1st Summer CSA pick up this week

Farm News: It’s here!

Wow, first Summer CSA of 2024 here we are! This week truly marks a major turning point in the year. Now through the second Wednesday in October we will become weekly partners in a culinary journey through the Central Oregon farming season. Hold on, its going to be delicious, nourishing, full of mystery, and informative!

I want to introduce you to a term we use here on the farm, “the tsunami”. You don’t know this yet, but you are riding a tsunami along with us. But instead of a wave of ocean water, it is a growing and building wave of vegetables. Right now, late spring/early summer depending on how you look at it, we are in the trough as the wave begins to build. As the summer continues, the wave (as in the variety and amounts of vegetables harvested) increases steadily until, at some point in July we are just on the tallest, biggest, most abundant wave of vegetables possible. Unlike the ocean phenomenon, the vegetable tsunami isn’t a disaster or a crisis or scary. It is abundance to be reveled in pure and simple. The joy is exhausting for us, but WE LOVE IT ❤️❤️❤️ and are pretty sure you will too.

What does this mean for you? It means that in these early weeks, your share will be on the lower end of the numbers range. For example, if you are a small (5-8 items/week), you can expect to be in the 5-6 zone. As the weather continues to warm and the crops continue to grow, then, suddenly you will come and you will be on the high end of the numbers range. This is eating with the season. This is celebrating the true abundance and recognizing when that abundance really does come crashing down on top of us.

This email is probably one of the longer ones for the summer, but it has some introduction info for the CSA as well as some last tips and tricks for you.

Welcome or welcome back to Rainshadow. Thank you for joining us on our journey through the beauty, and occasional stress of growing food in and eating vegetables and animals born and raised right here in our home!

We can’t wait to see you this week! Let us know if you have any questions or need to move your pick up location!

~ Alison & the Farm Crew

Photo Credit: Ray Hansen, Coni Espinoza, Alison Holland

Top Pic: Somehow the dogs always find the best places to to take a snooze. We were busy clearing and rebuilding beds and weeding. As the truck got piled higher before we took the pigs their snack, Sloane just made himself at home!

Next Pic: Mary holds one of our meat birds as we were “Hansel and Gretteling” them. Before we decide that the birds are ready to be processed, we go and check out their legs and over all weight and feel and make sure they are ready to go. Kind of like the witch feeling Hansel’s finger to see if he has grown in her care

Final Pic: We trellised the tomatoes last week. This means that we hung jute twine from the roof and guided the tomato plants up and around the twine. This gives them support as they grow and makes harvesting tomatoes a heck of a lot easier. Notice the size of those tomato plants, though. We won’t be enjoying them for another couple months! But that lettuce in front (nice intercropping don’t you think) will be coming to you soon!

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.

Our CSA is market style, this means that it isn’t a guarantee that we have of all these things for everyone. Instead, this will be the variety of what we will hopefully (fingers crossed) have for you to choose from this week.)

A note on foundations: SURPRISE! You will learn your foundations and all the details of your CSA for the week when you pick up.

Harvest List will probably include:

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

baby brassica salad mix
lemon balm
bulk potatoes, shallots, carrots, & beets

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.

Small Meat CSA

1 whole roasting chicken
+/- 1-2 ground beef

Medium Meat CSA:

1 whole roasting chicken
1 pack beef steaks*
1 pork blade steak**
1 pack sliced ham
+/- 2-3 ground beef

Large Meat CSA:

1 whole roasting chicken
2 packs beef steaks*
2 packs pork blade steak**
1 pack sliced ham
+/- 3-4 ground beef

*Beef steaks could be top sirloin, New York strips, rib steaks or ribeyes, flank, skirt, flat iron, tenderloin or a tri tip.
**Pork Blade Steak are steak cut from the shoulder blade of the hog. It is great for slow cooking, pan frying, or cooking in the oven. Blade steaks are not as tender as a pork chop, but have great flavor, lots of fat, and usually a bone.

A couple important notes about our Meat CSA


We get our meat butchered at two butchers. Our hogs get butchered at Buxton Meats in Sandy, Oregon Buxton packages are plastic and they have their name and sticker identifying the cut on the outside of the package. Our beef is butchered at Butcher Boys in Prineville, Oregon. Butcher Boys cuts are paper wrapped with a stamp identifying what is inside. Otherwise they are unlabelled. No matter the wrapper or the name on the outside, you can always be certain that the meat you are receiving is born and raised right here at Rainshadow.

Pitchfork T Beef

Our beef comes under the label Pitchfork T Beef. This is our sister company. Even though it doesn’t have the official name of Rainshadow on it, we are part of the team that runs the operation. Pitchfork T Beef is part of the Rainshadow Organics business family. The beef is grass fed & finished and regeneratively raised and grazed in the wide open spaces of Central Oregon!

Ground Beef and Final Weight of your Meat Share

As you look at the Meat Share list above, you will notice that ground beef has a +/- in front of it. That is because I don’t actually know how much ground beef you will receive until I pack your Meat CSA. Our meat CSAs are based on weight (small: 5lbs; medium: 10lbs; large: 15lbs). But meat cuts aren’t exactly the same weight. We pack each meat CSA to be within a .5lb range of the target weight. We use the ground beef to make up the difference to these ranges.

What does that mean?

  • Small shares will receive: 4.5-5.5 lbs each pick up
  • Medium shares will receive: 9.5-10.5 lbs each pick up
  • Large shares will receive: 14.5-15.5 lbs each pick up

Steaks and Pork Chops

Our chops and steaks generally come in a package that contains two steaks. The exceptions being Beef Top Sirloin and the Pork Blade Steads that come in packs of one.

The Wednesday Email

On Wednesday morning (around 5am) you will receive an email from me reminding you about the CSA pick ups during the week. This email will include veggie IDs as well as recipes.

Tips & Tricks for Your CSA

Washing/Storing Your Produce

This is a very important section for you to read! Our vegetables are NOT READY TO EAT. This means that our wash and pack standards do not meet the “ready to eat” standards set by the County Health district. As a CSA member with Rainshadow, you are responsible for washing your produce when you arrive at home. Rinsing or soaking your produce with cold water is the best way to clean your produce at home. Plus it has the added benefit of perking all your produce up and extending it’s life in your fridge. As a CSA member, you are required to acknowledge the standard of our produce and take the appropriate measures to clean your veggies at home.

Keeping your vegetables fresh for an entire week takes effort. We are incredibly mindful about when we harvest your produce. We strive to ensure that we pick vegetables at peak ripeness and in ideal harvesting weather conditions to keep it lasting as long as possible.

If you want to extend the life of your produce, it is important that you get your vegetables and fruits into a fridge ASAP. Leaving your share in a hot car will make your produce spoil quickly.

Here is some advice about how to manage and store your vegetables:

  • We encourage you to bring a cooler or insulated bag with ice packs to pick up your produce during the summer months. You can then transfer your items into your bag and get them home in a cool container. This will extend the life of your produce.
  • Take off the tops of your carrots, radishes, and beets right away when you get home and store them separately. Both the tops and the roots will store better. (Carrot tops are great for making broth and a carrot top pesto and radish and beet tops are great sautéed, so don’t forget to use them!)
  • Rinse and store your greens right away. We recommend storing greens in tupperwares lined with a damp towel. If your greens (kale, lettuce heads, chard, herbs) begin to wilt, place their stems into a glass or bowl of cold water for about 2 hours. They should perk right back up! Once they have perked up, wrap them in a damp towel and put them in the crisper drawer of your fridge.
  • If you are unsure about how to store a particular vegetable, email us HERE with your questions and we will respond with the best way to manage them!

We just can’t tell you how grateful we are for our Apprentice this year! We are missing two here, Chris and Kelly, but they too inhabit the joy and excitement you can see in Mary, Ray, and Coni’s faces. What a joy to have this kind of energy everywhere this season!