CSA Pickup – 9/2/2020

We have been focusing a lot on vegetables and how and why we grow them in this newsletter. Quite a few of you are members of our meat CSA also. For these next two-three weeks, I am going to focus a bit more on the meat that we raise here at Rainshadow Organics. We are going to start with a discussion of our meat birds.

Our cows spend 6 months of the year grazing above the North Fork of the John Day river in Monument, Oregon.

It’s a meat CSA pick-up week so I thought we would talk a bit about beef today. Beef is an important part of Rainshadow Organics’ meat CSA and full diet philosophy.

We raise Corriente beef here at Rainshadow Organics because we feel they are the best fit for our Central Oregon climate and environment. Corrientes are a heritage breed of beef from Spain and we chose them because they are strong, efficient, and resilient. They put very little pressure on the land and require less feed and water and will travel much further to get either compared to other breeds. They are long-lived and dependably productive. This is a great trait for a herd of momma cows that we hope to keep with us for 20-30 years.

Female Corrientes have horns and are very protective of their calves. Calves are born small, which protects the heifers who give birth out on the grasslands away from us. (We have never once had to pull a calf even from our first-calf heifers.) We breed the female Corrientes to male Red Angus Bulls. Red Angus are known for their small birth weight, rapid growth, and meaty frames. This combination of scrappy, resilient Corrientes heifers and meaty, fast growing Red Angus bulls has been a real win for us.

Our beef are exclusively grass fed in Central Oregon. In March, we round up the cows from their overwintering grounds on the farm, and drop them off in Monument, Oregon. The heifers have their calves and the calves grow big and strong wandering about the high native grass prairie. In late July we separate the yearling heifers out and release the bulls. (The yearling heifers need another year to grow before they are bred for the first time.) In late August, we round up all the cows and bring them down to the meadows along the Metolius River. They spend a few months grazing along the river, and then return home to Rainshadow Organics where they eat hay and produce manure, the foundation of our compost program here at the farm. 

***You have probably noticed that you get a lot of ground beef in your bi-weekly meat CSA. Approximately 38% of a beef converts to ground and we feel that ground beef is one of the most versatile cuts. Some of our favorite things to do with ground beef include making hamburgers, soups, stews, pasta sauces, taco or burrito filler, meatloaf, one dish skillet dishes, and any number of other things.***

 

Market & Farm Store Notes

 

This is the time of year to put things away for winter. If you would like to forgo the diversity of your CSA share and instead snag all of a particular type of vegetable, that is fine. After you have selected your foundational item, you can take all of your share in as few items as you want to help with your preservation needs. For example, if you can take 5 other vegetables after your foundational item this week, you may take a triple allotment of tomatoes and a double allotment of cucumbers if you wish. 
We all hate Covid and we have been dedicated to providing a safe shopping experience for all of our customers and members. At the Bend Farmers Market, we take one shopper at a time because it is difficult to keep proper distance between multiple shoppers. At the farm store, we only let 2-3 people in at a time. I’m sure we can all agree that we hate the line.

In an effort to help the line and keep people feeling safe right now, I would like to propose that people who are really concerned about social distance should come in the first half-hour and we will continue to serve one person at a time. After that, we will help 2 people at a time with folks standing 6 feet apart while two farmers assist you.

If you refuse to wear a mask, please do not come inside the Farm Store and please come to the Bend Farmers Market after 5:30 pm.

We are all really looking forward to the days when you can shop and chat and hug to your heart’s content, but in the mean time we will continue to adapt and do our best. 

Thank you for your understanding and continued patience and grace as we all continue to keep ourselves and each other safe.

Thanksgiving Turkeys are Available!

 

Put your deposit down for a Thanksgiving, Heritage breed, organic, free-range, pastured turkey. Only 50 available.

Click the button below and select the “2020 Fresh, Organic Turkey Deposit” button and secure your turkey today. 

$50 deposit and you pay the rest when you pick the bird up, $8/lb. Closer to November we will reach out to ask what size of turkey you prefer. 

Turkey’s will be available for pick-up at the Farm Store or from us in Bend on Tuesday, 11/24. 

Thanksgiving Turkey
Your Question: why do we grow so many varieties of plants?

A common question this summer has been about the varieties of things we grow, like cucumbers, peppers, tomatoes, and beans.: why do we grow so many varieties of things and do they taste different?

The work we do to cultivate a diverse farm is one that contributes to resilience in our changing climate. If we don’t raise, eat, and save seeds from all the varieties of plants, these varieties won’t be alive to play their role in naturally defending against pests, disease, and drought.

Some vegetables, like cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers taste very different depending upon variety. In others, like beets, eggplants, carrots, and squash, the taste difference is far more subtle but the plants visually look different. (This adds to the fun of cooking!) We encourage you to take and enjoy different varieties and do some side-by-side testing. Over time you will end up with your favorites, but you will probably be surprised by something you hadn’t tasted before.

You as a food buyer, cook, and eater of all the varieties are an important part of our food future and food security. Because you buy, eat, and cook with all the varieties we plant, we can continue to grow and harvest them. This directly contributes to a healthier growing experience at Rainshadow Organics.

Do you have a question you would like answered in a future CSA weekly email? Let us know!

Easy French Ratatouille
(This is a great recipe that uses a lot of the vegetables coming out of fields right now.)
serves 8
5 TBS olive oil, divided, plus more for serving
1 1/2 lbs eggplant (1 large, 2-3 small), large dice
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 lb zucchini or summer squash (3-4 medium squash), large dice
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic, mince
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1 lb tomatoes (3-4 medium), large dice
1 large bell pepper, large dice
1/4 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced, plus more for serving
  1. Heat 2 TBS of the oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the eggplant, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add 2 TBS of oil to the pot. Add the zucchini, season generously with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned in spots, about 2 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the eggplant.
  3. Reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1 TBS oil and the onion, season with salt and pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened and just beginning to brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Add the garlic, thyme, and bay leaf and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add the tomatoes and bell peppers. Add the reserved eggplant and zucchini and gently stir to combine.
  4. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to medium-low. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours. A shorter cooking time will leave the vegetables in larger, more distinct pieces; longer cooking times will break the vegetables down into a silky stew.
  5. Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Just before serving, stir in the basil. Taste and season with salt and pepper as needed. Serve, sprinkling each serving with more basil and drizzling with more olive oil.
Adapted from The Kitchn

Ground Beef Dinner with Summer Vegetables

(This recipe is a tasty combination of Rainshadow Organics ground beef and fresh vegetables coming from the field.)
serves 4


2 tsp olive oil
1 lb ground beef
1/2 fresh onion (1/2 cup) diced
2 tsp minced fresh garlic
2 cups fresh corn kernels
1 medium zucchini, diced
2-3 medium tomatoes, diced
1 Tbs fresh basil, chopped
1 1/2 tsp chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 TBS butter
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
salt & pepper
  1. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beef, onion, garlic, 1/2 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook until the beef is no longer pink (breaking up the meat as it cooks), about 5-7 minutes. Drain.
  2. Reduce heat to low; stir in corn, zucchini, tomato, basil, thyme, butter, and Worcestershire sauce. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 more minutes (or until the vegetables are tender). Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
  3. ***Options/Alternatives: season with cumin and chili powder for more of a Mexican Flavor; add chopped kale or chard after the beef is browned and cook down before adding the rest of the vegetables; add cheese, parm or cheddar; garnish with grated parmesan cheese and/or additional fresh herbs***
Adapted from The Seasoned Mom
We are in the last month of our summer CSA. Our last CSA pick-up is Wednesday, September 30. We have so enjoyed feeding you all this summer. We will be keeping our regular store hours, Thursday-Saturday, 11-3 (no more Wednesday CSA hours after 9/30) and you are welcome to come shop for vegetables, meats, and flours. While you are here, consider getting lunch Thursday-Saturday, noon-2.

We will also be at the Bend Farmers Market on October 7th and 14th for the last 2 farmers markets of the season. We will have lots of bulk items and this is a wonderful time to “fill your pantry” with buckets of flour, pounds of potatoes or ground beef, beets, onions, leeks, carrots, etc. While we hope that the Central Oregon “Fill your Pantry” event will still happen, we are unsure if it will at this time. These last 2 Bend Farmers Markets in October would be a perfect time to get that done as conveniently as possible.

Please feel free to shoot us an email to pre-order anything you would like. We will have carrots, radishes, beets, potatoes, onions, leeks, flour, and meats.

See you tomorrow! It’s a meat week, so don’t forget those extra bags.

Rainshadow Organics Crew