Engaging with the Middle

This weekend we wrapped up another amazing winter retreat at Luther Glen. We took the time to see how Middle Schooler’s Engage with the world, God, their community and themselves. We spent part of Saturday morning introducing the farm to the new campers and introducing new growth on the farm to those campers who have been coming since it began. During this time the campers weren’t just telling us how they wanted to engage with the world, they were showing us. They showed us that they were interested in and dedicated to the work being done. They showed us that they want to be a part of it. As storm clouds rolled in we were worried that the campers would soon loose interest in being outside on the farm, but we were so wrong. Campers, church chaperones and staff alike embraced the weather. Together we took the time to be in God’s creation – to connect with friends new and old and to experience a different herd than the ones we’re used to.

The weekend ended with a sermon by Pastor Karla from San Marcos Lutheran Church. She asked all the participants of the weekend to come up with a slogan for camp. The white board pictured here has all of the slogans that were thought up by the youth this weekend. Like the campers that comes here, the food we produce, and our individual relationships with God, they are diverse and unique.

What would your slogan for Luther Glen be?


Come to the Table

Food Network star Guy Fieri says that “Cooking is all about people. Food is maybe the only universal thing that really has the power to bring everyone together. No matter what culture, everywhere around the world, people get together to eat.”

One of the core values of camp is building a community where everyone feels welcome and can come as they are. One of the biggest aspects of community that we have seen come to fruition is our farm to table food. We are able to go to our chicken coop and get an egg for breakfast, walk to the garden and pick vegetables and fruits and eat them right there. We work closely as a team to make sure that guests and supporters of the farm are able to experience this idea of community around a table where farm fresh food is at the center. Luther Glen is a space for conversation, connection and passion and we see all of those things carry over into our meals.

One of the favorite meals that we have at camp, especially in this cold winter season, is soup. We are always looking for soups that can incorporate some of our winter crops, like kale, carrots, and onions. Today, we want to share a piece of our table with you through some of our cook, Huck’s most requested soups! If you have any soup recipes that are vegetable hearty send them our way. Below you will find three soup recipes that we love. If you happen to make any of the below, feel free to post it on Instagram and hashtag it with #LutherGlenFarm.

Our Chicken noodle soup comes from this recipe:

This winter season we have used our own onions and carrots in the broth.



Our copy cat of Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana:

This winter we were able to use our potatoes, kale, swiss chard and onions.



For our non-meat eaters we like to do a ‘dump’ vegetable soup, which is a favorite in any season. We often use our broccoli, squash, zucchini, tomatoes, and potatoes. This winter season we have been using our kale, swiss chard, carrots, potatoes and onions. Huck likes to put all of the veggies that we have into a soup pan. He then takes about 14.5 oz mix of V8 Vegetable juice and tomato juice. Depending on your preference of taste you can also use 14.5 oz of vegetable broth or a mix of the two.




The Barn

From the very beginning of the farm we have had a vision. We imagined how animals and humans would interact, we dreamed of a table filled with food from the garden and of being able to donate farm fresh eggs. We knew that there would be moments of joyous surprise and mornings that we would wake up to snow covered hills and frozen water dishes.

We’ve seen all of the things listed above tenfold in the years since we began, but this farm is still missing something. A barn.

More than a barn: we are missing shelter for our livestock these cold winter nights, missing a place where we know water dishes wouldn’t freeze over, missing a central hub and a heart to our farm.

So we have spent the last three years in and out of meetings, in front of drawing boards and praying for the time when our dream of this barn could become a reality. A year ago we started to see the necessary pieces fall into place and a committee was formed. We finalized our ideas and set a date to celebrate the barn being up.

And praise be to God, it is happening! The past month we have spent finalizing things like our website for the event http://lrcchome.com/programs/lutherglenbarn.php .  If you are interested in supporting this event, or the barn you can find that information in either of the two places.

We are also taking the time today to make sure that you know you are invited to our barn raising event! It is on June 9th, 2018 at Luther Glen. There will be food, music, dancing and the start of the new barn.

As we sit in the office today looking at the 8 inches of snow covering our farm we know that this time next year we will look out and see a barn on our farm. We will be reassured that our animals are warm, and that the growth on this farm is continued.



This past weekend we had 80 youth and adults at Luther Glen for our High School Winter Retreat! We spent the weekend talking about different ways to Engage others, ourselves, and God. The retreat theme came to life as the High Schooler’s entered the Luther Glen Farm where they were greeted by our animals and garden.

Watching as youth and adults were drawn to the different elements of the farm, we were able to experience and share just how unique and blessed we all are.

Some people let their love for the garden flourish as they helped pick kale, carrots, cilantro, and radishes that they then got to eat. Their time spent in the garden helped them to see how the food they eat grows and the importance of sustainable living.

Others spent time engaging with our animals, experiencing life in the chicken coop, and roaming with our herd of livestock. Their passion for this place really came alive when they had an opportunity to do service projects in various parts of the farm. A team of asphalt removers, painters, and chicken coop beautifiers were sprinkled all throughout the farm allowing them to experience ‘a day in the life at the Luther Glen Farm’.

During this time youth workers and campers saw how the works that was being done would help this farm far beyond one day of service. Thankfully this insight to service created high spirits, laughter and hard work.

We saw this weekend an ignited desire to share where food comes from, how animals live together, the hard work that goes into maintaining a farm and to talk more about sustainable living. The moments on the farm this weekend proved that this generation is a special one. Through passion, talent and the hard work, we reaffirmed the calling of this farm, especially for the youth in our communities that will be able to rise up and engage in their passions like they engaged the elements of the farm this weekend.

The weekend concluded with Pastor Glen preaching the importance of the food and the work that we are doing on the farm. One of those important things being that we have been able to help Central City Lutheran Mission located in the heart of San Bernardino’s food desert. The group came to understand that a food dessert is a place where it is easier to get fast food than fresh produce, a place where liquor stores are more common than a supermarket. And we all came to the conclusion that this farm is our way of engaging the community and people around us and that everyone in that room is called to engage the community and people around them, in all the different ways that may be.

This weekend we all witnessed Luther Glen Farm coming into its role for our youth and local community. We could not be happier with what the future holds for our herd, flock, community and campers.


The beauty in today

Farming definitely keeps us busy. Whether it’s pruning our 70 tree strong orchard, planting spinach seeds or trimming sheep hooves, there is always something to do. The work keeps us on our toes and pushes us to be stronger physically, emotionally and even spiritually. There is beauty in this push – the new insights we see in the little things, the patience we find in ourselves during tedious tasks, the promise of growth that each of these things provides.

Recently, daffodils have sprouted up all over camp, beautiful new growth reminding us to breathe, take a moment and be grateful for right now. We see it as a little nudge from God to be thankful for the beauty in today.

A gift that keeps on giving

The start of the New Year marks a very exciting time.  It’s a time for us to dream and map out the summer garden.  With the help of the greenhouse, even though the temperatures are still in the 30’s at night, we can start our seeds.  In January, we plan and map out the garden and in February we plant!

Our effort to grow the highest quality food begins with intentional seed purchasing.  This year we have been fortunate enough to be a part of the High Mowing Seed Company’s Seed Donation Program – meaning they blessed us with 125 seed packets for free! These 100% certified organic and non-GMO seeds are the best we could get. We are so grateful for their support of our mission to engage retreat guests and outdoor school students with their food!

So the garden map has been made, and all this week we’ve been planting seeds! We have planted sugar snap peas, heirloom tomatoes, spinach, lettuce varieties, arugula,  cabbage, broccoli, carrots and onion seeds.  Come summer the 39 raised beds will be filled and flourishing.  Our summer staff, Retreat Center guests, outdoor school students and summer campers will all share in the abundance of the garden. We are so thankful for the donation from High Mowing Seeds and even more thankful that this will bring many smiles and feed many tummies.  A gift that keeps on giving.

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What’s in the garden?

Here at the Luther Glen farm we are at an elevation of 4,800 feet.  This means that even though we are a Southern California farm, it’s not sunny all year round.  Beginning in September our nightly temperatures can dip under 32 degrees Fahrenheit making it very difficult for many plants to grow. When this cold comes in, there are a couple of options for the garden: we can use a form of cover to protect the vegetables or we can plant frost tolerant crops.  We actively practice a mixture of both, using low tunnel hoop houses over our raised beds in addition to planting hardy vegetables.

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Our hoop houses are made out of PVC pipes and can be covered by either greenhouse plastic, bird netting, shade cloth or floating row cover material.  This year we made a switch from plastic to Agribon floating row cover blankets because they protect the crops from cold weather, insects, and birds while still allowing light and moisture to pass through, which allows us to leave them on all day. With this switch we have had a lot of success with the veggies continuing to grow through winter, whereas with the plastic cover and the plants stayed alive but did not grow bigger during that season.


And of course we are growing hardy veggies that don’t mind to cold too much. Here’s a list of what’s currently growing in the garden: Siberian Dwarf Kale (Love this variety! Not bitter at all!), Rainbow Swiss chard, Burgundy Boston Lettuce, Bulls Blood Beets, a colorful carrot blend, Bloomsdale Spinach and Large Italian Softneck Garlic.  These varieties add greens, reds, yellows and purples brightening up our winter garden!

Do any of you have a garden? What do you grow in winter?