Newsletter – September 17, 2018

Dear Friends of the Farm,

This is week 15 out of an 18 week season; only 4 weeks left… Goodies you should get are Walla Walla onions, red beets, daikon radish, cucumbers, squash, eggplant, bell & jalapeno peppers, broccoli, cauliflower (either cheddar or purple), tomatoes, corn (there is a possibility not everyone will get it) and either muskmelon or orange flesh honeydew.

We are done with watermelon for the season, but the late season cauliflower and broccoli are on! Yay!! We really try to get these crops to come on at different times so we can spread out the goodness. But this is such a crazy year! Even though we planted these crops two weeks apart, you are getting them both this week.

Daikon Radish is used a lot in Asian cooking and its good raw or cooked. It can be hot and spicy or it can be sweet. Shred it and add it to your next stir-fry to at a little kick to your meal! It is also excellent pickled or fermented. It’s extremely good for you!!! Take some time to look up recipes for this special radish!

September 11th & September 12th are two dates that will stick out in our memories. No one will forget for a very long time, where they were when the towers fell. It was a Tuesday & we were doing distribution under the big willow trees at the home place. Shock was in all our minds and on our faces. A member drove his car over and turned on the radio so we could all hear what was going on.

September 9th-12th is a special time in Colorado history because five years ago we had historic rain that created flooding in neighborhoods across the Front Range. Streets became raging rivers and water filled homes. Aurora & Lyons both received 15 inches of rain in that time period and many other cities and towns along the Front Range were right behind them. Estes Park and Lyons were cut off from the rest of us and people had to be evacuated by helicopter out of Lyons. It was literally an island! Both roads to Estes Park were heavily damaged. The last of the construction on Hwy 34 west of Loveland will be completed this year.

But what was not talked about much was where all that water went. It all converged in Greeley! The South Platte and the Poudre rivers join in Greeley and become one river. There was so much stuff floating down the river; such as cars, propane tanks, wood, trash and lots of junk. It would crash into the bridges and sometime get stuck there. Authorities were so worried about bridges coming down that no one was allowed to cross them. And due to flooding, I-25 was shut down, off & on, for days. Greeley was cut off too! It was weeks before the bridges could be inspected & approved for travel. To get to Greeley we traveled south to Ft. Lupton, went west to I-25, and then headed north and east again on Hwy 34 into Greeley. What would normally take 15 minutes took 45 minutes to an hour!

This was a trying time for just about everyone. Basements needing to be pumped out, items sorted through and cleaned up or discarded, drywall had to be removed and the drying out process began. Some farms in the Boulder area lost all their topsoil and other farms down river were buried in it. This was considered a 500-1000 year flooding episode. Let’s hope they are right!

Some good news: September 23rd is right around the corner and I can hardly wait! Thank you all for your generosity! The Farm to Table Dinner is filled and the Go-Fund-Me account is climbing!!

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Newsletter – September 11, 2018

Dear Members,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, white onions, carrots, turnips, cucumber, squash, bell peppers, a sweet frying pepper called Canario, Anaheim, jalapeno, tomatoes and muskmelon. We think everyone will get a honeydew and we hope each day of delivery will get a different kind of watermelon.

This whole season has been so strange & so hot! Temperatures were so warm in the spring; we have never picked tomatoes, eggplant, squash, cucumbers and melons so early in the season and your shares have shown this. We hit our peak of the season in late July and early August. Plantings of crops that should have been just starting to ripen in September have already been picked. Tomatoes we anticipated to pick at the end of September by the box we are now giving to the weekly CSA Shares. It’s so crazy! Whenever the weather gets wacky, it always affects the heirlooms first. Unfortunately, that is what happened to the heirloom tomatoes. They cannot withstand changes or insect impacts. Along with the drought comes grasshoppers…and they love all veggies and do nothing but eat all day!

We are reaching the end of the season and little by little things are dropping off. This is because of the drought (we have gotten no rain at all this summer) and with all that heat, everything ripened a month early! We are gleaning our own fields giving you everything we can. Your share may lighten as the season finishes.

Fruit/honey/oil: This week, Rancho Durazno will be bringing us a few more peaches. We think the bags had something to do with the peaches developing bad spots and then going bad on us way before they should have. Bring your own bag; you will be pulling peaches out of a box to take home, just like you do with your tomatoes.

We received honey from Lazy Bee Ranch today. What makes this batch so exciting is that all of it came from the bees on our farm! That is why we delayed the delivery to our one-time-only customers. We knew they were going to keep our honey separate and we wanted it to be a surprise for our CSA members! Please let us know what you think and how it may taste different from anything else you may have gotten!!

Healthy Harvest Olive Oil will also be delivered to our monthly orders and those who have ordered extra jars.

Lamb: A half of a lamb is still available for processing on October 29th and we still have 6 more lambs that will go to processing in January. If you would like to order a half ($225) or a whole ($450), please let us know. We can add it to your account and send you a statement.

Farm Tour and Dinner: Wanted to give you a little more information about the 23rd of September! There will be a farm tour so you can see the farm & explain what we plan on doing with our fields. You will see areas of the farm already in no-till and areas we are experimenting with. You will see equipment we already have and explain the use of each piece and why we need the no-till planter. Plan on joining us at 4pm for a hayride & popcorn to see this exciting part of the operation. Hors d’oeuvres, drinks & dinner will follow! Make your reservations at monroefundraiser@gmail.com. We are so excited to announce that Sam’s parents that used to run Brillig’s up on ‘The Hill’ in Boulder for 25 years are joining us in the kitchen along with Scott, our intern, who is running the show. Scott also has a dear friend who has helped put on these events will also be helping out. It sounds like we have an excellent staff to prepare the meal we will be receiving!!

Farm-to-Table Dinner Update

*Farm to table dinner update*

We are excited to introduce Scott Laaback, who will be cooking for our farm
to table dinner this September 23rd! Scott is a chef, permaculturalist, and
a steward of the land. He has been living in Hawai’i for the past ten years
and has designed and built edible landscapes from backyards to farms. He
has cooked in restaurants, farmers’ markets, farm- to- table events,
weddings and fundraisers. He has a passion for preparing delicious,
locally- grown meals. His meals are characterized by fresh, local
ingredients prepared simply and tastefully. He brings his passion to Monroe
Organic Farms this summer working full time on the farm, where he has been
loving cooking fresh local meals all summer! His favorites from the farm
are the garlic and the yukon potatoes- with butter. Watch Scott in action
in his garden in Hawai’i here.

Fundraiser update

Fundraiser/Dinner: This is getting so exciting!!! We have a menu, but don’t be surprised if it changes a little depending on what is happening on the farm at the time of the year. Pretty much everything will be coming from the farm except for any bread or dairy we may be using. Using the Slow Food method of eating will make this a relaxing atmosphere where we have plenty of time to chat and enjoy what we are eating! Though seats are filling fast, we still have several to fill. So join us on September 23rd from 5pm to 8pm.

To book your seat, contact Carly at monroefundraiser@gmail.com.

THE MENU: *Jacquie’s Swedish Meatballs* *Heirloom Popcorn, Herb Oil**Tomato, basil, balsamic reduction, Healthy Harvest olives, crostini**Baby and wild greens salad w/roasted garlic/cherry vinaigrette**Green tomato chili verde pork shoulder soup with red popcorn polenta**Chile Relleno**Strawberry/mint kombucha** Potato stuffed onions w/allium reduction**Sweet potato gnocchi w/browned sage butter**Beef tip, celery root & horseradish puree, Roasted parsnip & potato, wilted microgreens & chimichurri**desserts!*

You can also help support our efforts to purchase the no-till planter by using the GoFundMe account, you can donate any denomination you can afford and it helps us reach our goal to fund this planter. Thank you in advance for making this a reality for Kyle!

Newsletter – September 4, 2018

Dear Friends,

We are 2/3 of the way through the season and only have 6 weeks left. Can you believe how fast this summer has flown by?!! This week you are getting Yukon Gold Potatoes, red onions, red beets, garlic, squash, cucumbers, bell & Anaheim peppers, tomatoes and either a yellow watermelon, orange flesh honeydew or muskmelon. Each day may be different as far as what you may receive.

Fruit: You are getting ten pounds of Gala apples and ten pounds of Bartlett pears from Ela Family Farms. This is the very first picking of the pears and apples of the season! The pears need time to ripen. Depending on how quickly you want to use them and whether or not you want them all ripe at the same time depends on how you store them. If you don’t care how long it takes for them to ripen, just leave them in the box. They will slowly ripen to a beautiful yellow/gold color over the next two to three weeks. If you want to really slow them down, put them in the fridge and only take out what you want to eat. Place them in a paper bag with an apple or banana and they will ripen quicker. If you need them all ripe at the same time, leave them in the box but add an apple or banana to them. Don’t keep them in the coolest part of the house, they need a little warmth!

Winter Share: It’s that time of year again where we need to start making plans for winter! We are thinking about attending a farm seminar the end of February. So we would like to get things started earlier. So instead of starting the first Wednesday in November, we wanted to start the last Wednesday of October. However, this turns out to be on Halloween! So, all things considered, we are going to start Thursday, the 1st of November. After this date, we will revert back to Wednesdays. Keep in mind we do distribution every other week in the winter. So the dates of delivery will be November 1, 14, 28th and December 12th. We like to give out a double bag on December 12th so you have plenty of produce for the holidays! Then we take our winter break during Christmas and New Year and will deliver produce again on January 9th & 23rd and on February 6th & 20th.

Monroe Fundraiser

 

Thank you to all who have donated to our Gofundme page so far! Our goal is
to raise $14,000 so that Kyle may purchase a no- till planter, a very
expensive piece of equipment. This planter will enable him to plant some
crops on the farm without tilling the soil. Kyle is committed to
implementing these new techniques that conserve and build soil health. He
has already purchased two pieces of equipment and planted 5 acres of cover
crop that he will later plant into. All that is needed now is the no- till
planter! If each of our CSA members donates just $21, we will meet our
goal!! Every dollar helps get us closer to our goal, so please consider
donating at any amount. We are so proud of our membership and we believe in
the power of our strong community to help meet our goals in continuing to
steward the land. Join us.

For more info and to donate, visit our Gofundme page.

Newsletter – August 28, 2018

Dear Members,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, Walla Walla onions, carrots, squash, cucumbers, eggplant, bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, tomatoes and melons.

Fruit: You will be getting peaches and a couple of nectarines from Rancho Durazno!

History of our Farm: You know us as Monroe Organic Farms, but did you know we had other names? During Jerry Monroe Sr. lifetime, there were three other names for our farming operation. Lester Monroe (Jerry Sr. father) called the farm Monroe Farm back in the mid 1920’s through the 1940’s. He raised vegetables and sold them at a farm stand off of 5th Street and 14th Avenue in Greeley. Jerry Sr. sold produce door to door. He remembers selling a bakers’ dozen (13) ears of corn for a penny. He started at 7 years old and did this until 9 when they moved to the home-place off of County Road 47 in LaSalle in 1936. Now the Monroe’s had more land and therefore could raise more crops. Lester sold to many of the small grocery stores in small towns from Denver to the Wyoming border.

After returning from WWII and around 1947 or 48, Jerry Sr. and Lester started the Monroe Dairy and raised Jersey milk cows for their rich cream also known as butterfat. (They received more money for the cream than for the milk and Jersey cows were known for the large amount of cream they produced.) When milk processors started to demand milk with less fat and pretty much insisted on farmers switching to Holstein cows, this is when the Monroe’s decided to get out of the business in the early 1950’s. He went back to calling the place Monroe Farm. It was also during this time period that chemicals were being used extensively by other farmers. The Monroe’s had always raised produce organically (even though no such name existed in those days) and Lester had three strapping teenage boys to do all the work. In his mind, why did he need chemicals? Who would have guessed what he had created by not using those chemicals back in the 40’s!

During the 1950’s, Jerry Sr. was doing all the farming and delivering of produce along the Front Range. People would see him unloading his truck at various grocery stores and asked if there was any way they could purchase produce at a reduced cost if they came to the farm to pick it themselves. He told his dad about the prospect of having people come out to the farm and it was decided to start the first U-Pick operation in Colorado. There was also a farm stand where customers could choose to purchase other kinds of produce in smaller quantities. People as far away as Cheyenne, Nebraska and Kansas flocked to the farm. This continued for over 35 years.

Jerry and Jacquie took over the farming operation in 1986 and the business side of things in 1991. Back in 1986, we help start or attended the very first farmers markets in the area. Those markets included; Boulder County Farmers Market, Cherry Creek Farmers Market, Greeley Farmers Market, Fort Collins Farmers Market and Cheyenne Farmers Market. At the height of our attendance, we went to 17 markets a week. When we started attending these markets, Jerry Sr. liked the way Monroe’s Homegrown Vegetables sounded, so we used that name. We renamed the farm Monroe Organic Farms in 1992 and filed for our LLC in 1995. We started our CSA, one of only three, in 1993. Our first year, we had 38 members and 10 of those were working members at the farm. We did distribution for two hours from parks and at farmers markets. It was too much to handle selling produce to customers at market and trying to wait on our CSA members at the same time, so it was decided to create Distribution Centers in 1996. We only had five: Aurora, Boulder, Cherry Creek, Ft. Collins and the barn at the farm. We then added Centennial and Lakewood five years later.

Jerry Sr. & Jerry Jr. visited and talked to several CSA’s back East and armed with that info; Jerry and I tried to set up a CSA that would work for everyone. We spent 5 years developing our CSA using a Core Group of members to review changes and assess their success. You have those hard working members from the early 1990’s to thank for this CSA you enjoy today! Now… if we could just get the weather to cooperate every year for us!!!