Newsletter – July 17, 2017

Dear Members,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, red onions, garlic, golden beets, cucumbers, squash and muskmelon. (Purple peppers and eggplant will be here soon!) The first two plantings of green beans froze in May & the seed rotted in the ground for the following planting. But they too will be here before you know it!

Fruit: You are getting peaches this week from Rancho Durazno (Peach Ranch). This is an early peach and is fairly free stone (which means it separates fairly well from the pit), but is not as free stone as the later canning peach. It is a very tasty, sweet peach. Please enjoy!!

Do you remember? Ten years ago this date, I was writing about the trend that several dogs and cats were getting very sick (with some even dying) from tainted food. It turns out that a by-product from the coal industry (Melamine) was being added to their food by China’s rice, wheat & soy meal producers. It turns out Melamine made the food appear to contain more protein even though Melamine is not a food substance and has no food value!!!

What was not being spoken about is the fact that US meat producers were purchasing inexpensive protein meal from China. Plus, it is a common practice for pork and chicken producers to feed their animals the floor sweepings from pet food manufacturers. So if you were not purchasing your meat from an organic source, there was a good chance that feed for these animals were tainted too.

As long as our meat industry continues to raise livestock on a least-cost basis, I believe our health is at risk. This includes the organic industry too. Did you know that most cost-cutting practices lower the nutritional value of our meat? The universal practice of raising cattle on grain and straw instead of hay and fresh pastures gives us beef that is higher in fat and lower in antioxidants & omega-3 fatty acids. Some cost-cutting practices proved to even be deadly. Feedlot managers in the 80’s and 90’s started adding cattle scraps (from processing plants) into cattle feed. Mad Cow disease was the tragic result of this cost-cutting idea.

Again I am touting the idea that buying locally grown products is your solution to this problem. Small local farmers care about their land and animals and work them in such a way that no feedlot would even look at. The cost is way too high. Our steers are raised with their mamas until they are naturally weaned and eating pasture grass on their own (about one year). We take them and continue to feed them pasture and hay. Three months before processing, in addition to hay & their pastures; we feed them a corn mixture we grind ourselves to soften the beef a little. The result is lean beef high in omega-3 fatty acid and the natural antioxidants normally found in beef with a low fat content.

Beef: We still have five steers available for purchase. The steers will be ready to harvest in December or January. A quarter of a steer costs $650 and a side is $1300. We will be happy to take these animals to Valley Packing of LaSalle, CO for you. It will take approximately two weeks before you pick up your meat because they hang the sides of beef to age it before it is cut and wrapped. You will have to pay Valley Packing for the processing when you pick that up!

Hope you have a great week!

Jacquie, Sam, Kyle and Jerry

Newsletter – July 11, 2017

Dear Friends of the farm,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, garlic, Walla Walla onions, red beets, cucumbers (Either the regular slicing cucumber or a pickling variety ~ both equally delicious to eat raw, but only the pickling variety can withstand the canning process for making pickles.), summer squash ( any kind), cabbage or broccoli, muskmelon (it’s just the beginning!) and kale.

This is a new variety of muskmelon that comes on early and is supposed to be pretty sweet. It is the earliest we have ever picked muskmelon and we are so excited!! They will get sweeter over time, so if yours is not the best you have ever eaten; maybe the next one will be (especially when our main season variety comes on!)!!

We started harvesting the potatoes and even though there are a few big ones, the majority is still very small. Their skins are so tender at this stage, and they can get roughed up or bruised pretty easily. Wash gently, don’t scrub, throw out the badly bruised (a small bruise won’t hurt) and cook them up…. Because the first-dug potatoes are absolutely the best and don’t take any time to cook!

Fruit: No fruit again this week, but peaches are just starting to bear! So there is a good chance we will get peaches next week. Yay!!!

Pickling cucumbers: I am taking names and phone numbers for those of you who would like to come pick pickles. The only day and time available will be Sunday morning at 8am. We will start out hoeing for an hour then we will move on to the pickle patch. Please do not email your information; I am not checking email very often anymore because I am not in the office, call the number above and leave a message! I will call you back to schedule a day to pick when the field really starts to produce.

Do you remember? Back in 2004 we were bombarded with videos of cattle with Mad Cow Disease. There was a cartoon in the paper I thought was hilarious and kept it in my office closet. I recently came across it and thought I would share it with you… Unfortunately the piece had gotten wet at some point and I cannot read who the artist was. But it reflects the issues we were dealing with at that point of time.

A gentleman is sitting at a fine restaurant looking through a menu. He says to the Waiter, “Until this Mad Cow thing passes, I’m staying away from beef.” The Waiter replies, “Then may I recommend the mercury-laden fish with a side of genetically altered corn?” Ah….awareness!

Grandma Edith’s Pickled Beets

I have never been a big fan of beets. I am also very allergic to something in sweet pickle spice. My Grandmother discovered I would eat beets if they were made this way. She would serve them warm for dinner, then put them back in the liquid, refrigerate them then serve them cold for lunch the next day! What I like about the simplicity of this recipe is that you get to taste the beets and not all the spices. Great to serve on salads.

Equal amounts (1/4 cup or 1/3 cup or 1/2 cup measurements depending on amount of beets being served) of the following: vinegar, water and sugar. Peel and slice or cube beets. Cook until tender.

Newsletter – July 3, 2017

Dear Members,

This week you are getting garlic, red onions, carrots, fennel, green cabbage, summer squash (any kind) oregano and either iceberg lettuce or magenta lettuce (same as last week).

Fennel is a very versatile vegetable.  Not only are the bulbs delicious in soups, cooked with roast or pork and shred in salads or slaws, but the greens are great as well.  Eat raw or dried.  Add to fish or the cavity of chicken, find a fennel pesto recipe (why should basil have all the fun?!) or add to collard greens to give them a little zip.

This kind of oregano is a fairly mild form so I use a bit more than recipes call for.  You will need twice as much fresh as you will need dried in any recipe (and most recipes are referring to the dried form when listed).  It’s easy to dry, just rinse & put on a paper towel or plate and wait.  When dry, slide off of stem and put in a airtight jar.

Fruit:  There will not be any fruit this week, they are in-between pickings.

Strawberries:  Here we go again folks!  This is our theory about the strawberry patch:  After growing in some of the best conditions in our 30 year history; our Spring’s over the last 5 years have never been so crazy and unpredictable.  We believe that the strawberries are coming out of dormancy in February or March when it gets nice and warm.  Then April and May come along and Mother Nature decides to give us a little bit of winter again.  The cold, freezing temperatures are killing the plants that have started to send out new growth.  We lost over half of the new field.  Jerry, Kyle and Sam planted a third strawberry field.  What we are hoping is this; if just half of each field survives, maybe combined we will have an entire field of strawberries we can pick.  Keep your fingers crossed and hope for a better Spring next year. Where it stays cold in Feb. & March and then proceeds to get warm the middle of April and stays warm in May!!

Produce Payments:  Half of all your remaining fees are due the 15th of July (except for animals).  Late fees of $25 will be applied on July 21st.  Please allow 2 weeks for us to process your checks (will still get credit for arriving on time).  We will do our best to get them processed just as soon as possible!

If it is the 4th of July, then summer must be here!  Hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend!

Cream of Spring Vegetable Soup   (page 8 of the Farm Fresh CSA cookbook)

  • 4 T. Butter
  • 4-8 small turnips, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 heads kohlrabi, peeled & chopped
  • 1 cup half & half

Melt butter in a pot, add onion one minute then add garlic and sauté until aromatic.  Add kohlrabi, turnips and carrots and sauté 5 minutes.  Add four cups of stock and cook until veggies are tender.  Puree soup until smooth adding additional stock until you are happy with the consistency (or don’t, I like both).  Return to pot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Soup can be prepared a few days in advance or can be frozen at this time.  Before serving, heat soup and whisk in half & half.    Serves up to 6.

Newsletter – June 27, 2017

Dear Farm Friends,

Our first week was as exciting as ever, but this week is even better! We are so happy to be giving you peas, carrots, squash, kohlrabi, garlic, garlic scapes, onions and lettuce. The scapes are the tops of the garlic. This has become the new favorite of our members! It is extremely versatile. It can be grilled and eaten as a vegetable, minced and added to salads & eggs (like onion) and it’s wonderful chopped up for stir-fries. One member told me the best pesto she ever had was prepared with garlic scapes. Another told me she made green garlic hummus with scapes. Don’t be afraid to experiment with these little buggers! They’re wonderful!!

Kohlrabi is in the cabbage family and can be eaten as such. Its great raw in coleslaw, salads or as chips. I replace watercress in stir fry’s with it and it is wonderful on its own sautéed until tender.

Fruit: You received cherries last week and will get apricots this week. We are working with Rancho Durazno & Ela Family Farms, both are certified organic. Rancho Durazno purchased those bags at a farm sale and was reusing them. I did not realize there was a bar-code number on the bag or would have addressed it in the newsletter!

Bags and Boxes: I forgot to tell you how important it is to return your vegetable bags every week. We reuse them as many times as we can. This includes any small produce bags for beans or peas. (Please take the time to dump or shake out any extra organic material left in the bottom. This way your DC does not have to clean out 30 bags & Jacquie does not have to dump out 600!) Distribution Centers will be keeping track of this, so don’t be surprised if they remind you how often you have forgotten or how many bags you have not returned!

Facebook/Blog/Website/Email: Please be aware that I do not work from these social media sites. Several members took it upon themselves to start these up and continually update them. Everyone needs to contact me directly by phone when making changes to their shares. I will need not only your name, but also your Distribution Center. Email is the same. I know this is very convenient for you, but I am home only a half day on Monday and Friday each week. So it is not the best way to contact me. I am very good about answering phone messages, but I do not have time to look at email. You can use email for anything that does not need to be answered immediately!

Donations: We are now taking nominations for families with health problems and/or financial problems to get a share from the farm. We have around 15 shares available after helping out current farm members. Please call or email your nomination including what their situation is & how to contact them. We will try to get those started no later than the middle of July.

Thank you for a great first week. I know a lot of DC’s were on vacation either the week before or the week of our first delivery and you may have gotten a late notice or had someone doing distribution that was not your Distributor. As the summer goes along, things should even out!

Jacquie, Kyle, Sam and Jerry

Veggie Wash (Especially for store bought produce!)

Juice from a whole lemon
2 Tbsp vinegar
1 cup water
1 spray bottle

Mix and spray onto surface of veggies. Let sit for a minute or two. (Longer if trying to remove wax.) Scrub lightly on soft skinned veggies and more & scrub brush aggressively on hard skinned produce like winter squash, cucumbers, root veggies and melons. Leafy greens simply should be sprayed, sit and rinsed.

Newsletter – June 20th, 2017

Dear Friends of the Farm,

Welcome to our first week of Distribution!! We have a beautiful bag of produce coming your way! In May we had two freezes and a hail storm. Jerry has always pushed the limits on trying to get produce as early as possible for you. We have three cold frames filled with carrots, tomatoes and beets. We cover early plantings of field crops such as kale, turnips, tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers with a light cloth to protect it from freezing and hail stones. The cloth did its job because we are starting to uncover these crops to weed and they look terrific (though the cloth is full of holes)! The rest of the farm is really looking good too. Now that it is getting so hot (hard on humans, but great for plants) everything is growing like crazy & green, green, green!!!

Produce: This week you are getting butterhead lettuce, peas, garlic scapes, summer squash (either yellow straight neck, zucchini or Q-ball (light green, round type zucchini)broccoli, kohlrabi and garlic. We are hoping all three distribution days will get these crops, but it is the first week and we may be short. We will make it up to you next week if a distribution center is shorted. It is very important that you return all your bags every week! Because we reuse them over & over!!

It is a good plan to pre-washing outside to get the majority of the dirt off in the yard (or an extra-large bowl set in your kitchen sink) and not down your drain pipes. Children especially love this task. (They are very good at picking off the worms in your corn too! Make it a game and see how many they can find.) By getting your kids involved in the pre-prep work, talking about the produce & asking them what they want to eat will help get them motivated to try the different varieties. Did you know children have to try something 9 times before they get a taste for it? It’s true!! So make them eat a bite or two every time it is served!

Your Distribution Center: Please do not forget that your DC is a member too. They have offered to be a DC to make it as convenient as possible for you to get your produce. They too have busy lives and are trying hard to please everyone. A majority of our DC’s have 30 to 40 Members coming by. Respect their hours and if you need to pick up at a different time or have forgotten to pick up during normal hours; please call and make new arrangements. They will hold produce for 24 hours. If there is no contact from you within that time period, the produce will be donated to a place of need; including your fruit. We encourage Members to donate their produce when going on vacation. Last year the Membership donated a whopping 1440 pounds of produce to organizations around the metro area. Let’s try to beat that record! If you plan on having someone pick up your produce for you while you are gone; your DC will need their name and phone number. This gives them permission to hand out your produce to someone other than yourself and it gives them a contact number when they forget to pick up…which they almost always do! Ask your DC questions! They are a wealth of information and will help you use your share. Get a cookbook. There are ten recipes for every veggie we grow. And, it was put together by members of this farm! It is useful and the recipes are excellent!!!

4th of July: Since the 4th lands on a Tuesday this year, we will be doing Tuesday distribution on Monday. The rest of the days will remain the same.

Your Expectations from the farm: You are sharing the risk of farming with your farmer. This is no different than gardening yourself. Mother Nature does not always cooperate with our plans. It is unrealistic to expect everything to be perfect all the time. We grow varieties for their taste, not necessarily for their beauty! If there is an abundance of produce, you will get it. If there is a shortage of produce, you will see that too. Along with June/July rain we sometimes get hail. Don’t be surprised to get produce with scabs from the damage this causes. We try very hard to catch produce that is badly bruised. But sometimes this slips by us & it will start to mold in your bag from the heat. We apologize ahead of time! We do not intend for this to happen! We love what we do and care deeply about the land we live on, the food it produces and the people it feeds. We are the caretakers and we intend to take care of you and your farm!

Statements: We will send statements each month. Your first produce payment (including fruit, oil and honey) is due July 15th. You may pay these fees in full, or half by July 15th and the other half by September 1st. If you are paying monthly, then continue making your agreed upon & scheduled payments.

First Year Members: This year will be your hardest summer. It takes time to adjust to getting your produce this way! Plan on going to the grocery store after you get your share. You need time to process your produce by sorting and washing. If you are willing to put up with the dirt, don’t wash until you are ready to use it, it will last longer. Produce breaks down as soon as it gets wet. But I also understand you might not want dirt in your crisper drawer! The tenderer a crop is, the sooner it will need to be eaten, i.e. greens, summer squash, peas, beans, broccoli, cantaloupe, cucumbers and tomatoes. I will give you hints on storage as we go through the summer.

Newsletters/Blog: A Member with a better Internet system (than I have) will post my newsletters to the blog. Please notify your DC if you prefer to get a hard copy at the distribution site or if you prefer to access the blog. It is important to read your newsletters each week because they will inform you of additional “bonus” picking days, other events that may directly affect you or the produce you’re getting and fun things that are happening on the farm. Access the blog by going to: monroeorganicfarms.wordpress.com. Do not forget to check out our Facebook page (also run by members) as well for pictures and videos!

The next u-pick crop coming up is pickles and that will be sometime in July. The strawberries did not make it, so we are out again this year. We need to have normal springs (freezing in Feb & Mar without freezing in May!) in order for a decent crop of strawberries.

How to contact me: Please remember I am gone 5 days a week delivering CSA shares or at farmers markets. I am home on Monday & Friday mornings or Tue/Wed/Thr late afternoons. The best way to reach me is by phone. I am very good about answering phone calls, not so much with email! I am just not in the house that long! Email me if you do not need an answer right away. But if it is about a change in your share or DC, please call me. We pick on Monday for Tuesday, Tuesday for Wednesday and Wednesday for Thursday. Keep this in mind when you want to make a change! Whenever you call about your share, especially if needing to make changes, always identify your Distribution Center!

Thank you: Welcome to the 2017 farming season with Monroe Organic Farms. We hope you enjoy every morsel! I can’t tell you how excited we are to get started! This is just a sample of what is to come. My family are looking forward to a fantastic summer. Thank you for giving us this opportunity; we are very excited about being your farmers!

Jacquie, Jerry, Sam, Kyle and Crew

CSA Membership Renewal Due: April 8th

members…

WE NEED YOUR HELP!
The 2017 Summer season is just around the corner. Little green buds are already peaking their heads up out of the ground getting ready to feed your families yummy fresh organic food. That’s where YOU come in:

We are currently 35 membership renewals under our monthly goal for this season. Help us get there by letting us know you are returning.

We always serve you best when we can count on your CSA membership. Membership Renewal Forms and Payment Are Due Saturday April 8th if you plan to renew your CSA membership.

IMPORTANT: Please submit a check or arrange direct payment with your bank as we only accept checks and cash at this time.

Please drop off or mail forms and payment to:
25525 Weld County Road 48,
Kersey, CO 80604

DOWNLOAD MEMBERSHIP RENEWAL FORMS HERE.

A BIG Thank You to those who have already sent us your membership renewals. Your early support gives us the funds we need to get this summer season off to the best start!

~Jacquie and Jerry Monroe
And Sam and Kyle

P.S. Have questions? Feel free to reply to this email or call the farm direct at: (970) 284-7941

Winter Apple Orders – ACTION REQUIRED

Winter Share Members originally had until the 9th to order a box of apples to be delivered with their winter shares. With the coming storm, that date has changed to Wed. the 7th at 12 noon.  Ela Family Farms need to have plenty of time to process this order and drive it over the mountains and they are worried about the weather!

You MUST call Jacquie to place an order. If you email, it will not be
processed!

Jacquie – 970-284-7941

Note* – apples are only available for order by winter share holders.