Author Archives: Gretchen

Newsletter – July 16, 2018

Dear Members,

This Week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots, red onions, fennel, squash, cucumbers, broccoli purple bell peppers and muskmelon.

The fronds and bulb are both eatable on this delicate, wonderful, spicy, sweet bulb.  Many people love to shred the bulb and add it to slaw and salads.  It is enticing cooked under roasts (it caramelizes) and roasted with root vegetables.  The fronds can be added to potato & macaroni salads as well as fish.  Oh Yum!!

Purple bell peppers are best eaten raw.  They can definitely be cooked; they just turn a strange gray color!  So if you are putting them in a wrap, go for it!  But if they are going to be seen (perhaps in a stir fry); I wouldn’t cook them!  I have just been informed that Tuesday members are the only ones getting this…most of the field is not ready to be picked.

Honey:  I am very sorry, but you should have gotten honey last week.  I simply lost track of time! Only those of you who get monthly deliveries will get honey this week.  I am talking with Lazy Bee to find out if there will be a harvest of honey next month or if they anticipate the harvest will occur in September.  Depending on the outcome, those of you who get a one time delivery will get their honey after the harvest.

Fruit:  You will be getting a fantastic Bing cherry this week from First Fruit called Lambert’s.  This is an older variety and a late season variety.  It should be tastier and sweeter than the others you have been getting.

Produce Payments:  Half of all your remaining fees were due the 15th of July (except for animals).  Late fees of $25 will be applied on July 24th.  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.  Produce will be cut off for anyone who has not paid in full or followed their payment schedule the week of the 23rd.  So get those payments in!!

Potato-Fennel Pizza on Cauliflower Crust

Potato-Fennel Pizza on Cauliflower Crust
The Crust                                       The Potatoes                            The Pizza
1 head cauliflower, separated   2 large potatoes                        6oz taleggio cheese
1 clove garlic                          1 cloves garlic                 rind removed, thinly sliced
½ cup mozzarella                ½ small bulb fennel, cored &    ½ small bulb fennel,
¼ cup parmesan                  thinly sliced                   thinly sliced, chop frons
½ tsp dried oregano                     Salt                                    ½ cup grated parmesan
2 eggs, beaten                  ½ cup Healthy Harvest olive oil 1 Tbsp   H.H. Olive Oil
1/2 tsp red chili pepper         ¼ tsp ground pepper                     ground pepper
flakes, optional

Place cauliflower and garlic in a pot with salted water and cook until
tender.  Prepare everything else for the pizza.  Preheat oven to 400
degrees & heat pizza stone or inverted baking sheet.  Pulse cauliflower
in a food processor until crumbly.  Hand mix in the rest of the
ingredients.  Line baking sheet with parchment paper and place
cauliflower mixture in center then smooth out into a circle.  Lightly
press down.  Bake for 20 minutes.  Place potatoes, garlic & fennel in a
pot with salted water and cook until tender.  Mash potatoes with olive
oil leaving small lumps then add pepper.  Remove crust from oven; let
cool 5 to 10 minutes.  Spread potatoes over cauliflower then the
cheese. Toss the sliced fennel & frons with olive oil and place on
pizza then continue with a layer of parmesan cheese.  Sprinkle with
ground pepper.  Place in oven at 500 degrees for another 10 to 12
minutes or until crust is golden brown.

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Newsletter – July 9, 2018

Dear Friends,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, red beets, Walla Walla onions, garlic, squash, cucumbers, broccoli, muskmelon and possibly yellow watermelon.

Since it is the beginning of the season (even though it feels like August already), crops slowly begin to ripen.  This means that there may not be enough of each item to give to everyone.  The yellow watermelon is a prime example.  We know there is a lot that is ready or on the verge of ready, but will not know how many we have until they are picked.  We may only have enough for everyone in one distribution center or a whole delivery day or maybe two delivery days to get the watermelon.  We just do not know at this point, but this is how Mother Nature works!  We would rather hand it out than let the few that are ready go bad!

Fruit:  You are getting bing cherries from First Fruit called Lambert.  Delicious!!

Oil:  Sorry for the delay in the olive oil.  It was delayed in customs but you are getting it this week!

T-Shirts/Hats:  To celebrate our 80th anniversary in 2016, we had t-shirts & hats made.  We just happen to have a few still in stock.  It is a beautiful royal blue shirt with the Monroe logo on the front.  On the back are the words:  Organic before organic was cool!  I have these sizes left:  Women; 5 small, 16 medium, 20 large & 9 XL.  Men:  8 medium, 22 large, 30 XL & 3 XXL.  Youth:  3 small, 8 medium & 4 large.

Monroe t-shirt and hat order form. Please fill it out and return it to your distributor. Both the t-shirt and hat are $15 and the price includes tax.  You can include a check or we can bill you.  We will give everyone a couple of weeks to place your order then deliver them to your distributor at the beginning of August.  We have approximately four dozen hats available!

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 or on a relish tray.  Sweet pickle spices can be added during the cooking stage for a different taste.

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.  Cover with liquid and cook until tender.

Newsletter – July 2, 2018

Dear Friends of the farm, 

This week you are getting our first picking of Yukon Gold potatoes.  These little morsels are easy to wash and easy to cook.  Gently wash then cut potatoes so they are basically the same size. Be careful of their skins, they are tender.  You may find some of your potatoes are roughed up just from pulling them from the ground.  You may also find some brown spots from the air getting to the flesh.  These can be removed with a potato peeler.  Now, cover with water, salt, include a large pat of butter and boil until the water is gone and fry for just a few minutes. Yum!  Do not be surprised if these cook faster than expected.  There is something about the first few weeks that make them that way!  You are also getting Walla Walla onions, carrots, garlic, cabbage, squash, cucumbers and lettuce. 

Fruit/Oil:  So the fruit growers are struggling a little bit from the weather this spring and we will not be getting any fruit this week.  But it looks like First Fruit will be able to get us cherries next week. 

Hot, Hot Hot!:  I have not been able to confirm this, but May has to be one of the hottest months on record in Colorado’s history!  Here at the farm we were anywhere from 15 to 20 degrees hotter every day and it felt like there were more 20 degrees over normal than 15!  So far we have recorded 5 days over 100 degrees and last Thursday we hit 106.  These temperatures are hard on the humans but good for growing produce (as long as we can keep enough water on them)!  It is the reason why you are getting such a nice variety of produce so far.  Most of these crops are things that would naturally come later in July.  We have been consistently picking crops three weeks earlier and three weeks later in the season for many years now.  This year we started Distribuiton one week earlier than normal and started picking produce four weeks earlier than in the 1990’s.  Do we believe in Weather Change?  You bet we do!  We live, breath, work and run our business by the weather.  It is the most important input to our business and yet we do not have any control of it! 

Have a fantastic Fourth of July everyone!

Jacquie, Sam, Kyle and Jerry 

Bubble and Squeak 

3 lg potatoes, cubed
¼ to ½ cup chopped ham 
4 cups chopped cabbage
3 slices of bacon, crumbled, and reserve drippings 
½ med. onion, chopped
2 small squashes, grated
salt and pepper  

Boil potatoes until tender and drain.  Slightly mash potatoes and combine with cabbage, onion, zucchini, ham and bacon.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Heat bacon drippings in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat.  Add potato mixture and smooth flat.  Cook for 30 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom.  DO NOT STIR!  Invert onto a plate and serve. 

Monroe temporary communications status

UPDATE – Jacqui’s phone is up and working again, and she has found her cell phone. Monroe communications are back to normal! (Meaning if you want to communicate with Jacquie in a timely manner, call her – do not leave comments on the blog – she does not ever check it). Thanks!

FYI – Jacqui’s business phone is down and will not be repaired until Thursday afternoon. Additionally, her internet has been down until just this (Weds) afternoon (perhaps from the storms we had) and she lost her cell phone for about 12 hours. She sends her apologies!! Monroes will try to get in touch with everyone just as soon as possible.

Newsletter – June 26, 2018

Dear Members,

This week you are getting robust garlic, sweet white onions, brilliant red beets, superb summer squash (any kind), great cucumbers (could be the pickle variety) and beautiful magenta lettuce.

Fruit: We will be getting cherries from Rancho Durazno this week! Oh yum!!! Also, some people are going to get their fruit in bags that were purchased at an auction.  Ignore the number listed on the bag.  This fruit came from Rancho Durazno and is certified organic!

Honey: I was talking with Lazy Bee and they told me that there may be a delay in harvesting this seasons’ honey by one month. So those of you who are getting a one time delivery may not see that until September.

Fourth of July: The fourth lands on a Wednesday this year. We will be moving Wednesday distribution to Monday the 2nd. If this does not work for you, make arrangements with your distributor to pick up on Tuesday. But please keep in mind; the produce may be wilted. This comes from dehydration. To hydrate simply cold water bath your produce for a few hours. Again, I would not do this in your sink unless you have washed off all traces of dirt and sand first. Believe me; I have plugged up my pipes from thoughtlessly washing my produce in the sink! Place a large bowl in your sink first and dump it out into your garden. Now you are ready to cold water bath your produce. Anything that will not hydrate needs to be eaten ASAP. Wilted greens are popular in china. Bring water to a boil, take off heat, place greens into water 1 minute, remove and serve with balsamic. No one will ever know they were already wilted and you still get to use your lettuce!

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 24th. 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!

FYI: We did not get the bad hailstorms you heard about…they were, however, all around us! We did get a few small stones that left marks on the summer squash and tore up some of the lettuce. But it is still delicious!

Have a great and healthy week! Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Sam

Curried Summer Squash

  • 1½ Tbsp Healthy Harvest oil
  • ½ tsp cumin
  • 2 squash ~ any kind, chopped
  • 1 tsp coriander
  • 3-4 fresh or 1 can diced tomatoes
  • ¼ tsp turmeric
  • 1 green chili, diced or 3 Tbsp canned
  • 1 sprig cilantro, chopped
  • ½ tsp chili powder
  • salt to taste

Mix everything together in a large skillet. Cover and cook on medium to medium high for 10 minutes. Test zucchini for doneness, continue cooking if you like it tenderer and then serve.

Newsletter – June 18, 2018

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 red onions, garlic, carrots, kohlrabi, squash, (may now include Q-ball which is a round zucchini) broccoli, garlic scapes and red butterhead 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 green 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 made 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 fries with it and it is wonderful on its own sautéed until tender. Needs to be peeled!

Fruit/Pickles: Strawberry picking is over for the season. I was afraid it would be short! No fruit from the Western Slope this week. But it is Pickle Picking Time!! If interested, please call and get on the wait list.

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; I don’t even have an account. Several members took it upon themselves to start these up and continually update them. Everyone needs to contact me directly by phone when you have any questions. I will need your name and 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! FYI: I never look at the Blog; I simply send the newsletter to a member for posting.

Introductions: It seems that members are getting my daughter, Alaina, mixed up with Kyles girlfriend, Sam. Alaina now lives and works in the medical field in Kansas City, MO. Sam works, lives and breathes the farm side by side with Kyle and the crew. Dani works for me in my office part time three days a week, Tue, Wed & Thr. We have two new interns from Hawaii, Carly & Scott and Mike (previous intern from last summer) came back as a full time employee this summer. If you see any of these folks at farmers markets, stop by and say hi!

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 & scrub brush

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 aggressively on hard skinned produce like winter squash, cucumbers, root veggies and melons. Leafy greens simply should be sprayed, let sit and rinsed.

Newsletter – June 11, 2018

Dear Friends of the Farm,

Welcome to our first week of distribution!! The entire farm is really looking good! Now that it is getting so hot (hard on humans, but great for plants) everything is growing like crazy & green, green, green!!! This is only the second time in our history that we have started before the third week of June. It is mind boggling what is happening here. I have been asked about our water situation. And yes, we will be fine this year because of our spring rains. But here we are again in a drought. If we do not get rain or snow this winter, our situation could be quite different for 2019. But we will have to worry about that later! For now, we have an exciting year ahead of us!!!

Produce: This week you are getting butterhead lettuce, peas, garlic, summer squash (either yellow straight neck, zucchini) and red kohlrabi. 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-wash 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 1400 pounds of produce to organizations around the metro area. 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!!! All DC’s should have an exchange box for produce you do not want. You are welcome to take something left behind by another member. Anything left at the end of the day will be donated.

4th of July: Since the 4th lands on a Wednesday this year, we will be doing Wednesday distribution on Monday. The rest of the days will remain the same. DC’s, please contact me if this is a problem!!

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. 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 or Twitter (also run by members) for pictures and videos!

The next u-pick crop coming up is pickling cucumbers and that will be sometime in July. I can start taking names of members who would like to pick pickles for canning. Please let me know if you can come during the week or just weekends or both.

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 2018 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 is 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