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 Amanda

one of our Apprentice

Where are you from? I’m originally from Seattle.

Why Rainshadow? Central OR is a fantastic place to live, though to farm successfully here year-round, you need to tune your techniques to the high desert climate. That’s why I chose to learn at Rainshadow.

What do you hope to learn at the farm this season? I want to learn from their experiences farming here, their successes as well as their failures. Rhetoric from farming books only gets you half-way. Knowing what works and what doesn’t in our unique climate is incredibly valuable. 

Where do you find your inspiration? I am inspired by the meals we get to cook here and how much better the meat and veggies taste than their store-bought siblings. I am excited to see what flavors this season’s harvests will bring as the summer unfolds.

News from the Farm

Last week we seeded a cover crop. A popular practice among organic farmers, cover crops are plant species that enrich your soil with nutrients and foster a diverse and healthy soil microbiome.

Can I grow cover crops at home?

Yes! This spring I had this dusty strip of dirt in my front yard. Not even the weeds wanted to grow there. In under an hour, I sprinkled the ground with cover crop seeds, gently raked them in and covered the ground with a thin layer of straw to ensure that the seeds would stay damp and I watered often, especially at the beginning. Cover crops are a wonderfully passive way to enrich soil; all they need is water and maybe a little organic fertilizer to get them started if your soil really sucks like mine did. In a few weeks there was a mat of healthy, young plants. 

photo credit: Amanda Mythen
Sarahlee demonstrates her technique of seed sprinkling and achieves landing exactly one seed per each square inch. Apprentices look on and dream of one day reaching this level of precision. 

Should I let my cover crop go to seed?

Probably not. Cover crop species are annual plants, meaning they will ultimately make seeds towards the end of their life, after which they die. This seems like a convenient perpetual-motion cover crop making strategy until one season you decide to plant vegetables there. Suddenly, your helpful and friendly cover crop species turn into competitors – they are now weeds. They are way faster at growing than your veggies and they just keep coming because you let them deposit their hundreds of thousands of babies in the soil the year before. If you choose to host a permanent wild cover crop area then don’t let me stop you, wildlife love it and it looks beautiful. Some people plant small cover crop species such as clover instead of lawns.

photo credit: Amanda Mythen
Shortly after this photo was taken, I learned that cows like to lick you when you pet them. I also learned that their big green grass-stained tongues feel like goobery 100 grit sandpaper

How do I keep my cover crop from going to seed?

At Rainshadow, the final stage of cover cropping is mulching. This means mowing it or tilling your cover crop in before it goes to seed. If some of your species are making seeds earlier than the rest, you can mow them to stop them from seeding and give the other species more sunlight and a chance to catch up. We let the dairy cows “mow” our cover crop and it feeds the cows all summer. Even so, the cows can’t keep up, so we mowed a couple of weeks ago. Next May, we’ll till the cover crop into the soil and let it decompose and add to the soil. No till? No problem! You can smother your cover crop with a tarp. They will decompose and your soil will be richer next season when you’re ready to plant vegetables or another cover crop.

One last word on cover crops. I would encourage anyone who’s interested in planting their own cover crop. Sarahlee’s signature Rainshadow cover crop mix includes twenty-seven different species. If you want to get inspired and use her recipe as a guide, she has an excellent Instagram post about cover cropping HERE.

photo credit: Amanda Mythen
Cover crop in the hand. Cover crop in the field

Vegetable ID: Yod Fah

Basic Info: Yod Fah, also known as Chineses Broccoli or Sprouting Broccoli is 100% edible. It’s origin story depends on your source with some saying it originates from Thailand and others saying it originated in the Mediterranean from a close cousin of our modern European broccoli. Yod Fah is full of very good for you things: 100% of your daily requirements of vitamin A and 50% of your daily vitamin C needs. Additionally, it includes protein and calcium. You should plan on eating the stems, flowers, and stalks. The leaves are like very tender kale and the tops that look like broccoli are buttery, soft, and slightly nutty. Yod Fah is reminiscent of both broccoli and asparagus. It tastes similar to broccoli, but sweeter and brighter. When quick-cooked or stir-fried, it retains a succulent, juicy crunch and somewhat bittersweet flavor that was born to frolic with soy, oyster, black bean, and other savory cooking sauces.

To store: Store in the crisper either in a plastic bag or plan to use in a couple days. 

To prep: You can cut into bite-size pieces or leave whole. Trim off any flowers that have started turning brown. Wash in a basin of cold water. 

To Use: Yod Fah takes heat really well and is great in a stir fry or grilled. You can also treat it like the broccoli/asparagus vegetable it is a blanch and eat it with a vinaigrette or as an addition to a green salad.

Yod Fah serving suggestions from Mi Ae Lipe’s Bounty from the Box

Complementary Herbs, Seasonings, and Foods

Almonds, anchovies, bacon, balsamic vinegar, beef, black bean sauce, carrots, chicken, chile, citrus, fish, garlic, ginger, grains, ham, hot pep- pers, lemons, mushrooms, olives, onion, oyster sauce, pasta, peanuts, pine nuts, pork, raisins, sausage, sesame, soy sauce, sweet and sour seasonings, tamari, tofu, tomato, walnuts.

Serving Suggestions

  • Chinese broccoli is a natural for stir-fries. Cook the stalks first and add the leaves near the very end, as they will cook faster than the stems. Oyster sauce, soy sauce, black bean sauce, and miso are all classic Asian condiments that complement this vegetable.
  • Pasta and Chinese broccoli go together wonderfully, the same way that broccoli raab does. Keep the flavors bright and uncomplicated: chile, garlic, and lemon. Italian sausage is especially good with this.
  • Chinese broccoli takes to vinaigrette like a duck to water. This is a good dish to serve either hot or cold, like asparagus.
  • Combine tofu and Chinese broccoli with yakisoba noodles and sesame oil for a delicate, nutritious dish.
  • Add very thinly sliced coins of cooked Chinese broccoli stems and shredded leaves to fried rice.
  • Make meatballs from ground chicken and ginger, then serve with cooked Chinese broccoli in a delicate broth.
  • Like bok choy, Chinese broccoli combines well with mushrooms. Braise or stir-fry with porcinis, oyster mushrooms, thinly sliced portobellos, shiitakes, or morels.
  • Stir-fry with shrimp, lobster, or crab for a quick, delicious meal.
  • Try wilting Chinese broccoli as you would spinach, adorned with hot bacon dressing.
  • Use thinly shredded Chinese broccoli leaves in the filling for eggrolls and spring rolls.

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:

salad mix
varieties of herbs
yod fah
summer squash

lettuce heads
green onions
eggplant (?)

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.

Emerald City Salad
(PCC market in Amanda’s hometown of Seattle made this salad. It’s so good her family has been copying it for years.)

1 bunch kale, chopped
1 bunch chard, chopped
1 large fennel bulb or a few small ones
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup parsley, chopped
(optional – 2 bell peppers, diced)
1 cup olive oil
1 cup lemon juice
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 cup wild rice (consider substituting cooked wheat berries)
Salt & pepper to taste


  1. Cook the wild rice according to directions.
  2. Slice the fennel bulb thin, starting from the base. A mandolin is ideal for this though a knife will work, too.
  3. Toss all ingredients together in a big bowl.
Classic Zucchini Bread
(Adapted from Alison Roman’s recipe in the New York Times, this is my favorite zucchini bread recipe and its been hit on the farm)

3 ½ cups flour OR 1 ¾ cup Rainshadow Hard Red flour and 1 ¾ cup Rainshadow Soft White flour
½ cup unsalted butter
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons salt
1 ¼ teaspoons baking powder
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
4 eggs
¾ cup light-brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
¾ cup canola oil
1½ pounds zucchini (around 3 medium zucchini)
4 tablespoons demerara or turbinado sugar (optional)


  1. Heat oven to 350F and line two 8×4 inch loaf pans with parchment paper.
  2. Melt and lightly brown butter over medium heat, around 5 – 7 minutes. Set aside.
  3. Using a whisk or fork blend the eggs, light-brown sugar, sugar, and canola oil in a medium bowl until smooth.
  4. Dump grated zucchini onto a clean dishtowel. Cover with a second dishtowel and press down with your hands. The idea is to squeeze out as much water as you can. Sometimes I use another dishtowel if there’s a lot of water coming out.
  5. Add the zucchini and the browned butter to the wet ingredients.
  6. Combine dry ingredients (baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, nutmeg, flour) in a bowl large enough to ultimately fit the wet ingredients, too.
  7. Form in hole in your dry ingredients and fill it with the wet ingredients. Incorporate mixture fully by folding with a spatula.
  8. Divide batter between your two parchment-lined pans and smooth down the top. If you have demerara or turbinado sugar handy, sprinkle it on top.
  9. Bake at 350F for 50 or 60 min, rotating loaves halfway through.


Rump, Sirloin Tip, or other boneless Beef Roast with melted Tomatoes and Onions
(adapted from New York Times Cooking. This would make a great recipe using your boneless, but not brisket, beef roast from lat week’s meat CSA. This could be a great special occasion dinner and then flip into sandwiches after!)

1 boneless beef roast
Fine sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, cut into slivers
3 large or 4 medium ripe tomatoes
6 sprigs thyme, woody stems discarded

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Season roast with salt and pepper. In a large heavy pot or Dutch oven, heat oil to very hot. Sear roast on all sides until crusty dark brown, at least 3 to 4 minutes a side. Do not move roast around while searing, as this will prevent crust from forming.
  2. Add onions, garlic, tomatoes and thyme to pot. Stir and cook vegetables 3 to 4 minutes. Add water to come a third of the way up the roast. Place pot in oven, uncovered.
  3. Braise about 1 to 2 hours depending on size, until meat thermometer inserted into center registers about 135 degrees (medium rare). Do not overcook. Remove from oven, tent with aluminum foil, and let rest 10 minutes. Transfer to carving board or platter and serve with tomatoes, onions and pan juices.
photo credit: Melissa Harmon

Olive cooling down in the shade just like we all are this weekend! We will see you Wednesday, July 19! 

The Farm Crew