2013 Oxbow Newsletter #11 – The Rhythm & Pace of Farming

Recently I have been thinking about the growing season in relationship to completing a triathlon. I have done a few triathlons and each event requires unique muscles in addition to a unique mindset. Triathletes have their favorite events, and lots of farmers have their favorite point in the growing season (except Intern Joshua and Farmer Adam. They can wax poetic about it all.)
Spring into early summer is the swim. Excitement and anticipation abound. Your body isn’t quite warmed up yet, but you dive into that cold, cold water anyway. Interns Brandon and Arwen appreciate this time of the season. At the beginning, we are planning the fields and sowing seeds, then we move into transplanting, weeding, weeding, more weeding, and we begin to harvest. We learn the ins and outs of the year’s CSA pack out procedure and we fall into the rhythm of planning our days and weeks around the needs of this incredible 450 member CSA. Hopefully, at the beginning of the season, you all start planning your meals and snacks around the food we grow for you and maybe you settle into a rhythm of eating those greens that arrive every week like clockwork.
High summer is the bike ride. You’ve made it through the first event and your blood is pumping.  You don’t really think as you dry off, put on your shoes and jump on your bike for the next leg. All of a sudden you are riding and your body adjusts to a different rhythm.  The fever pitch of high summer is Mariana’s, our Harvest-Processing Coordinator, happy time. She manages the tidal waves of produce that keep coming in, full force, by August.  We set out each day on maintenance harvests of summer squash, cucumbers, tomatoes, beans.  We play tomato roulette with your CSA boxes. Interns Grace and Dana frolic for weeks with the children of summer camp. Here we are, right now, at the turn around point of the bike ride. Halfway through the main season CSA with time left in summer and our minds looking toward the fall.
Late summer into fall is the run. Your legs feel weird when you get off your bike and set out for your final leg. I love this part of both triathlons and farming. By this time, you know it’s just one more push to the end. There are shorter workdays in store, families shift to school routines, and we will all get to make potato leek soup. Your late summer/fall CSA boxes will be heavy with winter squash and other storage crops. We farmers won’t notice the increased box weight because we have gotten used to maneuvering full harvest totes for several months.  Fall is also (of course) the time to celebrate on the farm. And CELEBRATE, we will! We hope to see you at any or all of our fall festivals, so mark your calendars now for the upcoming:

  • Pumpkin Festival and opening of our pumpkin season on September 28th,
  • Harvest Party our CSA shareholder salmon roast and pot-luck on October 5th
  • HoeDown on October 6th.

In the winter, you will find the great minds of Oxbow — Luke, Adam, Sarah and Megan — reflecting on the past season’s trials and tribulations, successes and opportunities. You’ll have to join us again in 2014 to see what they dream up while resting for the next race.

Luke, Adam, Sarah, Megan, Bridget, Tino, Yolanda, Valentin, Julio-Cesar,Mike, Marianna, Lisa, Alice, Sarah D, Dana, Joshua, Arwen, Grace, Brandon, (and our inspiration Pearl, Emuna, Avi Ray & Zoe Rose).