From the Farmer – Week of October 24th, 2016
Unbelievable! The final week of our CSA! You’d be amazed to see the farm now – in place of lush, abundant bushes of peppers and verdant fences of cucumbers and cherry tomatoes are flat, green carpets of cover crop like oats, rye, and clover. Other beds that recently pumped out eggplants, salad mix, and green beans are “put to bed” for the season, covered with Stumptown Coffee’s burlap sacks in order to prevent erosion from wind or rain this winter.
Preparing the farm for winter is another chapter in the cycle of seasons on the farm. If I was to divide up the year, I’d describe it like this: March to May: Seed Sowing, Bed Preparation, Transplanting; June to Sept: Trellising, Weeding, Harvesting; Oct to Early Dec: Pulling out crops, Composting, Cover Cropping, Bulb/Garlic Planting; Dec to February: Soil Rest and Relaxation/Rejuvenation, Bulb Formation, Pest/Disease Suppression. Every part of the growing season is an essential piece of a larger whole. Every season plays a vital role in sustaining the life and ecosystem around us and from which we prosper.
I am so happy to see our final veggie shares reflecting many tasty fall staples, like Arugula and Salad Mix, Chinese Cabbage, Carrots, Beets (albeit babies!), Scallions, and more. We hope you have enjoyed ALL the fruits of each month and week this year. It has certainly been a banner year for certain crops like heat-loving tomatoes and peppers and eggplant, and it was a more challenging year for the Brassica family crops like Collards and Kales, who love cooler temps, and this year weakened by the extreme heat, succumbing to pest pressure from flea beetles.
Do you recall how much cooler last summer was?? Hence… the inundation of greens and the relative scarcity of tomatoes and peppers (compared to this season). Eating local and seasonal echoes the ebbs and flows of Mother Nature. As farmers using renewable, ecological, earth-friendly practices, we are forced to accept the ups and downs. While we champion and root for every crop, we know that some things just won’t do as well as others, largely based on the weather. Rather than whip out a synthetic pesticide, potentially harming the fragile ecosystem and endangering our health and our customers’ health, we learn to take the bounties and shortfalls as they come.
We are motivated, inspired and heart-warmed by our CSA members’ willingness to embrace this idea. We feel a real sense of community with you, though we as farmers may not see you each week. We know we are all sharing in the same bounty and investing in the same ecological vision of our future, together. It is a strange concept to become acquainted with this kind of surprise in this day and age of On Demand and Fresh Direct, and every other technological innovation that promises faster and better. Slower food, to me, means richer food, tighter community, and a healthier planet. Learning ourselves how to manage the excesses is an investment in our heritage and in passion on that food preserving knowledge to future generations. I’m sure Blue Apron is helpful to many a family, but rolling with the punches means – hopefully – expanding our repertoire of recipes and food preservation techniques, time honored traditions that are necessary if we are to counteract waste and it’s impact on the environment. Thank you for taking this journey with us this season! We hope you and yours have benefitted from our produce, flowers, and newsletters as we and the farm and its many microbes have benefitted from your support. And of course, we very much hope to have you back next season! Secure your CSA spot now!! Also, please consider joining us on Wednesday for our HARVEST FESTIVAL, 3-7pm. There will be all kinds of fall fun, games, treats and excitement. We’d love to meet you if we haven’t already.
With so much gratitude,