Crux of the Seasonal Climb

 Flowers have burst into flow glory here at Native Hill!

Flowers have burst into flow glory here at Native Hill!

Greetings!

Welcome to week 10 of your summer CSA with Native Hill.  We are in the crux of the seasonal climb here on the farm, working hard to start our fall push while getting ready for the mid-summer harvest that is coming down the pike fast.  We often have to do things in just the right order to make it all happen, but luckily we have been practicing for a while to get it all right.  The heat wave broke last week just in time to give our exhausted and over-heated staff (and machinery) a nice break and spirits are high again.  Getting ready for round two. Fall carrots are in the ground with the beets soon to follow and the tomatoes had their final trellising.  Here is my brief farmers ode to July:

Fireworks, sweat stained backs

Sticky fingers, chins, and sheets

Exhausted, early bed, Early wake

Swim

Repeat

Flowers have burst into full glory starting this week and look to be cranking from now until the first frost.  My plan is to frivolously scatter them around my house as summer is the season of bounty.  There is little that makes me feel richer than surrounding myself with bowls of freshness and this time of year is the prefect time to indulge.  If it not too hot, displays of different colored  tomatoes are often my centerpiece.  Eggplant is just coming on and can be kept on the counter for several days without any problems.  There are very few vegetables that have that rich purple color and it is truly a favorite of mine to ogle.  Contrary to popular belief, eggplant is quite easy to cook and is rarely bitter...at least the ones from our farm.  It often acts like a mushroom and will soak up the flavors of any oil or liquid that it is cooked in.  We often grill ours and will marinate it in oil, soy sauce, and balsamic vinegar. It can act more as the main event if you slice it thicker and make grilled eggplant and tomato sandwiches on a good sourdough. It is remarkable on pizza if sautéed first in olive oil and salt...or if you are feeling really creative, you can make a big batch of baba ganouch and use that as a base for pizza.  Top it with basil, figs, a good cheese and maybe call it a flat bread.  

A quick note on heirloom tomatoes, because of their perishable and fragile nature, we will not be stocking them in the farm stand.  We will have slicing tomatoes and cherry tomatoes, but if you would like heirlooms, you will need to come to the market. Sorry for the inconvenience.

Katie


This Week's Harvest

Head Lettuce

Kale

Chard

Carrots

Beets

Cucumbers

Zucchini

Sweet Onions

Heirloom Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes (small amount)

Green Beans

Eggplant

Basil

Peppers

 

A Smattering of New Crops

 Heirloom tomatoes are making their first appearance of the summer this week at Native hill farm!

Heirloom tomatoes are making their first appearance of the summer this week at Native hill farm!

Hi Folks!

Hope you are finding a way to stay cool with all this heat that has settle upon the Nation. Often times when we get some of these scorchers, we try to get to the farm extra early so that we can be done before the heat really sets in...but it is harder when we have prolonged heat as we just have too much stuff to do to knock off early every day.  That said, our main reprieve has been swimming in the river.  Maybe wallowing is a more accurate verb as the river is still moving rather swiftly, delivering cold mountain water to the farmers and reservoirs of Norther Colorado.  Our irrigators have been working hard to keep the plants feeling cooler by overhead watering the head lettuce and putting shade cloth on our tunnels.  The only real good thing about the heat is that is helping to ripen tomatoes!  They have started trickling in and should just keep ramping up from here on out!  

We are moving into mid-summer and we will start to see a smattering of new crops appearing at market.  This week we are harvesting walla walla sweet onions and we should have them for the next month or more.  I like to use them in just about everything, but they really shine when grilled, or caramelized for pizza.  They make a great addition to a raw cucumber salad but can also be used in simple pastas.  

Also this week, we are having an oversized zucchini sale.  We try hard not to have extra large zucchini, but  every once in a while they escape our diligent harvesting.  I always think oversized zucchini are good for baking and I will often grade them down, squeeze the moisture out of them and then freeze it for colder times; however, I have one couple that loves the big guys just cut in half and slow cooked on the grill.  They make good zucchini boats for stuffing with bred crumbs, cheese, and herbs.  Look for them special at the market on Saturday.

Beans are just starting to trickle in.  Our first rotation was creamed several times by the hail and I am not expecting huge harvests from them.  I briefly considering cutting them into tiny equal parts so that we would have enough for everyone, but that was a short lived idea.  Instead, we will just rotate them between the market and the farm stand for a few weeks until our other plantings come one.  

We will also have a small showing of purple peppers, sungold cherry tomatoes, and heirloom tomatoes starting this weekend.  The sun golds are basically candy disguised as a tomato, your kids won't even be able to tell the difference. The heirloom tomatoes are great for everything, but my tradition for the first ones is a big old BLT.  I slather mine with hot pepper mustard and balsamic reduction, but you can be the judge about how fancy you want to be. If you miss out on the tomatoes this week, don't fear, there are oodles to come!

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon!
Katie


This Week's Harvest

  • Flowers
  • Head Lettuce
  • Kale
  • Collards
  • Chard
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumbers
  • Kohlrabi
  • Walla Walla Sweet Onions
  • Heirloom Tomatoes (small amount)
  • Cherry Tomatoes (small amount)
  • Purple Peppers (small amount)
  • Green Beans (small amount)

Hurry Up and Wait

Greetings Folks!

Carrots_native_hill_farm.jpg

I hope your Independence holiday was full of exactly what you wanted...relaxation, cooking with friends, a family bike ride, or sweatin' to the oldies.  Here on the farm, the 4th is a nice time to come up for air. June is a chaotic month on the farm with a lot of planting and harvesting, weeding and watering.  While July is often when a farmer's grit is tested, it is also a time to hurry up and wait.  With the spring veggies gone and summer fruit still ripening, we are mostly planting for the fall, weeding, watering, and dealing with broken equipment.  We harvested the last of the spring broccoli this week, but many tiny fall plants are heading out of the greenhouse to take their place in just two short weeks. The beans are finally flowering after weathering through yet another hail storm.  The tomatoes are bursting from their tunnels, plumping fruit with promises of a bountiful fall.  The garlic is out and curing, filling the greenhouse with its glorious aroma.  The onions, triggered by the slightly shortening days are getting wider in the waste and will soon be ready to pair with said garlic.

Carrots are back for the foreseeable future....meaning we should have them continuously until next March.  I'm starting to grow suspicious that many fort Collins folks are part rabbit as it seems like we can't ever grow enough carrots to satiate the masses.  I probably don't have to dole out carrot culinary ideas quite yet, but I will say that these young ones are great roasted with the tops on and served with a harissa dipping sauce.  The head lettuce has now been through its 3rd hail storm.  It is holding up ok, but these storms are getting a bit old.  Please continue to excuse some broken leaves while you continue to enjoy your salads.  Our red lettuce is somewhat of a romaine type and can be grilled nicely.  Andrea Beeman tops hers with fried capers, almonds, and a Dijon tahini dressing while I'm more of a honey lemon gal myself. Kohlrabi is still around for a while and can be a very versatile veggie.  Mix some shredded kohlrabi with some shredded potatoes for a quick week night fritter fest.  Serve with a cucumber dill or a cashew cream sauce and you will be licking your plates at the end of the evening.

Flower blooms are starting to shower their beauty over the farm and we hope you will pick some up at the market or farm stand.  Whether you are bringing them to a dinner party or placing them on your own clean table, they will be sure to make any space feel special.

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon!

Katie


This Week's Harvest

Kale

Collards

Chard

Head Lettuce

Broccoli

Spring Onions

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Beets

Carrots

Basil

Turnips

Kohlrabi

Flower Bouquets

Transition from Spring to Summer at Native Hill

cauliflower_native_hill_farm.jpg

Hello Folks!

This week officially marks our transition from spring to summer at Native Hill and of course change can be  hard.  Saying goodbye to our spring friends is never easy but the heat will bring summer fruits that will be sure to satisfy just as much as spinach and arugula.  We will have a slight lull variety as we wait patiently for said summer fruits. I often think of July as a vegetable purgatory, in which it is too hot for spring crops, but the summer stuff isn't quite ready
yet.  There will be some main stays heading our way over the next few weeks.  Expect carrots for the 4th of July, walla walla sweet onions the week after that, and beans bringing up the rear (they got hailed on two times, so are a bit later than we hoped).

Head lettuce is back...although it is a little bit shaggy after the hail.  Head lettuce is a personal favorite of mine as I love the colors and textures and robustness of a nice head.  It makes a
fabulous picnic salad, perhaps with some fresh basil, oregano.  Add some feta and olives and perhaps some tender flank steak and commune with the dragon flies who are also feasting this late week in June...but on other things than salad. Or perhaps take that flank
steak and top it with a kale chimichurri sauce.  Serve it with a side of grilled broccoli and a bottle of cold prosecco and you have the perfect meal for a hot evening.  When it gets hot in our house, we like to skimp on the cooking.  Falafel waffles are a quick and easy way to pack in the veggies without turning on your oven.  We make ours with turmeric soaked chick peas and top it with a fresh cucumber and kohlrabi slaw.  Serve with tahini or yogurt sauce and your kids will
ask for seconds.

A quick note on processing head lettuce.  When you are ready to use the head, chop it up and place it in your salad spinner.  Fill salad spinner with water, swish around lettuce, and then pick up the hoper with the leaves and dump out the water.  Repeat.  Then spin it dry and store in the spinner.

Stay cool out there!
Katie

This Week's Harvest

Kale
Collards
Chard
Head Lettuce
Kohlrabi
Turnips
Beets
Spring Onions
Zucchini
Cucumbers
Broccoli
Basil
Ugly Cauliflower

Hail takes no prisoners

IMG_7923.JPG

Those of you who live in the North part of town probably already know about the crazy storms that rolled through on Tuesday, but for those of you who just got rain it is probably news to you that we had quite a bit of hail at the farm. Hail takes no prisoners on a vegetable farm and this storm was no exception.  We are unsure of the total damages at this point but please expect some delays in the next few weeks on specific items, namely lettuce.  Things may look a bit different at the stand as well such as topped turnips, and frumpy beet greens, but at this point I think a lot of stuff will recover as long as we don't get another doozy.  Thanks for your patience.  

This week was supposed to be our last week for loose leaf greens until fall.  And I suppose it still will be except that we didn't get the salad mix harvested before the aerial ice assault struck.  The good news is that we managed to get the spinach and arugula cut and washed, so pick up some this week if you can because this will be the last week for them at the market until fall.  

In other good news, the first allium will be at the market this week.  Grilling onions are back for a few weeks and are a fun thing to add to almost every dish.  No, you don't have to grill them just because they are nicknamed grilling onions, but they are great for kabobs or grilled on their own.  They have a delicate flavor, similar to a green onion so I often use them to add a fresh flavor to the end of my dishes.  Perhaps make some spring rolls with radishes, turnips and kohlrabi and add some grilling onions to the peanut dipping sauce.  Or try a vegetable tabbouleh with fresh mint, grilling onions and diced cucumbers. 

It is such a fun time of year to eat raw and an easy way to do that is to make some dipping sauces.  Just slice up some farm veggies as an appetizer at your next dinner party and put out a  spread of things like tahini garlic sauce, homemade hummus, or pesto and let folks try a little bit of everything.  You can sneak the leftovers (if there are any) into your kids lunch box the next day.

Just a few storage tips for those of you new to the farm. When storing roots, be sure to take the tops off and put the roots (and greens if you would like to eat them), in a plastic bag in your fridge.  The tops will act like a wick and take the moisture out of the root over time.  Speaking of plastic bags, the best way to store most farm produce is in a plastic bag in your fridge.

Katy


This Week's Harvest

Kale

Collards

Chard

Spinach

Arugula

Kohlrabi

Radishes

Turnips

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Grilling onions

Sugar Snap Peas

Beets