Always new challenges here!

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Hello Folks,

Hope everyone had a great eclipse holiday!  Even though your farmers didn't get to travel to a totality locality, we still were able to enjoy the magic from the tomato tunnels.  Pretty crazy experience! Now that it is a bit dryer, your farmers have been busy this week trying to figure out our new carrot harvester.  It actually works pretty well for a machine from the 1970s but now we have a materials handling problem.  The machine is too fast and we can't keep up with the washing and packing logistics.  Its always a new challenge here!  Speaking of carrot harvesting, I'm sure that you have noticed that we have been bagging our carrots at the market rather than bunching them.  No one seems to be complaining, but we changed because it is more efficient for the farm and there were enough folks at the market asking us to remove the tops before putting them in their bag.  We figured we would make it easier for everyone by getting rid of the tops ahead of time and giving you a handy bag to store them in.  Winning!

Its back to school time and we have lots of healthy, delicious stuff for sack lunches.  Carrot sticks, sweet peppers, sun gold cherry tomatoes, and fresh green beans all are easy things to pop in lunches to ensure your kids are eating well even when they aren't home for the summer any more.  We are at the glut of heirloom tomato season!  The plants will be producing high volumes of tomatoes for the next two weeks, so take advantage!  Last night the whole family enjoyed BLTs with a side of oven crisped new potatoes.  Talk about a satisfying meal.  New potatoes are great for all sorts of stuff including potato salad, hash browns, and just plan roasting.  I'm thinking of a new potato skillet hash with onions, cabbage, and sweet peppers.  New potatoes have a thin skin, so store them in a plastic bag in your fridge until you are ready to eat them.  This week we have Yukon Gold at the stand, but may have some other varieties coming down the pike.  We will probably start to have flats of heirloom tomato uglies at the market this week.  Not sure how many we will have but ask at the market stand if you are interested.  Boxes of romas will be coming on strong soon.

See you all real soon!

Katie


This Week's Harvest (Again, please be patient with the quantities of some things, we are going to be low for a little while.)

Kale 

Chard

Collards

Head Lettuce (sort of)

Green Beans

Italian Eggplant

Heirloom Tomatoes

Cherry Tomatoes

Sweet Bell Peppers

Yukon Gold Potatoes

Sweet Onions

Salad Cucumbers

Lemon Cucumbers

Cabbage

Basil

Beets

Carrots

Garlic

Yellow Squash

Flowers

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

Happy June!

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Hi Folks,

Happy June! I hope you all had a lovely Memorial Day weekend and are ready to kick off summer with a bang. Your farmers have been gearing up for the summer craziness and have been working hard to ensure a bountiful season. The first week in June always feels a little like the calm before the storm. Things feel in control until it is time to pick peas and then things just get crazy.  Speaking of peas, the pea shoots are done for the season but the picking peas have formed beautiful white flowers on them which means we don't have far to go before we get fruit.  The winter squash and celeriac were just planted for the fall, new potatoes have broke free from their spring soil caves and the resident goats are working on a special weeding project. Baby animals abound on the farm right now. The robin's nest in the tractor shed is full of little peepers, tiny squirrels are chattering at us from the tree tops, and baby bunnies are hiding under EVERYTHING. The one baby we could do without right now are the recent hatch of the mosquitoes, but alas, one must take the good with the bad. 

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You all know how much Native Hill likes their greens and now is the perfect time for new and interesting ones to come off the farm.  We often take our cue about what is trendy based on our seed catalog.  We've been wanting to try to grow red garnet dandelion greens on the farm for some years now, but it has been hard to get seed (hard to imagine, I know).  We finally got our hands on the seed and this week the greens will make their debut at the stand.  Although similar in appearance to the dandelions that grow in your yard, these guys are bred for production and taste.  As with most cooking greens, they are great lightly sautéed with some garlic and salt.  Juicers love them because they have tons of vitamin A and really pack a nutrient punch with every serving.  Frisee is the fastest growing of chicories that we plant on the farm.  It is one of my favorite spring treats and can be eaten in many different ways.  I love it  lightly sautéed with mushrooms and garlic and a poached egg.  Nic likes to grill his.  Simply wash well and cut the head down the middle.  Brush with olive oil and salt and grill on high, about a min or 2 on each side.  Cut it up and serve as a salad with dried cranberries, feta cheese, your favorite sweet vinaigrette. C'est tres magnefique!

Ever curious about where this mysterious food comes from?  Realize you have been a CSA member for years but never been to the farm?  This year we are excited to announce the Native Hill Summer Farm Tour Series!  Once a month we will be hosting farm tours for CSA and PVCF members to come out and learn about where their food comes from.  This month's tour will be June 23rd starting at 5:30pm.  If you and your family are interested in coming out, please email me to reserve a spot.  The tour is absolutely free, but we will be capping the group size each month to keep things manageable.  

Looking forward to seeing you all real soon!
Katie

This Week's Harvest
Kale
Collards
Chard
Salad Mix
Arugula
Spicy Mix
Spinach
Broccoli Rabe
Dandelion Greens
Hakurei Salad Turnips
Radishes
 

Spring at Native Hill Farm

Native Hill Farm working members are the heart and soul of our farm. (Photo by Claire Burnett)

Native Hill Farm working members are the heart and soul of our farm. (Photo by Claire Burnett)

Hello Folks!

Even though we are still a month away from the first day of summer, I think it ok to say that spring has been tremendous here in Northern Colorado.  The flowers around town have exploded and the temperatures have been down right pleasant (kinda rare for this area).  This week on the farm has been a bit of a slog...mud pie has been the field to fork special.  The good news is that spring greens LOVE this weather and we hope to have lots of delicious eats coming off the farm over the next few weeks.  We will be putting in many of our summer crops soon including field peppers, eggplants, and beans and the seasonal battle with the weeds has already begun.  

Early morning arugula harvest at Native Hill Farm. (Photo by Farmer Grace)

Early morning arugula harvest at Native Hill Farm. (Photo by Farmer Grace)

The salad menu continues this week as we work our way through the leaf, root, and fruit movements of the farm.  My favorite salad this time of year is arugula with goat cheese and some sort of dried fruit.  Figs happen to be my fruit of choice these days as they pair well with bacon which I will also add to my salad if we are living high on the hog so to speak.  Need more substance?  Try it on a pizza or flat bread.  Olive oil and green garlic  base, sliced dried figs, mozzarella, goat cheese, and a big pile of arugula at the end (oh and the bacon).  Italians might give me the stink eye, but I love to add pea greens to my pasta carbonara. Pea greens a little different than pea shoots as they have more substance to them and maybe best for cooking.  Try them in a stir fry with some green garlic and radishes.  Spring called and said dust off your bike. Chive and pea green fritatta with fresh herbs and a side salad makes for a romantic picnic.

Warmly,
Katie


This Week's Harvest

Salad Mix
Arugula
Pea Greens
Radishes
Green Garlic
Chives
Oregano
Thyme