Hi Friends & Farm-ily,

We hope you all made it out of the blistering hot heat wave we’ve had the past 4 days.  PHEW…  we almost forgot what 100 degrees feels like!   The sun was so oppressive and we were in full triage mode just trying to keep everything (the farm, the critters, the veggies) happy.  Sometimes I look back on newsletters from years past to see what was going on at this time the previous year.  Last year’s week 4 share newsletter was called Beat the Heat. . featuring the abnormally hot temperatures we had during the start of June (sound familiar this year?) Overall, it’s been a much more ‘mild’ Spring season  (and a lot more precipitation) than last year but the hot Summer season’s do appear to be coming earlier and earlier in the Pacific Northwest.

The Spring avalanche is challenging for small farmers everywhere and when you add extreme heat it feels like you’re in full survival mode.  Like you’re not really even a person anymore – just a hot sweaty ball of a human, with heavy legs.  We’ve been running (in my mind.. but slogging in real time) around making sure all the crops have cool roots and are well watered. Same for all the critters. We are also adjusting to our summer schedules to begin work by 5:00am and come in during the hottest part of the day to reenergize, hydrate, prepare dinner and maybe even take a 15 minute recharge nap (or, write the newsletter!) – it’s just too darn hot from 3-5pm to be doing manual labor.  If there’s a lot of planting and tilling and seeding to be done we’ll often go back outside after 6 and work until 10:00pm or so.  The hours in the day when the sun is the least oppressive.   That can make for a pretty long work day – upwards of 15-16 hours.  In these temps everything is serious.  If you want to keep a crop you make sure it has what it needs or you lose it.  If you don’t want to finish a task well too bad, you get it done because the heat has no sympathy for the garden. 



In the midst of this last heatwave I started to have flashbacks to last season.  As many of you know, last season was our hottest we’ve experienced to date (The Only Way Out is ThroughWhen the Farm Farms YouThe Hump, Variable Quandary) and even though most of the time spent outside in the oppressive heat was truly a grin and bear it type situation we also learned a lot through that experience.  Since then, we’ve implemented better irrigation systems, weeding systems, planting systems in order to minimize plant stress and have worked hard at establishing better time management … with the heat you have a much smaller window to get done everything you need to get done so it forced us to really begin exploring better systems and ways to manage all the things that the two of us manage.  We also launched our first ever Winter CSA which gave us a much greater perspective on the growing season as a whole.  We’ve seen plants live through deep freezes and 110 degree day heat – the extremes – the highs and lows – and the resilience and adaptiveness of both the plant and the farmers.  Necessity is the mother of invention.  It took a lot of effort and time to see these successes through and we’re learning all the time.  Some risks are bigger than others and we feel more prepared than ever – if it turns out to be another scorcher of a summer – we’ll be way better prepared than we were last year and have a much better expectation and healthier way to manage it all.

Adding to the heat wave chaos, Jackson, our bull/sire was badly injured earlier this week.  After being separated for months (in order to keep a strict breeding schedule), Jackson finally met up with the rest of the herd a few days ago to begin the breeding with our mama cows.  In the midst of all the excitement (the mounting, the reintroductions to the herd, the jousting etc) within 24 hours or reintegration, he has badly injured his back. A completely freak accident that puts a knot in our stomachs.  Our Vet believes he has nerve damage and most likely fell while dismounting one of our cows.  At the moment he can barely walk and when he does his hind legs give out.  It’s heartbreaking to watch.  To see an animal that is so emblematic of power become so weak is heart breaking.  Not to mention that we have come to really care deeply for this animal, he’s become part of our farm-ily.  It’s a time will tell type of situation.  He’s young and virile enough that he might have a full recovery.  It took all afternoon yesterday but we’ve separated him from the herd (to prevent further injury) and he is now in a safe place where he can rest and hopefully get better.  Send good thoughts our way and we will keep you updated on the situation. 


In times like these I’m so happy to be farming with Brian.  In good times and in bad, we really do make such a good team even when things get stressful or we’re both exhausted from the sun.  We check in with each other and bring each other water.  We commiserate at how much the heat sucks, encourage each other to go in for a break and know ourselves well enough to know our boundaries and limitations.   Most times, on the farm, we go to work on one project and a bunch of mini projects pop up aka “mini fires” that must be put out immediately.  It’s not always easy to switch gears but we’ve been doing this for so many years together now that we often times can get it done without saying too much.

The ten day looks very promising though and seems as though there is a reprieve coming our way starting today!  70’s and mixed clouds and sun (our favorite!)  It’ll make farming that much more enjoyable.  So send some cool thoughts our way – we’ll take all we can get!

We’ll be planting out our melons, winter squash, pumpkins, lettuces, onions, third succession of corn and broccoli this week.  We’re also beginning to seed, plant and prepare for our Fall and winter crops.  So, keep your eyes open for details about our 2016/2017 Winter CSA in the coming weeks!


Online WHF Farmstore. Thank you for your orders at the WHF Farmstore this past week.  We’ve added even more fresh pork items this week that we’re really excited about.   Here’s the link: The online farmstore features NEW and improved USDA recipes and cuts that make our pastured heritage pork shine! Wehave products available by the share and by individual cuts.

Exciting New Uncured & Nitrite-Free** Items!  

**No Nitrites/Nitrates Added except for naturally occurring nitrates in celery powder and sea salt

◦   Applewood Smoked Uncured Bacon

◦   Applewood Smoked Uncured Shoulder Bacon

◦   Small Boneless Uncured Hams (2-4lbs)

◦   Canadian Bacon Uncured

◦   Smoked Pork Chops

◦   Spare Ribs

◦   Baby Back Ribs

◦   Pork Tenderloin

Over 10 different kinds of Fresh & Smoked Sausages!

◦   Fresh Bratwurst Sausage Links

◦   Fresh Country Breakfast Sausage Links(sugar free too!)

◦   Fresh Spicy Italian Sausage Links

◦   Fresh Hot Italian Sausage Links

◦   Fresh Sweet Italian Sausage Links

◦   Fresh Linguica Sausage Links

◦   Smoked German Sausage Links

◦   Smoked Kielbasa Sausage Links

◦   Smoked Bratwurst Sausage Links – Your Farmer’s Favorite!

◦   Ground Sweet Italian (no links)

◦   Ground Pork Sausage (no links)

◦   Ground Hot Italian (no links) – Your Farmer’s Favorite!

◦   Ground Pork Sausage (no links)

Spread the good word and forward the WHF online farmstore link: to friends and family!  Help us to build a great customer base full of folks that want to invest in sustainable agriculture and reach out to family and friends about our amazing pastured pork.


Enjoy this week‘s veggies!  There are many new amazing items in the share this week and we look forward to hearing and seeing what you all come up with this week!

With kind regards,

Your (sweaty) farmers,

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts