Winter 2016 Jubilee Farm Newsletter

Hi Everyone,
In this note:

  1. Winter Session:  Time to sign up now!
  2. Tall Chief Property
  3. Beef and beefers
  4. Work Share Opportunities
  5. Winter Session:  Time to sign up now! 

The first delivery of our Winter CSA Session will be on Wednesday, February 3rd.   You can sign up now, and we urge you to do that.  Winter seems to be the hardest time of the year to eat well.  Getting a weekly box of nutritious vegetables helps us all to do that.  We’ll have recipes again this Session, along with an advance list of the next week’s box contents to help with your planning.

We appreciate each of you that join us for the winter.  The winter provides us an opportunity to find a home for storage vegetables we have left from the fall.  It also is very important to us as it provides something I’m sure a lot of you can appreciate—cash flow during a time when the farm is mostly “resting.”  We’ve learned that you can’t ask your crew to take a four month vacation starting the 1st of November, and come back on the 1st of March.  People need a steady income.  The Winter CSA provides the cash flow that is crucial to getting the farm through the winter and into a new growing season.  We’ll admit that the produce isn’t as “glamorous” as summer (no, there are no strawberries, tomatoes, raspberries, fresh basil, etc.)  But eating “seasonally” (i.e. what is in season) makes those summer fruits and veggies even more enjoyable!

  1. Tall Chief Property

Many of you have written asking what happened with the Tall Chief Golf Course property.  Here’s the short version of what transpired.  At a meeting of the King County Council in early December, the Tall Chief property was placed on the agenda.  This occurred during the meeting, and we had no advance warning it was going to happen.
At that time the proposal to sell the property to the Keller Dairy was still being debated in the Budget Committee of the Council, and had not passed from that committee to Council.  The chair of the Budget Committee, Rod Dembowski, strongly objected to the proposal being debated at full Council when it was still being considered by his Committee.  Over his objections, the item was placed on the agenda, discussed, and voted on.  Those of us opposing the sale were expecting—based on the proposal not getting out of committee–for there to be no vote by Council until January.  Had that happened it is very likely the outcome would have been different.  But the vote did come up, and the proposal passed.

It goes without saying that there was a lot of political pressure to consummate the sale to the Keller Dairy.  What isn’t so clear is what was behind that pressure.  Maybe we’ll never know.

I may have more to add about this at another time.  Right now the wound is still fresh, and deep

 

  1. Beef and beefers.

First about “beef”:  we do have beef available.  The only ground beef available at this time is pre-made burgers in quantities of 10 lbs (at $7.50/lb).  We also have USDA inspected specialty cuts at a 25 pounds minimum (email us about cuts and pricing).
And now on to the “beefers” (which we sometimes affectionately refer to the herd as):  This time of year the cows require a lot of care.  With the water table throughout the farm being a matter of inches rather than feet, the cows are spending their winter in their barn, where they eat, socialize, and, like us perhaps, dream about spring.  Three times a week their feed alley is scraped, three times a week their loafing area is replenished with straw, and three times a week the center bay of the barn is replenished with haylage.

As most of you know, qualms about eugenics notwithstanding, we are breeding toward a Devon herd.  Devon is the breed from Devonshire England, very close to our own latitude.  It is a breed that in England is considered to be the best breed to raise on a grass-only diet, as we do here.

Having engaged the Services of Ira (our bull) now for two seasons, his daughters will need to be bred this September along with the cows.  So to avoid inbreeding, we’ll be parting ways with Ira.  The female offspring of Ira that we will breed this year will be 50% Devon, and the calves of these 50% Devon females, when bred to full-blooded Devon bull, will be 75% Devon.  In the cattle world, 75% is considered a “purebred.”  It doesn’t take long to alter the genetics of a herd!

  1. Work Share Opportunities

I don’t think there has ever been another year when we’ve received so many, early inquiries about work shares.  It really isn’t that surprising.  The work share program has been and continues to be a feature of our farm that is a significant and very popular component of our approach to farming.

The work share is our way of instantiating into the life of our farm something advocated by Rudolf Steiner.  Steiner believed a farm should utilize the energy, presence, and labor of a large community of people.  He called for folks from all walks of life, of all aptitudes and abilities, of all ages and nationalities, and of both genders to be both beneficiaries of the farm, and benefactors of the farm as well.  In the joining together of like-minded people, farm work that could become sheer drudgery  (i.e. one lonesome person harvesting 200 bunches of carrots) can be transformed into an enjoyable and meaningful group endeavor that produces not only a “product” (200 bunches of carrots—harvested by 8 people), but a significant sharing of the lives, the energy, and the vision that comes from working side-by-side with others.  This is more likely to happen, by the way, in a situation where the work is repetitive and, although it is not unimportant, it also isn’t a matter of life and death.

When you think about the history of our species, it seems possible that there have been few times when the daily lives of people had less interaction with both nature and with other people than our own times–or fewer opportunities to accomplish something significant with others, joining together and working in the natural world.
I always have found it interesting that while Aristotle believed that the essential and defining “essence” of human beings is that we are “social” animals, Karl Marx, believed that what he called the human “species nature” was to be defined in terms of our work.  What if both Aristotle and Marx were right?   In that case you end up with an understanding of human nature that is most distinctively “human” when work is done in a social setting.

This line of thinking may be speculative, subjective, and quasi-ontological, but it is undeniable that the explosion in technology in the modern world has been paralleled by an equal but opposite explosion of interest in the kind of activity immortalized in the ballad of Woodstock:  “we’ve got to get back to the land, and try to set our soul free.”  Can you imagine the reaction we’d get if we advertised the work share program as a way to “set your soul free”?  People would run in the opposite direction, and we’d probably soon be under investigation.

That being the case, I’ll just stick to the same old line:  come join us as we work together to produce the food we need to live.  I can almost guarantee you that you will get more than you expected, and possibly more than you could have imagined.
If you have an interest in the work share please drop us a note (jubileefarm@hotmail.com) and we’ll send additional information about how it all works.

 


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