“Every day I see or hear something that more or less kills me with delight, that leaves me like a needle in the haystack of light.” 
― Mary Oliver

Hi Friends & Farm-ily,

Happy December! We hope the Thanksgiving holiday treated you all well.  It was mild (surprisingly warm) and wet end to November and we hope you all enjoyed making many delicious homemade meals in the warmth of your kitchen.

After a weeks of rain and slog and mud we’ve been treated with the gift of sun this December (and it looks like it’ll continue through the 10-day!)  We’re so excited.  The transition to shorter, darker days paired with the rainier weather can really “dampen” ones spirits so we’ll take all the sunshine and vitamin D that we can get.

Every year (and season is different).  Last year on Thanksgiving we had that huge rain and wind storm and the bottom land on the farm was flooded and continued to rain throughout the rest of Winter and early Spring.   With all that rain and snow the flooding of our bottomland was essentially there for most of the Winter.   By this time last year we had tons of rain, snow, freezing rain, colder temps and snow again!   It’s been such a different winter growing year for us than last year.  The extended fall like weather that we had this year meant extra time to enjoy more frost sensitive crops like cauliflower, romanesco and broccoli.  Usually by the time December comes around those crops have all but succumbed to colder temps.    So we are thankful for an extended season for some of those delicious veggies and glad we took some chances with a later successional planting of those crops!

Finding the right balance, fingers crossed the cauliflower does well through these cold nights! and butterhead lettuce harvest..

Welcome to the start of the Winter CSA!  There’s no better place to grow during the winter months than in the Willamette Valley – our more mild oceanic/marine west coast climate is perfect for overwintering vegetables and when you pair that with a couple of farmers who love growing vegetables it’s a winning combination.  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 have 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.  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 high tunnels, building a pole barn for storage, 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

Some late Winter babies in the high tunnel ready to be tucked in, more cauliflower and Brian harvesting the brussel sprouts…


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’ve been good to go with bulk winter harvest, grounds maintenance, winter CSA harvest etc.   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 whithering away.  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 any cold and bitter weather hits we are keeping busy, covering crops, harvesting in bulk for storage and working extra hard – to ensure that our winter CSA members had the best possible CSA experience.

The first two shares of the Winter Season (so much bounty!) and the view from the brussel sprout patch..

As I mentioned above, it’s been a surprisingly mild late Fall this year.   Last night we had our first freeze (which typically comes much sooner than that) and is the reason why we still had some peppers, romanesco, cauliflower and broccoli in the first Winter CSA shares.  We planted a late succession of all three and it paid off this year.  As Farmer Brian said the other day while harvesting,  “In a typical season we would have had our first freeze by now, which made these a big gamble with a delicious pay out. Glad we rolled the dice.”  We’re definitely feeling thankful for this bounty of late Fall varietals!

Although working in the cold and wet can be difficult at times (with the right clothes on we could be out there for hours – no problem) but the shorter days are hardest to get used to after the long days of summer and fall. Right now the day length is 9 hours of sunlight and by the Winter Solstice it will be close to 8 hours & 42min (compared to the Summer Solstice with 15 hours & 41 min of daylight).

One of these things is not like the other, some goodies from this week’s pick up, and the view from the kale patch…

It is during this darkest time of the year (when you have 10hours of daylight or less) — referred to by Eliot Coleman as the “Persephone period” — that plant growth essentially stops…

‘Humans have long had their own way of understanding the changes in day length and its affect on agriculture. Early Greek farmers, whose practical experience added mythical stories to astronomical fact, knew intimately that the power of the sun and the length of the day are the principal influences on agriculture. They created the myth of Persephone to explain the effect of winter conditions. As the story goes, the earth goddess Demeter had a daughter, Persephone, who was abducted by Hades to live with him as his wife in the netherworld. Demeter would have nothing to do with this and threatened to shut down all plant growth. Zeus intervened and brokered a deal whereby Persephone would spend only the winter months with her husband, Hades. Demeter, saddened by her daughter’s absence, made the earth barren during that time. On our farm we refer to the period when the days are less than ten hours long as the Persephone months.’ – Eliot Coleman, The New Organic Grower

The sun shining between storms, fennel in the field and that beautiful fractal veggie: romanesco!

Aside from growing winter veggies, we’re just plugging along on the winter projects… cleaning up around the farm, planting for late winter/early spring, harvesting,  organizing, building projects, packing and storing,  planning,  making financial projections for next season etc.  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 2 weeks away from the shortest day of the year – the Winter Solstice.  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 2018 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 2018 our greatest growing season yet – so stay tuned!

Enjoy this week’s veggies and we’ll see you soon!

With regards,

Your Farmers

Jess & Brian

dirty hands, clean hearts