Newsletter – November 16, 2015


This week you are getting:  carnival acorn squash, sweet potatoes, fennel (the last), leeks, Yukon Gold potatoes, parsnips, orange carrots, red cabbage, yellow, red and white onions, garlic, celery (the last), Tiger eye dried beans and lettuce.

This year I will be posting the newsletter to the blog on Monday.  This way if you want to know ahead of time what you will be getting, you can find a list there.   Most of you know that I write very short notes during the winter.  So the newsletter isn’t that big of a deal anyway!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! Jacquie, Jerry and family


Newsletter – November 2, 2015


Dear Winter Friends; Welcome to the first week of Winter Distribution, and it’s a doozy!!!

This week you are getting Spaghetti squash, Yukon Gold potatoes, sweet potatoes, red beets, orange carrots, fennel, red, white & yellow onions, gourds, garlic, celery, leeks, green and red tomatoes, black beans and lettuce (with a little bit of spinach)!

Unfortunately we do not have our usual supply of tomatoes and peppers that seem to flow into winter. This year, because of the long, harsh, wet spring; the plants struggled to keep producing fruit. They are expiring due to old age! What little they are producing you will get this week. Anything after this week will be going to a farmers market.

Through experimentation and experience (Jerry always tells me he has yesterdays experience) he plans on giving you the majority of the sweet potatoes, winter squash and lettuce by the end of December. He is afraid it will not store into January or February. So please enjoy while we have it! And if we can keep any of it into the later months, we will try.

You will only get lettuce, fennel & celery as long as we do not get too hard of a freeze or several days of freezing in a row. Celery & fennel can be stored long term by dicing and placing in an ice cube tray, adding water and freeze. Pop out and store in a plastic bag or container. The leaves can be dried and stored in a glass jar. Use as any other herb in recipes. Delicious in soups and stir-fries!!!

Dates of Delivery: Here is a list of dates we will be delivering produce this season: November 4th & 18th, December 2nd & 16th, January 13th & 27th, February 10th & 24th. We will not be delivering produce on Dec. 30th. Instead you will be getting two bags on Dec. 16th. This gives you the opportunity to have extra produce for the holiday and gives us a much needed break in the middle of winter!

Something of Interest: I was giving a tour of the farm last week and something came up I wanted to share with you. Jerry was asked about the challenges of farming at high altitude. He explained that he didn’t quite know because he has never farmed anywhere else! But he did say that most farmers regardless of where they farm have similar challenges. One of the very most important in Colorado is our water issue. Do you realize that 62% of our nation’s food comes from other countries? The Denver Metro area has already admitted they do not have enough water to service all the people that will need water in the next 10 to 20 years. They are expecting 2.4 million new people will need housing, water and other services. One half to two thirds of those people are our own children becoming adults and having kids of their own. The rest are moving into the state. If we do not become proactive in saving our farms, where will your food be coming from? The Metro area is buying up water from NE Colorado like it doesn’t matter. And their plan is to continue to purchase water until they have dried up 400,000 acres of land. Just in the last ten years they have dried up 100,000 acres of farmland between Fort Collins and Sterling. We need a guaranteed amount of water to stay on farms. Be vocal and talk to your family, friends, co-workers and your legislature about our water & supporting local farms!

Quote: “The future belongs to those of us who are still willing to get our hands (shoes and clothes) dirty.” Unknown

Jacquie, Jerry and Kyle Monroe

Newsletter – October 12, 2015


Dear Friends of the Farm,

This is our last week of distribution. It is so hard to believe because we had such a long wonderfully warm fall, it still feels like summer! Let me remind you it is the middle of October though and you are getting the following summer-time produce: Banana Fingerling potatoes, yellow and white onions, carrots, gourds, squash, Japanese eggplant, several types of bell peppers, garlic, tomatoes and corn. Yes, you heard me right, corn!!

Fruit: You are getting your last 10 pounds of apples this week. They are Jonathan Gold. After all the disappointment of hearing First Fruits were not able to supply us with fruit this year…I can’t thank Ranch Durazno more for helping me find you decent fruit to eat. Everything came from either him or Fortunate Fruit. Both located on the Western Slope of Colorado.

The CSA Adventure: Several of you have never grown anything in Colorado before. I also know some of you are avid gardeners. CSA is a very hard thing to get used to. It is one of the hardest things you will do! You have to learn to cook with what you have instead of what you want. Learning the Colorado seasons and when produce is actually harvested and using them is new to half of you this year. You have to clean the produce yourself; which you should be doing anyway with your grocery store produce. (So many people are touching everything all day long, Yuck! Who knows where those hands have been!) But this is one of the cheapest ways to fill your family’s needs, eat more vegetables and improve your diet at the same time!!

This takes a lot of work & commitment to do what it takes to feed your family locally harvested produce. Give this a chance. It takes two years to get used to getting your produce this way. The first year is the hardest. The second year is so much easier because now you have information you need on how to use the produce and take care of it from your first year. And if you are dissatisfied, please give CSA a chance with another farm. Every farm is different and each one is unique on what it grows and how they distribute produce. When you spend one dollar locally, it gets used 7 more times within your community! Don’t send your hard earned dollar to a “box store” that will send it to their corporate office out of state.

Food for thought: Did you know you “vote” with every dollar you spend? What have you purchased lately and what are you voting for?

Thank You Working Members: 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, finishing up doing farm chores and then driving an hour home. 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. We soooo appreciate you!

Overview: Well…..this has been one of the most challenging springs we have ever planted in. We have never seen it rain like this before! It has rained a lot in the past, but never non-stop and to never see the sun too??? What was that about? We had no idea that would happen, so we continued to plant throughout the month of May. Plants suffered because it never dried out and never had any sunshine to grow by. They were literally drowning! The result of this was stunted plants with the will to produce but not enough oomph to do much about it. So production of some crops was affected. June wasn’t much better because it took so long for the ground to dry out. I bet it was another three weeks before a tractor could be used!

We hand planted just about every crop you received in June and July. Many times without shoes and their pants rolled up! It was a slow start, but it finally dried out and warmed up. Some plants caught up, some struggled to live. Those that were struggling to survive had insects get into them. That is why your cucumbers, eggplant and melons had strange scabs on them. They tasted good, they just didn’t look good!

Thank goodness for our long beautiful fall. Just like our record breaking May, Jerry has never seen a warmer September. It is now on the books for the warmest September on record! We benefited from this windfall because some plants had put on a second set of flowers that were able to grow and mature enough to be eaten.

In the end we had a decent amount of produce. It was light in the spring but good in the fall. Did you notice that when there is a breakdown of one crop, there is an abundance of another? This was a really good tomato & melon year, but not so good a pepper & cucumber year. All we can do is hike up our pants, put on our gloves & slide on our thinking caps and start working on next year!

Goodbye and Thank you: Being the eternal optimists that farmers are: Next year will be fantastic! We have to admit; we are exhausted and are greeting Mr. Winter with open arms (if he ever gets here!). It can be draining (emotionally) when you cannot control the most important input (weather) that controls your income. We cannot stress how much we have appreciated your support over the season and your patience with Mother Nature.

Feeding people is our passion. We are committed to providing the best tasting organic produce you have ever eaten. We have fed thousands of people and donated thousands of pounds of produce to communities around Northern Colorado throughout the years. We have never done anything so important or made us as happy. Thank you for being a part of this! We love you all and appreciate your support more than ever! We cannot exist without our Members; who happen to be the most passionate people about supporting local farming and eating organic produce. We are looking forward to being your farmers in 2016! Have a wonderful, restful winter and think of us when you pull out vegetables from the freezer!

Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow!

Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Alaina Monroe

Newsletter – October 5, 2015


Dear Members,

This is week 17 of an 18 week season: You are getting banana fingerling potatoes, red onions, red beets, celery, squash, Japanese eggplant, bell peppers, specialty peppers, jalapeno, garlic, red & gold tomatoes and honeydew. The peppers are starting to get soft, but they are delicious, so use them right away or freeze them raw (just chop)!

Fruit: We hope your last delivery of fruit will be next week….if the Golden Delicious apples mature by then. After all the worry and stress of a bad year of fruit; Tomas Cameron came through and found fruit for us to enjoy. It wasn’t easy and the very last delivery may not make in time, but without the last delivery of apples, you have still received 80 pounds. This is not bad especially after knowing what kind of a year most of the farmers had over on the Western Slope. I talked with one of Kevin Kropp sons, Casey. He was telling me only half of the property can be insured and they only collected 70% of that. So a bad year is putting it mildly. I’m sure notes of encouragement would go a long way for both Chris and Kevin. First Fruits Organic Farms, PO Box 864, Paonia, CO 81428. I do not have an email address.

Honey: This is the last delivery of honey for the year for those of you who get monthly and bi-monthly honey.

Winter Shares: We are slowly getting our members and are sitting at 125. Our goal is to reach 150 by the third week of October. So, if you know anyone who might be interested, let them know we have openings. A new DC has been added in Longmont for your convenience! Extra forms will be available at your DC.

Surveys: Please take a little time to fill out the survey given out last week. It helps us to understand what is needed for each size share, how many people are using it and what size the families are and their ages. We are trying to make sure that a Single Share can feeds one vegetarian or two adults on a mixed diet; Half Share should feed two vegetarians or a family of four (with small kids) on a mixed diet and the Full Share should feed up to three on a vegetarian diet or a family of four (with teens) on a mixed diet. This is our goal and the survey helps us keep on track. It appears that people’s diets change over the years and we just want to keep up with that too! (But it is equally important to get the appropriate share according to the size household!) If you get the newsletter from the blog, you will need to download the form and fill it out or ask your DC for a copy. I am sending extra this week. Thank you for taking time out of your busy lives to keep us up to date! YOU MUST MAIL THE SURVEY TO THE FARM OR RETURN IT TO THE DC, PLEASE DO NOT EMAIL IT.

Renewals: As the summer comes to a close and crops are slowing down; it is time to get additional information from our members. We did not raise prices in 2015 and a small increase is needed because the price of all our inputs certainly didn’t go down! We have decided that the Single Share will go up by $5, the Half Share will go up $10 and the Full Share will go up $15. Please let us know if you want an automatic renewal or not. Your DC has a way of keeping track of this so please convey your wishes to them and they will pass on the info to me.

Thank you for being such terrific members!

Jacquie, Jerry and Kyle

Newsletter – September 28, 2015


Dear Members,

This is week 16 out of an 18 week season and you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, yellow onions, yellow carrots, cauliflower or cabbage, cucumbers, squash, globe eggplant, sweet peppers, green beans, tomatoes and orange honeydew.

Raising Animals: We were asked how animals became a part of the farm. We started out raising them for ourselves, actually. When members, came to visit or came to volunteer; they asked if they could get beef or pork too. We started with four of each. Then we added egg layers and offered the extra eggs we had to members. Everything just built from there. At the height of production we had 35 steers, 80 pigs, 25 lambs and 1200 chickens. It was exhausting, took too much time away from field work and our focus should be vegetables, not animals. So we lowered our numbers to a tolerable amount. We found out we were not making any money on eggs at all and eliminated them. We are now down to 15 steers, 20 lambs and 60 pigs a year.

Five Years of Interesting Weather: So far, the last five years have been so inconsistent; it makes it very difficult to know how to farm anymore. For those of you who have been members a long time, you know how hard Jerry tries to give you the best! But this weather we are having is crazy and it makes it difficult for him to know how to farm, let alone plan for the next year!

In 2011, we had several spring hailstorms, but a beautiful fall prolonged the summer harvest! It wasn’t pretty, but we did get a crop. 2012 was the worst drought anyone has ever seen here. However, the quality of the produce was outstanding! We had plenty of water due to all the snow the winter before. It was a good thing since it didn’t rain or snow again until March of 2013. That was the year we didn’t think we would be able to farm at all because we started the season with no water. We had a devastating hailstorm the first week of August and then the flooding in September. It was a light year of produce and we didn’t have any melons at all. 2014 was pretty crazy too. It consistently rained on and off the whole entire summer. I took forever to plant and as expected, everything was delayed. But we had decent produce…once we got it!

Now we come to 2015 and a non-stop rainfall that lasted 21 days in May. But what really hurt was the fact we had absolutely no sunshine for 26 days in that same time period! Funny thing: Plants do not grow without sunshine! There was so much moisture in the ground, it took forever to dry out enough for a tractor to drive through the fields. Again, produce was delayed. But we had no hailstorms throughout the summer and the nice warm days have slowly ripened the crop bringing us another decent late summer and a fall crop. It’s hard to believe we went from the rainiest May on record to one of the warmest Septembers on record. Unbelievable! Thank goodness too, because what kind of a season would we have ended up with if it had frozen early….say between the 20th & 25th of this month, (something that happened on a regular basis when Jerry and I took over the farm in the early 1980’s)!

It would help us greatly if you would take a few moments to fill out this Survey. We want to know if the share size needs to change based on eating habits. Keep in mind each share has a specific household to feed. The following information is very important to me; please do not skip the beginning of this survey! Be blunt, we need to know what is on your mind to help better serve you. Thank you very much for your time!


I wonder what our winter will be like…if only that darn crystal ball would work! Jacquie, Jerry and Kyle

Newsletter – September 21, 2015


Dear Friends of the farm!

This week you are not getting any potatoes, which I know many of you are getting tired of. You will be getting white onions, purple carrots, eggplant, cucumber, squash, fennel, cabbage, sweet peppers, hot peppers, beans, tomatoes and honeydew melon.

We are nearing the end of our season and the plants have worked hard to produce fruit and vegetables for us. They have been stressed all season from the crazy month of May they had to endure. So you will find your bag will be getting smaller. Corn is done for the year; cucumbers, squash and eggplant are just barely producing anything now. Melons are almost done too. We were afraid it might be either a light year or a short year; and it looks like we got a little of both. This was a learning year for us, because even the old timers could not remember a spring like this last one!

Tomatoes: Just a reminder; if you are interested in picking a box of tomatoes for canning or freezing, please call me with your name and phone number. I will add you to a wait list. We still do not know if there will be any to pick, but if there is (hopefully in Oct.) we will call and set up appointments.

Harvest Festival: Wow! Thank you for such a great turnout for the Harvest Festival. We believe there were around 375 to 400 people that came. Many of you have been members for 10 to 15 years and it was your first time to the festival. I am so glad you came by! It appeared everyone had a super good time.

It was a comfortable sunny day at a perfect 87 degrees. The side dishes and desserts were absolutely wonderful! Chili roasting got started early and didn’t stop until 5 o’clock! Everyone was wonderful about helping set up and volunteer all day long. Clean-up was a snap with all the helping hands! Thank you very much, everyone!

I do want to shout out to two special young people that jumped in when we really needed help. Unfortunately I did not get their names, but a young lady helped out at the check-in station when our first set of volunteers did not show up and she ran the booth a long time completely by herself. The second person was a young man who stepped in and helped grill when we had a missing Master Griller. Myrna (my mother) wanted to say thank you to you personally, but you disappeared before she had a chance. She said for your age, you were excellent on the grill! (She wants you back next year!) And thank you to the mother and son team who stepped in and kept up with the drink station when absolutely not one volunteer showed up. It was just hot enough that it kept you busy all day!

To the musician, Erik Gilbertson; everyone loved your music and commented on your choice of music and your voice. To Kate Hartman; your face painting was excellent and the kids couldn’t wait to show me their faces. I think both parents and kids thought you were an excellent addition to the festival. Thanks to both of you for sharing your talents and time. It is simply amazing the creative people we have in our membership!

The kids loved the horse races and we had some terrific designs this year! Everyone was very inventive. There was one that was super charged with a rocket booster on the back and a monster face on the front, another from cardboard and spray painted towels made into the shape of a beautiful black horse plus several horses were made of socks. All were absolutely wonderful.

The corn-shucking contestants were a blast to watch! We have some darn good shuckers out there!!!

Pickle and Jelly contests were quite competitive this year. In the Pickle/Relish category Tatiana MacDuff’s Hot Dill Pickles (from Aurora) and Valerie Wilsons’s Zucchini Relish (from Longmont) tied for first place. Hands down the winner for Jams & Jellies was JoAnn Peterson (from 470 & Quebec) with her Pear Ginger Lime jam. Certificates of Achievement plus a $20 award will be given to each. Hope everyone got a chance to get over there and taste them for yourselves. Simply delicious!!

The hayrides to the pumpkin patch went off without a hitch. This is one activity I think everyone looks forward to! There were lots of goodies to go home with and they were easy to get to this year. (I’m not sure if Jerry planted it that way, or if it just worked out that way!). The raspberry patch produced many beautiful raspberries and everyone went home with a full pint.

I’m sorry if you were not able to join us this year. It was simply a great party and I think everyone had fun running around the farm!

Thanks again to all the volunteers. So many of you pitched in, it made set-up and break-down extremely easy. Many of you pitched in during the day when other volunteers did not show up. Thank you, thank you. You have no idea how much that is appreciated!

Lost & Found: A green and white bowl was left behind along with a pie server and a slotted spoon. We also found a pair of sunglasses. If you give me a call, I will be happy to return your items to your Distribution Center and you can pick them up there.

It was so good to see everyone this weekend. Hope you all had a blast; I know we did! And for those of you who could not come; I hope you can join us next year!

Jacquie, Jerry and Kyle

Newsletter – September 14, 2015


Dear Members;

This is week 14 out of an 18 week season. You are getting purple flesh-purple skinned potatoes, yellow onions, carrots, a head of cabbage, cauliflower or broccoli, squash, lemon and slicing cucumbers, Japanese eggplant, green, orange and lipstick peppers, beans, white flesh and orange flesh honeydew, Black Velvet, Golden Globe and red tomatoes.

I didn’t realize when I wrote the newsletter last week that there wasn’t enough of the Cone cabbage to give it to everyone. So, some of you got cauliflower and broccoli instead. When we went out to the fields again this week, it appears the same thing is going to happen; you will be getting one of the three.

Another reminder to cold water bath your produce. I recently got a letter from a new member upset about the condition of the produce. Unfortunately, I cannot do anything about wilted produce. I do not have refrigerated trucks and there is no refrigeration at the Distribution Centers. The produce is alive but slightly dehydrated when you get it and all it needs is a cold bath! I know I feel better after a cool shower on a hot day and your produce will do the same! Give it time; it may take all night to revive. Do as the Chinese do: When something is wilted & cannot recover, cook and eat it immediately. No one will ever know!

Did you notice your carrots are larger than before? We are now harvesting our main season planting. If Jerry had not planted an early variety, you would just now be getting carrots. Don’t be surprised if you still find a small carrot now and then. Just like children, they do not all grow up the same!

Tomatoes: New this week is Black Velvet tomatoes. This is an heirloom variety and they should be eaten with a slight tinge of green around the eye. You can eat them when they are totally red, but they will be extremely soft by then!

I am taking names on a Wait List for those of you who would like to pick tomatoes by the box. So far, we have been giving you everything that is ripening! But there is a possibility we may pick in October, if the weather holds out (it did last year, remember?!). Do not email me or leave a message on the blog, please call and leave a message. I will need your name and phone number.

Winter Share: Jerry tells me he has started the harvesting of dried beans and the Tiger eye is looking really good. He may get to the rest of them this week…we will see! Forms are due by the end of September. If you know of a friend or co-worker who would like to participate this winter, give them a copy of your form or I can. Have them give me a call with their contact info! I will try to remember to send extra forms to the Distribution Centers!

Good News! We have two new DC’s to report for the Winter Share! The MLK & Forest location is moving to Colfax & Ulster. The Lakewood location is going to be located at 26th and Simms which will be perfect for Golden, Lakewood, Arvada and Westminster customers to get to. Both Distribution Centers are super nice people and wonderful to work with!

The Harvest Festival: The Festival is this Sunday the 20th from 11 to 4. Guests will be charged $10 per person (three and under are free). It sounds like we are going to have a beautiful day with daytime temperatures sitting around 85 degrees. Can’t ask for better day than that!

Bring sturdy shoes, a hat & a large side-dish or dessert to go along with the hamburgers and hot dogs. Your dishes & utensils will be rinsed off and placed under the tables for retrieval when you are ready to go for the day.

Check in before doing anything or going anywhere at the farm. This is for safety reasons and for me to know who came by. You can pick up a map of the farm with directions to u-pick crops. Please follow the directions, or you may be picking crops that are not on the list. There will also be directions for a self-tour of the farm and its’ buildings. If you have any questions, that is the best place to stop in and ask. If they don’t know the answer….they will come find me!

Volunteers: all volunteers, but especially if you are a Master Griller; please check in with Myrna right away. She can be found between the kitchen, drink station and grills.

U-Pick Crops: Jerry will take a look after Distribution Thursday to see what crops may be in abundance. I’m pretty sure you can pick poblano and anaheim chilies plus some jalapenos too. We will have the potato digger going for a bit and there will be hayrides to the pumpkin patch. And, we have flowers! You will not be able to pick tomatoes. We normally have a few special things in the barn to take. There could be some other things; I just don’t know what they will be at this point!

Please bring your own bags! We will not be providing them.

Roasting Chilies: It will cost $5 to roast chilies. Please start inside the barn. You will get one tray for picking. When you are done, you must check in at the barn again, pay your fee and get a ticket. Your ticket will match a bag of roasted chilies laid out in trays. No waiting in line, but it does take quite a bit of time to roast, so don’t be surprised if your chilies are not ready when you are! We are limited to roasting 35 trays, so after that, you will need to roast them yourself. We are interested in people showing up early (to help set up) and to pick chilies so we can get the roaster started earlier. Feel free to come around 9am (chili picking will start around 10 or 10:30)! The more hands we have to help with chores, the sooner everyone can get started picking and enjoying the festival!

Canning Contest: Both will start at 12:30. All canning goods (jams, jellies, relishes and pickles) should be at the booth no later than 12:15. There will be experts sitting in the booth all day to answer any questions you may have with your canning needs! If you would like to check out the jams and jellies, stop by and give them a try! There will also be samples of the pickles too!

Stick Horse Races: The Stick Horse Race will begin with a parade and then the races will begin. Ribbons will be awarded!

Shucking Contest: I think we will start around 1:00 or 1:30. We will start with the kids and work up to the adults. It is fun to watch and it is really fun to participate. Plan on joining the fun!

Music: Thanks to some very talented members, we will have music from 11 to 2. Enjoy!!

No bug spray or sunblock should be applied on the farm. Please do this at home and wash your hands thoroughly. Please remember; we are organic and a chemical free farm. Thank you!

This is our way of thanking you for being members. We cannot express our gratitude as well as we would like, so we hope this gesture gives you an idea of how much you mean to us!

Hope to see you Sunday!

Jacquie, Jerry and Kyle Monroe