Music and Farm

Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for July 2014

I’ve added a new page for Farm to Table Events to the blog for those who are interested in what is happening in our area, or perhaps are for looking for ideas for how to promote their own farm.

News from the farm:

The full heat of high summer has arrived on our little farm in the Cascade foothills.  The surrounding hills are taking on the golden brown color of toast, and the earth is beginning to cry for water as the hard clay soil shrinks and cracks.  June’s luscious cherries have just about played out, and our blueberries are now ripening at a mad dash.  We are managing to stay one step ahead of the birds this year, so there are plenty of these sweet blue gems to sell and barter, as well as for home consumption.  Blueberries are available just about everywhere here now, and you may catch a glimpse of the famous Ima Blueberry at your local Market or agricultural festival.  Intrepid women (I have not come across any Blueberry Bobs yet) brave the summer’s high temperatures and don hot, huge and rotund blueberry costumes, promoting Oregon blueberries across the state.  Visit the Oregon Blueberry Commission web site for all things blueberry, and where Ima will appear next!  There are a lot of good photos of Ima out there!

View down the rows of blueberry bushes.  The hills are beginning to turn golden brown now that were are out of the rainy season.

View down the rows of blueberry bushes. The hills are beginning to turn golden brown now that were are out of the rainy season.

The long, hot but generally dry days are balanced by short, but deliciously cool nights at this time of year.  The temperature can swing from a low of 40 or 50 at daybreak, to a high in the 90s or low 100s during the day.  Gardens take off in the heat.  Tomato, eggplant and pepper starts that were idling in June suddenly put on height and girth, squash and other assorted curcubits throw out long vines that grow so fast they look as if they could snag the ankle of a farmer tarrying too long in one place.  Everything grows and ripens in its season, and the living is good, if not a bit overly busy!  Rick has been occupied keeping shoot growth in check in the vineyard, as the little bunches of green unripe grape berries put on weight.  Mother Nature has fired the starting gun, and it is a race now with time, weather, wildlife and human energy until the last crop comes in this fall.

View down the table grapes.

View down the table grapes.

The Pinot Vineyard.  Young vines have been planted in some spots to replace winter kill and gopher damaged vines.

The Pinot Vineyard. Young vines have been planted in some spots to replace winter kill and gopher damaged vines.

New!  Please visit the new page for Farm to Table Events on this blog site.  Producers and growers team up with chefs, restaurants and wineries to educate the public as to how and where their food is raised, as well as promote locally grown and locally prepared food.

Music news (schedule posted on the Performance Schedule page):

I will be performing again at Cornerstone Coffee in McMinnville, Oregon on Friday July 25th.  Cornerstone does much to support local music, and I encourage visitors to stop in and enjoy the food and drink, even when there isn’t music playing.  Help support venues who give their support to the Performing Arts!

The weekend of July 25th is also International Pinot Noir Celebration weekend in McMinnville.  This 3 day event attracts people from around the globe who come to enjoy Pinot noir and northwest cuisine.  There will be good food, wine and music all around McMinnville that weekend!

For the Science and Sci Fi buff readers of this blog, I must mention McMinnville is also home to an annual UFO festival in May.  In May of 1950, a UFO was photographed there over the Trent Farm.  The story appeared in the June 26, 1950 issue of Life magazine.  Read the article below, look at the photos, and judge for yourself!  ‘Nuff said!

Just a reminder, the local Farmers’ Markets are in full swing now, and most feature a variety of music and dance along with  fresh produce, meats, cheeses and home-made goods.  Support your local growers and artisans.  Many wineries also feature music during the summer season.  Check your area listing for details!

In your area, wherever you may be, please do all you can to help keep your own local music alive. Go out and see someone you don’t know, host a house concert, download songs or buy CDs. Or even just stop for a minute to hear someone at a Farmers’ Market. Live, local musicians provide a wealth of talent most people will never hear about in this age of iPods, Internet and TV.

Bookings and home-grown produce:
Lavinia and Rick Ross
Salmon Brook Records / Salmon Brook Farms

Marcus (left) and Nano the Great White Hunter enjoying a leisurely morning of lounging and viewing the table grapes.

Marcus (left) and Nano the Great White Hunter enjoying a leisurely morning of lounging and viewing the table grapes.


15 thoughts on “Rick and Lavinia Ross Farm & Music Newsletter for July 2014

  1. I made a blueberry cobbler last night, using frozen NZ blueberries. It was delicious. Your blueberries look delicious, too. I had no idea that blueberry bushes were so large. All the best for your next performance. 🙂


    • Thanks, Gallivanta! Blueberry cobbler sounds good. I bet NZ grows some really awesome blueberries.

      I noticed a photo of blueberry salmon on the Commission web site. I may have to try that, too! Yes, blueberry bushes can vary in size depending on the variety. I’m now working on how to propagate cuttings from some of our bushes that seem to do well in our soil conditions. I really would like to get deer fencing in around that patch, too.


      • Hope the propagation works out. Our NZ blueberries are good but I have yet to taste anything as delicious as the blueberries I tasted in New York State and or the small wild blueberries of Maine.


    • Thanks for stopping by! Oregon’s Willamette Valley is a wonderful place to vist, as there is so much going on here in summer. I don’t know if you have ever had the opportunity to travel around here or not, but the whole Pacific Northwest is beautiful. I’ve never regreted coming west.

      We have two vineyards, one of table grapes, the other is wine grapes – Pinot noir. We haven’t made wine yet from the Pinot, but are gearing up in that direction. I’ve talked to a number of winemakers now who have suggested I just dive in, which is the plan for this fall – get the equipment assembled and go through the process with this year’s grapes. We’ll make plenty of mistakes, but learn a lot too. And eventually, I’m hoping it’s good wine… 🙂


    • Table grapes, as best we can tell, are Cascade, Concord, Niagara and Delaware. We planted a Glenora Black Seedless and a Suffolk Red some years back just to try them out, but they haven’t produced yet. A friend just gave us some newly rooted Black Beauty cuttings we have to shoehorn in somewhere. It’s quite dry here now, and the deer have started eyeing the pinot behind the deer fence.

      Yes, the kitties are enjoying the summer mornings! The hummingbirds have been teasing Nano, hovering right in front of the window in my office area.

      How is the drought in your district affecting the grapes there? Our thoughts are with you. We’ve had some relentlessly hot days this summer.


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