Week 20 - Good Neighbors

 

Dear Spoon Full Farm Family,

Yesterday we found ourselves, yet again, picking fruit off a tree we didn’t plant. If that isn’t good luck, I don’t know what is. It reminds me: we are all beneficiaries of a similar luck. All the seeds we plant, and animals we raise, were domesticated and bred by ancestors. We get to harvest much more than we have to plant.

The same goes for community. The CSA model was already invented when we started, and we knew many of you prior to you signing up. This week, we’d like to appreciate another facet of our Spoon Full Farm community: the neighbors.

 
 The neighbors. Photo by the legendary Dominic Crowley.

The neighbors. Photo by the legendary Dominic Crowley.

 

When we arrived here in early 2017, we didn’t really know what to expect. In a lot of ways, we are quite different from the locals, here. How would they respond to us, a bunch of young, overly-educated people from “the west side" (west of the Cascades), on a mission to farm in new, beyond-organic ways?

 
 Powwowing with Kathie by the front porch. “Which bulls should we use to artificially inseminate the cows?”

Powwowing with Kathie by the front porch. “Which bulls should we use to artificially inseminate the cows?”

 

Any worries we had were quickly dissolved in the light of warm welcomes. Basically, our neighbors could not be any better. For one thing, they let us do our funky farm things, wish us luck, and don’t ridicule our falters.

For another thing, they help us out a lot, and share their wisdom and bounty with us. We have jars of apple sauce and pepper jelly in our kitchen that say “Back-Acher Farm,” which is the Howards, on the 20 acres directly across the train tracks from us.

The Howards have given us so much: insights into weather and soil, invites to local muzzle-loader gun meetings (“Nothing like the smell of black powder on a chilly morning!”), and advice about caring for cattle. In fact, in a wonderful stroke of serendipity, they decided to retire from the cattle business late last summer, just as we were planning to plan to start a cattle business of our own, and so they sold us their herd of 22 head. Most of these cattle are rare British White Cattle, a beautiful breed that reproduces easily and is supremely well-adapted to our sunny, grass-based conditions.

It was an amazing deal: great cattle, delivered from just across the tracks, with a customer-service team included, because Kathie Howard remains emotionally bonded (how could she not) to the herd that she stewarded for so many years, and wants them, and therefore our beef business, to thrive. What a blessing!

So when Larry Howard called the farm the other day and asked for some help unloading a truck bed full of old street sweeper brushes (used as scratching posts for cattle), we said of course, and all eight of us Spoon Full farmers drove over yesterday. When we arrived, we saw yet another blessing of this land, a blessing that you all will get to taste in your CSA boxes this weekend: a thousand apples weighing down the branches of the Howards’ 25 year-old apple trees.

 
 Overabundant apples falling fast off old trees! Delicious.

Overabundant apples falling fast off old trees! Delicious.

 

“Pick all you want,” they said. There was no way they could use all of these: making sauce with them all would take a full week!

So we picked and we picked and we picked the apples, and we ate way too many, and held our bellies. And now, we get to share the Howards’ neighborly generosity with you! They send their regards.

Here’s what all we’re packing into this week’s boxes (Bold items in whole boxes, only):

  • Eggplant

  • Sweet Peppers

  • Sweet Onions

  • Potatoes

  • Acorn Squash

  • Apples!

  • Turnips

  • Cabbage

  • Baby Bok Choi

  • Spinach

And here are some recipes:

Won’t you be our neighbors?

Love,

Spoon Full Farm