Bluebird Grain Farms

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Bullock’s Oriole

Birds… birds birds, and birds. What else to say about this time of year?  What else to say during this time? Their business, their quick, urgent “bossy” early morning voice; their long, soulful evening song. The brilliant orange of our Bullock’s Oriole perched every evening in the elderberry bush outside our dining room window. The iridescent blue of the Lazuli Bunting dusting in the emmer hulls.  The mellower rust- breast of the western bluebird as she readies her favorite nesting box.  And the flycatchers chasing one another around the yellow homestead roses. Birds sanctify Spring’s hope like nothing else.  Carry on this timeless cadence, little ones.   We need it more now, perhaps than ever.

Other things around the farm this incredible spring include finally getting Bluebird’s highway 20 property south of Winthrop plowed up and planted. We’ve owned this property for almost 3 years and just now are beginning to farm it with new irrigation in place.  This was a property that I first farmed 27 years ago when I came to the Methow while working for another farmer here. This is the property I first drove a combine on! It has been under organic status for many years now, and has come full circle back to us, and will serve as the site of Bluebird’s expansion efforts soon to begin.

Our spring cover crop peas are up and running. Our spring hard wheat is up and rowing here, and in early two-leaf stage up in Waterville under the care of Tom Stahl. Now, we are hoping to dodge any severe weather, most importantly hail. We have more cultivation in June on our Big Valley lease before we plant the west field into buckwheat mid-month. This will be another green manure crop, in preparation for 021 spring grain.

Tom Stahl, Bluebird’s organic grower with his partner Pat standing in their wheatfield outside of Waterville, Washington.

What this spring has lacked in moisture, it has made up for in lovely temperatures. Not too cold, some days of wind but nothing like springs past and, here we are on the cusp of June – frighteningly close to summer solstice already – and we’ve only had a day warmer than 80. The major bonus for us here on the East side of the Cascades where we are very low on spring rain and the snowpack is beginning to drop fast.

The granary has been busier than ever with direct retail orders. The current pandemic has put steady pressure on our systems here, and now on some of our overall inventory.  No one could see any of this coming obviously, and our crew here has been amazing. Everyone has remained healthy; everyone has stepped up to the intense task of preparing and shipping so much product in small boxes either USPS or UPS.  Meanwhile, we’ve been keeping from falling too far behind with bigger distributor orders all the while, making sure our local customers are serviced as always, and assuring supply for most of all.

Customers both new and old have been very faithful and understanding that – like all supply chains right now – not everything is quite as quick as “normal.”  Your understanding makes our work a little less stressful. Your orders and understanding sanctify what we do and make us ever grateful to have made it this far, so we can learn about what is essential. Food certainly is essential.  Good food even more so. During this wackiest of times, the lesson may be more isn’t necessarily better. Quality and nutrition may be what surpasses actual volume.

I can’t thank our staff enough.  I can’t thank you, customers, enough.  What I can do is encourage all of you to continue to make wise choices about everyone’s overall well being and if possible, try and help those more in need than you may be.

The current and local saying “we’re all in this together” may be hitting the overused point, but this truth cannot be denied.  Let’s hope we all come “out of this” together.  Yes.

Yours, Farmer Sam

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