Strawberries….last week I announced that we would be able to offer bulk flats of berries to CSA members. Apparently, the strawberry patch didn’t get the memo! We are in a lull right now, and it could be a while before we are harvesting enough berries to offer bulk flats to members…my apologies for getting your hopes up! I will keep a list, in a first come, first serve manner, keeping those who have already requested berries at the top of the list. As soon as the berries are abundant again, I will let you know!
Organic Grass Fed Beef availability is now open! For those of you who requested the current info, you should be receiving it in your mailbox or email any time now. If you haven’t requested the info and would like to receive it, just let me know and I’ll get it out to you, or you can look online at our website for the info….Winter Green Farm Organic Grass Fed Beef
It looks like we may have made it through the heat wave section of our summer, as cooler weather rolls in..I know our crew is happy to hear that, especially the irrigation guys, as they have been running ragged trying to keep everything hydrated. The good thing about the heat is that the warm weather loving crops are growing so well…we started having some crew picking zucchini on the weekends, as they seem to grow inches overnight!
A FARMER PROFILE:
We have been very fortunate to have Lucero join our crew this season. She has been interested in working on a farm for a long time, and has spent the last 3 months with us. She grew up in a very small town in the mountains of southern Mexico, far from everywhere. In those times, her family grew their own vegetables at home. With time, this custom has been lost. Along with the disappearance of home agriculture, many traditional crops are not cultivated any more in her home town.
Lucero studied Biology at University, and began working on plants because of her experiences with plants and agriculture as a child. After completing her PhD in plant genetics, she did postdoctoral studies at the International Center for Maize and Wheat Breeding (CIMMYT), in Texcoco, Mexico. CIMMYT is a public research center focused on helping the world’s poor by breeding better strains of crops. Crops bred at CIMMYT have saved the lives of millions of people worldwide. Her projects at CIMMYT, and later on at Pioneer in the US, were focused on understanding how plants respond to drought. Lucero mainly worked on a model plant called Arabidopsis thaliana, but also a little bit on maize.
After almost 25 years working in research, Lucero is ready to explore her long term interests in holistic approaches to farming. She came to Winter Green Farm because she had met Mary Jo and Jack many years ago. Lucero says “While I’ve been here, it has been a pleasure to learn that Winter Green Farm is one of the most respected organic farms in all of Oregon. I’ve had a wonderful experience over the last couple of months. The greatest lesson that I’ve learned is that farming can be an act of love, feeding the people you care about most, while caring for the land. I’m very thankful for the opportunity that Winter Green has given me, and to all the nice people I’ve met here. My next step is to learn more about organic farming in Mexico.”
Lucero with her visiting father Don Thomas, her husband Stewart, and her brother Victor
Lucero hopes to start her own organic farm in Mexico one day, and hopes to join us once again next season to continue learning on Winter Green Farm. We have thoroughly enjoyed having her with us…she is a very conscientious, and efficient crew member, always smiling and ready to offer her hand wherever it might be needed. We all look forward to her return next season and wish her all the best as she heads home to Mexico.
We hope you all have a great week ahead and enjoy your veggies!
Just wanted to mention that we are coming to a close for the Strawberries in your weekly boxes….we are actually putting an extra pint in the share this week! We will still have Strawberries coming out of the fields though, and you are welcome to order flats if you like…..we can offer full flats at $32/12 pint flat, or a half flats at $20 /6 pints. Just call/email the farm office if you would like to reserve one.
A few of the members had some questions as to why, if we’re saying things like “bumper crop” of tomatoes, are they only receiving a few in their boxes? I would like to address that for you. Our CSA membership is about 500 this year, and we do promise to supply you with certain amounts of each vegetable. We try to plant and grow as close to what we promise as possible….occasionally crops do very well, and we have an abundance, which we share with you all.
When we offer “bulk Items” to you, such as tomatoes, strawberries or other items, we are offering those to you through our Farmers Market enterprise. Since the Market enterprise doesn’t promise anyone an amount of what they will be growing, they grow and harvest what they need to fill their market stands, and quite often, there is an abundance, which they sell wholesale to restaurants and groceries. It is from that abundance that we can then offer “bulk items” to our CSA members. We are happy to be able to offer this service to you with certain crops, and we don’t want you to think that we’re “giving away” veggies that are supposed to be in your share! We also don’t send you “market seconds”…the CSA and the Farmers Markets each have their own crops, grown and marked as such in the fields. I hope this answers any questions some of you might have in this arena. If you still have questions, please don’t hesitate to call/email me at the farm.
FARM VISIT OPPORTUNITY:
This weekend the Washington State University will be conducting a study on the bird life here on Winter Green Farm….continue reading for the particulars. Please RSVP if you would like to attend.
It’s the middle of August already….how has this happened!! Oh right, stars shining, planets turning, seasons changing, meteors buzzing by…but does it seem like it’s going faster than normal, or is it just me?? I find myself in continual states of denial….the leaves aren’t falling because it’s getting closer to Fall, it’s only because it’s been so hot. It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to ignore all of the ads for school supplies though, and it won’t be long before the summer vacations come to a close…all the more reason to just get out there….hike, swim, have those BBQ’s, go camping, canoeing, sailing, kayaking…..whatever means summer to you, just do it!
Earlier this Spring we were invited to participate in a study that Washington State University is conducting, and we’re so excited about it. WSU researchers received nearly $2 million from the U.S. Department of Agriculture Organic Research and Extension Initiative to conduct a study assessing the risks and benefits of wild birds on organic farms.
“For fresh produce growers, food safety concerns about E. coli and salmonella have become a big issue that’s causing somewhat of a generalized freak out,” said Bill Snyder, the WSU professor of entomology leading the study. “We’re trying to figure out where these pathogens are really coming from and how to manage them.”
Many organic growers create habitat on their farms to feed and shelter birds because they are important predators of insects that can damage crops. At the same time, wild birds have been implicated in the spread of harmful pathogens like E. coli and salmonella.
Snyder said there’s not a lot of rigorous research that looks at these connections across diverse farming systems and different bird species.
The first wave of researches visited the farm in May. They set up catching nets in the evening and the next morning at dawn, they began collecting specimens. They detected 48 species total, which makes our farm the most diverse so far by 1 species.
The Merlin was a first, and they were also excited to find a beautiful male Northern Harrier
in the cow pasture. A Spotted Sandpiper was seen on the oak pond, which was also a first on the farms visited and quite an exciting find.
DROPPINGS TELL ALL
Over the next four years, this team will collect and analyze bird droppings from more than 70 organic vegetable farms in Washington, Oregon, Idaho and California.
“I don’t think anyone has had the resources to do a study that’s as comprehensive and on such a large, regional scale before,” he said. “We’re really excited about it.”
Molecular analysis of bird droppings will identify what types of insects the birds are eating as well as the types of pathogens and parasites they carry that are important to human and livestock health. The scientists will use this information to quantify the risk of birds spreading diseases that endanger food safety.
SCIENCE-BASED FOOD STUDY GUIDELINES
The goal of the research is to inform the development of food safety guidelines, known as good agricultural practices or GAPs, using evidence-based information.
Meeting existing GAP guidelines can be costly for organic farmers who feel pressure to remove hedgerows and other types of habitat that support wildlife in order to reduce food safety risks. But removing habitat can harm the ecology of areas that support beneficial wildlife, and there is little evidence that the practice improves food safety.
“You need scientifically based evidence on why you’re doing something to avoid moving forward in a panic,” Snyder said.
He said GAPS are rarely based on rigorous, on-farm research demonstrating that they benefit food safety.
THE MOST EXCITING PART…..
This weekend the research team will be back on Winter Green Farm to continue with their study….they offered to allow CSA members to come participate in the research work, and to give an informal talk on their work! If that interests any of you, you are welcome to visit the farm on Sunday morning, August 21st. The team will be setting up the netting on Saturday evening, and opening them up on Sunday morning around dawn. If you are an early riser, feel free to come then…if you’re not an early riser, the team will gather and share their work with you about 9am. Feel free to bring a picnic lunch and sit under the oak grove….who knows what type of bird life may pass your way! Please do RSVP if you plan on attending….we ask that no dogs attend, and if you bring children, plan on being totally responsible for them, as there is equipment around that they could hurt themselves on…thanks!
Hope you all have a wonderful week ahead, and may the sun shine on you and yours, and of course, your veggies!
For those of you who ordered Blueberry flats, they will be arriving at your delivery location this week….all of the flats will be labeled, so please make sure to take the one that is labeled for you to avoid confusion, and extra work for the site hosts….if you have not paid for your flats as yet, you can send a check to the farm address below, or if you have a card on file for you, we’re happy to take care of payment using that (you can also call/email with card info).
Speaking of payments, if you have set up a recurring payment, the second Half Payment will be processed on August 15th. If you have changed your card info since you set up the payment schedule, or moved to a new address, please do get in touch sooner than later so we can update the info. As we don’t charge a fee for using cards, we do try to avoid the extra fees from a declined transaction whenever possible…we appreciate your effort in keeping your info on file up to date.
Our Heirloom Tomato patch is in a bit of a lull, so we won’t be offering bulk flats for the next week or so….we should have slicer tomatoes available soon!
This being the 10th week of delivery, we are basically halfway through the Standard Season. We have only a few more seedings to plant in the greenhouse, preparing for late Fall, and the transplanting these days consists of Fall crops as well….this farming life keeps you a month or two ahead of where you actually are, and it seems to make time move forward exponentially.
About this time I like to check in with members…..like to hear if there are any issues, but also to hear what is going well. I especially like to share the thoughts about what is going well with our crew, to give them added incentive through these long hot days. Feel free to email any thoughts, stories, or excitement about your veggies with me so that I can share aloud with the crew at the morning circle. If any of you have something you would like to see written about in the Blog, or if you would like to contribute as a guest blogger with a related interest, we would love to hear from you!
This afternoon, it’s a “bagging party” as all hands are busy filling bags with veggies. Here, Kiegan, Arissa, Carlea and Erik are bagging up your potatoes….
Shannon and Jabrila are bagging up your basil…..
and Shenoa is taking care of bagging up your Green Beans. Since all of these crops need to weighed, as well as bagged, this process can take up the whole afternoon when there are several crops to bag all at once! While it does take time, it’s also a good time for the crew to gather in the shade, and share some time together.
Josh’s job on Monday afternoons is to get a delivery ready for FOOD for Lane County. Any vegetable that isn’t quite the quality we like to share with CSA members, or sell at our Farmers’ Markets, gets boxed up for donation to FOOD for Lane County. It’s a “cool” job, as it needs to be done in the cooler…..brrrrrr! By the end of the season, we can share as much as 10,000 lbs. of food with them. Their crew then sorts through all of the donations, and makes food boxes to help those in need in our community. FOOD for Lane County also has their own farm in Springfield, where they grow food for a small CSA and for donation toward the food boxes as well. Another wonderful aspect of their farm is to bring in teens to work on the farm. The teens have to apply for the position, and then are taught all aspects of the “farming life”, giving them a real sense of not only where their food comes from, but also learning life skills in working together & communication, and real hands on experience in planting, harvesting, and creating food boxes for their customers. To find out more about their program, you can visit their website at FOOD for Lane County Youth Farm & Gardens.
Well, I’d love to chat more, but I’m going to head up the to pack out area and help do some bagging with the crew…hope you all have a wonderful week, and enjoy your veggies!
And, suddenly, it’s August!! Last week was certainly a warm one, and watching our crew out there wilting in the heat, I’m glad that this week is starting off a little cooler. We’re starting our day at 6am now, to be sure to get all of those fragile crops in before the day heats up….. there is so much to harvest these days, that we’re rarely getting off the farm by 3:30pm, but our steadfast crew carries on regardless of the heat and long hours…we’re so fortunate to have them!
August 1st was an important date in the days of old….of course back then, you couldn’t just go to the grocery store, or participate in your local CSA or Farmers’ Market. You had to grow everything yourself, or go hungry.
The 1st of August is one of the cross quarter days, between the main events of the Equinoxes and Solstices. It is known as Lammas, which translates to “loaf mass”, and was traditionally a time to give thanks for the blessings of the harvest. In civilizations back nearly to the beginning of time, grain became associated with the cycle of death and rebirth. The first sheaves of grain were cut by the farmer, and by nightfall his wife had made the first loaves of bread of the season!
By celebrating Lammas as a harvest holiday, we honor our ancestors and the hard work they must have had to do just in order to survive. This is a good time to give thanks for the abundance we have in our lives, and to be grateful for the food on our tables. And, of course, our farmers!
This is also one of my most exciting times of the year…it’s time for the Perseids Meteor Showers!! The peak of activity is Aug. 12, but you can already see its streaks of light showing up in the sky. Though the meteor shower is an annual event, according to the Space.com website, the Perseids are in outburst this year. That means that rather than 80 meteors per hour, we might see 150 to 200 per hour, according to NASA meteor expert Bill Cooke. “This year, they will be in what we call ‘outburst’ — their rates will double, because we’re running into more material left behind by Comet Swift-Tuttle.”
The Perseid meteor showeroccurs when Earth moves through the trail of dust and debris left by Comet Swift-Tuttle as it orbits the sun; the debris hits Earth’s atmosphere and burns up, creating the white-hot streaks we see in the sky. Most of the pieces of debris, which move at 37 miles per second (59 kilometers per second), are about the size of a grain of sand, NASA has said.
The moon will be full six days after the meteor shower’s peak, which might wash out the vivid streaks across the sky. So it might be a good idea to look earlier on, before the peak, to see the brightest streaks and fireballs, and to go to the darkest location you can, Cooke said. All of the meteors will appear to stream away from the constellation Perseus — that apparent source is called the shower’s radiant — but will materialize all across the sky. So grab your blanket and get out there!
And lastly, a reminder that we will be offering Blueberry Flats next week….please place your order by this Friday, August 5th, and we’ll deliver them to your site next week. Since we’re using a new grower this year, we would really appreciate some feedback on the berries this year!
We hope you all have a wonderful week, and of course, enjoy your veggies!
Thanks to the return of the sunshine, we have Tomatoes and Strawberries to offer in bulk for you! Our overbearing Strawberry flats contain 12 pints and we can offer them for $32/flat. Our mixed Heirloom Tomato flats are 10# and the cost will be $30/flat.
We will have flats of Blueberries available for ONE WEEK only…the week of August 9th. We’ll need your orders by Friday afternoon, August 5th at the latest, no exceptions, for delivery the following week. The flats are 10# each and the cost is $50/flat.
We also have an abundance of Cabbage right now…if you would like to make some sauerkraut and need some delicious cabbage, we are offering a 40# case for $32/case.
Members who receive your CSA delivery on Wednesday and the weekends will be receiving your Tomatoes in flats at your delivery location….since we pack the boxes on Tuesday and Friday, your shares go into the cooler overnight, and refrigeration can sometimes be hard on the Tomatoes….the Tomatoes will be delivered in flats, with a sign letting you know how many to take for your share. Please only take the specified amount so there will be enough for all of your fellow members at your site….thanks!
It’s on! Now that the weather is warming up again, the warm weather loving crops are coming out of the field in great numbers! We thought we were busy before, but things are going to ramp up exponentially now….tomatoes, zucchini, cucumbers, and soon to follow eggplant and green beans…we’re excited to share this abundance with you all!
We’re proud to announce that Alden and Maggie won several ribbons at the Lane County Fair last week, including 2 for First Place! Alden had a wonderful experience in the 4H program, thanks to his efforts and those of his patient parents, and supportive mentors, Kevin and Sandie Smith of Elmira Locker. He’s excited to participate again next year, and is thinking about trying some new breeds.
Chris, Shannon and the boys are off the farm this week, visiting family on the Outer Banks in North Carolina…I’ll be taking on some of his office responsibilities this week, so the Blog will be a brief one….how about some photos of our amazing crew!
We’re glad to have Carlea back with us safely this week! She took a nasty fall in a bike accident early last week, and was out most of the week with a slight concussion. She’s better today, and has a lovely black eye to show for her trouble!
Chad is our project aficionado, but is just as wonderful in the field, and processing. He always has a ready smile, and his sunny demeanor brightens the day.
Jimi keeps a close eye while doing some bed row cultivation….he also helps out with the irrigation of the crops, and has been in charge of managing the cow herd this season, ushering in the new calves, and making sure they all have plenty of water and TLC.
And…just in case you’ve been on the fence about participating in Sara’s flower CSA this year, here is a tease for you of last week’s bouquets…if your interest is piqued you can see other photos of her work or contact her at her website….Wild Child Flower Co.
We hope you have a wonderful week ahead, and of course, enjoy your veggies this week!
We are now able to offer flats of Strawberries! Let us know if you would like to order some and we’ll supply them on a first come, first serve basis. The cost will be $32 per flat of 12 pints. Blondie’s Blooms can also offer flats of Blueberries the week of August 8th and the cost will be $50/10 lb. flat. Call or email to reserve your flats…..
After the morning meeting today, I took a ride over to Simpson Field, the field we rent about 2 miles from the home farm. With our 6 year rotation program, we grow some of our crops over there….we are coming to the point in the rotation where many of our crops are back on the home farm, of which we are all really glad, and many fields in Simpson Field will go into pasture rotation. Last week one of your fellow members inquired about the status of the corn, so I ventured over to take a look.
I love mornings on the farm….so quiet and serene, and the expanse of the field allows for spectacular views of the hills beyond. The gentle whisper of the Long Tom River barely audible above the trills of the birds flying overhead, in perfect harmony with the industrious bees dancing between the many blossoming vegetables. The laughter and conversation of the harvest crew mingles in and out with the breezes. What a glorious way to start the day! Ahhh, but the corn…..
It’s getting there…..the old saying “knee high by the 4th of July” is pretty right on, and ours is about waist high now…we still won’t be seeing it in the boxes for a while yet, but we’re all excited for it to come.
Can you see the tassels beginning to emerge?
I walked around to see what other crops would soon be appearing in your shares….
Potatoes flowers! These are Desiree, a red potatoe and these will be harvested in a couple of weeks as new potatoes.
If you look closely you’ll see a couple of out most industrious crew….the bees! They’re busy pollinating to ensure there will be plenty of fruit this season.
Andrea harvesting cherry tomatoes……Andrea works on our farm 3 days a week, and then on her own Ambrosia Farm the rest of the week…she is one busy woman!
One exciting aspect of Winter Green Farm is ushering in the next generation of farmers….from the 20-30 year olds we hire on each season, some who stay with us for many seasons, to the Overbaugh boys who are so well integrated in all areas of the farm. Both Alden and Porter were born, and have been raised on the farm, and can tell you what every piece of equipment is, and what it does, what implements fit on which tractor, and love to be the first ones to find the earliest ripened tomato or strawberry while touring the farm on their bikes. Porter (age 8) is growing his melons again this year…..a hundredth of an acre! His crops will be a heritage green fleshed cantaloupe called Rocky Ford, an orange fleshed cantaloupe called Halona, and the Little Baby Flower red fleshed watermelon.
The first of the melon crop that Porter and Alden are growing this year.
The Overbaugh family also raise sheep and this year Alden, age 11, will be showing his first 4H lamb name Maggie, who is a White Faced Dorper, at the Lane County Fair this week.
Alden, Porter and cohort Jade cultivating the melon patch.
We hope you all have a great week, and enjoy your veggies this week!
SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS: The list of weekly veggies may change from when the Blog is posted on Tuesday, to what is harvested for deliveries Friday and the weekend….I will always email those changes to members on Thursday afternoon, so be sure to check for that each week!
Sara Davies’ flower CSA is about to begin! Sara’s yard is filling up with burgeoning blossoms and the first bouquets will be delivered to members this week…if you’ve been meaning to sign up or check it out, here is the link to her website & info: Wild Child Flower Co.
What a glorious morning on the farm! After a few days of rain, though much needed and appreciated, it sure was lovely to awake to sunshine. The low mist still remaining above the distant hillside gave the farm an ethereal feel, and spirits were lifted by the blue skies, and promise of warmth later in the day.
We’re all sad to see the field of Buckwheat disappear….the blossoms are so lovely and the bees sure love them! But..it’s time to till it in and make way for the next crop. We plant Buckwheat as a cover crop as it supplies organic matter, and with its taproot, helps to break up compacted soils, and pull up nutrients from deep in the ground. We’ll be following with new strawberry plants and some late season crops.
Look closely and you will see the bees busy in the blossoms!
We’re excited to tell you that your blueberries will be forthcoming next week! We’re working with a new grower this season….Blondie’s Blooms, Berries & Nurserylocated down in Creswell. Tonya Rager bought this 2 1/2 acre property in 2000, and opened as a nursery in 2002. She built a house, and her business through the years, purchasing another 5 acres to plant exclusively in blueberries in 2013. She plans to phase out of the nursery business in a few years. She is certified organic by Oregon Tilth.
Tonya has a history of family farming…her grandparents from her fathers’ side farmed 20 acres in Ohio, where she would visit in the summer. Her grandparents on her mother’s side raised Orchids in California. She is self taught in many areas, but feels that farming is in her blood. She attends 3 Lane County Farmers Markets in Eugene, and also sells her berries at the Red Barn Grocery in the Whiteaker neighborhood.
Since she is a smaller operation than the Sunset Valley Organics, who have been supplying our berries the last few years, we will stagger the delivery of the berry pints. The first pints will be in next week’s boxes, and then the second set of pints in the boxes the first week of August. Tonya thinks she could potentially supply enough bulk flats, and that would be the 3rd week of August…if you would like to reserve a flat, please let me know. If you want to make sure you receive a flat, or more, you might want to visit her at one of the markets earlier.
LONG TERM MEMBER PROFILE:
Earlier this season, I mentioned that we would like to profile some of our pioneering members, who have been receiving CSA shares for a long time…Paul Frishkoff is one of those members!
Paul and Pat Frishkoff of Eugene have been members since 1999. Formerly business professors (Paul, UO; Pat, OSU), they consult and keynote about succession in family owned business. Their then-teen son was going through a vegan phase (he still eats healthy, though not purely vegetarian), which impelled them to join. They like supporting a CSA, the weekly variety, and the camaraderie at the potlucks.
Paul shared this anecdote with us: One year, something pale and stringy appeared in the weekly box. The notes said that it was burdock, and suggested how to prepare. Paul brought the box home, and Pat enthusiastically soaked, peeled, and chopped it. Paul cooked it in a stir-fry. Pat said, “Not too bad,” which Paul chose to hear as “Very good.” Next week, more burdock; numerous others had discarded theirs in the yum-yuck box. Paul brought home about 20 of them. Pat: “I said that it was OK. One is plenty!” They gave the rest away to friends, and it has never to date reappeared in the box. (we stopped offering burdock in the weekly boxes in 2008….too much was coming back in the Yum-Yuck boxes, we think due to members not really knowing what to do with it!)
Arugula: Lesser-known mad Roman emperor Burdock: Tweety’s veterinarian. Cauliflower: Veggie grown from Lassie’s droppings. Daikon: Scam to collect life insurance Komatsuna: Japanese erotic classic. Snow pea: Neanderthal art form.
Thanks for sharing, Paul! And, especially, thanks for your continued support through all of the years!
We hope you all have a wonderful week and enjoy your veggies this week!