Tag: Sam Lucy

May oh May… a more delightful May than this years’ I can’t imagine.  A few days in the 70’s and  80’s; a few valley rain showers and snow squalls in the mountains; wind and calm, then temps in the 30’s as we leave the month behind.  Quite the variety of weather, alright.  That is what makes Spring here so fun.  Lest I forget the birds!  Chats and buntings; swallows and wrens; orioles and tanagers…  Truth to tell, I could sit all day and watch and listen.

Alas, that would not be of much help to our wonderful crew here at Bluebird Grain Farms.  They’ve been working hard at keeping our systems running smoothly, and shipping out orders nationwide from our little valley.  Our supply of organic grain remains solid as we enter the last quarter before harvest, and we are having a good year entering the final month of the 2024’s front half.  Nothing makes me happier than to hear good things about our grains and flours from a whole host of different customers.  The real kudos go out to all of you who take an interest in food, how it is grown and where it comes from.  Thank you!

All of this year’s crops are planted and growing right along.  The northern prairies have received nice rains, our partners report.  The earlier planted crops here in the Columbia Basin at Brad’s Lenwood Farms are a foot tall now, and cover crops at our own farm are beginning to stretch up toward the gathering daylight.  Wow.  Can we be just 3 weeks from Summer Solstice!  Plants really kick into gear come this time of the year.  Let the sweet, rich juices of June flow.  

Yes, we could use more rain here.  In the past, the month of June often delivered.  The longer we get into the summer months without excessive heat, the longer we can hold off drought if the days are just cooler and cloudier.  Once crops reach a certain growth stage – grain knee high – then the plants themselves harbor moisture and protect the soils.  This is one reason we love the ancient wheats because they grow so tall, and create a shade effect that preserves moisture in their roots.  This function is not dissimilar to trees, albeit on a much smaller scale.  Soil preservation, high organic matter, nutritious food – these are just some of reasons to celebrate the wheats that once were.  

But we’ve brought them back!  We have been touting these qualities for nearly 20 years now and it is exciting to see continued  interest and rising popularity of these time-tested grains.  Their attributes and versatility both agronomically and culinarily continue to engage and teach us as years go by.  I’m guessing this does not change anytime soon.  To quote William Faulkner: “The past is never dead, it’s not even past.”

Our job hasn’t changed either, and that is seeing to it that all of you get these ancient grains freshly delivered on a consistent basis.  This is one way we can improve on our food systems that still remain flawed.  Currently, the FDA and USDA continue to try and sort out the recent Avian Flu mess that is a self-fulfilled prophecy, of sorts, as I mentioned last month.  Feeding our animals the wrong diet – turning herbivores into carnivores – is not sustainable.  Over 4 million laying hens alone have been destroyed and disposed of…  How?  Where?  Will the dairy herds be next?  Yuck.

In related news, remember the Farm Bill?  The last one expired in September of 2023.  I mentioned in last fall’s Notes how we would not see a new bill before the end of the year.  The question is now: Will we see one before the end of this year?  In a lot of ways this delay may be a good thing since it has morphed into a piece of broken and partisen farming legislation.   However, very crucial programs such as SNAP still hang in the balance.  Not so good.

We enjoyed a nice Memorial weekend granary tour here at the Farm.  It is always engaging for Brooke and myself to see new faces, meet new people, have new discussions and teach and learn all at once.  During the whole weekend I kept in mind what the past “holiday” really is about and that is to honor and memorialize those who made the ultimate sacrifice for this great nation of ours.  Yes, it is a great country.  Democracy is far, far from perfect and remains a constant work in progress.  However, I’ll still take it every day.

Here’s to health, decency and peace for the coming summer.

Yours,

Farmer Sam