Today we start something fun! Every other week, 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.
Today’s newsletter is written by:
News from the Farm: It’s art. It’s poetry. It’s spring turning into summer in Central Oregon.
This last week around the farm I can’t help but think these are the kind of days they write poems about. The sky this spring held a certain character–when I stood up from a long session of weeding and looked up, I was struck with an intensity so profound it almost made me drop back down to my knees. It’s hard not to give thanks that I get to do what I do in those moments.
That was up until this week. Spring struggling to shake the cold has given way to a character of ease. A softening. The long days of summer lull you into a feeling of unending. The light pushes on well past 9 pm and I forget that if I don’t go to bed early I’ll miss the sunrise. And, the sunrise is when the real glory happens. The confluence of changing seasons. What was a cold and overwhelming grandeur is now dew on the petals of a flower. An early rising sun peeping up to tell you “GOOD MORNING! I’ve brought the new day!”
The 2-acre garden at sunset.
Photo Credit: Camila Becerra Riroroco
Now, that’s not to say it’s not cold. Sarahlee has been up at 3 am multiple nights this past week checking the temps. We have some things in the field that are still too sensitive to handle even a light frost. What we do to protect them is turn the irrigation water on. The water in the line is buried and stays slightly above freezing at its coldest. On nights when it’s going to get down below freezing, Sarahlee is out there turning on the irrigation at 2 or 3 am to buy us the frost protection we need in those few hours before sunrise. She is doing what it takes to make it happen, like she always does. It’s inspiring.
If there is anything I’ve learned though from my short time at Rainshadow, it is that two of the most important ingredients in the recipe of farming are planning and timing. You plan to plant your big daddy winter squash on a certain day at the end of June. A while later they come up gangbusters and you are stoked.
Then the days that seemed to be warming up turn cold! What do you do? What you can I guess: wake up at 3:30, check the temp, and go turn on the water by 4 am (the coldest hour before dawn) and protect a very valuable long term crop.
Last year this time it was already hot as the dickens. This year it’s freezing right into summer. How do you plan for something like that? I guess you can’t. The combination of Central Oregon being a temperamental sort and the unpredictability of global climate change makes what has always been quite difficult, a constant challenge.
Photo Credit: (cows) Brandon Marcaccini; (baby cucumber) Caroline Crews; (pigs) Camila Becerra Riroroco
Vegetable ID: Kohlrabi
photo credit: Camila Becerra Riroroco
This plant was developed by crossing a cabbage with a turnip. Both the leaves and the bulb are edible. We grow both purple and light green ones! The edible part of the kohlrabi grows above the ground and a kohlrabi is harvested by cutting it off it’s tap root that grows down into the soil.
To store: Store kohlrabi globe and leaves separately. The bulb will last for 2 weeks refrigerated in a plastic bag. Wrap leaves and stalks in a plastic bag and keep in the crisper drawer of the refrigerator.
To prep: Rinse under cold running water just before use. Cut the outer skin off with a knife. Trim off the remains of the stalks and root. Grate, slice, or chop as desired.
To cook: Cut raw kohlrabi bulb into sticks for a refreshing addition to a raw vegetable tray or grate it for salads. Try raw kohlrabi smeared with peanut butter. Lightly boil, steam or bake it, or add it to stews and stir-fries. Young kohlrabi leaves can be used in recipes calling for greens. They taste a bit like cabbage and act a bit like kale when cooking.
Vegetable CSA Harvest List
We think our foundation vegetables this week will be: kohlrabi and asian greens. We will let you know on Wednesday how many other items you will get to select.
We have been keeping an eye on the hoops and 2-acre garden and have a pretty good idea of what is out there and ready to be harvested, but this is a Sunday estimation of what we will be harvesting on Tuesday. 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.)
Other Vegetable Options will probably include:
Keep an eye on our Instagram stories for a tour of what the options are on Wednesday around 11 am.
adapted from Andrea Bemis’ Local Dirt
1 bunch asparagus, cut into 1-inch lengths
1 cup dried white beans (you can order this as an add-on)
2 cloves garlic, peeled and left whole
2 tablespoons cooking fat or olive oil (you can order this as an add-on)
2 bunches green onions, chopped (white and pale green parts only)
1/4 pound mushrooms
6 hakurai salad turnips, cut into wedges
1 small (or 1/2 regular) kohlrabi, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch-long sticks
salt and pepper
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1/2 cup dry white wine
5 to 6 cups stock (you can order this as an add-on)
Chimichurri sauce for serving
freshly grated hard salty cheese (like parmesan or romano)
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped, for serving
1 cup coarsley chopped parsley
3 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper
1/2 cup olive oil (plus more to thin as needed)
- Bring a medium pot of salted water to a simmer and add the asparagus. Cook over medium-high heat until the asparagus is tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and add the white beans and garlic to the water. Make sure beans are covered by at least 2 inches of water, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer the beans for 45 minutes or more. Drain the beans, discard the garlic, and transfer the beans to the asparagus bowl.
- In a cast-iron pot, heat 1 tablespoon of the cooking fat. Add the scallions and mushrooms and cook over medium heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Heat the remaining tablespoon of cooking fat and add the turnips, kohlrabi, and carrots; season the veggies with a hefty pinch of salt and pepper and the thyme. Cook, stir occasionally, for 3 minutes.
- Add the wine to the pan and cook, stirring up any browned bits off the bottom of the pot, until most of the liquid has evaporated. Add 5-cups of the stock to the pot and bring it to a simmer. Add the beans and asparagus. If the soup is too thick, add the last cup stock as needed.
- Ladle the soup into the individual bowls and stir a dollop of chimichurri into each bowl. Sprinkle with freshly grated cheese and minced parsley.
- TO MAKE CHIMICHURRI: combine all the chimichurri ingredients in a food processor and blend until well integrated. Add more oil to thin as needed. Taste for seasonings and adjust as needed.
adapted from Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking For Everyone
3 tablespoons raw peanuts
2 teaspoons roasted peanut oil
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 1/2 pound asian greens
2 tablespoons peanut oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
4 teaspoons minced ginger
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon cornstarch mixed with stock or water
1 teaspoon roasted peanut oil
- Fry the peanuts in 2 teaspoons roasted peanut oil until they are golden. Chop with the red pepper flakes and a few pinches of salt and set aside.
- Cut the Asian Green leaves off the stems and cut the stems into 1-inch pieces. Leave the leaves whole. Set the wok over high heat and add 2 tablespoons peanut oil and roll it around the sides. When hot, add the garlic and ginger and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add the bok choy and a few pinches of salt and stir-fry until wilted and glossy. Add the soy sauce and cornstarch mix and stir-fry for 1 or 2 minutes until the leaves are shiny and glazed. Add the crushed peanuts, toss, and serve.
We can’t wait to see you on Wednesday!
The Farm Crew