It's 9:30 in the morning as I write this, and I've already been out at work for about three hours, watering and weeding the crops in the field as well as tending the plants in the greenhouse and grow room. Michael has also been at it in our upper garden, cultivating the strawberries, carrots, beets, garlic and shallots. I'm going to head back out as soon as I'm done here, in order to get (I hope) three more beds planted today. It's a fun game we're playing out here, trying to keep all the balls in the air, tending the existing crops, making space for new ones, and planning for the ones that come later in the season.
As always, the weather is the primary concern for any farmer, particularly here in northwestern Oregon, where temperature swings of almost fifty degrees in one day are not uncommon. This makes it problematic to plan for "cool-weather" and "warm-weather" crops, since we have both types in the same day! The weather forecast calls for a high of 91 degrees today; by Saturday, it's supposed to get up to 98. For this reason, keeping the crops well-watered is essential. I have been monitoring soil moisture constantly, and sometimes we irrigate twice in one day. It's particularly important for vegetables like carrots, which require a moist bed in order to germinate and break through the soil, but not so much water that they suffocate, drown, or wash away.
With just over three weeks to go until our first harvest date, we're also busy tightening down our logistics for getting the produce to you in the best, freshest possible way. The June 23 pick-up date happens to coincide with an event that many of our members, both regular share owners and pick-up site volunteers, will be attending. Coincidentally, that event, which runs from that Thursday through Sunday, is taking place out here at Ffynnon. For that reason, we are going to tweak our pick-up schedule a bit. We will let you know all the details ahead of time, but for now, it appears that, for many of you, your first week's produce (if you are not attending Sunfest) will be delivered to your home address. If you are attending Sunfest, we will pick your produce and collect your eggs on Sunday morning, then give it to you as you are leaving Ffynnon. Again, we will be in touch with each of you to make certain you and your veggies get together without a hitch.
Well, it's about time for me to head back out to the garden--those veggies aren't going to plant themselves! Here's wishing you a great week. Find yourself a shady spot, try to stay cool, and we'll talk again soon.
All the best from Ffynnon Farm,
Spring has certainly made her return with a vengeance here at Ffynnon, and that reminds us that there is less than two weeks remaining for our early-bird discount on your 2016 Ffynnon Farm CSA share! The garlic and shallots are showing impressive growth, our new strawberry plants are becoming well established, and the peas and other early crops are practically leaping skyward, both in the greenhouse and in the newly planted beds. We are doing everything we can to take advantage of these warm and (mostly!) dry days so that you get the best in variety and quality right from the first box in your share.
Our CSA share is designed to provide a week’s worth of produce for a family three to four, or for a pair of serious veggie lovers. We do not offer half shares this year, but we do encourage folks to split shares. Beyond freshness and great flavor, a Ffynnon Farm CSA share is also intended to provide a great value—our goal is to stock your box with items worth at least ten percent more than you would get for the same price at a typical natural grocery. Add in your $50 off for signing up by April 30, and you’re getting almost two full weeks of produce for free!
We plan to start our share season on Thursday, June 16, but we are keeping the starting date flexible—Mother Nature is the ultimate keeper of all schedules here at Ffynnon and everywhere else. Extra warm and dry days might move the first delivery date ahead to June 9; conversely, if growth is a little slow, we’ll push things back to June 23. In any case, you will get a full 21-week season of veggies, fruits, herbs, and flowers.
Many of you have been asking about the contents of your share boxes and what you can expect throughout the growing season, so let me take you on a tour through your CSA summer. First of all, know that we are going to try to include a leafy salad green in every box. By “leafy salad green,” we generally mean “lettuce,” and we are growing several types and varieties in order to provide you with lettuce throughout the season. Some varieties thrive in heat, while others “bolt” (flower and go to seed) at the first hint of warmth, so we will always have several varieties in the pipeline. Other greens will include spinach, arugula, Swiss chard, and kale. Early in the season, you can expect beets, carrots, spinach, and arugula in your box. Peas will be another early feature, and we have them in three forms: snow peas, snap peas, and shelling or English peas. As the season moves along, peas will give way to beans, broccoli, early cabbage, and the like. Full, warm summer brings tomatoes, of course; we currently have six varieties in the greenhouse, including Brandywine and other heirlooms, and our favorite cherry tomato, SunGold. Summer squashes, corn, and onions take the stage in August and September, and then it’s back to cabbages, as well as cauliflower, winter squash, potatoes, and other end-of-season favorites. Sprinkled in amongst these more substantial offerings, you’ll find little delights like radishes and kohlrabi, green onions and baby eggplant. Fresh flowers and herbs will round out your box as they become available.
We are happy to announce that shares are now available for the 2016 Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program at Ffynnon. A CSA is like a subscription service for vegetables, but more than that, it is a sustained relationship between you, your farmer, and the land we love out here at Ffynnon.
If you are not familiar with the concept of a CSA, these are the nuts and bolts: you purchase a “share” in the production of our farm for the 2016 season. Then, each week for 21 weeks beginning in mid-June, we will deliver farm-fresh vegetables, herbs, and fruits from the fields here at Ffynnon to designated pick-up sites in the Portland metro area. Each share is designed to meet the produce needs of a family of three to four, or a household of two serious veggie lovers. The advantages of this “subscription” concept are many: by pre-paying for your season’s vegetables, you enable the farmer to purchase seeds, supplies, and soil amendments for the whole year, eliminating the risk of borrowing against an uncertain market. In turn, you receive the freshest possible vegetables without paying the mark-up at a retail store or farmers’ market. In most cases, the produce you receive at your pick-up site in the afternoon will have just come out of the ground that morning! Each week, you will also receive a newsletter with details about what’s in your food box, along with recipes and tips for getting the most out of your share. We will also have a limited number of egg shares available from Ffynnon’s flock of happy chickens.
A share in the CSA costs $550, but we are starting the season with a $50 discount for signing up before April 30. Discounts are also available for those who become members of Ffynnon at the Warden or Elder level. Shareholders can pick up their bounty at convenient locations in the Portland area: inner Southeast (near 11th and Harrison), inner Southwest (near Nebraska and Macadam), inner Northeast (in Alameda near 27th), outer Northeast (near 102nd and Fremont), Beaverton, and Hillsboro.
For more information and to sign up for your share, visit:
We hope that our love of the land and our commitment to bringing you the best of Ffynnon’s bounty proves to be infectious. All of us here at Ffynnon thank you in advance for letting us play with your food.
Wishing you the best of health and happy eating,
Your Ffarmers at Ffynnon
Thank you so much to Aine, the OWOW Board, the ritualists and workshop team, our Vernonia neighbors and the entire community for an amazing year at Sunfest! We think it was the best year yet, despite the heat and the bugs.
We had so much fun with you all and thanks for helping us look after the land so well.
We want to continue making this event and others held on the land better and better each year. Plans are to add a communal kitchen, picnic benches, a yoga deck (or 2!), spaces for workshops, more shady camping, etc. For this to happen, we would love your help - by becoming a member of Ffynnon!
Even the $5/month membership helps us with our goals to shape this land and add more space for our community.
Please read more on our Membership page. We look forward to seeing you soon!
Michael, Joel, Tasha, and Neal
So I've been looking over the website this morning prior to heading out for the day's work, and I've noticed that there really is not enough gratitude flowing out of these pages to all the folks who've volunteered to come out and help us this spring season. Let's see if we can't set that right: thank you to everyone who attended the three work parties so far this year; thank you to OWOW for their hard work and organizational skills; thank you to anyone who shared so much as a candy bar while clearing trails. This work burns a lot of calories and strains a lot of muscles, and we at Ffynnon are grateful and proud of everything you do.
There is, of course, much more to be done, and you can find out about the remaining volunteer weekends and member appreciation days elsewhere on the website. Just for now, however, pat yourselves on the back and bask in the electronic appreciation of a very grateful founding partner.
Ffynnon Members, we need your help! We are busy preparing our new Fire Circle for this year's events. We are asking all Members of Ffynnon to submit a propsal for the name of this new community space. If you haven't seen it yet, we invite you out to one of our work parties, or just call us to arrange a visit!
The 3rd weekend in June, a week before Sunfest, we will choose among the submissions and an annoucement of the new name will be made both at Sunfest and online. The winner of the submission will of course, get the pleasure of knowing their choice lives on forever at Ffynnon, but also a FREE gift of a year's Stewardship (a $60 value) to give to a friend or family member, so that they too can benefit from the gifts of nature and the Ffynnon community!
We are accepting submissons now, through our Facebook Page or by e-mailing us. We look forward to your creative ideas for this beautiful new space.
Yours in art, spirit and nature,
Tasha and the Ffynnon team
I just checked on Weather Underground, and the forecast this weekend is for blue skies and warmth, sixties in the daytime and mid-forties at night. Absolutely perfect! I look forward to this now like we all used to look forward to Beltane, the first real chance of the year to shake it loose in the fresh air. For those of you coming to play with us this weekend, please start your stretching now! We have circles to build, wood to haul, trails to clear, and an Immobile Home to to clean out. I can't wait.
Howdy y'all, how'r yew? That's how we say Hi here in Kentucky. Mom and I are getting along much the same these days. She has always supported our efforts, both spiritually and financially. It was her initial interest and investment in Ffynnon that allowed Joel and I to join Neal and Tasha in our vision. My dad chipped in a matching amount a year later and we were off and running. When she passes I plan on bringing her home to the land to be with us forever. Her's is a spirit of great intelligence and love, not to mention mystic focus and will. She's a Buddhist, was the regional education leader for the Southern states, and travelled to Japan for direct learning from the monks. Quite a set of goals and accomplishments! That spirit of setting goals and steadily and steadfastly attaining them is what I hope to bring back with me to Ffynnon. Mom has always been a steady source of love and goodwill, cheering on and support for whatever I chose to do. She and Henry, my step dad, took the train out to Oregon for our wedding. My dad and Ann rode a Harley! My parents and step parents have all supported our vision and I cannot ever thank them enough. To have such loving people in my life and to be able to share their support with a larger community is such a blessing. I hope Ffynnon will continue to grow and flourish in the months and years to come as we polish our Business Plan and prepare to take major fundraising out to the greater community. So here's a note to Loves, Great and small. We gratefully accept what we are given, add to it, and share it outward to do good - wherever we may be. Very Blessed Be Ffynnon, friends of Ffynnon, and all those many folks we haven't had the pleasure of meeting yet!
TFG spent a weekend together here at Ffynnon, in gloriously blue skies, which was perfect weather for clearing space for our new fire circle, maintaining trails, and working with the land. Spring is literally just around the corner and we are excited to welcome members, friends, and anyone who would like to help us out. Keep looking at our Events page for updates on the Work Parties, but here is an overview of things to come:
March 28-29 - First OWOW Sponsored work party
April 3-5: Ffynnon sponsored work party (special perks for Members of Ffynnon)
April 25-26: OWOW Sponsored Work party
May 23: Morning: Special Members day to celebrate your support! Afternoon: FREE Open House for Potential New Members and friends of Members.
May 24: Work Party Day, free camping and food, and perks for Warden Level and above members and above.
Come join us, the dear, and the elk, in welcoming Spring and help us prepare for summer events! This is also the perfect time to come tour Ffynnon, if you've never been. The Ffyynon Group are always happy to take a break from our manual labor to show you around the land and many facets of this beautiful space, so you can see for yourself its potential.
Bright Blue Skies await us! Until next time...
The Ffynnon Group
Michael, Joel, Neal and Tasha
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57009 Pebble Creek Rd
Vernonia, Oregon 97064