Summer CSA Week 5 – It’s a Meat Week!

Starting this week, every other-ish email will be written by our Farmers! This way you, the CSA member get a different and new look into what Rainshadow Organics is, the whole picture if you will. 

This week’s email is written by Nat!

Nat is our Farm Manager. Read on to learn a little bit more about Nat!

Where are you from?
I’m originally from the land of sweet home Alabama, but have lived in Colorado, Kentucky, and have now been in Oregon for the last 5 years.

How did you find yourself at Rainshadow?
I started out at Rainshadow as an intern through the Rogue Farm Corps. I stayed on after my first summer and am now celebrating my 5th season here!

Season Goal
I think my goal this year is to keep getting after it! Staying healthy, reading, listening to my body’s needs, having fun, continuing to learn learn learn, seeing old friends, making new friends, going dancing, eating well. Continuing to thrive on this little journey of mine.

Where do you find your inspiration?

It’s easy to be completely absorbed and inspired by the intricate communities that thrive on the farm. The season’s first cucumber flowers in bloom, the sprouting of future polenta in the form of flint corn, and the incredible and unique team of people that have come together this season to tend to this magical place are my current inspirations.

What do you like to do when you aren’t farming?

Lately I’ve been embracing the idea of slow food and slow cooking…lots of new recipes have been wafting through my kitchen and my belly is here for it

Farm News

Howdy y’all!

Those of you who have been with us for a while now know that my emails can have a somewhat romantic undertone in my recounting of the week’s events. This spring, however, has felt a little bit more like one of those romances where the protagonist pines after a lover that is playing hard to get, refusing to give in to the adoration and dedication being poured into them, to the point of the protagonist standing in the middle of a storm outside a window yelling, “WHY WON’T YOU LOVE ME?” In our case, we farmers are the protagonist, the farm is one beautiful, complicated, irresistible lover, and the storm is an ever growing swell of weeds, unpredictable weather, and a black hole specifically formed to suck in time.

It’s not that the love is unrequited; it’s just that this particular lover is asking us to prove our worth…a lot. Last weekend, Sarahlee woke up at 2:00 AM three nights in a row to go out and frost protect (a process of using our wheel line and consistent 50 degree irrigation water to encase plants and keep the frost from settling on them) our newly germinated squash, beans, and corn. With the chilly spring, the plant’s growth has been incredibly slow, and a lot of crops we’re used to having by now are not quite ready.

Each week, I stare at the harvest board, adding up the units needed to feed all you wonderful people, and each time I find we have *just* enough to get by. I stress that members will be upset about another week of lettuce heads, kale, and green onions, even though those seasonal flavors are the flavors of Central Oregon in the spring.

This past Thursday, Sarahlee and I put in a 14 hour day in order to do a full team transplant of 10,000 new plant babes and then cultivate/weed the entire big field, because conditions were just right and the timing of weeding and irrigating is a puzzle of ultimate thought and planning.

After our first wedding this past week, the event staff was out in the garden at 10:00 PM, covering sensitive plants with row cover to prepare for the frost, since we must balance presenting a beautiful event space not covered in the un-sexy white row cover, while still utilizing that area for growing lots of food.

The thing is though, the farm is not some new, selfish lover that we are chasing after. Time after time, with all our pouring of devotion, and a touch of patience, we have been rewarded with the most nourishing, fulfilling love I have ever experienced. The type of love that fills your body and mind with sustenance, health, strength, and a happiness only achieved by reaping the rewards of hard work and dedication. The type of love that brings one of the most amazing, intelligent teams you’ve ever met into your life, and introduces you to a whole new community of like-minded people. The type that allows for little boosts and support, the love language of service, everywhere you look. Love that tastes like the first cucumber of the season.

This lover-farm of ours has proven to us, every year, to be worth the chase.

~ Farmer Nat

Photo Credit: Ray Hansen, Natalie Leder, Sarahlee Lawrence
Top Pic: This last week was a weeding push! Nat and Sarah drove the tractor weeder and Coni, Mary, and Ray walked behind and tidy towned. Hand weeding the things that were too close to the plants to get with the tractor weeder.

Next Pic: First carrots. Finally! Speaking of things that took their sweet and juicy time this spring!

Final Pic: First fresh beets! We only harvested a few bunches last week, but that is the start of what is sure to be beets for days in the coming months.

Veggie CSA

Every week, we include this section with what we think will be coming out of our fields and hoop houses for the CSA pick up. Keep in mind, that we send this email on Monday just as we start harvesting for the week. That means this is a guess/estimation/extrapolation of what we think we are seeing in the fields. Sometimes we are spot on, but other times we are not.

Harvest List will probably include:

asian greens
green onions
dinosaur kale
head lettuce
napa cabbage
salad mixes
salad turnips

fresh carrots
lemon balm
bulk potatoes & shallots

Meat CSA

Each week we will let you know what you can expect in your meat CSA. Occasionally (although we try very hard for this not to happen), we do the math wrong and your CSA might look different then what is here. Embrace the surprise, we really tried not to have that happen.

Check the links below and the Wednesday email for recipe ideas and more information.

Small Meat CSA:

1 package ham slices
1 package boneless pork chops
1 quart chicken broth

+/- 1 package breakfast sausage links

Medium Meat CSA:

beef brisket (this is a slow cooker cut! Smoke it, low and slow in the oven, or use your instant pot.)
1 whole roasting chicken

1 package bone-in pork chop
+/- 1 package breakfast sausage links

Large Meat CSA:

beef brisket (this is a slow cooker cut! Smoke it, low and slow in the oven, or use your instant pot.)
1 whole roasting chicken
1 package bone-in pork chop

1 package stew meat
2 packages pork links (breakfast sausage and sweet italian)
+/- 2 ground beef

photo credit: Ray Hansen

Peas are so very seasonal. They arrive at the start of spring and then flourish until it gets too hot. After the true summer heat arrives, they finish with a bang and that’s that until next season! Enjoy them while they last.