Summer's last hooray

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Greetings Folks!

Regardless of the fact that the first day of fall doesn't occur until the middle of September, there is little doubt in my mind that August is summer's last hooray.  So much of summer is just a state of mind, a time for indulging, vacation, music, celebration.  As we approach the last three weeks of August, I started to panic a bit...so much summer fun that I kept putting off and now that we are in the home stretch, I am hoping to squeeze it all in. Maybe one last trip to the river to swim.  Maybe one more sunny outdoor concert.  Maybe a quick over night camping trip up the canyon.  There are many parallels that can be drawn with all the fresh food in the summer.  I haven't even had a Colorado melon yet and time is slipping away!  When am I going to get sick of heirloom tomatoes? Is it still too hot to turn on my oven?  sigh.  After much hand ringing with my co-workers about missing out on summer, we came to the consensus that there is not much more that says summer than farming...which made me feel slightly better because there has been A LOT of that lately.  

There has been a lot of farming lately because we are in the middle of the "glut".  The time when there is more food being picked than can possibly be eaten.  Heirloom tomatoes are at their peak and we will be offering $15 boxes of uglies at the market this week and next.  Heirloom uglies are great for cooking down into jam, saucing with some slicing tomatoes, or roasting and freezing for a small taste of summer in the depths of the winter months.  Slicing and Roma tomato boxes will be available starting next week and we are predicting them to hold steady into the first week in September. If you have been waiting to put away pesto for the winter, don't wait too long.  Basil doesn't love temperatures in the 40s and is a great thing to do while it is still hot out because you don't have to cook ANYTHING!  

Some of you have discovered the pints of shishito peppers that we have been sneaking into the market and farm stand the last two weeks.  We are picking them nice and small this year, so they should be pleasantly mild and prefect for blistering in your skillet with some sea salt.  Oddly addicting, set them out for your friends to nibble on before serving the whole banana of a main course...perhaps a summer southwestern succotash or elevation burger with the "works" (meaning caramelized sweet onions, heirloom tomatoes, pesto, and a piece of good head lettuce). Eggplant is abundant right now.  Make some room in your stomach for eggplant parmesan or some Shaksuka and sleep fat and happy.

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon!

Katie


This Week's Harvest

  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Head Lettuce
  • Cucumber 
  • Zucchini (some from Garden Sweet
  • Yellow Squash (Garden Sweet)
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Tomatoes...heirloom, cherry, slicing
  • Eggplant
  • Peppers, hot, bell, shishito
  • Fingerling Potatoes (Strohaur)
  • Sweet Onions
  • Beans, Green and Dragon Lingerie
  • Flowers

Turn it into energy and happiness

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Hello Folks,

Welcome to the middle of the lake week...or at least that is what we call it on the farm.  We are officially 12 weeks into our summer CSA program which means we have 12 weeks left of summer markets and farm stand fun.  There is no turning back now, so all we can do is keep swimming until we reach the other side.  The second half of the swim usually feels like we are swimming with the current and a nice breeze at our back. Now is the time to bring in the food and get as much of it to our community as we can possibly pick.  This means it is your job to come get the food and turn it into, as one CSA member put it, "energy and happiness."  Its a tough job, but I know y'all are up for it!

We are continuing to harvest summer crops that are coming on with abundance right now.  Hard to know what to eat right now as there is so much good stuff. We are starting to partner with a few different farms to bring you folks some things that we did not have space to grow on the farm this year.  This week we will have fingerling potatoes from Strohaur farms and yellow squash from Garden Sweet. Both farms are local and organic and we hope that you will enjoy supporting them as much as you support us.  

This week we are looking for "fast" food and have been eating very al fresco.  With the continuous cucumber abundance (quite a year for those little suckers), I have been making more salads than ever before.  This week we paged through Joshua McFadden's "6 seasons" cook book and found a nice recipe for cucumber and celery salad with apricots and herbs.  I had never had anything like it and would bring it fresh to a potluck any day. Now that I'm thinking about it, those cucumbers would also pair well with the abundance of heirloom tomatoes we have for a nice cool gazpacho. Served with a crusty bread and a glass of chilled white wine, I can't think of a nicer super for a warm summer evening. 

 If it hasn't been obvious to you all, now is the time for caprese.  The heirloom tomatoes are in full swing and it is a real show stopper to have a big bowl of multi-colored tomatoes, fresh basil and mozzarella topped with salt and balsamic reduction.  No one complains in our house when that appears on the table.  If you are looking for a quick week night supper, Andrea Beamis has an easy recipe for chickpea and summer vegetable tacos.  Deviating complete from a traditional taco flavor, this version combines roasted  summer squash, eggplant, and cherry tomatoes  with chickpeas and a herbed tahini sauce. Easy to scale up for unexpected guests and pairs well with a cold beer after a long work day. 

A few FYIs.  There have been a few folks asking about the tomatoes in the "refrigerator" in the farm stand.  To set the record straight, the fridge is really a cooler that we have set to a tomato friendly temperature.  This allows us to keep the tomatoes from getting over ripe as well as keep insects and critters from eating them.  There should not be any decrease in the quality of the tomatoes coming from this fridge, so please indulge.  

Speaking of tomatoes, a quick attaché about them.  We grow them in unheated tunnels which means the temperature fluctuates with the temperature outside.  "Cat facing" or the scaring that you see on the outside of the tomato is caused by extreme temperature swings, not unlike what we have seen this summer...hot-cool-hot-cool.  Unless we grow these things in a controlled environment such as a greenhouse, we will not be able to keep the tomatoes from developing scarring.  Consider them beauty marks and enjoy them with reckless abandon anyway. 

Also, its time to start thinking about winter!  If you have been enjoying our summer CSA program, don't let the fun stop when the colder months approach.  The shares run from the beginning of November to the end of March and include fresh greens, storage crops and pantry staples. We will be continuing our tradition of Wednesday evening pick ups at Equinox Brewing, so be sure to stay for a pint when you pick up your box! 

Looking forward to seeing you all soon,

Katie


This Week's Harvest

  • Kale
  • Chard
  • Head Lettuce
  • Carrots
  • Beets
  • Sweet Onions
  • Beans
  • Heirloom and Cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchini
  • Summer Squash from Garden Sweet
  • Fingerling Potatoes from Strohaur
  • Eggplant
  • Basil
  • Peppers, bell and hot
  • Cucumbers
  • Flowers

A race with Mother Nature

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Hi-Ya Folks,

Week 11 has proved to be an extra busy week on the farm and its doesn't look like we are stopping the party any time soon.  In addition to getting food out of the field we have been planting the heck out of our fall crops and starting to figure out the great cooler shuffle as we transition into mid summer on the farm. We are tuning up the carrot harvester for our big mid season carrot push and trying to make some curing space for the onions that will need to be pulled right about the same time.  Flowers are bursting, hundreds of little sunflowers with their heads turned to face the sun, make the farm a joyous place to be in late July and we are still playing twister in the cucumber and zucchini patches as we work around the monster plants that have over grown their fields. 

With food literally spilling out everywhere, this time of year feels like a race...a race with mother nature to see how much perishable food I can fit in my stomach before it gets too ripe.  Recalling the order of operations from seed to food, we have moved from leaf, to root, to fruit.  Fruit, for all of its glory, is by design a short lived being.  It holds the seeds for the next generation and when the plant drops its fruit, it will degrade and replant the seed.  Lucky for us, the fruits of many plants are delicious, but we have to gobble them up before they start trying to replant themselves. 

One way to do this is to cook them. When I can't keep up with all the beautiful fruits of the season, I know its time for ratatouille.  One of my favorite summer dishes, this can use up a lot of produce and fast.  I make an extra big batch and resign myself to thinking about winter, putting half of it in the freezer for the colder months.  One of my favorite ways to make it, is to chop up all the veggies, and add lots of oil and balsamic vinegar.  I cook it down in the oven until it is good and gooey and then slather it on some thick cut sourdough toast with ricotta or goat cheese.  It tastes just as great this way coming out of the freezer and can be served in a similar way as a quick appetizer for hungry winter guests. 

Freezer pesto is a must do in our family. We make a huge batch to get us through the long winter and now is the time to get it going.  With tons of fresh basil on hand, the kitchen literally turns green as we stay up late processing all the freshness.  Look for bulk bags at the market this weekend!

Looking forward to seeing many of you very soon!

Katie


This Week's Harvest

  • Kale

  • Chard

  • Head Lettuce

  • Carrots

  • Beets

  • Basil

  • Zucchini

  • Cucumbers

  • Heirloom Tomatoes

  • Cherry Tomatoes

  • Beans

  • Sweet Onions

  • Flowers and Herbs

  • Peppers (small amount)

  • Eggplant

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)