Braised Lamb (or Goat) Neck

photo (3)I recently checked out ‘Mr. Wilkinson’s Vegetables‘ from my local library and it’s crammed with a treasure trove of yummy-sounding recipes. I’ve tried three so far and have been extremely pleased with how tasty everything has turned out. I’ve never cooked lamb neck before, and after reading his recipe for ‘Braised Goat Neck’, I went out and bought lamb necks just to try his recipe (though I tried to find goat meat first – it’s yummy, too). I’m glad I did! Continue reading

A note from Jacquie

p.s.  The Winter Share crops are really looking good!  We have been harvesting like mad before we have a really hard freeze and the ground is too hard to dig up veggies.  All the dried beans have been sitting in the sun drying.  You will get kidney, black, Anasazi and a new bean called Tiger’s Eye.  We were surprised by the abundance of sweet potatoes once they were harvested.  You will get those through the month of November and we had enough to give them to the summer share too.  We have enough cabbage, beets (4#) and Watermelon & Daikon radishes to give those out once a month all winter.  We will have our normal amount of Yukon Gold potatoes (7#), carrots (3#), onions (2 or 3 of each color), garlic (3 to 6), leeks (6) and a sandwich bag of popcorn and dried beans for every delivery.  A bag of lettuce will be delivered until it gets too cold in the cold frame to grow, (normally through December).

  If you are still interested in a Winter Share, you can call me and I will do the paperwork in house or you can ask your DC for a Sign-up Form.  If you get a form from your DC, make sure you call me and tell me you are sending in a Sign-up so I can keep track of everyone.  I can take Winter Share Members through October 23rd.

  J

Newsletter–October 15, 2013

Dear Friends,

 

This is the last week of Distribution and what a ride it has been!  You will be getting Yukon Gold and sweet potatoes, onions, leeks, fennel, white turnips, watermelon and daikon radishes, green tomatoes, bell peppers, eggplant and garlic.  Just want to warn you, the radishes are hot/spicy this time of year.  If you do not like fried green tomatoes, leave them on the counter (out of the sun) and they will turn red for you in 9 to 14 days (depending on the warmth of your home.

    First Fruit is bringing D’Anjou pears for those who have a fruit share.  These pears are considered a “winter pear” and can be kept for a long period of time under refrigeration.  So eat your apples first if they look like they won’t last. 

  First Fruit Organic Farms has also had a hard season.  Their problem occurred when they got a very late freeze in spring.  It killed so many blossoms!  They just fell off the trees and never made fruit.  What was left, they gave to us.  91 glorious pounds of delicious fruit!

    Let’s take a look at the whole year:  Back in January when renewing members were signing up for the season we did not think we were going to have any water at all from the reservoirs.  We called up our city water company and talked to them about using tap water to farm 4 to 6 acres of land under drip irrigation.  We gave you a list of crops we were and were not going to grow.  Almost 500 of you joined to support this 21 year old CSA!  We were amazed and delighted!!! 

  Then it started to snow in March and rain in April & May.  We were shocked!  It looked like we might have a normal season after all and got our total of 650 members!  But it didn’t stop raining and crops were planted late.  That’s ok, no big deal…right?  At least we were able to plant all those crops we didn’t think we would have back in January.  Oh man did the farm ever look so beautiful!

  The season was moving along at a wonderful rate, until the hailstorm from — on the 4th of August.  Just at the start of the prime part of the season!  60 mile an hour winds driving small shards of ice into our beautiful crops.  Devastation replaces euphoria!  We picked like mad and got you the best the plants and the season could give you.  We gave you everything we had that was not falling apart, extremely bruised or broken open.  Many of you thought we had recovered from the hail, but it was not so.  The fields were hurt so bad that everything that wasn’t damaged began to ripen immediately.  You got the end result of that.  It also meant we would lose our variety of produce a lot sooner in the season.

  I know the last few weeks there has not been a large assortment of crops.  But that is all there is left.  We were very excited to give you Pablano peppers, celery, oregano, cabbage and basil.  We thought all these crops were gone but then we saw some recovery in these plants.  We picked the entire field and divided it out between the shares.  Jerry rushed out and planted radishes and lettuce hoping they could be picked before it froze, which we did.  (Jerry is one tired farmer!)

  We have had three freezes in the last week or so.  Not knowing what the fields had to offer, we picked everything we thought the freeze would hurt.  To our amazement, we found lots of peppers and eggplant in good shape!  We divided out the number of members by what was harvested and you got a fantastic assortment of crops last week.  We are giving you the remainder this week.

  We have always picked crops for our CSA first and if there was extra, we took it to market.  On normal years, we have plenty for both.  This summer, we didn’t go to 3 farmers markets.  Right now we only have a little bit left over from Distribution to take to the Boulder market….and it takes me all day to sell it!

  I would like to thank our Working Members; both those at the Distribution Centers (DC) and those who make the journey to the farm.  The Distribution Centers are very much appreciated for their time and homes.  They make it possible for you to have a DC fairly close so you don’t have to drive across town.  Working Members at the farm spend an extra hour on the road getting to the farm, plus the four hours every week bagging up your produce, loading the truck and then finishing the day doing farm chores.  It would be nearly impossible to run this CSA without their help.  So many projects are completed every week!  Thank you to you all for your hard work, consistency, patients and good humor. 

  Being the eternal optimists that farmers are:  It will be better next year!  We have to admit; we are exhausted and are greeting Mr. Winter with open arms.  It is extremely draining (emotionally) when you cannot control the circumstances that control your income.  We cannot stress how much we have appreciated your support over the season.  The Monroe’s are definitely looking forward to next summer and sharing a much better season with you.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

 

Have a great winter,

Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Alaina Monroe

 

 

p.s.  The Winter Share crops are really looking good!  We have been harvesting like mad before we have a really hard freeze and the ground is too hard to dig up veggies.  All the dried beans have been sitting in the sun drying.  You will get kidney, black, Anasazi and a new bean called Tiger’s Eye.  We were surprised by the abundance of sweet potatoes once they were harvested.  You will get those through the month of November and we had enough to give them to the summer share too.  We have enough cabbage, beets (4#) and Watermelon & Daikon radishes to give those out once a month all winter.  We will have our normal amount of Yukon Gold potatoes (7#), carrots (3#), onions (2 or 3 of each color), garlic (3 to 6), leeks (6) and a sandwich bag of popcorn and dried beans for every delivery.  A bag of lettuce will be delivered until it gets too cold in the cold frame to grow, (normally through December).

  If you are still interested in a Winter Share, you can call me and I will do the paperwork in house or you can ask your DC for a Sign-up Form.  If you get a form from your DC, make sure you call me and tell me you are sending in a Sign-up so I can keep track of everyone.  I can take Winter Share Members through October 23rd.

  J

Newsletter – September 30, 2013

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Dear Friends of the Farm;

This is week 16 out of an 18 week season.  You should get a combination of Yukon Gold potatoes, red onions, carrots, garlic, Japanese eggplant, pablano peppers and tomatoes.  No fruit this week. 

You will need to roast your pablano peppers and remove the skins before you use them.  This can be done under the broiler.  Rotate as soon as you see blisters.  Put in a plastic bag and keep them there until they are cool.  Remove skins and stuff, use in recipes, or freeze whole for use later.

Late Fees:  Late fees were assessed for non-payment of your vegetable, fruit and honey shares by September 1st.  I understand everyone is busy, especially those households with school age children.  But if you pay your fees in full by October 10th, I would be willing to remove these fees!

Weather:  The stories coming out of Estes Park, Lyons, Boulder and Longmont are shocking.  It will take time before all is put back together!  Scientists are 90% sure that the weather system along the Front Range from Colorado Springs to Fort Collins that caused all this flooding is part of our climate change and is most likely human caused; as reported by National Public Radio.  A study is in the works and an official announcement is supposed to be made within the next couple of weeks.  This kind of storm has never occurred in Colorado before…or at least not since statistics have been kept.  It is really quite remarkable!

We have gotten a light freeze Saturday morning.  As Jerry was running around, he said it looked to him like the only thing that was slightly burned was the sweet potatoes for the Winter Share.  Everything else hurt by the hailstorm in August is still struggling along as best as it can!  I guess there is a good chance we will get a harder freeze this Friday…we’ll wait and see!

Crops:  To tell you the truth, I am surprised we have had the variety of crops because there was so much damage!  I thought almost everything would just die.  I guess these plants were more resilient than I thought they would be! 

The tomatoes are getting very ripe and the excess rain is making them split.  We are trying to send you the best that is available out in the field.  There is just not much left out there!  They are sorted before taking them to the Distribution Centers (DC).  However, some are getting bad spots by that evening.  Cut out the bad spots & if they are soft, use them in recipes instead of canned tomatoes or in soups.  They freeze well whole or blended.  Keep in mind; you do not have to take them!  Let your DC know you don’t want your tomatoes and someone who is willing to make sauce out of them will be happy to take them off your hands!

Thank you for your support on this crazy weather year!               Jacquie, Jerry, Alaina and Kyle

Newsletter–September 24, 2013

Dear Members,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold Potatoes, Yellow Onions, Carrots, Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Celery, Lettuce and Tomatoes.

The celery is not anything like the kind you get in the grocery store.  This kind really packs the punch!  It is more of an herb than for eating raw, though many members tell me they love the taste.  It will have a very strong celery taste.  I freeze most of my celery so that I will have it during the winter.  I simply chop it up and throw it into a bag.  I set the leaves aside and dry them and then put them in a bag to freeze as well.  Reduce your recipes in one half to two thirds when using this herb fresh until you get used to the flavor!

Jerry planted lettuce soon after the hailstorm in August to make up for the reduced quantities of the other crops.  It looks beautiful but may be a little bitter due to the crazy weather we have been getting!

A New Distribution Center has been found for the Boulder area!  Lori Hobkirk has graciously offered her home just west of Folsom & Valmont for the winter.

Several Members have asked me to list the crops again for this winter…so here they are!:  potatoes, onion, carrots, winter squash, cabbage, beets, garlic, leeks, popcorn, dried beans and possibly sweet potatoes.

Rain:  We are slowly drying out over here.  My parents had to leave Sterling because of the “no flush” policy in place, so they have been with me for the last week.  This storm really impacted so many areas!  It is shocking to see the debris left behind!  I hope very few of you had flooded basements and ruined belongings.  Hang in there, it will get better!

A Member told me he was going to change the music for his rain dances from Techno to something a little bit calmer!   I found this very funny!

What’s Happening Here:  Again, thank you for your kind words of concern.  I know Kersey has been in the news a lot this last week, but this is the reason why.  Yes we have had a serious amount of rain.  Too much for this time of year!  But, Kersey has a Weather Station on the river that follows the ebb and flow of the water.  Since all waterways:  Poudre, Small & Big Thompson, Left Hand Creek, Boulder Creek etc. dump into the South Platte before Kersey, it is a logical place to put a Weather Station.  The water crested at 18.8 feet, beating the old record by 6.8 feet!  The damage is amazing and farmers’ properties have been changed by the river.  Bridges need repair or replaced and getting around is very difficult.  We just got another inch of rain last night.  It makes me wonder what winter will look like.  Yikes!!!

Jacquie, Jerry, Alaina and Kyle

Newsletter – September 16, 2013

Dear Friends of the farm,

This is week 14 out of an 18 week season.  You will be getting a possible combination of white onions, carrots, Japanese eggplant, lemon cucumbers, banana peppers, anaheim peppers, bell peppers and tomatoes.  I know the tomatoes are really ripe…it is that time of year!  Keep them in your crisper drawer until you are ready to use/eat them.  Let them come back to room temperature before eating (raw)!

First Fruit will attempt to deliver a box half filled with Honey Crisp apples and half filled with nectarines.  The fruit may be covered with a white film.  This is not a pesticide but actually liquid clay to repel insects.  Simply wash off!  Watch your nectarines carefully and eat after they give a little when touching.  They will taste better after they soften a little bit!

I know you are getting a lot of fruit at one time.  Don’t forget that they too are getting crazy weather!  First Fruit wants to give you the best they have…when they have it!  That means this year you will be getting large boxes rather close together.  I keep my box of fruit in the bottom of my fridge (or in crisper drawer).  I only take out what I want to eat a few days ahead of time.  This will prolong your fruit, but will have the advantage of tasting great when I go to eat it.  It is very easy to freeze fruit (except pears).  Simply cut to size, sprinkle with lemon juice (and maybe a little honey), mix, toss into a freezer bag and pop into the freezer!

Rain:  We have not been affected as much as Aurora, Boulder, Nederland, Lyons, Longmont or Ft. Collins; but we have had our share of the rain!  3.5 inches over 5 days; wet only begins to explain what we are right now!  The ground is so saturated there is not one space available that a vehicle would not sink into the ground.

We are cut off to the North by damaged bridges over the South Platte.  The farm sits four miles south of all the flooding.  We are used to seeing the farmland around the S. Platte flood, but never so wide an area!  I swear it looks like the Mississippi out there!

We are extremely concerned for our Members out there from the above areas.  I have talked to several and basements seem to be the biggest concern.  If water was not coming in windows, it came up from the ground.  Please know we are thinking of you all.  Be safe out there!

Festival:  I am so sorry to announce we are not going to have the Festival this summer.  Too much has happened and we are out of steam!  It will not get warm enough this week to dry out the parking areas and we cannot find a suitable solution.  Plus, with all the road closures, how do we get you here!  We really do appreciate the effort of everyone who was going to come to the picnic anyway.  We Love Our CSA Members!!!!!

Jacquie, Jerry, Alaina and Kyle

Flood Update, September 13: Isolated, but not flooded

Jacquie thanks everyone who has called or expressed concern for how they’re doing.  They are cut off and can’t leave for now because the roads and bridges surrounding them are impassible, but the good news is that the farm hasn’t flooded and they’re all doing fine.