  • Apples
  • Bartlett pears — Did you know that European-style pears (such as these) do not ripen properly if let to ripen on the tree? Instead, we farmers pick them when they are mature, but not yet ripe (you can tell because they are full sized and come off easily). We hold them in cold storage until it is time to give them out, and they will ripen (i.e. soften and sweeten) slightly in that situation, but really we have to pull them to room temperature to finish the job. Casey has been letting these pears ripen a bit before giving out, but you might still want to make sure yours are ready before eating. Put them on a not-too-warm spot on your kitchen counter and check them every day to see if they are ready. They should give under your knife with no resistance (like butter!), and then they are ready to slice and eat. A perfectly ripe pear is so totally worth the wait.
  • Spaghetti squash — Dottie is such a quintessential little kid who can’t properly pronounce this word. Right now around our house, this is “scuh-betti” squash. But she’s working on it. How to cook: we slice this lengthwise and then scoop out the seeds and pulp. Then we place it cut side up on a baking pan and pour olive oil and lots of salt over the top. Bake at 375° until it is tender through. When finished cooking, you should be able to take a fork and “scrape” out the “spaghetti”-like strands of cooked flesh onto your plate. It makes a fantastic base for all kinds of stews or sauces. We love “scuh-betti” squash!
  • Tomatoes
  • Sweet peppers
  • Kohlrabi
  • Chard
  • Beets
  • Red potatoes
  • Zucchini

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Beef cuts — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! Steaks are $14/lb; ground beef is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
  • Eggs — $6/dozen
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Here we go again

Blast from the past -- a sign from 2010 ...

Blast from the past — a sign from 2010 …

Recognize this sign? Longtime farm friends and politically aware locals will remember the genesis of these signs back in 2010. For a while, they were prolific around these parts, as Grand Island residents and farmers, nearby neighbors, and friends gathered together to respond to a rock company’s proposal to put a gravel quarry on the south end of the island.

That was a wild time, let me tell you. And, in many ways, a wonderful time of community organizing. We got to know many neighbors who we’d barely met in our previous four years of living and farming here. We met weekly to organize our ideas and understand what the implications of this quarry would be for the island — and how we could potentially mitigate damages or even find a way to stop it from happening.

Long story made short — back in 2011, Yamhill County approved the zone change on the proposal parcel, changing it “forever” from agricultural zoning to mineral extraction zoning. The intervening years have been quiet. The rock company has been working on the next steps apparently — many more permits are needed before starting up the operation of a gravel quarry!

During this quiet period, we’ve enjoyed spending our time and energy on other projects, but it looks like the time has come to return our attention to what’s happening (or potentially happening) at the south end of Grand Island.

And, now, I apologize because really this will be a “teaser” post about this topic. My time for a newsletter is limited this week because I am meeting tonight with other island residents and friends to assess what actually is going on right now with the quarry. The News-Register published a great, in-depth article about the history of the quarry situation and its current status for those of you who want to get caught up. And, I will write more at length next week when I have a better idea of the situation myself.

Perhaps one of the most surprising things about falling SO deeply in love with a place is realizing that my love — like all loves — makes me feel so vulnerable to possible pain or hurt or disappointment. The longer we live on Grand Island, the more rooted we feel here. We grow in our love of the wildlife that lives on the edges. We grow in our appreciation for the very vibrant farming businesses that employ so many people here.

We’re still figuring out exactly what “protect” means at this point in Grand Island’s situation, but our heart is even deeper in love with the island than when those signs were painted five years ago. And, so, we persist in our attention at the very least.

More next week! I promise! For now, enjoy this week’s vegetables!

Your farmers, Katie & Casey Kulla

~ ~ ~

Final CSA payment due this week! If you haven’t already paid the remainder of your CSA balance, this is the week to do so! You can bring cash or check to pick-up or mail us a check to: Oakhill Organics, P.O. Box 1698, McMinnville OR 97128. Please let me know if you have any questions about your account or balance due. Thank you!

~ ~ ~

Meet this week’s vegetables:

  • Pears
  • Chehalis apples
  • Grapes
  • Delicata winter squash — Tomorrow is the Fall equinox! I remember the equinox of 2010 so well — of seeing the sun set exactly behind me to the west as we drove home from a quarry meeting with neighbors. This year, we will observe it by picking up meat from the butchering and saying hello to all our CSA members at pick-up! BUT! We will also celebrate by sharing with you some of the first winter squash of the season … the beloved Delicata squash! These are a perennial favorite of the CSA. They are so simple to prepare in many ways. Our favorite is to make “rings” by slicing the squash width-wise. I use a butter knife to scoop out the seeds and then roast the rings on a baking sheet with lots of butter at 375° until the delicata is crispy outside and soft inside. Yum. In general, you can eat the skin on this squash, which makes it easy to prepare lots of ways!
  • Cauliflower & cabbage
  • Tomatoes — “Juliet” plum cherry tomatoes & slicer tomatoes both
  • Sweet peppers
  • Chard
  • Zucchini
  • Beets
  • Red potatoes
  • Garlic

~ ~ ~

And this week’s extra goodies from the farm:

  • Beef cuts — The last beef from our farm for the foreseeable future! Steaks are $14/lb; roasts are $12/lb; ground beef is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
  • Lamb — Also the last lamb from our farm for the foreseeable future! Chops are $14/lb; roasts are $12/lb; ground lamb is $10/lb; organs and bones are $6/lb.
  • Eggs — $6/dozen
Posted in Weekly CSA Newsletters | Leave a comment