Wow, last CSA. No Way!

For the last 7 weeks we have been taking turns writing this email. All of our farmers, interns and staff, have taken a week and shared their Rainshadow with you all. I have learned so much–about soil, passion, nutrients, flowers. I hope you all enjoyed this little window into the broader Rainshadow.

I can’t believe that we are already to the end of our 18-week CSA. (Don’t worry, those who are on the 10-week or have signed up for the extension, we will still be sending you a weekly email.) It seems like just last week we were inundated with greens and eagerly awaiting those summer gems like melons, corn, tomatoes, and cucumbers. Now we are on the other end of the season and melons, corn, summer squash, and cucumbers have all faded out with those hot August days and nights and the cooler temp produce is catching back up. Things like cabbage, kale, green onions, and fennel are making stronger appearances.

Central Oregon can be finicky. We are grateful for a season with only a few bumps in the road and no major crop failures, weather casualties, or systemic crashes.

The beauty of a CSA, and especially ours, is that what you receive each week is like a gift from this specific place: your home, your terroir. Our produce and meats are unique to our corner of Lower Bridge and Holmes Rds. We pour our hearts into what we grow and truly feel that our vegetables and meats are a gift to you, our deserving and loyal members. Thank you for a fabulous summer! We can’t wait to share winter

We couldn’t have done it without our farmers!

Did you know that we have 8 full time farmers? They work Monday-Friday to make sure that our vegetables and animals are thriving. They harvest, weed, seed, transplant, ferment vegetable matter, scoop poop, feed animals, empty compost buckets, fix tractors, drive tractors, switch irrigation water on and off… The list goes on. And they do it all with an incredible attitude.

Each day, rain, heat, frost, dew, or those beautiful Central Oregon Goldilocks days, this crew shows up, busts-a**, and has a great time. Each day I am blown away with their passion and work ethic. What is also incredible about this crew is the esteem they hold each other.

I thought for the last CSA email of the full Summer CSA I would share their words of respect and joy about working with each other. It has a bit of a yearbook vibe, but I couldn’t think of a better way to show the love and respect these folks have for each other.


“You can always find Simon and I hauling big weeds from the 25 acre to feed our Pig herd, and save us from a weeds apocalypse.” ~ Adam Lavender

“Long legged master potato weeder. Simon keeps you on your toes, asking the sometimes hard “why” questions of what we do, and is always available for some good ol’ fashion light hearted debate. Especially over whether or not meat belongs in soup.” ~ Nat Leder

“That guy knows himself, his ideals, and doesn’t give a F what anybody thinks. He stays true to himself and I admire that. When we say this farm runs on stoke, we’re talking about the level of stoke Simon has when it comes to finding the perfect watermelon, world history, systems design, or truckstop pickles.” ~ Zoë Griffith

“I appreciate the many thought-provoking conversations we’ve had about climate change and how to farm (and live!) in a way that isn’t destructive to the earth.” ~ Kiely Houston

“When Simon is passionate about something, he is a force to be reckoned with. He is so passionate, it’s almost intimidating – and then it’s just plain funny. I really appreciate this quality about Simon because he stands in his truth, and holds his ground. To be able to stand in your truth in such a confident way, is really admirable to me, because it reminds me that it takes strength and willpower to make positive changes in this world.” ~ Christine Boyle

“Simon loves the little precious things.” ~ Sarahlee


“Working together we put the soul in soil. She is a force to be reckoned with, making the wildest of ideas come true, it has been a true honor to learn from her these past few years.” ~ Adam Lavender

“Sarahlee is the heart of it all. A woman of fierce passion and immense inspiration, powered by chai tea and immeasurable stoke in all things farming, but especially tiny animals with big ears.” ~ Nat Leder

“Sarah is always willing to try a new approach, I appreciate that she doesn’t ever stop with ‘that’s just the way we’ve always done it.'” ~ Kiely Houston

“I once asked her how she does it all and she just laughed and said, ‘I was born this way.’ She is my mentor, teacher, friend, and inspiration in so many ways. I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to learn from Sarahlee these past few years. Without Rainshadow, I would not have been where I am today, ready to start a farm of my own. My experience here has completely shifted my point of view about our food system, farming, how we exist in the world, and I’ve gained an immeasurable amount of lessons and experiences that I will carry with me through the rest of my life. Sarah makes farming fun, she’s always down to try a new idea, consistently pushes perceived limits and breaks glass ceilings, and always is there to talk her people through the best and worst of days. She is the heartbeat of this farm, and created a network and community that I am lucky to call family. ~ Christine Boyle


“Working with Nat is similar to going back to the drawing board in the classroom. Nat is always there to talk out the concepts and new ideas I have for making new ferments and fertility plans.” ~ Adam Lavender

“I mean, her name says it. Nat is a natural le(a)der, always inspiring me to do my best just because she does. She takes a lot of pride in her work, and her work is always damn good. If you’ve ever read her writing you know there’s a lot of heart behind it, too.” ~ Zoë Griffith

“Nat is always thinking one step ahead. She has an amazing brain for details and also manages to keep the whole farm in her head at the same time. I also love that she gets truly emotional over beautiful vegetables.” ~ Kiely Houston

“My girl. I can always count on Nat to get my jokes, to share a happy (or sad) tear, to be there when you need her, and to always bring the good boogie woogie jams to gatherings. She is captain stoke pants of the crew – every damn day. She is deeply passionate about changing the ways we grow, share, consume, and think about food. Her love for farming is a daily reminder of why we’re doing what we do, and to come back to gratitude for this life, even when it gets tough.” ~ Christine Boyle

“Nat is all in. Devotion. Passion. Smitten with the farm and the food.” ~ Sarahlee


“Our very own Adam bomb, built with passion and ignited by a dash of research, a pinch of soil, and a 55 gallon drum of foul smelling compost tea.” ~ Nat Leder

“Adam’s passion is contagious. I love that he’s always willing to share his knowledge, and maybe expand it with a lively debate. He and Nat can often be found tossing around fermentation recipes while harvesting veggies, bouncing new ideas and ratios off each other as if it were an olympic sport. And he obviously has great hair.” ~ Zoë Griffith

“Adam brings so much passion and drive to farming, his enthusiasm (especially for soil health!) is contagious.” ~ Kiely Houston

“My partner in crime. Adam inspires me daily with his passion to make this world a better place. He is fiery, motivated, and goes all-in with everything he does with a big smile on his face, usually with some reggae playing out of his pocket. He is a natural born teacher, and I learn so much from him about life from soil, to work efficiencies, to how we exist and heal in this world. He is who I am starting a farm with, and I couldn’t be more grateful to have him by my side in this life.” ~ Christine Boyle

“Adam is the cherisher of the unseen. He lights up when we pull the roots out and he can see the soil community.” ~ Sarahlee


“Being with Noah is like being a veggie cowboy. We wrangle in loose animals, wildly large veggies, and find new ways to make the work faster and more efficient.” ~ Adam Lavender

“Noah is Mr. Positivity. The man you can call on no matter how many pigs got out or how far away the cows have traveled. He knows when a good cup of tea and some really bad dad jokes are necessary for survival. The growth in this human is tangible. A true ride or die.” ~  Nat Leder

“Noah is good at making everyone feel welcome and warm. He inspires me because it seems like whether he’s doing something for the first time or the 100th time, he’s always learning and trying to improve. Or eating ice cream in the shower.” ~ Zoë Griffith

“Noah always brings a big smile to the field and offers constructive feedback in the nicest, gentlest way.” ~ Kiely Houston

“My brother from another mother. Need a laugh? He’s your guy. Wanna try a crazy idea? What time? He’ll be there. A hug? Got you. Noah is the animal whisperer, and a natural born creative. He has taught me so much about being a compassionate person, exercising creativity, and finding humor in life – even in the harder lessons. He is truly a joy to work and live with.” ~ Christine Boyle

“Hands down, Noah has the best attitude.” ~ Sarahlee


“Kiely is always there with ya to enjoy the simple beauties of the earth. She can always appreciate a good morning dew smell, and the flowers scent as they breeze by.” ~ Adam Lavender

“A total package of bad assery. Anyone willing to drop their career of 9 years in order to pick up a shovel should be regarded in the brightest light. Especially when they do so with as much determination and grace as Kiely does.” ~ Nat Leder

“Kiely is the sweetest badass ever and proof that you can change your life at any time if only you have the guts. When I think Kiely, I think flower farmer. We can talk talk talk for hours while weeding the carrots, or sit in comfortable silence while she drives my carless self into town. She’s amazing.” ~ Zoë Griffith

“Kiely is such a pleasure to work with because she always finds a way to find joy out of the small things in life. She is the type of person to stop and smell the roses, and share it with you, simply because it’s beautiful. She has a deep appreciation and passion for adventure, reminding me that you can balance farming and going on a backpacking trip, and that it is in fact essential. She reminds me to get out of my bubble that is so easy to create when you’re a farmer, and to soak up the outdoors and beauty of nature in its divine moments.” ~ Christine Boyle

“Kiely is extra keen on the learning and a master of baking.” ~ Sarahlee


“Working with Zoë makes my day brighter, she is always down to haul thousands of pounds of cabbages, and has a great sense of humor to make the work easier.” ~ Adam Lavender

“Zoë is the future of farming. Engaged, capable, intuitive, and aware as hell. This girl is going to do big things in the world of farming and policy. Just you wait.” ~ Nat Leder

“Zoë might be the quietest on the crew, but is such a keen observer and deep thinker. I love that she is really grappling with how to make our food more accessible.” ~ Kiely Houston

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen Zoë in a bad mood. She floats through each day with an infectious positive energy that is essential to our team. She is always a reminder to find humor and beauty in life and farming. ~ Christine Boyle

“Zoë is full of sneaky humor.  She loves the big hauls and truckloads of food light her up.” ~ Sarahlee


“Christine is is the person I am starting a farm with, the person I trust most to confirm or deny a decision of mine. In the field we are there to chat out new methods, and study the way the plants grow with the soil.” ~ Adam Lavender

“A total dreamboat. Christine has such an incredible attitude that is completely infectious. She is so loving, so nurturing, and can always be counted on to bust a dance move with you.” ~ Nat Leder

“Christine has herbal wisdom & know-how as well as a naturally healing presence. Not feeling well? She’s got an herbal remedy for that. The dance floor’s dead? Here she comes to revive it! She grooves from her own sunrise herbalism, through a big veggie harvest day, and on to planning a future farm business with Adam. AND she probably cooked a bomb curry for dinner. That gal does it all.” ~ Zoë Griffith

“Christine has so much healing energy and kindness. I appreciate that she notices when a team member maybe isn’t feeling their best and checks in.”  ~ Kiely Houston

“Christine is kindness.” ~ Sarahlee

all photos in this section contributed by the crew: Sarahlee Lawrence, Natalie Leder, Adam Lavender, Christine Boyle, Zoë Griffith, Kiely Houston

Want to get your hands dirty? WWOLF is hosting a volunteer day at Rainshadow on October 15. Sarah thinks you will be helping out in the corn patch and working in the 25-acre.

Check them out here and Register for the Event.

Willing Workers on Local Farms (WWOLF) invites you to help at Rainshadow Organics! Lend a hand, make new friends, and gain a deeper appreciation for what it takes to grow food in Central Oregon. There will be work for all abilities and ages, everyone is welcome. Light lunch will be served at the end of the workday and you can shop the farm store.

Join us for Customer Appreciation Day, Saturday, October 23!

Mark your calendars and join us on Saturday, October 23 for a day of gratitude, gleaning, small plate eating, live music, and farm tours. 

Every year after we finish harvesting our winter storage crops we open up the 25-acre to our community. It is impossible for us to harvest everything. There are always treasures that we missed. Join us and glean for your pantries!

We also celebrate you with food on this day. Our kitchen prepares and serves a variety of farm to table small plates ranging from soups to salads to sliders.

While you are here, stock up on flour, meat, and other goodies from our farm store!

Come make a day of it as we celebrate you and the end of our summer growing season. This is a great opportunity to get you and your kids in the dirt and remembering (**or learning**) where your food comes from!

You all mean the world to us let’s spend the day together.

Harvest List

This time of year, harvest lists can be a bit hit or miss. Crops are starting to get fatigued and produce less than expected. We clear beds and find more of something than we initially thoughts. Either way, you know the list below will adjust to reflect what is actually out there by the end of Tuesday harvest and you know it will be delicious!

For this week, we think our foundational veggies will be:

  • fennel
  • leeks
  • napa cabbage
  • pie pumpkin

Asian greens
Golden beets
Chiogga beets
Red Beets
Daikon radish
Green onions
Lettuce Heads

Lettuce Mix
Salad turnips
Cherry tomatoes
Large tomatoes
Hot peppers
Sweet peppers


Here are three recipes that I hope to try with this weeks CSA: a fennel and parmesan gratin, a braised fennel and leek recipes, and what looks like a deliciously soupy and tomato-y napa cabbage recipe. All of these would go very well with a nice, slow cooked roast or whole roasted chicken. Really fall into those autumnal comfort flavors and feels!

Parmesan Fennel Gratin
adapted from the Barefoot Contessa

3 medium fennel bulbs
1/2 cup chicken stock, preferably homemade
1/3 cup dry white wine
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, diced
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup panko (Japanese bread flakes)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1½ teaspoons grated lemon zest


  1. Preheat oven to 375F.
  2. Cut fennel bulbs in half lengthwise through the core and remove most (but not all) of the hard/dense core by cutting a V-shaped wedge, leaving the wedges intact. Cut each piece into 2, 3, or 4 wedges, depending on the size of the bulb. Arrange the wedges, cut side up, in a gratin dish just large enough to hold them snugly in a single layer. Pour the chicken stock and wine over the fennel, then sprinkle with 2 teaspoons of salt and ¾ teaspoon of pepper. Dot with the diced butter. Cover the dish tightly with aluminum foil and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, until the fennel is tender. Remove from the oven and raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees.
  3. Meanwhile, make the topping. Combine the melted butter, panko, Parmesan, parsley, zest, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon pepper. Sprinkle evenly on top and return to the oven. Bake uncovered for 30 minutes, until the topping is browned. Serve hot or warm.

Italian Braised Fennel and Leeks
(from Food52 and INPATSKITCHEN)

1/4 cup olive oil
4 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ground fennel seed
1 medium tomato, seeded and finely diced
4 anchovy filets, minced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
Salt and black pepper to taste
3 nice size leeks, white and pale green only, halved lengthwise (about 6 to 8 inches long)
2 cups sliced fresh fennel bulb, cut into pieces about 3 inches long and 1/4 to 1/2 inch wide
2 tablespoons panko crumbs
2 tablespoons finely grated parmesan


  1. In a large sauté pan heat the oil and add the garlic and crushed red pepper. Sauté for about 2 minutes and add the ground fennel seed.
  2. Add the tomato, oregano and anchovies and simmer for about 2 minutes.
  3. Add the chicken broth and continue to simmer for 3 or 4 more minutes. Adjust seasoning with salt and black pepper if desired.
  4. Line the leeks in a 9 x 11 inch shallow baking dish. Spread the fennel slices over and then pour the sauce over all.
  5. Cover tightly with foil and bake at 350F for 45 minutes.
  6. Raise the oven temp to 400F and bake uncovered for 15 minutes.
  7. Raise oven temperature to 400F. Combine the panko and cheese, sprinkle over the casserole and bake (at 400F) another 10 minutes. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Melting Napa Cabbage recipe
(from the California Grown website)

1 head Napa Cabbage
1/3 cup concentrated tomato paste
4 garlic cloves sliced very thin or grated
1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil divided
1/2 tablespoon coarse Kosher salt divided
3 tablespoons cilantro leaves for serving


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Cut the Napa cabbage in half through the core then cut each half into quarters. You will have 8 Napa cabbage wedges. Set aside.
  3. In a small bowl combine the tomato paste, garlic, coriander, cumin, turmeric, and black pepper. Stir to combine completely. Set aside.
  4. Heat 1/4 cup of the olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, if necessary, add as many cabbage wedges into the skillet cut side down as will comfortably fit. Season with the coarse kosher salt. Cook, turning once, until lightly charred, about 2-3 minutes per side. Transfer the seared cabbage to a plate and repeat with any remaining cabbage quarters.
  5. Carefully, wipe out the skillet and reduce the heat to medium. Add the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil to the skillet, once warm and beginning to shimmer add the spiced tomato paste mixture. Heat, stirring constantly, until the tomato paste begins to split and darken in color, 2-3 minutes.
  6. Add enough water to the skillet to come halfway up the sides, about 1 – 1 1/2 cups total. Season the liquid with salt and bring to a simmer.
  7. Nestle all of the seared cabbage wedges into the simmering tomato broth, overlapping if necessary. Transfer the cabbage to the oven and bake, uncovered, turning the cabbage wedges once about half way through, about 40-50 minutes. The cabbage should be falling apart tender when cooked completely.
  8. Serve immediately garnished with cilantro leaves.