Hail, radishes and the Farm Stand!

Hello Folks,

I wrote this email yesterday afternoon when constitutions were a bit more uplifting...my things can change quickly here in Colorado!  The storm last night was tremendous and my condolences for those of you who lost plants to the incredible amount of hail we got.  The farm managed to scrape by with only heavy rain, which was damaging in its own right but not as bad as it could have been.  We will just be taking a pause from the field work while things dry out and a plan can be made as to how to move forward. 

Aside from cleaning up after the storm, this week on the farm has been busy with typical May fair.  We took a field break and used the wet Monday to establish our fortress around the head lettuce field to protect the young plants from 4 hooved creatures.  We trellised the sugar snap peas and seeded fall cabbage and cauliflower in the greenhouse.  We even got an early start on our tomato trellising...which it turns out is a lot easier when you don't wait until June.  

So spring is here even though it feels like summer. In response to its call the next weeks will be full of greens. I like to refer to them as Lionel Richie greens because they are the sweetest and most tender of the season.

Salads are an obvious choice this time of year and I  must have been missing them because I have been eating multiple ones a day since the lettuce came in.  If you are needing more than just lettuce, I have good news.  There are lots of choices of salad leaf material such as  arugula, spinach, and our spicy mustard mix.  Hint, they all pair well with blue cheese and strawberries for a light lunch.  For a more hearty dinner salad, especially if it is the main event, I often choose spinach for its thicker leaves and ability to hold dressing.  Perhaps boil some eggs or add grilled chicken for some protein.  Then dress that bad boy up with a maple mustard bacon dressing.

Many of you have discovered pea shoots over the years and see them as an early spring treat.  We will have them off and on for the next couple of weeks, so keep an eye out at the stand.  They can be put in a salad, gently wilted on chicken, omelets, or pasta (eggs are super in season right now and pasta carbonara with wilted pea shoots really scratches that itch for me). 

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Radishes are adding some color to the stand this week and we have two different types.  One is a beautiful purple variety that tastes as electric as its color. It is a radish for radish lovers. The other is a cherry belle and while still beautiful, is a bit less spicy than the purple variety and might be a radish for the more timid pallet.  There is no better way to eat spicy radishes than to slice them thin and put them on a fresh baguette with a big smear of European butter and some good salt.  If you have never done it, you are in for a treat.  Serve it with that arugula lunch salad and a glass of prosecco and you will have your econo-version of lunch in Paris.

I realized that I did not give the address of the farm stand in the last email.  For those of you who are new to the farm stand option, it is at the farm, 2100 County Road 54G, Fort Collins, CO 80524.  It is open every day, 8-6pm.  

So happy to be back with you all for another season!

Katie and the Native Hill Team


This Week's Harvest

Kale

Rainbow Chard

Collard Greens

Salad Mix

Spinach 

Arugula

Spicy Mix

Radishes

Aloha!

 First Winter Market this weekend - Saturday at the Opera Galleria in Old Town, Fort Collins!

First Winter Market this weekend - Saturday at the Opera Galleria in Old Town, Fort Collins!

Aloha Folks,

It is so handy to have a word that means both hello and goodbye and I find it perfectly acceptable to borrow from another culture or language when they seem to be onto something.  It is appropriate for this particular situation because this letter is both a greeting and a farewell.  We have successfully turned all of your CSA money into produce and this past week was our last week of our "summer" farm share program.  We hope you have all enjoyed this 24 week farming adventure, and I do mean adventure.  You all have survived a late May snow storm, an August hail storm, an early October snow and now for the grande finale you will be with us as we try to harvest all of our winter carrots in the next 12 hours in order to avoid some ugly weather that is heading our way next week. We so appreciate all of your support, kind words, and enthusiasm throughout this challenging weather season and know that local agriculture would not exist without you all.  Stay tuned for details on next year's sign ups, there will be some big changes and we expect to have more info to y'all by January.

We know that we will see many of you starting Wednesday, November 8th for our winter CSA program and we are excited about decelerating the pace a bit and enjoying a beer and a chat you folks.  If you are not signed up for the winter CSA, we will be at the sporadic winter markets that start Nov 4th, at the Opera Galleria, so you can continue to get a limited variety of produce from us there (gotta save all the good stuff for the winter CSA folks).  If you are a farm stand customer, your last day to use your CSA account will be this Saturday, October 28th (same as our market members). If you would like to keep getting vegetables from the stand after that date, please just pay cash.  In other good news, we will be moving one of our coolers from the farm stand down to Me-Oh-My pie for the winter and anyone will be able to keep purchasing produce through the colder months when our stand would normally be closed.  More details on this to come, but we are hoping to have that up and running around the first week of November.

A few house keeping things.  If you have money left on your account, it does not roll over to any of our winter programs or next year's season. As I mentioned early, it has all successfully  been turned into produce and therefore we can't hold a balance for you over the winter; however, we will be donating the rest of your balance in kind to the food bank of Larimer county.  Thanks for understanding. There are a handful of y'all that are extra good vegetable consumers and have a negative balance with us.  Most of you are farm stand customers and so I will be sending out invoices after the last market to all you healthy ones. Please pay these by November 15th.  

Thank you all again for another great season and Aloha!

Katie, Nic and the Native Hill Crew


This Week's Harvest

Kale

Spinach

Head Lettuce

Carrots

Beets

Turnips

Radishes

Kohlrabi

Celeriac

Shallots

Garlic

Winter Squash

Potatoes

Red and Savoy Cabbage

Broccoli Florets

Possibly a small amount of Cauliflower

Moving closer to the finish line

 Farmer Olivia workin' hard out there!

Farmer Olivia workin' hard out there!

Buenos Dias!

What a beautiful week we are having here on the Front Range!  Every day feels like a gift after the snow and crazy winds of last week and we are making hay while the sun shines here on the farm.  The darker mornings make it harder to get out of bed, but boy are the sun rises on the farm amazing right now. The colors are explosive and the light seems to dance on the blazing autumn foliage. It is good motivation to keep pushing forward on our winter chore list. This week we have been moving giant hoop houses, harvesting and washing storage cabbage, celeriac, and watermelon radishes, seeding late winter greens, and slogging through cold morning field clean up.  

As we move closer to the finish line for our summer program, there is still a lot of great stuff to eat!  Celeriac, or celery root as it is sometimes called, is less of a disease of the intestines and more of a fuzzy, ugly root crop that has a mild nutty flavor and low glycemic index.  It is not actually the root of the celery plant, (although there are times I wish it were so that I could stop trying to explain its odd name), but it is in the same family.  Farmer Nic likes to joke that it is the redwood of vegetables because it is the first thing you plant in the greenhouse in March and one of the last things you pull out of the ground in the fall.  You can use it in almost any way that you use a potato, just peel off the ugly, and proceed from there.  I like to substitute it for any soup recipe with celery as it really highlights its nutty flavor.  Blended with fennel and carrots it makes an amazing soup, but I have also been told that it makes mashed potatoes taste like artichoke dip.  We made some celeriac, leek and apple latkes that were pretty divine.  We served them with a dollop of yogurt and a side of butternut squash with wilted tatsoi and did not feel sorry for ourselves one little bit. 

Looking forward to seeing you all real soon,

Katie

Cold hand season

celeriac.jpg

Hi All!

Cold hand season is back on the farm these days as we keep plugging away towards winter. Early mornings are starting tobe filled with field clean up chores while we wait for the sun to defrost the plants and hopefully dry out the soil.  We have had a lot of moisture this month and the farm is somewhat of a muddy mess. We are counting on some of that Colorado sun to wick some of the moisture from the ground so that we can start harvesting root crops to put into storage.  It is a big chore, one that we will chip away at over the next few weeks, but only if things dry out!  If not, it will be an intense November :)

It got extremely cold on Mondays night with a low of 23 clocked on the farm and although we had some loss (row cover collapsing or blowing off), we were able to keep many of the cold tolerant plants alive in the field. Things that we had to say good bye to, (at least for a little while), are beets with tops and two beds of spicy mix.  After the hail and cold weather, we are unsure about the cauliflower heading up and we will probably have a slight pause on kale, collards, and chard at the stand.  The arugula is thick and spicy this week, so I recommend getting a bag and wilting it in a skillet with some shallots and good vinegar.  A good blue cheese would also be advised, crumbled on top before serving.  Next up on our tour d'peppery Asian greens, we visit tatsoi.  Mild enough to use at the base of fall salad, it pairs well with a sweeter dressing.  You can also just wilt it in a skillet, toss it in a risotto or stir fry, or wilt it for a soba noodle salad.  Japanese salad turnips are back at the stand and can be enjoyed in a variety of ways including paired with carrots and glazed with honey and balsamic, enjoyed with the greens in a turnip soup with local ham, or baked in a gratin with butter and cream...or if you have more will power than I do, you can just eat them raw with or without salt.

We have three more weeks left in our CSA with the last pick up day being Saturday, October 28th.  The end date is the same regardless of your pick-up location so if you are a farm stand member, be sure to get your goodies before then!  If you are running out of money, feel free to keep coming to the market as you don't want to miss out on all the great fall food.  Just be prepared to pay cash, check or credit when you stop by. Finally, just a reminder to come pick up your roasted chilies if you signed up for pick-up today!

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon!
Katie 


This Week's Harvest

Kale

Collard

Chard

Spinach

Arugula

Japanese Salad Turnips

Baby Bok Choy

Kohlrabi

Celeriac

Head Lettuce

Broccoli Rabe

Bell Peppers

Potatoes

Red, Green, and Savoy Cabbage

Fennel

Carrots

Beets

Onions and Shallots

Garlic

Winter Squash