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Kodama Farm and Food Forest
-Renée Woods

 

     Where do I even start? I do not know where to begin or how to accurately portray this farm without simply just inviting you all to visit. Upon the Heritage staff and I’s arrival, we were astounded by the vast amount of hard work and devotion that bursts from the seams of this seemingly small farm. Matt Montoya, Grace Thompson, and Ben Thompson, lifelong friends, and owners of Kodama Farms and Food Forest are innovative, to say the least. There are many incredible farms throughout the Chimacum Valley and along the Olympic Peninsula, however, Kodama stands out due to its strong passion for permaculture and protecting the environment as well as producing wholesome, clean food.

     As our crops begin to be blanketed with frost, our windshields freeze, the darkness sets in, and we tuck ourselves in for the long cold winter months Kodama Farm and Food Forest is alive and thriving, continuing to produce fruits and vegetables foreign to our area and seasons. Our first stop on the tour led us into a vibrant, warm, inviting greenhouse. This structure built by themselves is a geodesic dome shape filled with tropical plants and even an above-ground pond. Using a climate battery and solar power, the temperature inside the dome is kept at an average level throughout the cooler days. The above ground pond acts as a thermal mass which absorbs heat during the day and releases it in the night while surrounding temperatures decrease. These mechanisms allow them to produce fruits and vegetables all year long. The ring-like pathway around the greenhouse encircles an area of land housing two banana trees, citrus plants, peppers and the beginnings of passion fruit vines.  On the edges of the dome, other warm-weather varieties not customarily grown in Washington are emerging through the soil and are expected to produce soon. Even though many plants are still young they are growing quickly. In addition, what we thought was just logs lining the planters, actually were homes to fungi that have already yielded edible outcomes. This greenhouse emulates an oasis of sorts, so different from the valley surrounding it.  

     Another truly extraordinary aspect of Kodama is the beginnings of their food forest. Their goal is to create a diverse ecosystem throughout the farm. Based on the foundations of permaculture, a method of using a system of layers that resembles that of a natural forest, trees overhead supply canopy to the plants and fungi within the layers, and they benefit each other, supply nutrients to the soil, and produce crops. The idea is that the system is low maintenance and functions on its own as a natural forest would. The role of the farm once the food forest is developed is to utilize and support the natural and independent ecosystem. Through this process of building the food forest, Ben, Matt, and Grace wish to bring awareness to the importance of permaculture and doing your part to take care of the environment.

     Kodama also has protective farming philosophies. In order to keep their soil intact, they decided to plow once and then grow on top of the layers of soil providing nutrients to the new crops above them. They plant other species and trees around the beds and trees which protect and help pollinate the inside crops and act as a natural barrier from invasives. Also, no pesticides are used. Like many other farms in our area, Kodama is redefining “organic.” These farmers don't strive to obtain a label “proving” they are organic. "Even some pesticides and chemicals are approved under the organic name by the FDA," Grace noted. Kodama Farms is not certified and they don’t feel the need to be. Similar to many other small farms, there is a CSA box program at Kodama. However, along with the common carrots, quints, and kale that are in so many CSA’s, this farm will soon include the tropical fruits and vegetables grown in their unique geodesic greenhouse. Once they begin their CSA program in May they will also implement a workshare program which allows members of the community to volunteer to do three hours of farm work per week in exchange for a full CSA of fruits and vegetables. This allows easier access to healthy wholesome food for the community.

     Matt, Ben, and Grace have a clear passion for environmental awareness and a belief that anyone can do their part to combat climate change and improve the environment. This is extremely evident in their collaboration with the North Olympic Salmon Coalition and the land trust. They are on a 22-acre plot of land bordered by the Chimacum Creek and hope to purchase the connecting parcel turning 22 acres into 45. They plan to work together to meander the creek running through the property and plant many native trees and other plants to increase the wellness of the creek. Continuing with their plan of generating awareness they hope to have bridges and trails throughout the creek and surrounding area as an educational experience for visitors.

     All coming from very different paths of life, Grace, Matt, and Ben, came together, brought their dreams and ideas to the Olympic Peninsula and fell in love with the community and the area. Although there have been discouraging moments and difficulties for them, they have created a flourishing farm using unconventional farming practices and regenerative ideas. 



 

Photo taken by junior, Alima Devas.

It’s Winter
-Diamond Young-
 

You open your eyes, your hands feel cold. It’s dark, the sun ceases To seep through your window. There is no longer that glow of Warmth.
It’s winter.

You walk outside, you feel a raindrop on your already cold hand. You get in your car, the seat gives you chills.
It’s winter.

         You start down your street after you turn on your Headlights. You reach for the windshield wipers as the raindrops Hit your windshield. At first, it sprinkles. The further you drive The more rain floods around you.
It’s winter.

     You arrive at the house, the home that makes you feel warm Despite the frosty weather around you. As you head towards the Door you can see the light flowing out of the windows.
It’s winter.

         Before you can reach for the door handle laughter and love Surrounds you. You find yourself in the warm embrace of a Lovely familiar face. In the room to your right everyone is
Gathered around the fire.

It’s winter.

         As you sit on the couch you feel yourself relax. There is a Faint sound of music that is being drowned out by voices. You feel A tap on your shoulder. As you look up a mug is placed in your Hands.
It’s winter.

        You sip your hot drink. Your tongue feels rough, it’s burnt. A New but old face walks into the room. You set down your mug And rush to your feet. You greet them with smiles and small talk.
It’s winter.

        Your family and friends sit. Side by side, a small room filled with laughter and love. As you step outside the cold surrounds you. As you drive home it’s still there. You lay down and feel the Cold rush to your fingertips as your eyes close, you whisper:
It’s winter.



 


Girls Basketball-One Family
-Delana Horner-

 

     When the winter months come around it means one thing: basketball has started. Since I am a basketball player, this is my favorite time of year. Why? It's time to be with the sisters I have come to know over the years. Yes, there is drama between all of us, but when that first whistle blows, it doesn't really matter. We may argue, but we make up quickly because we are family.

     My favorite college men's basketball team calls themselves the "Brotherhood." If you know me, you know I'm talking about Duke University. We're the "Sisterhood." This "Sisterhood" wants to give other teams "32 Minutes of Hell." We believe they have got to fear the Heifers. Yes, we call ourselves the Heifers. Even though we are a team that jokes about ourselves, we work hard. I don't think people realize how much effort we put in year-round that strengthens these bonds and improves our skills. We attend tournaments on the weekends, open gyms during weekdays, and camps during the summer. Each year a few players go to Hoopfest and they create and name their own team of four to compete in tournaments. Every year at camp, it's always a tradition to pull a joke on Coach Huntingford. This year when the team attended a camp in Ocean Shores, we filled his hotel room with over 100 balloons, putting them everywhere. Another year we told Coach Huntingford we bought a dog in our downtime between tournaments but, we actually made a Build-A-Bear because we felt we needed a mascot, Annie Oakley. During practice there is always water spilling, screaming and laughing; we act like sisters, hence the "Sisterhood."

     One of the things we are most proud of from last year is that Mechelle Nisbet was named all-league MVP. She led our team in scoring and assists and also lead the league with her highlighted high school career. Alongside Mechelle was her twin sister Shanya who also was one of the biggest leaders that the Chimacum Basketball Program has seen. Together, they were our team captains last year and they showed us what it's really like to support one another. I'm hoping that this season we can maintain that level of leadership.

     The Chimacum Girls Basketball Team has had its ups and downs. But in the past three years, we have become a team people fear. Last season, we went 11-10, one of the only times Chimacum really has had a winning record in the past few years. As a member of the team, I can confidently say we're proud of that record, but we know we can do better. Others may want to watch out: there's more talent than ever coming up through the Chimacum ranks. With one of the biggest freshman classes and a gigantic junior class, this team is set up for present and future success. Currently, we have one senior, Chloe Patterson, who is one of the better post players seen from Chimacum. Chloe is really the only player over six feet. Otherwise, we're really small in size, but that doesn't stop us. With a team filled with mostly guards and small forwards, it's still one of the better CHS Girls' teams you most likely will ever see.

     Although last years seniors will be missed, with the new and young talent coming up joined with what we already have, the Chimacum Cowboys Girls Basketball Team, a.k.a. the Heifers, are a force to be reckoned with in this season.


To receive more information about Chimacum High School Sports visit: olympicleague.com 



 


Jefferson Healthcare’s Food for Healing

-Juliet Alban Vallat-
 

     Jefferson Healthcare Hospital located in Port Townsend Washington is a place where people from around the area often go to heal. But what most people don’t know is that there is another vibrant healing source: the food.

     The kitchen prepares meals three times a day that contain the best food you could find around this area. They use nutrient-full, pesticide-free food grown right here in Jefferson County, some of which is even grown in their own garden called “The Herb Garden” on the hospital campus. However, it was not always this way. There was a time when like most other hospitals, all the mass quantities of food came frozen and in microwavable boxes. The two main people we have to thank for this new, healthy and celebrated system are Arran Stark, the hospital’s head chef, and the creator and maintainer of the herb garden, Jill Alban.

     The process of bringing good food to Jefferson County Hospital was not spontaneous. When I asked Chef Arran Stark how he became a food icon in Port Townsend he replied, “In the summer of 2011, the chief operating officer (COO) at the hospital, attended a dinner that I was cooking and asked if I would come to the hospital and take look at the food service operation. In my assessment I found that the food being produced was following the standard practice of hospitals all over the country, heating frozen products from a box and serving them with frozen vegetables and rehydrated sauces. I was asked what I would do differently and a day later I was offered the position of chef/food service director.” Arran has been practicing with food since he was a teenager. He stated, “I started my culinary apprenticeship when I was 18 in a fine dining restaurant and focused on feeding people the best food possible, so feeding people good food has always been important to me.” He strives each and every day to make sure that whoever is eating his food is getting the best taste and health possible. “In 2011, my newborn son got sick and had to spend 6 weeks in a hospital in Seattle. After about the third hospital meal, I was done, no more hospital food. I could not believe that the place where people come to get well served the worst food possible, processed quick served yuk!”

     Jefferson Healthcare’s chef Arran stark believes that food is medicine, both for the body and the soul. His goal is to promote the healing of patients within the Port Townsend Hospital by providing local and nourishing meals. When Arran became the head chef, he hired Jill Alban to design and maintain the herb garden which was to consist of good foods that would be available year round for him to use in his recipes. She has been maintaining the herb garden for many years, and the kitchen staff often walk out and pick from the garden. “I was hired to create non-institutional gardens to beautify the hospital grounds”, says Jill, “I also loved the idea of incorporating more edible landscaping. When it used to be St. Joseph's, the nuns grew all their own food to supply their patients, early in the 20th century.” 

     Jill believes that emotional support is just as important as emotional peace saying, “As a hospital, a place to enquire good health, beautiful plants provide emotional respite, and freshly harvested food has higher nutrient value. I’ve always known that feeding good food to people is important. Healthy food supports well being.” Also being a triumphant supporter of “food that is grown wisely is medicine,” Jill concludes that “I support people who grow their own food, it is a very important life skill”.

     Along with Jill Alban, Arran Stark also sees much value in food grown and harvested within our community. By purchasing food from local farms and businesses, he states, it puts “a face behind the food and you know you are supporting the local economy without any broker shorting the farmer or upcharging the chef.” In cooking with local ingredients the environment is not as negatively impacted. Arran says,“fewer fossil fuels are used due to shorter transport distances.” There is also a longer shelf life with most goods, “I know that the food I receive was picked the day before not a week before,” and, “most local farmers are organic and choose vegetable varieties based on flavor and how they perform in local climates,” he added.

     When asked what was in his future regarding good food, his response was, “ I would like to see a community culinary resource center where people can learn to cook and play with food, along with collaborating with all of the local school districts to prioritize the best, locally sourced food we can muster for our younger generations and a vibrant food education program in all the schools.”  We have these two zesty people, Jill Alban and Arran Stark to thank for the health of not just patients of Jefferson Healthcare, but a large percent of the community as well, as often times local community members travel to the hospital just to eat this legendary food.





 




Recipe of the Season

Arugula and Beet Paninis from CHS Foods Class
-Tovah Carter-
 

     As it was the first day of cooking back from break Mr. Coyan decided to have us make an extra special lunch. A healthy but delicious combination of grilled beet paninis and oven baked potato chips. For our paninis we went to the school's greenhouse and collected fresh arugula, the blistering wind hit our faces as we rushed to pile into the large greenhouse each taking turns to pick as much as we would like. We quietly walked back to the kitchen through the halls careful not to disturb ongoing classes. Upon reaching our destination Mr. Coyan handed each group a bunch of organic beets for us to boil in our kitchens, we cut the tops off and into small pieces so it was easier for the worms to digest in our worm compost bin. Then we placed the beets in boiling water and let them cook for forty-five minutes. As they boiled we picked potatoes out of a box that we had harvested earlier in the year. Taking the mandolin we thinly sliced the potatoes and then let them sit in water for thirty minutes to get the starch out as much as possible. After the potatoes were strained and dried with paper towels, we mixed olive oil, salt, and garlic powder with the potatoes. We placed them on baking sheets and put them in the oven that had been preheated to 350 degrees. After cleaning our workstation we drained the beets and let them cool, using the mandolin again we thinly sliced the four beets. Mr. Coyan had instructed another kitchen to make fresh pesto, a delicious combination of basil, olive oil, pine nuts, and garlic. On our bread we spread goat cheese and pesto on one side and mayo on the other, we placed the arugula and beets in between. With our panini press ready we added some butter and placed the thin sandwiches down. Finally, the stack of sandwiches was ready, we pulled our potato chips out of the oven perfectly crisp and golden brown. The creamy warm sandwiches tasted delightful with the little kick from the arugula and the perfectly cooked beets. The oven baked potato chips were a great addition to the recipe. As a public school, many students would have never dared to try this bold recipe if they had not made it step by step in class with their peers. Gary Coyan introduces his students to a whole new world of ingredients, nutrition and tastes all while having a fantastic time in the kitchen. 

 



 

The articles contained within this newsletter were completed by Chimacum High School students in Mr. Coyan's art, horticulture and foods classes. Edited by Renee Woods and the Chimacum Heritage Club.
Copyright © 2018 Chimacum Heritage, All rights reserved.
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CHS Foods/Horticulture · 91 West Valley Rd · Chimacum, WA 98325 · USA

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