It is so good to be home!
We left just after the February CSA and we returned last night to set ourselves up for the March CSA. We talk a lot about resting soil and rejuvenating microbes and such in organic and biodynamic farming. Occasionally farmers need that too.
This past month, most of the staff at Rainshadow Organics participated in our 3rd Annual Rainshadow Organics Farmers February Grand Canyon trip. For 3 weeks we hiked in the sun, ran some great whitewater, sat around the campfire and told stories, slept, ate a bit of dirt, got a little sun burned, saw wildlife, got cold and warmed up, and most importantly reset and rejuvenated.
A HUGE thanks to Chris, Brandon, Alfonso, and Melody for holding down the fort while we were gone. All the Siberian Kale survived the -8F night and ensuing cold snap, all the animals remained fed, watered, and cleaned up after, all the seed starts flourished, the kitchen was deep cleaned and repainted, and Full Diet and store customers continued to pick up their tasty veggies and meat. Whatever the level above grateful is, that is us.
When we left it very seriously felt like winter in our chores and approach to the farm. But three weeks is a lot of time and after walking around the farm a bit today peeking into the 4 Season greenhouse and the hoops and looking at the farm tasks we want to accomplish over the next 3 weeks I can confidently say it is Spring!
This week we are starting to flip our hoops from all Siberian Kale to our spring babies. Our starts flourished under Chris and Brandon’s care and are ready to move into their hoop house homes this week. This includes transplanting all the rainbow kale, varieties of Asian Greens and head lettuce, green onions, and sugar snap peas we started before we left as well as direct seeding our first rounds of fresh carrots. These babies will might be ready for our May CSA, but are on track to be the start of our Summer CSA. (We still have CSAs available. If you haven’t had an opportunity to get your 2022 Summer CSA, you can find more info and purchase HERE.)
When we left, our starts were tiny and still in the germination chamber. Today, they are flourishing, 2-4″ tall and ready to be transplanted. All the trays in the photo on the right will be transplanted this week!
Today, the 4 Season Greenhouse is busy with 30,000 allium starts to get planted later this spring in the 25-acre and the first rounds of green onions, Rainbow Kale, Asian Greens, and Sugar Snap Peas. After transplanting this week we will have room for all the nightshades we need to start next week!
It appears that we are in for a week of moisture. Depending on where you are standing in Central Oregon, there is rain and snow in the forecast almost everyday this week. I don’t know about you, but I have been missing moisture this winter. Our snow pack is at a scary low point and we have already been notified that our irrigation allotment will be significantly lower than ever. (More on that in a later email.) Suffice it to say, this is a great week to go out, do your snow dances, manifest/pray/think/hope for snow, and appreciate the moisture that will be falling from the sky.
With all this seeding, flipping, planting, and chicks arriving, I find myself looking down the months toward and through summer. Whatever you can do in your heart and mind to get us a little more moisture and snow pack will be greatly appreciated it and will definitely help out not just us but the whole of Central Oregon in the future.
Your March CSA share
This is a Sunday estimation of what we will be harvesting and packing this week. We have been keeping an eye on the weather, the hoops, and our storage crops and have a pretty good idea of what is out there and ready to be harvested and packed, but we won’t really know until we start packing. Consider this a very educated guess.
While it feels like you are surrounded by new life and plant starts in the spring, it is also the leanest time on a farm. Winter storage crops are being consumed and the new crops are too small to contemplate yet. (In fact, they are so young there is a healthy amount of finger crossing and hoping for the best when you move them from the 4 Season greenhouse to the hoop houses.)
We spend a lot of time managing our storage crops to make sure we have variety and abundance for the whole Winter CSA. As the Winter CSA progresses (we have 2 more months after this pick up!) abundance will remain, but our variety will plateau.
This month, we think your Vegetable CSA share will include:
Siberian Kale (possibly 2 bunches)
Either a Winter Sweet or a Tetsukabuto squash (**these are both long storage winter squash and should last for a while longer if you don’t want to cook it today.)
Napa Cabbage (we hope these are okay. We saved them from last month but are unsure yet if that cold snap destroyed them or not.)
(If you would rather do this in a casserole dish to scoop out, that works just fine too.)
1 tbsp. olive oil
winter squash (about 1 lb)
1 medium Red Onion
1 small bunch kale
Kosher salt and pepper
1 medium potato (about 6 oz)
6 oz. thinly sliced provolone cheese (from the deli counter)
1 plum tomato (or frozen tomatoes from your freezer)
1/4 c. grated Parmesan (1 oz)
- Heat oven to 425°F. Oil a 9-in. springform pan. Arrange half the butternut squash in the bottom of the pan, in concentric circles. Top with half the onion, separating the rings. Top with half the kale, drizzle with half the oil and season with 1/4 tsp salt. Top with the potatoes and half the provolone cheese.
- Top with remaining kale, drizzle with the remaining oil and season with 1/4 tsp each salt and pepper. Top with the remaining onion, tomatoes and provolone. Arrange the remaining squash on top and sprinkle with the Parmesan.
- Cover with foil, place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes. Remove foil and bake until the vegetables are tender and the top is beginning to brown, 8 to 10 minutes more.
1 whole chicken
1 stick butter, softened or 1/2 cup lard, softened
salt & pepper
chopped fresh herbs
optional White wine or chicken stock
- Take the chicken out of the fridge 1 hour before cooking to bring to room temperature.
- Preheat oven to 300F. Remove any remaining pin feathers, wipe chicken and pat dry with a towel.
- Combine herbs, salt, and pepper and softened butter or lard. Slip butter or lard mixture between skin and chicken meat over breast meat. Season inside of bird with salt and pepper. Place the chicken, breast side up, in a roasting pan with sides. Optional: Add white wine or chicken stock to the bottom of the roasting pan in a shallow layer. If you have a rack, use it. If you don’t, don’t worry about it but forgo the liquid layer.
- Cook chicken for one hour at 300F, then turn oven temperature up to 400F for an additional 5-10 minutes to brown and crisp the skin. Heritage breed chickens require a long, low temperature to help break down the intramuscular structure. The chicken will be tough if cooked a a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time. Cook to an internal temperature of 165F.
- Pull the chicken from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes at least before carving.
- Other fun things you can do is stuff the inside of the bird with halved citrus like oranges, lemons, or limes to add some moisture and flavor. You can slip halved citrus between the skin and the meat of the bird with the lard/butter for added moisture (make sure the citrus is skin to skin and flesh to flesh).
Ree Drummond, Food Network
(This is an oven based pot roast, but don’t forget about your instant pot, pressure cooker or crock pot. All will produce a delicious meal with the same ingredients.)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
One 3- to 5-pound roast
2 or 3 tablespoons olive oil
2 whole onions, peeled and halved
6 to 8 whole carrots, unpeeled, cut into 2-inch pieces
1 cup red wine, optional
3 cups beef broth
2 or 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 or 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- Preheat the oven to 275F.
- Generously salt and pepper the roast.
- Heat the olive oil in large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the halved onions to the pot, browning them on both sides. Remove the onions to a plate.
- Throw the carrots into the same very hot pot and toss them around a bit until slightly browned, about a minute or so. Reserve the carrots with the onions.
- If needed, add a bit more olive oil to the very hot pot. Place the meat in the pot and sear it for about a minute on all sides until it is nice and brown all over. Remove the roast to a plate.
- With the burner still on high, use either red wine or beef broth (about 1 cup) to deglaze the pot, scraping the bottom with a whisk. Place the roast back into the pot and add enough beef stock to cover the meat halfway.
- Add in the onions and the carrots, along with the fresh herbs.
- Put the lid on, then roast for 3 hours for a 3-pound roast. For a 4 to 5-pound roast, plan on 4 hours. The roast is ready when it’s fall-apart tender.
(This would be a great recipe to use as a base. You can add anything to a salad, especially if it is a kale salad. If raw kale is a little too strong for you, I recommend, sprinkling the chopped kale with a bit of salt and drizzling it with olive oil and massaging it until it is a bit wilted. Consider adding radish, dried fruit, chèvre, roasted vegetables, leftovers from your roasted chicken, or some sautéed vegetables from your freezer!)
1/2 cup olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 Tbsp real maple syrup
1 1/2 tsp dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 lb. curly kale (about 2 large bunches)
1 large (9 oz.) apple, recommend gala, julienned
2 medium carrots, shredded (1 cup)
3/4 cup unsalted slivered almonds, toasted
3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded sharp white cheddar cheese
1/3 cup sliced red onion, slice very thin
- In a mixing bowl whisk together olive oil, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, maple syrup, dijon mustard and season with salt and pepper to taste. Let rest in fridge while preparing remaining salad ingredients.
- Remove kale leaves from thick ribs. Rinse and run leaves through a salad spinner to dry well. Working in batches on a cutting board, gather and bunch kale leaves together and thinly slice creating ribbons.
- Transfer kale to a very large bowl along with apples, carrots, almonds, cheddar cheese and red onion.
- Whisk dressing again then pour over salad. Toss well to evenly coat.
- Serve within a few hours for best results.