We have officially harvested all of our storage vegetables, and have cover cropped all of our fields. We still have some chard in the field, and we still have greens and a few other things in the greenhouse, but otherwise the fields are going to sleep for the winter. We’ve noticed the sheep getting extra friendly in the fields, so hopefully we will have lambs in the spring! We also planted tulips, so we will have some beautiful spring bouquets next year! We’re putting the farm to sleep for the winter, but we are already thinking ahead to next year! What were some of your favorite crops this year? What would you like to see more of next year in your CSA? What would you like to have less of? Remember, as your farmers, we want to grow what you want to eat! Next week will be the last CSA box, and we would love to know what treats you made through the course of the season! We will save up recipes and share them next year. We can also post them on our website and on our blog!
Since most of the fresh eating vegetables are done for the season, you’ll be seeing a lot of storage vegetables these last few weeks. The great thing about storage veggies is exactly that, they store well! These varieties have been bred to last longer in storage, but that does mean they have to be treated a bit differently. For example, the cooking carrots this week definitely need to be cooked. They aren’t as crispy as summer carrots, but they will still lend a fabulous sweetness to your soups and broths. Many of the winter squashes will last several weeks outside of the refrigerator, and several months if kept cold. What is even better, is that many of the dishes you can make with these veggies will also store well. Cook up a batch of potato leek soup, and freeze the extras for a cold night warm-up in the middle of the winter. We’ve gone ahead and preserved one of your items for you! We have been processing strawberries, and we made syrup with the extras after making jam, so we’ve included a jar of syrup this week! Enjoy!
The heavy rains and cold weather have definitely impacted the farm this week. Sadly, tomatoes and eggplants are officially done, which means your boxes may not look quite as full. Your boxes will be incredibly heavy this week, however, with all the dense fall and winter vegetables! The rain and cold really took a toll on our last planting of lettuce and greens. We did try to make up for it by planting Asian greens and more lettuce in our greenhouse, so we are hoping to have those ready for you in the next couple of weeks. So far we’ve shared 3 different types of winter squash with you, do you have a favorite? What is your favorite method of preparation for beets? We want to hear from you! Please email your recipes to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will share them in our future newsletters! We would love recipes that use at least 3 ingredients from the boxes and are relatively quick and easy! This week’s box is a great example of what the rest of the boxes will look like, so send recipes that use these ingredients!
This week is the first week back in class for the PSA students after their two-week break! We are very happy to have them back and they are excited to gets hands on experience with the final stages of harvest and beginnings of preparing for fall weather.
This year has been a great learning experience for the crop damages incurred when hard rains are followed by days of hot sunshine. Yesterday when we peeked under the various covered rows across the farm we were astounded to see our fall crops struggling with pests and diseases. As a CSA customer you might notice a lacking of kale in your box these past weeks. This is in part due to the increased pest and disease activity we are seeing due to the heavy rain/hot sunshine scenario. Not to worry though, there is a lot of food in the fields, winter squash are starting to harden off in the field and soon they will be moved to the unheated greenhouse to finish up and be ready to go into weekly boxes. If you have a favorite winter squash recipe you would like to share, do not hesitate to email it to us at email@example.com!
We are transitioning into the fall season. That means cozy sweaters, second rounds of certain crops (like raspberries!!) and looking forward to the late season crops like winter squash and spinach. Our summer season crops are still in full swing, and you will be getting a lot more tomatoes and peppers again this week!
The students are still away this week, but they will be returning for their final quarter of the Practice Of Sustainable Agriculture class next week. We will also be returning to our campus market stand next week, so please stop by and say hello! And as a reminder, The Organic Farm will be participating in the Return To Evergreen celebration on October 19th! Please add this fantastic event to your calendar. We will continue to update you with details, but visiting The Organic Farm will be a family friendly event, and will be totally free! Come take a tour, have some fresh pressed cider and get your face painted!
Rain, rain, go away! All of the rain on the farm this week can’t keep us inside! Our plants however, are seeing some issues. Just like people struggle with the season change, the plants do as well. We had to pull all of our onions to dry because they were starting to see some downy mildew from the wet weather and lack of airflow, and the rain is affecting some of our eggplants and peppers. Be assured though, we will still be bringing you the best produce we can deliver. This week the PSA students are away for evaluation week, so the farm staff are working extra hard. If you’ve ever been interested in learning how we do things on the farm, we would love to have you volunteer! We can teach you about farming and get you set up on a task. Our volunteer hours are Wednesday and Friday from 9-4pm. Stay for a little bit, stay all day, it is up to you!
Although this is week 8 of the CSA, it is week 10 of the summer quarter which means the students are pulling together their final projects and getting ready for a break before they start again in a couple of weeks for fall quarter! Since the students won’t be here for the next 2 weeks, now is a great time to volunteer on The Organic Farm! Come see where and how your food is grown, and help us harvest! Our volunteer hours are Wednesday and Friday from 9am-4pm.
The tomatoes are FINALLY ripe, so you’ll be seeing them in your box! We grow a lot of different varieties of tomatoes, so hopefully you’ll get to try several different types! The textures and flavors will be just a bit different, so pay attention to which you like best! Last of all, we will be harvesting our broiler chickens this Friday! If you were one of the folks to order a chicken (or a few), be on the lookout for information about how to pick that up and we will see you on Friday!
Stephen (PSA faculty) and Adriano (PSA student) sifting through soil.
This summer has been a fantastic growing season for us. Eggplants bigger and earlier than ever, gorgeous peppers, tomatoes were trellised late but are now starting to come on strong! The broiler chickens have grown faster and larger than in past years and the pasture is doing fantastic!
Just this week we moved our two ewes, Astra and Nicola, and our ram, Eclipse, onto a new patch of nice lush pasture grass in the south end of the farm. We will raise these sheep for breeding, wool, sales of registered Jacob’s lambs and occasionally harvesting a wether if our herd gets too big. We are excited to have a permanent ruminant added to our farm and have enjoyed the easy nature and beauty of Jacob’s sheep.
Astra and Nicola, and our ram, Eclipse
We have a guest post this week!
The students of the Practice of Sustainable Agriculture (PSA) program participate in farm activities each week and are an integral part in our success!
Last week, the students and faculty of PSA visited five farms in southern Oregon. Students got to know the people and practices of five farms in Oregon. Ruby & Amber Farm in Cottage Grove is a hybrid (horse and tractor-powered) biodynamic vegetable farm. Seven Seeds Farm in the Siskiyous is a permaculture (whole systems design) homestead that markets seed, medicine, and information. Wolf Gulch Farm is an organic farm specializing in seed saving. Dunbar is a mid-size organic farm in Medford that seeks to provide a full diet for 70-80 people. Lastly, but not leastly, Gathering Together is a high-production organic farm near Corvallis.
Farm Tours and interviews with the farmers gave the students insight into the intricacies of growing food in diverse microclimates, maintaining integrity to one’s vision, and offered a window into the way that individual farms are banding together to create and expand markets for their goods.
-Martin Brendecke, PSA student spectacular!
The cool weekend weather may have slowed the ripening of the tomatoes but it has also prevented some greens (lettuce, dill, cilantro, salad greens) from bolting in the heat. It is always nice to have a break from the summer heat, but boy do the crops love the sunshine!
This summer and fall we are conducting a salad green variety trial on the farm. We are working with seeds available from Johnny’s and Osborne Seed to test new varieties to rotate into our annual production. This past week students scored and sampled four blocks of the thirteen varieties of salad greens in the summer trial, testing for bitterness and bolting. They also seeded for the Fall trial that will test for length to maturity. We are excited by the preliminary results and look forward to sharing an upcoming harvest with our members!