Happy Summer!

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Greetings Folks!

Happy Summer!  With highs soaring into the mid-nineties this past week, it sure does feel like summer and its time for your farmers to beat the heat...in more ways than one.  After a hot morning on the farm, there is nothing better than a lunch time wallow in the cold mountain water of the Poudre River.  With only a 12 hour travel time from the top of Cameron pass, the water will take your breath away and leave you feeling as crisp and perky as a chilled kale bunch.  Ok, bad farmer joke, but I swear that is what you feel like.  Then its time to do some serious cooling on the farm.  To keep things like head lettuce and broccoli from going to seed, farmer Nic has to double down on the evaporative cooling which actually works for farmers too.  A wet long sleeve shirt goes a long way on a hot afternoon.  Aside from trying to stay cool, your farmers have been busy harvesting like crazy.  For some reason, our vegetables are behaving some what like the weather this year...unexpectedly.  Some things are early, some things are late and some things are just surprising.  Either way, it is making for an extra busy June.

We are having a serious broccoli glut on the farm this week and it is equally as beautiful as it is abundant...so come and get it!  Spring broccoli can be hit or miss, but apparently this stuff liked that snow storm that we got in May.  I love it roasted or sautéed at on high heat, but in this weather, do it on the grill.  Just marinate it in some soy sauce and balsamic and throw it in your grill basket on high for 20 min or so.  It is awesome.  Be sure to eat the stalk!  It is nutritious and tasty and can be chopped up and grilled with the broccoli OR do 'em fried...check out a good recipe here

It's finally time for the great escape!  Garlic scape that is.  Many of you have been asking and they have finally arrived.  The scape is the seed stalk of the garlic and is magically delicious.  Sorta like garlic favored asparagus.  Many folks grill them or make pesto with them, but they are lovely chopped into a curry or stir fry too. We have a limited supply because the heavy snow knocked over a lot of our garlic and it never really stood back up.   They will be available this week only.  Speaking of this week only, last week for sugar snap peas.  They have surprised me a lot with continuous yields and that is great news for you pea lovers.  Get em while you can, we only have them once per year!  Finally, other surprises this week include cauliflower.  It is not usually ready until July and so I was surprised to see their heads peaking out at me while I was drowning in broccoli.  Some heads are more like art installations than actual food, so treat them gently.  Roasted cauliflower is my favorite, but I think I'm going to try it grilled this week, maybe marinated like a steak as I can not make my house warmer than it already is.  Don't forget the parmesan and garlic, it takes the cauliflower to the next level.

Looking forward to seeing many of you real soon!

Katie


This Week's Harvest

Kale

Collards

Chard

Salad Mix

Head Lettuce

Spinach 

Arugula

Salad Turnips

Radishes

Garlic Scapes

Sugar Snap Peas

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Zucchini

Baby Fennel Bunches

Beets

Spring Onions

Back in the Swing of Things

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Greetings Folks,

This week finds us already 4 weeks into the summer program and we finally feel like we are back in the swing of things.  With most of our summer crops planted out, it is time to fight back the jungle of grass and weeds that always threatens to engulf the farm in June.  As organic farmers, we like to create habitat for native beneficial insects along our roadways, ditches and field edges so that we can encourage the good bugs to compete with the bad ones.  This is often a blessing and a curse as we only have a few tools we can use to try to tame the habitat when it starts encroaching on our fields.  We do a lot of "grounds keeping", meaning mowing and weed whacking as well as flame weeding (which is basically what it sounds like, walking around with a propane tank on our back and a burning back the smaller weeds, and yes we feel like a bada**).  It is also time to start trellising tomatoes...a seemingly relentless task in June as by the time you get to the end of the row, the tomatoes have grown so much its time to start again (only exaggerating a little).  

With mother's day, graduation, and summer vacations out of the way, June is here and its time to open the windows, pull out the grill and settle into that luxurious pace of summer (although technically it doesn't start for another 2 weeks).  Green salads are always a fast and easy way to pack in the vegetables, but I'm partial to branching out a bit this time of year. Massaging heartier greens like kale and chard in your favorite dressing will leave you feeling oh so satisfied and make you something of a standout at your next bbq. I like to use a lemon and honey based dressing for mine and combine it with some fruit, nuts and delicious cheese.  Pasta salads are also a nice change and can absorb most vegetables well.  Blanched greens blend well with sliced kohlrabi and turnips in an early summer pasta salad.  Speaking of Kohlrabi, I love to eat it raw but it is great combined with radishes in spring rolls or Asian dumplings or even just sliced and grilled. Sugar snap peas and zucchini will be trickling into the market over the next week.  Our peas took a bit of a beating with late snow storm and some early deer pressure, so we are expecting loweryields.  I know they are a favorite of everyone, so we apologize if they are a bit sporadic at the markets.  Can't win them all every year.

Looking forward to seeing many of you soon,

Katie


This Week's Harvest

Kale

Collards

Chard

Radishes

Turnips

Salad Mix

Spicy Mix

Spinach

Baby Bok Choy

Broccoli Rabe

Kohlrabi

Zucchini (just starting, will have more soon)

Sugar Snap Peas

Getting Creative on the Farm

Hello Friends,

Your farmers are in a tizzy to get some stuff in the ground before the next storm and there is much to do while the sun shines.  We have late tomatoes, summer squash, cucumbers, peppers, and celeriac to get in the ground, as well as seeding July beans, cultivating garlic, potatoes, onions and mixed greens. We have peas to trellis and of course lots of food to get out of the ground, wash, and bring you good folks at the market this week.  Diversified vegetable farming is tricky business in Colorado when it rains.  We are perhaps the only farmers on our ditch system that need water in the ditch right now to keep planting and watering but no one else is calling for water...so we have to get creative as to how to move forward in our planting windows.  Good thing we have a farmer/engineer on the team that can rig up water to come from almost anything....a neighbor's well, a 250 gallon tote, a city tap with a really long hose...you would be surprised what we do on our farm for that life sustaining element that is water!

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Due to the snow, we do not have any salad mix for the market today.  We should be back up and running either this weekend or next, depending on how fast we have some regrowth.  We have some arugula that we will be selling at a discount because it is from last week's harvest.  We do not normally do that, but we also don't normally have snow in late May!  Other than that, we should have a good variety of greens for you folks this week, although we may come up a bit short on volume due to the storm.  Please be patient with us while the plants recover.

Native Hill Farm Stand is open every day from 8am-6pm. Come on by!

Native Hill Farm Stand is open every day from 8am-6pm. Come on by!

Just a quick FYI, Beaver's market is a little challenging to get to right now as Shields Ave is closed from Laporte to Vine.  If you are trying to get there from the North, just get over to mountain from Laporte before you get to shields.

See ya soon!

Katie


This Week's Harvest

Spinach

Spicy Mix

Discounted (but still delicious) Arugula

Radishes

Kale

Collard Greens

Rainbow Chard

Green Garlic

Week 5: A Weather Yo-Yo!

Greetings Y'all!

I hope this cloudy June morning finds you all well.  We have been having quite the weather Yo-Yo in these here parts, humid to hot and humid, to super cells and golf ball size hail, to 90 and dry and now back to predicted heavy rains....and all this since I last wrote you!  Remember when you didn't really even have to look at the weather for Fort Collins because it was always 85 and a 20% chance of thunderstorms after 11am?  Oh the good 'ol days.  Aside from covering and uncovering, moving flats in and out and crossing our fingers on the storms, this week has been full of transplanting and seeding.  June is always a bit of a crazy month because everything starts growing super fast. We have greens to harvest and things still need to be planted, weeded, and watered.  I am curious as to how this June will compare to others as most growth revolves around the Summer Solstice.  For six weeks before and six weeks after the Solstice, we get the most growth on the farm.  For those of you who are keeping track, four of the first six have been rainy and cold...lets all keep our fingers crossed for an Indian Summer!  Hmmm, I just realized that I could probably write my own Farmer's Almanac for Colorado just by looking back at the last seven years of weekly newsletters....maybe I should start writing less about the weather and more about politics.  Just kidding. 

Zucchini has arrived for the summer! Photo by Claire Burnett

Zucchini has arrived for the summer! Photo by Claire Burnett

Magical and fun things are starting to happen on the farm these days.  In addition to the sighting of a mysterious weasel/mink/wood chuck type creature (a neighbors's tail-less cat perhaps?), we have been observing the scaping of the garlic, the elongation of the zucchini, and bulbing of the fennel.  Garlic scapes are the seed head of the garlic bulb that we planted way back in November.  If left to their own devices, the scape would keep growing, pulling nutrients away from the growing garlic bulb and eventually flower and produce garlic seed.  To ensure your garlic is as large and lovely as can be, we will snap off the scapes and as not to waste something so tasty, bring them to market for you all to enjoy.  They taste like garlic flavored asparagus and can be grilled or roasted with olive oil and salt for delicious side.  I will also just throw them into any dish that I want to impart that garlic flavor on...or try making some pesto...maybe with some spinach or arugula?  Zucchini has arrived for the summer.  Like that favorite scarf that can be used to dress up or dress down an ensemble, the versatility of the vegetable is unrivaled in the veggie world.  From a raw salad  to  pizza crust, just start at chapter one of the zucchini cook book and go nuts. I always like to start simple, enjoying the tender fruit for what it is.  You have all summer to start disguising it in breads, latkes, and soups. :)

Finally, don't forget to fill out our land survey!  I sent it out last Friday afternoon and we need your feedback! We will be thrilled to hear if you love the project, but more importantly we want to hear if you hate the project. This is part of our due diligence before we act so we need to make sure it is in our best interest to move forward with it.  If there is not support from our greatest veggie lovers out there, we will need to re-evaluate our current strategy.  Click on this link to take you to the survey now.

It should take five minutes to look over the background info and 2-4 minutes to take the survey. We are looking for responses by tomorrow evening.  Thank you all in advance!!!!

See you all real soon!
Katie