Hail takes no prisoners

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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

Welcome to ugly vegetable week

 Cucumbers are a favorite summer treat!

Cucumbers are a favorite summer treat!

Hello Folks!

Welcome to week 5 on the farm.  While not officially departed, spring has certainly made its exit on the farm.  We like to hold onto spring stuff as long as possible as the transition to summer food is not as abrupt as the change in temperatures; however, it is hard to go against biology and although we have a few tricks up our sleeves, in the end we have to give in to the natural inclinations of cool weather produce.  We are catapulting, albeit a little early, into the transition from late spring to early summer.  Arugula is taking a break this week, perhaps for good until fall, but we will know for sure by next week. We will also soon be saying good bye to salad mix, spinach, and spicy mix and welcoming our trusty summer salad making companion, head lettuce.  With the carrot field weeded and another round of tomatoes trellised, we are spending a lot of time picking peas, cutting broccoli, and keeping up with the farm stand...you folks are hungry!

Welcome to ugly vegetable week. Ok, not ugly, but its been a bit of a challenge keeping vegetables that do not like the heat looking nice for market.  The zucchinis are a bit odd shaped due to an irrigation situation.  They still taste great, so don't be afraid.  In addition, I need to confess that we had a near crop failure on the spring cauliflower this year.  We will have a small amount of less than perfect heads at market this week with another small slug of late, but nicer looking heads of a yellow variety that seem to be doing better. Hoping to try round two of the cauliflower in the fall.  

Now for some good news.  Pea-a-palooza is happening this week only on the farm, so be sure to pick up some of those delicious sugar snap peas before this fleeting crop passes us by.  Spring broccoli will be joining us for a little while before it disappears until fall.  My new favorite way to eat it is grilled with balsamic and soy sauce, but it is delicious roasted or steamed as well. For a real British treat try mixing it with cardamom, almonds and cream cheese and roasting it in the oven at high heat...sounds weird I know, but definitely a crowd pleaser. 

Beets are finally almost here...we may have some this week at the market and will definitely have them at the stand next week.  If you are a beet fan, I probably don't need to say much.  For those of us who struggle with this earthy, nutrient packed vegetable, I have found it better to add them to things rather than trying to eat them on their own.  Roasted beets with kale and goat cheese is a good start.  They are delicious with candied nuts on salad, stirred into risotto, or even grilled.  We grow several types of beets on the farm and I have no doubt we can convert even the most stodgy of pallets.  With their deep earthy and sweet flavors, golden beets are the bass of the beet varieties.  The red beet finds its self in the middle of the choir, dark in color, but lighter in flavor.  The Chioggia beet with this bulls eye root is the lightest both is color and in flavor.  It is a beet for non-beet people. 

Finally, a community FYI, the United Methodist Church is hosting four Community Nights on the lawn this summer.  The first one is June 21st and yours truly will be talking about the benefit of local agriculture and CSAs....although I'm sure many of you already know the benefits of being in a CSA!  

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon,

Katie


This Week's Harvest

Kale

Chard

Collards

Salad Mix

Spinach 

Spicy Mix

Baby Bok Choy

Salad Turnips

Radishes

Zucchini

Cucumbers

Beets (hopefully!)

Broccoli

A small amount of ugly Cauliflower

Sugar Snap Peas

It's a bit like juggling while sprinting

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Hello Folks!

With temperatures already in the 90s, this week finds your farmers working hard to keep things irrigated during the heat wave.  Its a challenging time to be a farmer as we are still technically in the spring season and many of our spring crops do not do great in the heat.  The heat makes many veggies including radishes, spinach and arugula want to bolt, so unless things cool down here soon, we may have a shorter season for some of those spring veggies than we anticipated.  In addition to irrigation, this week finds your farmers seeding fall parsnips, picking peas, trellising tomatoes (again!), and weeding just about everything.  June is one of the busiest months on a vegetable farm as we are still pushing forward on plantings, but also starting to spend more time harvesting.  As Dennis Stenson often describes it:  It's a bit like juggling while sprinting.  

Lots of delicious stuff at the market stand this week!  Sugar snap peas are just starting to come in.  We will have a small quantity at the farmers market this weekend and expect to have them in the stand by next week.  I rarely cook with them as they are great just as a snack or as an addition to a raw veggie plate...but if you must eat them cooked I would recommend them flashed cooked in a stir fry.  

This year's kohlrabi is sweetest I've ever had.  So sweet that my almost three year old son ate all of his in his lunch yesterday (if you have kids, you know this says a lot).  Again, I don't often cook my kohlrabi, but instead put it in salads, raw spring rolls, on tacos, or served among other veggie friends on a platter.   Just peel off the alien-like skin and slice into rounds or match sticks.  Delicious!

The early cucumbers and zucchini are in! We have been having some serious pest issues with both plants over the years so we are only doing one early rotation of them this year.  I anticipate having these popular summer items until mid July, so make sure to get your fill before then.  We made a big batch of cucumber and dill yogurt sauce for our greek tacos last night and I'm pretty sure I'm going to just slather the left over sauce on everything I can think of in the next few days...including some kohlrabi and zucchini fritters.  Be sure to make a big batch as I'm already hiding the left overs from my husband and son.  Its popular in our house :)

As many a good Italian knows, broccoli rabe is a fly by night veggie in the spring.  This will be the last week for it until the fall, so if you didn't pick some up last week, don't delay.  Sautéed zucchini, rabe and spicy sausage served over left over orzo was a big hit in our house this week. We also chopped some up and served it raw as another topping for our greek taco night...not for everyone but we love it!.

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon!
 

Katie


Week 4's Harvest:

Kale

Collard

Chard

Spinach 

Salad Mix

Arugula

Spicy Mix

Zucchini

Cucumber

Radishes

Hakurei Turnips

Kohlrabi 

Broccoli Rabe

Baby Bok Choy

Sugar Snap Peas

Green is still the dominant color

 It's that time of year! Come visit us at the Larimer County Farmer's Market every Saturday in Old Town.

It's that time of year! Come visit us at the Larimer County Farmer's Market every Saturday in Old Town.

Hi Folks,

I hope you all had a great holiday weekend and that  your "summers" are all off to a great start.  It certainly has been feeling a lot of like summer with these warm temperatures.  We are trying not to make predictions about actual summer based on the early hot days, but one can't help but wonder what July is going to look like when we are having temps in the 90s in May! This week finds your farmers again trying to dodge sever storms...or perhaps we are just hoping the storms will dodge us.  We are also trying to play catch up from the wrath of last week's heavy rains.  Lots of weeding, mowing, field prep, and transplanting to be done.  

Green is still the dominant color this week as we wait for roots and fruits. Hearty greens pack a super vitamin punch when added to morning smoothies.  This can be done rather quickly as there is little cooking involved, just throw them in your blender with some fruit and yogurt and you have spring in a jar.  Raw kale or chard salads are another way to keep those vitamins in tact. Chiffonading the chard and then add a honey lemon dressing will help to soften then leaves. Scrunch the whole mess up with your fingers and  let is sit for 30 min. Top it off with some dried cranberries, feta, and almonds and you will be a happy camper. 

Chick peas always in season at our place and I love to have them for a protein powered lunch.  Heidi from 101 cook books has a great recipe for turmeric soaked chick peas with arugula and garlic tahini sauce.  Click here to check it out.  Speaking of arugula, we have been battling a large population of those pesky flea beetles this year and they love those spicy greens.  Please excuse a few holes in the greens as we do our best to protect the fragile leaves from their wrath. 

Hakurei turnips will be at the stand this week.  Also known as salad turnips, they little guys pack a sweet and creamy punch when eaten raw.  You can also eat them cooked.  They are heavenly done on the stove top with a  honey mustard glaze, but they can be tossed into noodle bowls or curries as well.  I have a feeling they would pickle great too, but I haven't tried that yet. 

Looking forward to seeing you all at the market soon!

Katie

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