Newsletter No. 22

Last year we wrote our the final newsletter answering the question we get all the time: What’s a typical day for you all on the farm? So here it is slightly revised for this year, 2014.

Most mornings start, as early as 4:00 a.m. at the height of the season but typically around 6 or 7, with an Ayurvedic practice of swishing coconut oil in your mouth as tea water heats and Amy Goodman announces the headlines (this year Amy was slightly neglected). We check emails for orders and updates on various projects like people coming out to the farm. We eat breakfast, put on overalls and start piling everything from boxes of water bottles to canvas bags packed with rice cakes and peanut butter into the napper (a white van with no windows perfect for napping and delivering flowers and veggies). We drive west bumping anyone from School Boy Q to Nina Simone on the stereo and sip on coffee and mate (only at stop signs). As we turn off the highway towards the farm, we pass acres of grass for seed and filbert (or if you want them to cost more hazelnut) orchards until we pull into the gravel road that leads to the only hippie farm for miles, Vibrant Valley Farm.

As most of you probably know or at least should know Vibrant Valley Farm moved farms this year from Meadowlake Road in Carlton to Christensen Road in McMinnville. The new farm was previously grass seed and before that nursery stock and before that a dairy ran by the Crowes. It served the Portland metro area during milk shortages around World War II and was run solely by Martha when her husband passed away. We believe she watches over us and haunts, in a good way, the dilapidated house on the farm.

Everyday on the farm is different – sometimes the Van Duzer howls through the hole in the coastal mountains, other times turkey vultures fly above and Glenn Watts, the 86 year old potato farmer and inventor tells us stories, most of the time the Reemay is blown off the crops, the vases filled with flowers on the altar are knocked over, there’s somebody from around here in a truck driving up the road to check in on us and we’re already racing the sun and the tomatoes. On harvest days, Mary Ellen is well on her way washing the wash shed when we roll up. We love Mary Ellen. As the day progresses we check off items on the chalkboard as we harvest them; this year we harvested thousands of cut flowers and pounds of vegetables. On other days we can be found spreading compost, lime or fertilizer, building something (with Relk’s help), weeding with Hori-hori’s and muddy hands, planting transplants and seeds, switching and tinkering with irrigation tape, taking care of seedlings, foliar spraying, harvesting, observing plants, wine tasting and the list goes on and on.

Most days we stay on the farm for lunch eating a medley of leftovers, wraps, rice cake stacks and chip and dip. We do a lot of processing ( we won’t go into this part … there’s not enough room) mostly over mate and coffee. We also discuss whether to till, when and where to plant something, when to harvest another thing, what’s happening with another thing, should we follow up with those marks who didn’t call us back. We talk about how much a new account loves us, what meeting we have and want to cancel on Wednesday, what dance party we’re going to that weekend, where our flower buckets went, what the Kickstarter video might look like, where we’re traveling next, who our next visitors to the farm will be and whether we think they’ll work or not, make trips to Fisher’s Irrigation and other supply spots and promise to preserve or make kraut out of something that night which rarely happens. Some days we stay in the field until dark and other days we deliver our product to restaurants and grocery stores and most awesomely you. We gather to showcase what we’ve put so much into while helping to create community as you pick it up and we drink wine because if you can’t tell by this point in the day and week we’re super tired. And through it all we laugh a lot; it’s truly remarkable we still think we’re hilarious.

And amongst the dream weaving in the Sprinter, on the farm and anywhere else people will listen, we mostly talk about how lucky we are to live this crazy, full life that leaves you righteously tired at the end of the day and season. Through farming we have reaffirmed we can do anything and sometimes we fail (transplanting eggplant) but every time you learn something (that you need to hire more people). And overall, we are so lucky to have your support without which none of this would be possible. So thank you for the amazing season and we look forward to another adventure together!

CSA Member Paul Lychako’s carved pumpkins