Hi Friends & Farm-ily,

Happy December! We hope the Thanksgiving holiday treated you all well.  It was a chilly end to November and we hope you kept warm by making many delicious homemade meals in the warmth of your kitchen. It’s been extra frosty in the mornings here on the farm which has us all (the farmers and the critters) hunkered down in the warmth of a house or a cozy bed of straw for a few extra moments before the morning light .. as we wait for the sun to thaw the ground and warm up the crops and our faces.

To prepare for the cold snap (2 weeks ago) we decided to continue working and harvesting full-time after our epic double-share harvest for the last pick up of the Spring/Summer CSA season (whoo hoo! 5,500lbs in one week and 81,000 lbs for the whole Spring/Summer season!) This time of the year that quote, “there’s no such thing as bad weather, only the wrong clothes” rings true. With our long johns on, wooly layers and Grundens rain gear we were good to go.   When the real cold weather hits, all of the tender crops (i.e. fully mature romanesco/cauliflower, tops of radishes, mixed greens, chard, beet greens etc) turn into slime- from freezing and thawing- and whither away.  The sun definitely helped to warm up the soil during the day to endure those freezing cold nights.  Some of the crops we grow actually taste better when they go through a freeze (turnips, carrots, parsnips, rutabaga, kale, cabbage, kohlrabi,  etc) because of all the sugar they create in order to protect themselves from freezing.  To find a balance and to protect some of the more tender crops listed above, before the bitter weather hit we kept busy and worked extra hard – to ensure that our winter CSA members had the best possible CSA experience. We covered crops with row cover, mulched roots and continued harvesting crops over the weekend for storage before those 20 degree nights hit. <phew>


One of our members commended us for our stick–to–it·ive·ness. noun \stik-ˈtü-ə-tiv-nəs\. : the quality that allows someone to continue trying to do something even though it is difficult or unpleasant.  This is farming and the weather, may it be good or bad, is all part of it.  Besides, we’d rather work in cold weather than extra hot weather any day.  Nothing that 3-4 layers, a wooly cap, warm gloves and insulated boots can’t fix!

We have also been fueled by our excitement! It’s exciting to grow through our first Winter for our members. We’re used to growing for ourselves but really love a new challenge and there’s no better place to try than in the Willamette Valley. For those of you who are joining us for a winter growing season we think you are the bees knees. You understand that the winter weather is more variable than other times of the year and you haven chosen to support the farm and these two farmers through the winter months. Crop losses can happen from a hard freeze, disease pressure, bugs, etc…  and many of these things will be out of your farmers control.  This season perhaps, more than any other, speaks to the nature of CSAs shared risk.  You invest in the farm and the farmers and we do our very best to provide you with organic seasonal produce that is sure to inspire.  We have taken measures to give the Winter CSA the best possible chance at success like building a 96′ x 30′ greenhouse, building a storage cooler, researching specialty winter hardy crops, etc… All that being said, you have gotten to know Brian and I, and our work ethic over the course of this season (and for the majority of you over several seasons) and you know we will do our very best to ensure you have food on your table all winter long!   Thank you for supporting our farm through this time of exciting ‘growth’! We grow better each and every year with the support, encouragement and inspiration that our CSA members bring.  It’s a mutual admiration society around here!


Aside from growing winter veggies, we’re just plugging along on the winter projects… cleaning up, organizing, little building projects, packing and storing,  planning, scheming etc and staying hot on these cold days i.e. by moving several hundred bucket loads of cow pies from the barn to the compost pile to get the herd into the dry barn for the winter.  We’re still chippin’ away at the ol’ to-do list but we’re also taking time to rest and recuperate (thanks to the growing darkness that winter brings).  The days are growing shorter and we are just a few weeks away from the shortest day of the year – the Winter Solstice.  It doesn’t feel like the summer solstice or autumnal equinox were that far away. The seasons they go by in an instant. As we near the holidays and the new year we’ll be spending the longer evenings inside, brainstorming and dreaming about the future and pulling out all of our inspiring seed catalogs to begin our adventure for the 2016 season!  January marks the beginning of our season as we open up registration for the main season CSA, order our seeds, fill the propagation greenhouse with soil amendments, and begin this exciting process all over again! We have some exciting plans and ideas to make 2016 our greatest growing season yet – so stay tuned 😉


Pastured Pork Shares! And to celebrate the holidays ahead we are offering 15% off all orders of our Pastured Pork Shares with the discount code STOCKTHELARDER.   Click the link to our Online Store to purchase.

You will receive 15% off your pork order when you type in or copy/paste the discount code: STOCKTHELARDER during check out.  Discount code will be valid through January 1st.  Help us spread the good word and share the link with family and friends!  #buylocal #knowyourfarmer #knowyourfood

Be happy, be well and stay  warm (or, in this week’s case – stay dry) out there.   We’ll leave you with this beautiful poem by Mr. Wendell Berry entitled, “The Cold”…


“How exactly good it is
to know myself
in the solitude of winter,

my body containing its own
warmth, divided from all
by the cold; and to go

separate and sure
among the trees cleanly
divided, thinking of you

perfect too in your solitude,
your life withdrawn into
your own keeping

–to be clear, poised
in perfect self-suspension
toward you, as though frozen.

And having known fully the
goodness of that, it will be
good also to melt.”

With kind regards,

Your Farmers

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts