Every other week or so the farmers will write the Sunday CSA letter. This will bring a different tone and story to your inbox and come even closer to telling the full story of the diversity that is Rainshadow Organics. 

This week, our newsletter is written by Nat

our Farm Manager

Where are you from? I’m originally from sweet home Alabama, home of the white barbecue sauce and the all holy Crimson Tide. After living in Colorado and then Kentucky, I found my way to Oregon four years ago.

Why Rainshadow? Rainshadow is in my bones. I live and eat and bleed and sweat and laugh and cry and love on this land. Here, I have the freedom to create, imagine, fail, and succeed. I am empowered and I am humbled. At Rainshadow, I am home.

What do you hope to learn at the farm this season? Oh boy! Hmmm. I’d really love to hone in some skills in the culinary delight department this year. Pot luck anyone?

Where do you find your inspiration? One of the best parts of this place is bringing in people new to farming who carry an immense amount of stoke with them. Our Apprentices this year are doing just that, and the inspiration is high! Seeing this place from the view of fresh eyes, oolala.

News from the Farm

Greetings as we enter the month of Abundant August! Wow. It is crazy to think we are already here. It feels both like just yesterday and also a million miles ago that we were sitting in the receiving room in our long johns, planning out exactly what this month would look like. And now, here we are, and I’ve got to say…we nailed it. The farm is looking amazing. August is starting in a friendly 85℉, meaning the weeds are not doing their usual frenzy of growing to match the new normal of blazing days. The vegetables are, overall, looking healthy and copious. Our animals are eating and pooping and lounging around, just the way we like it. We’re feeling great!

Because the time is prone to flying by in these months, I find myself trying to push back on the feeling of fleeting as I say goodbye to some of my dearest moments of the seasons. The grain field, my favorite place on the farm and once a dancing green symphony of quiet shakers, is now dried down, gold, and ready for combining; the corn, now taller than my head, becomes my new fortress of whispering solitude. The garlic, one of the biggest flavor profiles of my winter, has been dug, and the land where it grew is awaiting its sowing of cover crop. The first succession of lettuce, fennel, green onions, and kohlrabi have all been cleared in the big field, at the exact same moment that we see our first watermelons taking form, their promise of delectable summer juices swelling inside of them. The volunteer poppies that seem to grow in every nook and cranny of this place have tired out, just in time for the sunflowers and gladiolus to take center stage. Our apprentices, who throw so much brilliant perspective, hard work, and fresh energy into this place, are officially half way through their season.

Even with all the comings and goings of this place, the farm is as alive as ever, moving and grooving with the love we put into it. I, personally, am taking none of it for granted.

photo credit: Laura Chappell, Natalie Leder, Camilla Becero Rirorco
The smoke rolls in and sort of away these days. It does make for some fiery sunsets, but also makes farming a bit harder. The veg grow a bit off their usual timing and it definitely affects the farmers who are out there every day because the harvesting, weeding, tending, and feeding of the plants and animals can’t be postponed. ❦ The melons are coming! ❦ The wheat just as we turned the water off. It is now a golden yellow and we are waiting for the combine to arrive. This year we planted red fife. A landrace red wheat brought over to North America in the 1800s, Red Fife is a hard red wheat with a nutty full bodied flavor. ❦ Sarahlee’s dad, David, is our master of irrigation. We appreciate him so much!

Vegetable ID: Fennel

Both the fronds and the bulb are edible. Fennel has a distinct mellow and delicately sweet licorice flavor. Fennel is related to dill, cumin, anise, and carrots and contains significant amounts of vitamin C, potassium, manganese, molybdenum, and copper. It is very versatile in the kitchen and you can bake, roast, braise, stew, grill, sauté, stirfry, steam, boil, or eat it raw.

To store: Cut off the stalks where they emerge from the bulb. If you want to use the feathery foliage as an herb, place the dry stalks upright in a glass filled with two inches of water. Cover the glass loosely with a plastic bag and store in the refrigerator for a few days. The unwashed bulb may be kept in a plastic bag in the refrigerator drawer for 2 weeks or more.

To prep: Remove the tip base of the white bulb. Cut off the stalks. Chop or mince the stems and leaves for garnish or seasoning.

To freeze: Not worth it. It becomes mushy after it thaws.

Fennel serving suggestions from Mi Ae Lipe’s Bounty from the Box

Complementary Herbs, Seasonings, and Foods

Apples, bacon, bay, beans, butter, celery, celery root, cheese (Parmesan), chicken, cream, duck, eggs, fennel seeds, eggs, fish, garlic, ginger, green olives, ham, juniper, lemon, olives, olive oil, onions, oranges, pancetta, parsley, pasta, pastis, pork, potatoes, prosciutto, rice, risotto, sausage, saffron, shellfish, shrimp, star anise, thyme, turkey, tomatoes, veal.

Serving Suggestions

  • Raw fennel thinly sliced and served with fruity, peppery olive oil, freshly ground black pepper, and sea salt is a traditional snack in Italy. Thinly sliced raw leeks, shavings of Parmesan cheese, olives, and orange sections also make excellent company.
  • Serve raw or lightly steamed on a plate with a variety of dipping sauces: , mayonnaise, melted butter, salad dressing. A favorite with children.
  • Combine fennel with shrimp in a creamy risotto.
  • Combine plenty of finely chopped fennel leaves, seeds, or pollen when making your own Italian sausages or sausage dishes. Looking for a dessert idea? Try slicing fennel into long strips and pairing it with soft goat cheese, figs, and vin santo (an Italian dessert wine).
  • Wrap raw fennel slices in prosciutto; pair slices with smoked salmon; or serve iced raw fennel slices with generous shavings of Parmesan cheese. All make lovely appetizers.
  • Fennel’s strong character mellows with cooking and braising. Stir-fry or sauté slices to add to other vegetables in poultry stuffings or for baking inside a whole fish.
  • Deep-fried fennel makes for a surprise vegetable that is nutty and sweet; it’s especially good with tomatoes and grilled fish Fennel and fish have an affinity for each other; they are divine in that quintessential French fish stew, bouillabaisse, combined with saffron, orange peel, and plenty of garlic.
  • Combine with cream and potatoes to make a delicious, filling soup. Braise or roast the quartered wedges and serve as a distinctive vegetable side dish, a change from the usual carrots or potatoes.
  • Cooked fennel, combined with potato and run through a food processor, makes a surprisingly tasty Hungarian bread. Add fennel seeds as well for an extra burst of fennel flavor.
  • Pan-fry fennel, potatoes, and bacon for a tasty hash.

Vegetable CSA Harvest List

Every week, we include this section which includes what we think will be coming out of our fields and hoop houses for Wednesday pick up. Keep in mind, that we send this email on Sunday and we harvest Monday & Tuesday for our Wednesday CSA. Sometimes we are spot on, but other times, we discover that we have more of something else and substitute that. Also, because we have a market style CSA, this isn’t a guarantee of 1 of all these things for everyone. Instead, this will be the variety of what will hopefully (fingers crossed) have for you to choose from this week.)

Our foundation vegetables this week will include: we have decided that choosing foundations by Sunday usually leaves us all disappointed. It is really hard to know until we harvest what we actually have in the fields. Instead, we are pivoting to just making sure that the list is adequate. But, here is a hint, the recipes will usually reflect what we *think* we might have quite a bit of 😏

Harvest List will probably include:

Asian Greens
Fresh onions
Green onions

Lettuce heads
Napa cabbage
Salad mix
Salad turnips
Summer squash & zucchini
Sweet Peppers
Yod Fah

Meat CSA

No meat this week! Check back next week

Upcoming Events in the Rainshadow Neighborhood

Our Neighbor, Long Hollow Ranch, 71105 Holmes Rd, is offering a couple of events FREE TO THE PUBLIC in August and we want to put them on your radar.

August 6 they welcome Riddy Arman for a live concert in the barn. Blue Eyes will be serving burgers and fries from their Food Truck and drinks will be available for purchase. Doors open at 5:30, show starts at 7:30.

And then, on August 23, they are showing The Sandlot outside on the big screen. Admission is free, show starts at 8:30 pm and there will be popcorn, hotdogs, beverages, and cotton candy for purchase.

Recipe Corner

Every week I try to send along a few recipes that utilize the meats and vegetables in your CSA share. Check out the recipes below for some inspiration! These are some of Cami’s favorite recipes for this time of year.

Believe it or not, it is possible to miss zucchinis when they’re gone. One of the greatest treats in my winter was fresh zucchini bread. Now is the time to set aside some frozen shredded zucchini so that you, too, can enjoy a warm zucchini delight this winter.  

Freezing Zucchini

(adapted from The Purposeful Pantry)

Freezing summer squash is easily the most accessible way to preserve zucchini and other summer squash for the year.

Some simple tips for freezing zucchini:

  • Squeeze zoodles and shreds before flash freezing. You want as much moisture out of them before placing them into the freezer to stop freezer burn and tissue breakdown.
  • Flash freeze first, then package up for freezing. Flash freezing is placing foods on a cookie sheet and freezing in a single layer before packaging up for long-term storage in the freezer
  • Use vacuum seal bags for better results in long-term storage. It helps reduce the effects of freezer burn.
Napa Cabbage Slaw
(Adapted from My Everyday Table)
Ok you. Yeah, you. Don’t think I haven’t noticed your fear of taking those big napa heads at market. Napa has become one of my absolute favorites in the summer, and it’s due exclusively to this recipe. It is a huge hit with family and friends and, the best part…it only gets better after a day or two in the fridge. Be bold. Take the Napa.


1 medium head of napa cabbage, thinly sliced
4 oz. blue cheese crumbles
1/4 white onion, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
1 tsp. dijon mustard
1 tsp. honey
1/2 tsp. celery seed
1/2 tsp. sea salt
pinch black pepper


  1. Thinly slice cabbage and onion.
  2. Mince garlic.
  3. Layer napa cabbage, onions, and blue cheese in a serving bowl and chill until serving.
  4. Whisk together garlic, olive oil, apple cider vinegar, dijon mustard, honey, celery seed, sea salt, and pepper until emulsified.
  5. Toss dressing with cabbage and chill for 5-10 minutes before serving.

One-pot roast pork chops with fennel & potatoes
(adapted from BBC Good Food. If you haven’t done anything with your pork chops from last week, here is a great recipe using fennel!)

2 potatoes, cut into thick wedges
1-2 fennel bulb, cut into wedges
1 red pepper, halved, deseeded and cut into wedges
4 thyme sprigs
4 garlic cloves, unpeeled
1 tbsp tomato paste
300ml hot chicken stock
4 bone-in pork loin chops


  1. Heat oven to 375F. Put the potatoes, fennel, pepper, thyme and garlic in a large roasting pan. Mix together the tomato paste and stock, then pour into the pan. Tightly cover with foil and cook for 30 mins. Take out of the oven and increase the temperature to 425F.
  2. Remove the foil and place the pork in the roasting pan, nestling in between the veg. Season well and return to the oven for 15-20 mins more or until golden brown and cooked through. Serve with the pan juices drizzled over.
photo credit: Melissa Harmon

The sunflowers are here heralding the arrival of August!

See you on Wednesday or later in the week at the Farm Store.

The Farm Crew