Author Archives: Gretchen

Newsletter – September 19, 2017

Dear Friends of the Farm;

This is week 14 out of an 18 week season. You are getting red potatoes, Walla Walla onions, carrots, purple cauliflower, red peppers, yellow peppers, green basil, red tomatoes, specialty tomatoes, muskmelon and orange honeydew.

Fruit: I’m sorry I forgot to tell you last week apples were coming…completely forgot! That is the last of the fruit this year. It came in large quantities because of the horrendous year they are having. If they had given us smaller quantities, they would not have been able to bring it again. When the crop was ready to pick, we had to take what we could get or not get very much of anything! Sometimes the fruit was ripe and ready to eat and had to be refrigerated immediately and sometimes it could sit and continue to ripen for three or four days. But at least we got it!!

Honey: Those of you who get monthly deliveries of honey will be getting that this week.

Do you remember? Can you believe how fast this summer has gone by?! Amazing how time just seems to slip away from us. The older you get, they faster time vanishes too. Do you remember what you were doing four & five years ago? 2012 was one of the hottest summers on record. With three straight weeks of over 100 degree heat and three months in the 90’s, the farmers had used up all the water in most of the reservoirs. After that dry summer and no snow during the winter, we didn’t think we would have any water to farm with the following year. We made arrangements with the city of Greeley to use city water and drip irrigation on five acres of land. The one and only snowstorm we got was a huge one that hit the Denver Metro area and Front Range in late March. It dropped a whopping three feet of snow in the Metro area and 8 feet all along the upper Front Range. The farm received around 6 to 8 inches of snow during that storm and all that snow melt-off filled our reservoirs. As devastating that storm was to the trees that had budded out, nothing compared to the 500 year storm that hit in September of 2013 that flooded just about every city along the Front Range. Those of you who were in the area at the time will never forget what happened. Some cities received anywhere from 15 to 24 inches of rain in a three or four days. Streets became rivers and houses & basements were flooded. The city of Lyons because an island! Helicopters had to rescue all the residents!

I guess we should all stop what we are doing now & then and appreciate what we have and what we are doing because Mother Nature has a way of slapping us in the face to give us a wake-up call. It’s up to us to appreciate all the little things in life that makes life easy and fun. Slow down and look around you. What is it that you appreciate today?

Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Sam

Smashed Potatoes

2# potatoes, no larger than 3X3 (cut if necessary), boiled or baked, grease a baking pan & arrange potatoes. Use a masher to squash to about half the size. If using different size potatoes, squash all potatoes to about the same width. Melt 3Tb butter with 4 crushed & diced garlic and 1 Tb chopped fresh parsley (or 1 ½ tsp dry); drizzle over potatoes. Broil or grill until golden and crispy. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to taste and heat until cheese is melted. Sprinkle with extra parsley if desired & pass around a salt shaker if needed!

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Newsletter – September 12, 2017

Hi Everyone!

It is week 13 of an 18 week season and you are getting: red potatoes, red onions, red beets, daikon radish, lemon cucumbers, purple & red peppers, pablano peppers, green beans, orange honeydew and tomatoes; including red beefsteak, yellow, Cherokee Purple, Black Beauty, and Terra Cotta.

The Terra Cotta tomato is a unique tomato that has an orange tinge to it with green mixed throughout. Its flavor can be fruity to outrageously acidic! It’s the acidity that gives a tomato its flavor. Compare the flavor of your low acid yellow tomato to the high acid of the other three and you can really see the difference! Our regular beefsteak red tomato has an acid content in the middle range.

The orange flesh honeydew is absolutely one of my favorites! It has a nice round flavor and very sweet. Honeydew are at their best when you leave them on the counter until they resemble an over inflated rubber ball. They should have a rubbery feel to them. You can eat any of these melons right away, but those that do not have that rubbery feel to them will be firmer inside and the rubbery ones will be soft inside!

Daikon Radishes are a favorite in Asian cooking and is mostly pickled and served as a side dish. An old Chinese proverb says, “Eating pungent radish and drinking hot tea let the starved doctors beg on their knees.” There’s probably some truth to this saying, because radishes are among the most nutritionally loaded yet low-calorie vegetables you can eat. Daikon has the ability to improve digestion, helps relieve indigestion & heartburn, may help improve blood circulation and prevent clots. The juice extracted from raw daikon has been traditionally used to alleviate headaches, fever, swollen gums, hot flashes and it has anti-inflammatory effect on people. Sounds like a super-food to me!!

Office Staff: Dani is having ankle surgery this Wednesday and will not be in the office until next Monday. Please be advised I am not in the office this week either because I have company from California coming Friday and won’t be available until Friday the 22nd. I will try to answer phone messages on the 15th but will not be answering email. (Which everyone should know by now that I do not do very often anyway!)

Do you remember? Telephone booths, party lines, phones you dialed, phones that hung on the wall with 10 foot cord so you could try to find some privacy when talking? Do you remember writing long notes to your friends during a boring lecture instead of texting for five seconds? Talk with your kids tonight and enlighten them on the way telephones used to work!

Colorado Proud Day is September 13th and is a day set aside for everyone to think about where their food comes from and the farmers that produce it. Do you know where your food comes from? Good question to ask most people because they do not! Hug a farmer…they deserve your appreciation!

Pickled Daikon

4 pound each carrots & celery, julienned
½ pound daikon, julienned
1 ½ cups water
¼ cup rice vinegar (I used regular)
2 Tb raw honey

Place everything into a large, wide pan. Bring to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Let sit for at least one hour. Serve at room temperature or chilled.

UPDATED Newsletter – September 4, 2017

Dear Friends of the farm,

This week Jerry made some last minute changes! You are getting Walla Walla onions, garlic, turnips, red cabbage, squash, cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, green & purple bell peppers, basil, beans, red tomatoes, Black Beauty tomatoes, corn, muskmelon and honeydew.

We are now giving out a new honeydew called Banana Melon.  It has salmon
colored flesh with yellow, smooth, rippled skin.  It has a unique flavor
that reminds me of muskmelon and honeydew combined.  It is banana shaped
and some will say it even smells like a banana….though I could not smell
it.  It is an old heirloom seed and somewhat rare.  Please save the seed
by rinsing well, dry it out, then place in an envelope.  Please do not
place in plastic. The seed will mold & we cannot use it.

You are also getting several different heirloom tomatoes such as Cherokee
Purple (same as last week), Golden Globe and Black Beauty.

This is the world’s darkest tomato! It has the same antioxidants as blueberries!  With a thick flesh, it is one of the greatest tasting tomatoes with a savory, earthy taste.  Allow the green spot to turn pink by leaving on your counter.

After examining the fields, the best looking right now is a beautiful red
basil called cinnamon basil.  Has a very nice, slightly spicy taste.

We are out of watermelon for the summer.  Due to the extremely warm temperatures in July, everything came on approximately 3 to 4 weeks early.  So we will be slowly running out of product this month. So enjoy it while it is here!!

Boxes/Bags:  If you remember, at the beginning of the year we asked you to return all boxes & bags including your bean bags.  This means we want your peach boxes!  We want to put tomatoes into them for distribution.

Cards & Letters:  I sure do appreciate all the nice notes members are sending me along with their payments.  It makes us feel like we are doing something right!  We work so hard (and get a little grumpy along the way) and so many hours; well let me just say, thank you for appreciating it!!  It has been an amazing summer full of rich, wonderful goodness…

Jacquie’s Soapbox:  My grandmother (Edith) had a saying:  “If a child hasn’t eaten five pounds of dirt by the time they are 2, they’re not going to be healthy.” After having kids of my own, and seeing other people with their kids today, I’m beginning to see her point!  I dug a huge hole in my back yard and the kids and I would sit in it and play with Matchbox Cars or Tanka Trucks for hours.  Sometimes we would add water to that hole, just for fun!  We had a sand pit under the playhouse and again play in it for hours.  We would make mud pies and have mud fights!  When they got older, we played in the muddy water in the ditches.  None of us wore shoes all summer unless we had too.  (I cannot tell you how many times I had to wash off those two kids with a garden hose before coming into the house!)  We still play in the dirt (literally) every day.  Our kids had a mud volleyball game for their friends a few years back!  As everyone crawled out of the pit, they had mud in their hair, smeared across their faces and of course, on their cloths. Everyone had the best time.

Today, kids appear to be sparkling clean.  I constantly hear parents say, “Don’t get dirty!”  Well why not??  We have to be exposed to the germs in the dirt around us to build up our immune systems. Evidence shows us that if we do this as kids it will help us as adults.  Children raised in homes that are not perfectly clean have fewer allergies as adults.  Hopefully this will inspire you and make you feel much better about going outside to play with your kids instead of cleaning the house this week!  Let’s all get dirty, be healthy and have some fun!  (psst.  We eat produce right out in the field without washing it; a big no-no in food safety today.)  WE LOVE OUR DIRT!!

Curried Vegetables 

1 onion. sliced & quartered
2 carrots, sliced
1 green chili, chopped (or jalapeno for added spice)
1 summer squash, chunked
1 small eggplant, chunked
3 T. oil
1 lg potato, chunked
1 t. cumin seeds
1 cup cauliflower, in pieces
1 t. coriander, turmeric & chili powder
1 bell pepper, chunked
2/3 cup veggie broth
juice from a lime

Heat 1 T. oil in a pan and fry onion, the chili & cumin seeds 2 minutes and set aside in a serving bowl.  Heat 2 T. oil then add potato & fry 3 minutes.  Add cauliflower & carrots and fry 3 minutes.  Add eggplant & squash and fry 3 minutes. (Isn’t this nice and easy so far?)  Stir in spices, add broth, cover and simmer 30 minutes or until veggies are tender.  Add more broth if needed to make a nice consistency.  Finish with the lime juice, cook another couple of minutes and serve!

Winter Share Form

Winter Share Form

Monroe Winter Share pdf

(click above to download – it will take you to a new page, where you will have to click the link again.)

 

Newsletter – August 29, 2017

Dear Friends,

This is week 11 out of an 18 week season.  You are getting red potatoes, Walla Walla onions, carrots, squash, cucumbers, lemon cucumbers (simply eat like a cucumber), green, purple and jalapeno peppers, green beans, beefsteak tomatoes, Cherokee Purple (heirloom) tomato, muskmelon, honeydew and the Half & Full shares will get watermelon.

A few members are commenting about how much produce you are receiving this year.  What a horrible problem to solve!!  There is a reason we are giving you a lot of produce.  Last year we had a devastating hailstorm on July 29th that took out 75 to 80 percent of the farm.  We quit all but Boulder farmers market and retained that produce for our members along with whatever we could pick during the week.  Distribution continued throughout the summer, but with much fewer variety & quantities.  We want to show our appreciation for our past members support for not leaving the CSA by giving you a greater selection as well as a nice quantity of produce.  We love you all!  Thank you for sticking this out with us!  This is a good time to check out our canning and freezing guide on our website!!!  (By freezing as you go, you will reduce the cost of your share by sliding it into winter!)

Seed Saving:  Watermelon seeds need to be rinsed and dried, then placed in an envelope and taken to your distribution center, we will collect from them.  Plastic bags will make the seeds mold and we will not be able to use them!

Fruit:  You are getting a large box of peaches called Zee Lady and a bag of pluots this week.  A pluot is a cross between a plum and apricot… simply delicious!  Zee Lady are known for their great texture and flavor…soon to be your favorite!

A reminder as to why you are getting your fruit is such large quantities!  The fruit growers on the Western slope had a hard freeze at the end of April and again in the first half of May.  Their trees were well on their way to blooming or in full bloom.  The freeze reduced their quantities of fruit and most of them will be out of fruit by mid-September.  I am working on finding organic apples in the Grand Junction area, but no luck so far.  We are trying to get you as much fruit as possible before the season wears out!!

Final Payment for Summer Share, Fruit Share, honey, oil and lamb are now due in full by the 1st of September.   If you call to find out if we have gotten your check, please give me the following information.  (I can’t look for it if I don’t know what I am looking for!)  I need the name on the check (sometimes spouses write checks from their account and the farm account is set up under a different name), check number, date it was written and amount.  Please remember it can take up to three weeks to process your check.  I don’t work in the office every day.  I am delivering your produce on Tue, Wed and Thr, I’m at the farmers market on Sat. and I am with u-pickers on Sundays.  Dani only comes in on Friday and half day on Monday.  By the way; those are the best days to reach us!

Did you know My Grandmother, Edith Bickling  (aka Grandbee by my children),  lived on my family farm approximately 10 miles northeast of Greeley during the depression.  She told me a story when I was a kid that I never forgot.  There was a railroad approximately a mile and a half from her farm.  People would ride the freight trains trying to find work in cities across America.  She told me she would feed anyone who came to her back door looking for a meal, but never from the front door.  She never explained why…but no one was ever turned away.  They simply went to the back door!  Knowing Grandmother Edith, she just didn’t want someone who looked homeless and dirty sitting on her front porch….

Until next week, enjoy the flavors of the season,

Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Sam

Newsletter – August 21, 2017

Dear Friends of the Farm,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, white onions, garlic, carrots, squash, cucumbers, lemon cucumbers eggplant, broccoli, purple & green bell peppers, Anaheim peppers, beans, muskmelon and either orangeglo or Wilson sweet watermelon. These two watermelons are very old varieties and we ask you to please save the seeds. Jerry’s Grandfather grew the Wilson Sweet back in the 1920’s & 30’s. The seed was thought to be “lost”. We have been looking for it for the last twenty years and finally found it in southern Missouri! Orangeglo was first offered in the 1960’s, but was thought to have been grown by small farmers and gardeners for many years before.

Don’t forget to wash your melons with a scrub brush before cutting them open! It’s a good idea to use my veggie wash first! (See first two or three newsletters for recipe.)

Fruit: None this week, but be prepared for another box of peaches and possibly pluots next week!

Bags/Boxes: We are short of bags, so many of you must not be returning them on a regular basis. Please remember we reuse these bags over & over and they need to be returned every week.

Because there are so many goodies to pick up every week, it is very important to bring extra bags or boxes with you to make it easier to take things like corn, tomatoes and melons to your vehicle. What a terrible problem to have to solve!!

Have you ever wondered what it is, exactly, we do on the mornings of distribution? We are in the height of the season and we can always use helping hands on the farm. The produce is picked and needs to be counted, bagged, boxed or crated and loaded onto the truck. If you would like to discover the wonders of being a working member on Tue, Wed or Thr mornings; why not join us once to see what it is like? We start at 7am and finish loading the trucks around 10am. Call me and let me know if this is something you would like to experience and you can take your share home with you at the end of the day. No going to the Distribution Center for you!

Eclipse: Ancient cultures across the globe worshipped the moon & sun. They thought that great evil spirits were devouring the sun during eclipses. They would make as much noise as they possibly could to scare the evil spirits away. Confident in what they were doing, documentation was made for future generations!! Enjoy this special event!

Winter Share: It’s time to sign up for Monroe Winter Share. Crops we expect to have are included on the form. It was awfully hot in July and quite cool in August; time and temperature (for the rest of the summer) will determine the harvest-ability of sweet potatoes, but they look good so far! Lettuce will only be given out as long as we have decent weather. But good weather means the bugs get into it (because it is the only thing still alive!) So either way, freezing temperatures or bugs will stop the delivery of greens probably in Dec. or Jan. All the root crops are in good shape. The dried beans, popcorn, cabbage & winter squash look good and are on track for winter harvest!

We need to know no later than September 29th if you plan on getting a Winter Share. It is recommended that all products ordered in 2017 be paid in full in 2017 because your membership fees for 2018 are due in January! Therefore, you have four months, starting in September, to pay for your Winter Share.

Swedish Breakfast Sandwich

Slices of crusty bread
Cream cheese
2 slices of browned bacon, per bread slice
1 cucumber thinly sliced on a diagonal
1 tomato thinly sliced(any kind), cut at a diagonal

Either warm the bread & spread the cream cheese, or spread the cream cheese then warm together so that the cream cheese gets very
soft. Add bacon, then cucumber, then tomato. I like a little pepper to top it off. This is a very traditional breakfast, but they prefer sausage. I have also made this with lunch meat.

This meal gets me ready for a busy, hard working day and keeps me filled until lunch. I feel so energized!!

Newsletter – August 15, 2017

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, garlic, golden beets, squash, cucumbers, green cabbage, lemon cucs, purple & jalapeno peppers, kale, tomatoes, corn, muskmelon and red watermelon.  Phew, that is a mouthful!! Enjoy every bite! 

Corn:  It never occurred to me that many of you may not have had organic corn before.  After receiving an email from a confused member on what to do with it, I thought I might write about it again.  Worms do not like GMO corn.  Between the adulterations to the genes, it is heavily sprayed for insects.  That is why it looks so perfect in the grocery store!  Start by removing the worms (this is a great activity for kids because they are fascinated with the corn worms).  They are normally on the top of the ears.  Cut off what they have eaten and if one has made its way down a row, simply cut that off with a knife too.  Boiling your corn will sterilize it.  Now you are good to go!! 

Fruit:  Get your canning jars and jelly jars ready!!! You are getting 20 lbs. of either Allstar or Suncrest peaches.  Both are a delicious freestone canning peach.     

Final Payment:  Time to make your final payment for your farm share.  It is due September first.  Statements will be going out again this week.  Please remember that I expect to be paid in full for the Summer Share, Fruit Share, honey, oil and lamb.  A $25 late fee will be assessed on the 4th of September and your produce will be cut off if not paid in full by this date.  Those of you who have made arrangements for a different payment plan, please continue as per our agreement.

A few of you were upset about the late fees and cut off in July.  How upset would you be if you didn’t get your paycheck when you expected it…say 2 to 4 weeks late? I have given you plenty of time to make payments, especially since most of you signed up last February.   I’m sorry I have to get tough with this.  But every year I have around 15 to 25 people who refuse to pay for the produce they have consumed.  I am not a huge corporation and it is very difficult to absorb that kind of unkindness every year.   It is especially feels hurtful when I already donate 25 shares every year that we are not allowed to write off! 

Newsletter/Blog:  It is vitally important to read the weekly newsletter.  It gives you info about your share, the farm, what is happening around here and the Western Slope and payment notifications.  If you feel you do not want a hard copy, but want reminders the newsletter has been posted to the blog; this is how to do it.  Address:  monroeorganicfarms.wordress.com.  Add this to your favorites.  Once you get to the site, the newsletters are reprinted to the left.  Sometimes the member who posts this for me will add comments, pictures and recipes that were not included in the newsletter.  On the top right, there is a place to sign up for email notifications when there is a new posting.  Add your email address and press Sign me up.   

Festival:  After 25 years of putting on a festival every year; we have decided to take a break.  We will not be having a Fall Festival this year.  We have decided to do them every five years on our anniversary.  We didn’t have a good turn out last summer….it just doesn’t seem to be special to anyone anymore, so we will make it special by having it every five years! 

U-pick items:  Tomato, anaheim & pablano picking will be coming up very soon.  If you are interested in canning tomatoes and/or roasting peppers; we will have them available.  There will be a $5 charge for roasting the peppers.  Get on our Wait List for these items.  I will need your phone number, name and what specific items you want to pick while you are here!  Do not plan on picking both at the same time, we will run out of peppers long before we run out of tomatoes.  (Jerry just notified me the peppers are ready, so let’s get roasten!!!)