Monthly Archives: September 2009

EMERGENCY Wednesday (today) Picking!

A message from Jacquie….
 For those of you who get this message in time (we realize it’s late) and are gracious enough to come help, we are on a picking tyraid! Jerry got word that there will be a FREEZE this Thursday, so we are rallying all members to drive on up to the farm, and anytime between 7am and 12pm, we will be picking what is left on the entire farm to prevent from freezing.

For some of you, you may be reading these words on the morning OF, but yes it is on. We are not cancelling. Wednesday distribution will be going on as usual, so come on up and start picking! Tomatoes, strawberries, and there is an entire laundry list of veggies that well need picking.

There is no need to call or email, just drive on out to the farm. You’re help will be greatly appreciated and any extra produced that is collected (as opposed to destroyed by frost) will just mean more produce for you members! 🙂

9/28/09 Newsletter

Dear Friends,

Well, we have a trying week ahead of us. Alaina found out last Friday afternoon that her eye is misbehaving and she will need emergency surgery this Tuesday. I will be out of commission along with my daughter for the rest of the week. Please keep her in your prayers!

Winter Share Sign-up is coming along nicely. We have approximately 100 members signed up and can accept another 50. You will find a Winter Sign-up form in your vegetable bag this week, just in case you need one! Please send that in just as soon as you can. We are looking for a new location in the Boulder area. I need someone that can help us unload the truck when we arrive during the day as well as help members with Distribution in the evening. You are considered a working member and will get $100 discount for volunteering. Or if someone would be willing to meet me at Kim Haines home to help me unload, that is an option too (with a smaller discount)! Please call me at the number above for more information!

Here is a list of confirmed Winter Distribution Centers:

Aurora – I-225 & Mississippi – Judy and Wally Soderquist
Centennial – County Line Rd & University – Peggy Walling
Lakewood – Union & Alameda – Sam Majeres
Central Denver – 38th & Tennyson – Barb Granica
Central Denver – 6th Avenue & Colfax – Brenda & Jeff Wright
Boulder – TBD
Ft. Collins – Drake & Lemay – Gayle Hemenway
Greeley – At The Farm – Jacquie Monroe

It has been a very interesting year raising animals. We have had problems with the weather and the predators this summer. The hog breeder also had problems with fertility too. Each customer who ordered either pork or lamb will be getting a letter within the next couple of weeks explaining the situation and your options. Both pork and lamb processing will begin the week of the 12th of Oct. and will continue well into December. Your specific processing date will be included in your confirmation letter.

This week the Fruit Share is getting a beautiful 10# bag of Honey Crisp apples. To reiterate; you have received three 5# bags of Bing cherries, 5# of Rainier cherries, two 20# boxes of peaches and one 10# bag of pears. After this week you will have received a total of 80# of fruit. There will be one more delivery of either 10# of apples or a combination of apples and pears. We hope this will be delivered Oct. 13th, 14th & 15th. This will give you your total of 90# for the summer!

Have a good week!

Jacquie, Jerry, Alaina and Kyle

Autumn Arrival!

Perfect day, begin the season!
Cold and crisp with winter squash,
Gloves and sweaters, hats and rosy cheeks.
Chilly morning, harvesting a field of pie pumpkins.
Apple cider and pumpkin butter.
Happy Autumn!

9/21/09 Newsletter

Dear Friends of the Farm,

We really couldn’t have picked a better day to have a party, especially when a rainy Monday follows such a terrific day! There was a total of 440 people (126 membership households) enjoyed the warm day at the farm. There was wonderful food shared at the picnic this year. Approximately five years ago we had a ton of potato dishes shared. This year, coleslaw was the dish of choice. To tell you the truth, I’m surprised we don’t have more years where the same dish is duplicated! I also didn’t realize there were so many ways to prepare coleslaw!!

The hayride to the pumpkin patch was a big hit for everyone. I didn’t realize there were so many huge pumpkins out there this year. It was amazing to watch wagon after wagon being unloaded with such big pumpkins!

Most of the members took advantage of picking extra produce such as basil, dill, carrots, beets, hot peppers and Banana peppers. The two most exciting things were the strawberries and watching the old fashioned potato digger dig up Banana Fingerling potatoes. I think most people haven’t seen this before. Picking up potatoes is really fun. As Adults, how many times do you get to play in the dirt! Sifting through the soft, warm, sandy dirt to find treasure is sure to please anyone! And the strawberry picking was a nice surprise. The new strawberry plants planted this spring are producing a few berries. This is unusual. Normally we will not see strawberries until next spring!

The kids were adorable in the Stick Horse Race. We saw many creative animals. Even though there were some special awards given for their creativity, everyone went home with a ribbon. The popcorn sheller and the apples press was kept busy most of the day. Fresh apple cider just can’t be beat! Thank you Schwarzeweller family for sharing your old fashioned apple press with everyone! We would like to also send out a special thank you to everyone who helped out and kept the Festival running smoothly.

Don’t forget! This Sunday at 1 p.m. we are getting together to harvest the sweet potatoes. We would like to see a large group of members participate in this function. “Many hands make light work,” my grandmother would say!

Winter Share sign-ups are due Oct 1st. Your Distribution Centers will have forms if you need them! Single Shareholders will need to split the share because they are based on a Half Share. Full Share members may need to purchase two shares to fill their needs. A discount of $150 will be applied if two shares are purchased.

This week you are getting French Fingerling potatoes, yellow cooking onions, carrots, golden beets, lemon cucumbers, Globe eggplant, orange, yellow & green or red peppers, Anaheim peppers, sweet corn, the regular tomatoes & an heirloom tomato, spaghetti squash and orange honeydew.

Thank you for the gifts Sunday. We appreciate your thoughtfulness. And thank you for participating in the Harvest Festival. It was nice seeing you all!

Jacquie, Jerry, Alaina and Kyle

9/14/09 Newsletter

Dear Friends of the Farm,

The countdown has begun for the Harvest Festival! It is a really fun day for you to get to know other members, eat great food, tour the farm, take a hayride to the pumpkin patch, watch the stick horse races, check out the apple press & taste fresh cider, shell your own popcorn, pick extra produce or just sit back and watch it all happen. No matter what you like to do, you can see it happen at the Farm this Sunday. We will start at 11 a.m. and start tearing down between 3 & 4 p.m. Guests will pay $10 per person ages 3 and up. Don’t forget to bring apples for the apple press! The picnic is a potluck. Please bring a dish at least twice the amount you would serve your family. We provide the hot dogs and hamburgers; we need side dishes and desserts! When you arrive at the farm, please check in at the Check-in Station. They will give you a name tag. This helps us to know exactly how many folks came to experience the fun at the Harvest Festival!

This next week will be a busy one! Besides our daily activities, we will be sprucing up the farm for the festival. If you haven’t RSVP your reservation for the Harvest Festival, this is the last week you can do so. Please call by the end of day on the 17th. Shopping will need to be done this weekend. The person, who first volunteered to do the shopping for me, unexpectedly had to cancel. Is there someone else out there that would be willing to do the shopping? You will need a Costco or Sam’s Club membership because of the large amount of paper products we purchase for the event.

We will be having a workday for members on Sat. the 19th at 9 am. We still have a small field of winter squash to get into the barn and there will be other odd jobs to do around the farm for the festival. If you have even a couple of hours, we could sure use the help! Contact Lorna at 303-593-1754. You will get a confirmation email by Friday evening either saying the workday is still scheduled or it is cancelled. Thank you very much for helping us out like this!

Unfortunately, there will not be any extra tomatoes to pick. Everything we have is going to the membership! We do have peppers and we will have the chili roaster going! Be aware! There can be a long line for this service. The cost will be $5 per tray roasted (we will provide the trays, but you cannot take them home!). You do not have to have your chilis roasted here. You can take them home and roast them on your grill.

The chili roaster will be going all day. It is suggested that some of you attend the pot luck right away and some of you head out to the u-pick fields or go on a self tour of the farm. Either way, you will be standing in lines waiting for something! The popcorn sheller will also be going most of the day. We ask that each household only take one bag of popcorn. The apple press belongs to Paul Schwarzeweller and Linda Hellow. They have been members of the farm since 1996. It is such a privilege to have them set up and show us how an old fashioned apples press works. You can find them on the east side of the house from 12 to 2 or until we run out of apples!

Here are some dos and don’ts to follow with the u-pick crops. It is very important to bring your own boxes, bags or any other rigid containers. You cannot use ours, we need them for distribution! If you do not bring containers, you will not be allowed to pick produce and throw it into your trunk. Please be respectful of other members and of your farmers. There is a limit to what you can pick! Do not go into fields that are not designated as u-pick crops. You will find a list of crops at the Check-in Station along with directions to get there. Please do not drive off without directions. Everyone drives the same direction so we do not have cars nose to nose. (We don’t have two lane roads out here!)

Directions to the Farm
From Denver, the Western Slope or Pueblo:
I-25 North to I-76 East. As you continue east, don’t panic, you will be driving for a while! Last town you will go through is Hudson. Very next exit is #34 or the Kersey Rd. Take this exit, turn left. Continue north for approximately 16 miles. Turn right at Co Rd 48. You are now on a dirt road. Travel 1 ½ miles. We are on the left or north side of road. Find house number on front of mailbox: 25525, our name is on the side of the box.
From Boulder, Longmont or Lyons:
I-25 North to highway 66. Take highway 66 east to highway 85. Highway 85 north through the towns of Platteville, then Gilcrest. At next grain elevator, Co Rd 44, turn right heading east. At Co Rd 49, turn left heading north. Travel 2 miles to Co Rd 48, turn right heading east. Another 1 ½ miles to the farm on left or north side of road. House number on the front of the mailbox: 25525, our name is on the side of the box.
From Loveland or Ft. Collins:
Take highway 34 east through the city of Greeley. Must take Fort Morgan exit to continue east on highway 34. Approximately 4 miles from this exit to Co Rd 49, turn right heading south. Travel 4 miles to Co Rd 48, turn left. 1 ½ miles to farm on the left or north side of road. House number is on the front of the mailbox: 25525, our name is on the side of the box.

There was a typo error on the Winter Sign-up form. It indicated that Distribution would start November 5th when in actuality we always deliver on Wednesdays, making the date November 4th. We need volunteers for the Central Denver Distribution points. We actually need two because this area is in high demand! I know the payment schedule for the Winter Share is Oct. 1st, Dec. 1st and Feb. 1st. Paying that Feb. payment may be difficult since renewals for current members are due for 2010 by Feb. 19th. You are welcome to make monthly payments in Oct. & Nov. of $135 making the Dec. payment $130 and paying your Winter Share in full. This way you have paid for everything you purchased in 2009; clearing the way to renew your Membership Fees in 2010!

Crops you will be getting this week are Yukon Gold potatoes, red onions, carrots, Chioggia beets, summer squash, green cabbage, lemon cucumbers, Daikon radish, bell peppers, Banana peppers, Pablano peppers, Jalapeño peppers, green beans and tomatoes.

We look forward to the Harvest Festival and welcoming all of you to your farm. Please take time to look around and get to know the place where your food is grown!

Thank you and we will see you there!

Jacquie, Jerry, Alaina and Kyle Monroe

The Cost of a CSA

When we joined Monroe in 2008, we signed up for a working membership. To figure out if the cost of a CSA would be worth wile for our family, Rick and I sat down with our grocery store receipts from the months past, and added up just what we spent on produce alone. Then we figured out the mileage to drive to Monroe in Kersey once a week, and what that would cost us in gas.

The fuel costs combined with the membership and produce fees from Monroe were still FAR, and I mean FAR, less than what we’d been paying at the grocery store for often times non-organic, shipped across the country, under ripe produce from the previous summer.

About a week after we signed up (before things were really started for members on the farm), I got a call from another member who also lived South of Denver and was interested in car-pooling to the farm each week. That meant our fuel cost was cut in half from what we calculated it would be.

For the whole summer’s worth of produce, including fuel costs, this is what we spent in 2008 (when gas prices were through the roof, remember??). And, it should be noted that we froze, stored and canned some of this produce and ate it all winter too.

2008 Membership Fee (working member): $100
2008 Produce Fee (half share): $135
Fuel (we got aprox. 20 miles/gallon): $497.07/2 = $248.54
Total for the summer: $483.54

That amount divided by the number of weeks we received produce from the farm (approx. 24 last year) is $20.14/week on about 25lbs of local, fresh, organic produce. This does not count all the corn that was not in the bags (and there was a ton last year); and the 2 flats of strawberries, asparagus, and roasted green chiles which were “pick your own” that I brought home in addition to the share; or factor in what we didn’t have to buy this winter.

You have to remember that this number could change based on how far you drive to the farm (assuming you’re a working member), car pooling with more or less people, fuel costs, and how bountiful the harvest is. Or, it would obviously change if you are a non-working member as well, and of course the fees were a bit more this year (though gas is SO much less!).

The produce is so incredibly fresh. As in, picked just that morning! And you’ll never get a white fleshed, pithy tomato from the Monroe’s.

Last year, the half share was plenty for our family. We ate most of it in a week, and were able to store what was left. However, for 2009, we uped our share to a full size with plans to store/can/freeze much of the excess in order to ensure our grocery bills for winter produce are further reduced, and, well, we have become addicted to the veggies.

The savings is incredible! And the food is out of this world!

It should also be said, that we got a lot more out of the CSA last year then produce. We made new friends, Rick has a new hunting partner, Henry got to play in the dirt all summer, eat melons warm from the sun, pick strawberries, irreplaceable memories… it is so very very cool.

parts of this post were excepted from my personal blog: Schell Urban Homestead

Harvest Stuffed Peppers

This recipe is a bit different then your traditional stuffed pepper.  It is one of those recipes that ends up catching all the random veggies in the kitchen that need using. It’s great with mushrooms, garlic, eggplant, celery, zucchini, extra peppers, even a tomato added at the end. It would also be great topped with grated cheese.

Harvest Stuffed Peppers

2 bell peppers that can stand on their ends
2 medium sized potatoes
1/2 white or yellow onion
1 or 2 peeled carrots
1 small or medium sized squash
1/2 to 3/4 cup protein of choice: left over diced ham is in the picture, but eggplant, eggs, ground beef or sausage works great too.
Fresh torn basil – to taste
Salt & pepper
2 TBS olive oil

Cut the tops off of the peppers, remove seeds and ribs and set peppers aside. Chop all other ingredients into a 1/4-inch dice. In a 12-inch skillet with a lid heat olive oil; add potatoes, onions and carrots. Season well with salt and pepper. Put on lid and let cook over medium, stirring to keep from sticking to bottom of the pan, until onions are soft and the potatoes and carrots are on their way to being cooked through.
Add squash (sometimes I add the pepper tops too). Let cook uncovered until potatoes are almost tender, stirring as needed to keep from sticking.
Add cooked meat (or raw eggplant), and basil. Mix well, taste and adjust for seasoning. Scoop mixture (which I call hash) into the peppers. Place peppers in a rimmed pan and bake at 375 until heated through and potatoes are done. They could also be finished on the grill instead of the oven.

This recipe makes enough hash to stuff four peppers (serve four people), but I only stuff two for Rick and I. The remaining hash gets divided into two portions – one for Henry, and one for Rick’s lunch the next day.  If you want to make it for four, just add two more bell peppers!