2021 End-of-Summer Update

We’re here again at the turn of the season. Cauliflower, kale, cabbage, peppers, tomatoes, eggplant, winter squash, etc… this is the busiest time of year when it comes to harvesting. We also harvested our wheat crop, and are about to harvest our barley (today!). Nights are getting cool, and this is a great time for us to tuck in the last plantings of fall crops, which will carry us through the winter. We plan on working up a little more ground and planting a smattering of mustard, turnips, lettuce, and bok choy. We were able to stay on top of our beet and carrot weeding this year, too, and are really looking forward to those sugar-sweet root vegetables once the cold hits!

Here are some recent pictures of life on the farm:

As things cool down we also start to spend more time in the mill, restocking products. Yes, we know we haven’t had pancake mixes and cereals for awhile. They’ll be back soon!

See you at the markets!


Market & Season Updates

Hello All! A little update on market attendance:

We’ve been regularly attending two markets for the past month. You can find us at People’s Food Co-op Market on Wednesdays, 2-7, and PSU Farmers’ Market on Saturdays, 8:30-2PM. We are starting Vancouver Farmers’ Market on April 9th (9-3PM). Some of our products are also available for weekly delivery in the Portland area via MasaFresh. We are hoping to start up Hillsdale Farmers’ Market on Sundays in a couple of weeks, too. We will update when this happens.

Farm updates: We fixed our tractor (again) and will begin plowing, discing, and tilling our land in the coming weeks. This is a dusty, pollen-filled time of year to be on the tractor for hours on end, but we are so excited to get things going! If you visit us at the markets, you’ll notice we don’t have a lot of vegetables this time of year. Instead we focus more on milled products and other value-added, organic prepared foods. As you can see from the above picture, our overwintered brassicas are going to seed. The birds and bees are thoroughly enjoying them, but they’re no longer delicious and tender for human consumption.

Just because you won’t see many vegetables at our market stands for a couple months, does not mean we have given up farming (we literally are asked this every year). Vegetables take time to grow! And because we grow entirely outdoors, things take that much longer. We have thousands of baby starts growing, and we are eager to get them into the ground!

In the interim, we will be bringing fresh herbs and microgreens to market, along with our milled products, baked goods, and organic prepared foods.

We are continuing to take pre-orders for anyone who wishes to have a speedy pickup at one of our market locations. If you’re ordering for a weekend market, please try to let us know what you’d like by Thursday via e-mail. This is especially important for milled products, as we mill in small batches.

Thank you for your continued support!

See you at the markets!

Farmers’ Market Food Listing for Pick-Up!

Due to the cancellation of several of the markets we attend, we’ve decided to provide a pick-up service near the normal market locations at normal market hours. Please let us know either by commenting or e-mailing which products you would like to pick up and which market you usually attend. We’ll put your order together and will confirm a time and location with you.

Below is a list of products we currently have in stock. If you have any additional questions, feel free to ask.

In your comment or e-mail, please provide your name, how you’d like us to contact you, and your normal market of attendance. Then list the products you would like. We’ll get back to you ASAP. Thanks!

EDIT 3/19: Thank you, everyone, for being so flexible! The status of many of our markets has been up in the air this past week, and we’ve been as proactive as possible in ensuring we can still move our products out to you, regardless of cancellations. Here are some updates:

  • We just received word that Saturday’s PSU market (3/21) is officially on.
  • Hillsdale’s 3/22 market is still cancelled. If you normally attend Hillsdale, we can pack your order and have it available for pick-up on Saturday at PSU from 9-2PM.
  • Next Wednesday’s market at People’s Food Co-op (3/25) is scheduled. We will be taking measures to make sure people maintain a safe distance from each other as they shop at our stand. Please still feel free to put in your orders ahead of time to make this process easier.  However, orders are not required ahead of time – we will bring product in any case.

We hope you are well and safe! See you at the markets!

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Covid-19 + Starvation?

The Covid-19 crisis couldn’t have come at a worse time for farmers.

We need to plant, and to do that we need money. 

Many farmers, including ourselves, are still ordering seeds for the upcoming season. We also need to source grain seed to plant for a late-summer harvest. Keeping up market commercial activity is vital to farms as we are in our “starving times.” Food from last year is consumed or sold, and new food is yet to be harvested or mostly not-yet-planted.

For farmers, this is our most expensive time of year – a time with very little income and great expense. 

Without income we will have a hard time planting enough food (and acquiring the necessary inputs) for this year. This scenario is being enacted around the world, and the specter of having a catastrophic food shortage now looms. China has just mandated that farmers plant, being careful not to miss the grain planting window so that the country does not starve. Unfortunately, the roads are closed and many farmers cannot get into their fields. Today the communist party issued a warning: “We are holding the rice bowl for 1.4 billion people in our own hands.”

Many Americans are unfortunately so removed from the source of their food that they tend to think our free market will just miraculously provide all that we need, and in abundance. Local farmers here are just like local farmers in California, we are facing the same stresses and we are doing our best to keep the food pipeline full and still survive under stressful economic conditions – and that is in good times – as we produce perishable products.

Food takes months to grow. The conditions now will affect our food supply months from now.

Sun-bathed, fresh, non-circulated air markets are safer than indoor markets and afford greater opportunity to maintain safe social distance. Vegetables at local, open-air markets are freshly picked, less handled (and traveled), and have optimal nutrition for supporting healthy immune systems!  By shopping at farmers’ markets, shoppers are avoiding closed-spaces with recycled air and supporting their local food systems, contributing toward increased food security.

Perhaps we could learn from Wuhan, China. The capital has responded to the virus by opening more open-air farmers’ markets to reduce the risk of pneumonia spreading.

People still need to eat. While we understand the weight of this scary situation, and the precautions we must take as a community, it is important that we do not neglect the danger that limiting the marketplace for small and medium-scale farmers poses. Perhaps it is also a good time to consider the benefits of the local markets to our food security and health.

In the meantime, our farm will continue to serve our community by offering delivery/drop-off locations (post to come soon). Community members may pre-order products, and we will bring them into a designated location at a to-be-set time.

The situation is still very fluid, and the city of Portland may not close down all farmers’ markets. We are still hoping to see some of our brave (but careful!) customers at PSU’s downtown market on Saturday. As it stands now, this market is still on. 

Thank you, everyone, for your support. We love being able to contribute toward the health and wellness of our community by providing fresh, poison-free food!

Your farmers (Lyle & Jessie)

A Colorful Time of Year

Hello Everyone!
We’ve been absent from the blog-world, but quite present at the farm. It was a different kind of season as we discontinued our CSA, scaled down our vegetable production, and put our Food Co-op on hold due to a broken truck. This allowed us to spend more time in other ventures, such as growing grain crops and harvesting them with our new combine (which is the cause of our broken truck, but that’s another story).

We apologize for the silence, but hope to rekindle some communication as we prepare for another Co-op season this winter. We’ve made some changes and we’re excited to share them with you!

Meanwhile, we’d like to show some photos (taken today) of the beginning of our winter squash harvest. It’s getting cold, and these beauties need to come off the field before the frost gets them. Fall crops are heavy work, but so rewarding. The colors, shapes and textures dotting the field right now are incredibly pleasing to the eyes, and it’s a proud and awe-filled time as we gather up the crop that we’ve watched grow for months.

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Newsletter for Co-op Box (Week One Cycle)

Greetings Our Farm Community members,

This week is week one of our cycle. We are starting to see the changeover from veggies grown more south to farther north. We too are starting to plant into our fields and the warmer days are yielding growth to our spring time veggie starts. Still it is early; frost still shows up on our fields and we even found a small sheet of ice on a puddle that had collected on an old lid – too early yet to plant sun loving crops without cover. Nevertheless, we can begin the planting of peas and grain, as well as the hardy brassicas, kale, broccoli and cauliflower.

After a nice stretch of weather, this week looks like rain and drizzle and showers, par for the course for the Pacific Northwest. So soup is a good thing for the menus and this week we have a good supply of hearty soup ingredients, especially the traditional base veggies, carrots, onions, celery and potatoes. So many soup recipes start with these healthy delicious ingredients.

Please have a look at a great site nicely entitled, Worlds Healthiest Foods, at http://www.whfoods.com. They have lots of information about current research on the healthy qualities of food as well as great ways to us them in the diet.

For example, here is just a short section of what is available on celery:

A Few Quick Serving Ideas:
Add chopped celery to your favorite tuna fish or chicken salad recipe.
Enjoy the delicious tradition of eating peanut butter on celery stalks.
Use celery leaves in salads.
Braise chopped celery, radicchio and onions and serve topped with walnuts and your favorite soft cheese.
Next time you are making fresh squeezed carrot juice give it a unique taste dimension by adding some celery to it.
Add celery leaves and sliced celery stalks to soups, stews, casseroles, and Healthy Stir-Fries.

Celery and Pesticide Residues
Virtually all municipal drinking water in the United States contains pesticide residues, and with the exception of organic foods, so do the majority of foods in the U.S. food supply. Even though pesticides are present in food at very small trace levels, their negative impact on health is well documented. The liver’s ability to process other toxins, the cells’ ability to produce energy, and the nerves’ ability to send messages can all be compromised by pesticide exposure. According to the Environmental Working Group’s 2013 report “Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides,” conventionally grown celery is among the top 12 fruits and vegetables on which pesticide residues have been most frequently found. Therefore, individuals wanting to avoid pesticide-associated health risks may want to avoid consumption of celery unless it is grown organically.

Nutritional Profile
Celery is a rich source of phenolic phytonutrients that have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. These phytonutrients include: caffeic acid, caffeoylquinic acid, cinnamic acid, coumaric acid, ferulic acid, apigenin, luteolin, quercetin, kaempferol, lunularin, beta-sitosterol and furanocoumarins. Celery is an excellent source of vitamin K and molybdenum. It is a very good source of folate, potassium, dietary fiber, manganese, and pantothenic acid. Celery is also a good source of vitamin B2, copper, vitamin C, vitamin B6, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, and vitamin A (in the form of carotenoids).
Celery also contains approximately 35 milligrams of sodium per stalk, so salt-sensitive individuals can enjoy celery, but should keep track of this amount when monitoring daily sodium intake.

One Final Important Note:

We want to conclude this week’s newsletter with an invitation for members to join our Community Supported Agriculture Program. Our CSA is different than most in that we do not offer a set box of veggies. Instead we offer our farm members a choice of what they want each week from a wide variety of produce, prepared foods and grains, beans and other healthy prepared and fermented foods we produce. They are all available to members through our program as part of their weekly shares. Members pick up their shares each week at one of the four farmers markets we attend each week and the program goes for 20 weeks. There are vacation credits so even if you go away for vacation you still retain your credits for food. Please have a look at our program at our web site http://www.geecreekfarm.com. Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about our innovative local community agriculture program.

Thanks again for your membership in our local food co-op. Each week we are able to help hundreds of folks because of the program which we support.

Enjoy your food in health!

Consume a Co-op Box

Hello and Warm Greetings, Members!

We hope you all have been well and staying healthy especially with the help of all those great and tasty organic veggies and fruits we have been bringing you. This week, we are going to respond, in a timely way, to the concerns of some of our members that they have not been able to fully use all the food we include in our weekly boxes.

We are going to run a series of our suggested ways to fully use the weekly boxes and thereby get the most of your money’s and nutrition’s worth. To those of you who do not have this problem – great! Maybe you can help us to educate others by sharing your tips with the community and posting them here! Thanks to everyone – for all you do, and for supporting this important service.

This week we have the following foods in our box:

 Spinach, broccoli, bok choy, kale, onions, salad mix, yams, beets, green onions, apples raisins and tangelos.

 Let start with the fruit: You will get between 4-7 apples depending on size, 4 tangelos, and some raisins. If one cores and stuff the apples with about half of the raisins and bakes them with a little cinnamon on top, you have a great easy dessert for two people for two days. Also you can have a tangelo at breakfast and apples for snack during the day. That would be four days of breakfast fruit and 4- 7 days of mid-morning snack and a couple of days of raisins for mid afternoon snack. That would be all for one person.

Other suggestions:

Spinach is a great addition to eggs, add spinach to eggs two to three days and the spinach bunch is done. Spinach is also a great side dish or also a salad base. If you do not like spinach in eggs, put the eggs on top of the steamed or stir-fried spinach. Spinach can be a stir fry ingredient, also.

Broccoli is a great stir fry food. Add the bok choy and the green onions and maybe some carrots and celery from last week’s box.  Two stir- frys during the week should make a good meal for one or two people and also some leftover for lunch the next day. Add a protein, if you wish, of your choosing. Broccoli make a great side dish, a little butter or coconut oil and salt added to steamed broccoli is a great way to use this healthy vegetable.  So two stir- frys should use up the broccoli, bok choy, green onions and left over celery and carrots from last week’s boxes. Pair with some brown rice and protein and you have two dinners and two lunches.

 Kale is a great side dish or can be used as a salad. Make kale into chips and it becomes a great healthy chip – so easy to make in a 200 degree oven. Add some salt, spice and oil and you are in business. Better than potato chips! Steamed kale is great on a “Portland bowl” – brown rice or quinoa topped with grated carrots, steamed kale and tahini sauce, and toasted hazelnuts. YUM!  Kale is two side dishes, or an ingredient for two days.

 Yams can be eaten boiled, baked or in soups. If you eat them twice a week for two weeks as your starch component to the dinner or lunch meal… that takes care of the yams. Many of the veggies we give you will carry over. In fact, we give you these items, like onions, potatoes, celery, carrots and yams, etc., so that you can have them for stir-fries and soup ingredients for more than one week.

That leaves the salad mix and the beets.

 Beets are a great salad by themselves. Boil them, slip the skins off and grate. Then add raw sliced onion, oil and a little sugar if desired… plus some apple cider vinegar. Let them sit still in the fridge overnight for an awesome Russian salad. We sell this same salad during the summer at the markets we attend.. Alternatively, add sliced cooked beets or even raw beets to a salad.

 Salad mix? Salad of course… or add to sandwiches.

Eat a salad for lunch a couple of days a week and you have used that up too.

Please let us know if you have any questions about these recommendations or need some clarification. We are very happy to help you get the most from your food boxes and get super healthy from all of the good nutrition that these foods provide. Thanks for your kind attention and well appreciated support.

 Enjoy your food in health!

It’s Seeding Season!

It’s almost time to come out of hibernation. These past couple months have been exceedingly cold… and even snowy! But spring is around the corner. We’ve been taking advantage of this warmer weather and are embarking upon several projects – one of them being the planning of our new herbal garden. However, the biggest priority is getting our baby seedlings started and moved out to the greenhouse. These will hopefully be the first starts to be transferred into the field. We’re looking forward to getting back on the field! We’ve still got a bit of a wait, though…


So far we have seeded a selection of brassicas such as mustard, kale, kohlrabi and bok choy. Not to mention many lettuce trays! Onions are on the docket for this week!

greenhouse seedlings

More Co-op Box Ideas + Shanghai Chicken

Thank you, Vivian Solomon, for contributing these delicious ideas to our community co-op! Below is Vivian’s recipe for Shanghai Chicken, plus a run-down of the produce in Box #2, and the uses she found for them.

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Week 4 of Cooperative Buying: Recipes

This week we need to discuss the concept of a mirepoix. This mixture of chopped vegetables serves as a flavor base for a variety of many soups, stews, stir-fries, stocks and sauces – great winterfare! A typical mirepoix consists of celery, onions and carrots. Leeks can serve as a substitute for the onions and bok choy can serve as a substitute for celery. To make a mirepoix, all you need to do is sauté your base vegetables in a pot with some oil – then add the rest of your ingredients! Soups are a wonderful winter-time way for you to use up a lot of your vegetables; and it’s a dish that can be eaten over the course of the week – frozen and saved for later! A mirepoix is an excellent and versatile way to use your abundance of onions, carrots and that oft-overlooked celery!


Here are some additional recipes/ideas using some of the produce in your Week 4 box!

Butternut Squash & Sage Soup
Eggs Nested in Sautéed Chard & Mushrooms
Potatoes, Leeks & Carrots in Parchment
White Beans in Cabbage
Roasted Broccoli with Soy Sauce & Sesame Seeds
Balsamic Glazed Roasted Beets