Category Archives: Fruit Shares

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 – 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 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!!!) 

Newsletter – August 7, 2017

Dear Friends of the farm,

This week you are getting red potatoes, red onions, garlic, carrots, squash, lemon cucumbers, eggplant, purple peppers, green beans, basil, and tomatoes. Sounds like ratatouille or eggplant parmesan to me!!!

Fruit: Sierra Rich peaches are heading your way! A beautiful peach and one of the best tasting too!!

Produce Tips: It has been cool lately, but that does not mean it will stay that way. The hot days are wonderful for all the crops on the farm but can be hard on your produce shares. This means that your bags may have wilted produce. When we take cool showers we feel very refreshed. You may need to give your produce a cold water bath to refresh them too. Since the produce is so fresh, it will hydrate within a few hours to overnight. Don’t forget! Do not throw dirt down your sink; it will clog up your pipes. I wash my produce into a large metal bowl and discard the water outside!

Eggplant do not like to be cold or hot, which makes storing them a little difficult. If your house is warm inside, store them in a dark cool cupboard or if the house is really warm; wrap in plastic wrap & store in the fridge. If your house is cool, store them on the counter and use within five days. The best thing to do is to use them just as soon as you can! They are not bitter because they are so fresh. Therefore, you do not need to sweat them. Remember, they take on the flavor of whatever is cooked with them. That is why they are so delicious in tomato based Italian dishes!

Carrots/beans/squash/cucumbers: Carrots should be washed, dried and stored in a plastic bag. It is best not to wash your beans, cucumbers or squash until you are ready to use them. Beans I place in a cloth bag and I throw my squash, cucumbers and beans into the crisper drawer.

Potatoes: Store the potatoes and onions, unwashed, in a paper bag or a cardboard box or they will start to rot immediately. Potatoes need air because they generate their own heat.

I love, love, love to grill these babies! I simply cut them to bite size, sprinkle with salt and pepper, (add butter if you love it) and double wrap in foil and place on grill. My family will scarf down my garlic cheese potatoes. I boil 6 to 8 potatoes with garlic (1 clove per 2 potatoes) with half an onion (preferably white) with salt and pepper. Drain and mash, shred cheddar cheese (around one cup) and stir in just enough to mix, stopping before cheese starts to melt. Serve while hot!

Cooking classes: One of our longtime members, Mary Rogers, is offering a weeklong program to help home cooks learn to make healthy meals more easily. She’ll be sharing new and interesting ways to use our produce, how to get comfortable using vegetables plentifully, and her KitchenSmart System to take the struggle out of meal making. Mary has been teaching about healthy meal making for 25 years and has even taught a couple classes for members here at the farm that everyone really enjoyed. She loves sharing her skills and knowledge with others, especially fellow CSA members, which is why she is offering you a $50 discount off the registration fee. classes.cookhappylivehealthy.org

Squash Pappardelle with Pesto
adapted from Prevention Magazine 2017

Shave 2 or 3 summer squash into ribbons with a potato peeler; place uncooked in a bowl.

Pesto Sauce
2 Tb grated Pecorino Romano
2 Tb pine nuts
½ tsp salt and black pepper
Process sauce until smooth.
1 cup basil
Pour over squash & toss
¼ cup olive oil
Add extra cheese if desired!

Newsletter – July 31, 2017

This week you are getting potatoes, garlic, Walla Walla onions, carrots, squash, lemon cucumbers, reg. cucumbers, purple peppers, eggplant, cinnamon basil, green beans, corn and yellow watermelon.

If you are wondering about green beans, you’re right; we normally see them by mid-July! The story is this; we covered as many crops as we possibly could back in May when we had all that hail, snow and freezing temperatures. Crops such as beets, kohlrabi, carrots, potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli and beans did not get covered. Most of these plants can take a bit of a freeze and be okay. The beans did not make it. We had two plantings that had broken ground and they died immediately. From all the water from the melting snow and low (cold) temperatures, a couple plantings in the ground rotted because they had not sprouted. So you will see beans on and off throughout the summer.

How to use your share: The shares are getting bigger every week and the variety is really ratcheting up. This is all very exciting news! But several of you are already getting overwhelmed by the high production. Remember, we are trying to get you to eat those three veggies a day to maintain your health. Medical journals report you must eat 5 veggies a day (plus fruit) to start correcting health problems. Get a CSA cookbook! It has 10 recipes for every veggie we grow!!
Plan your meals around what the farm is giving you. This means you will need to change your grocery shopping day. Hopefully by now you are finding you don’t need to go to the store very often except for bread & dairy products.
Plan your meals and freeze the produce you are not going to use right away. The best way to do this is with a vacuum packer. (I have also done this with freezer bags and a stir straw. After filling the bag, seal the straw into a corner and suck out the air. Use your teeth to pull out the straw and seal the bag at the same time.) You can find a freezing guide on my website or visit CSU’s freezing guide.
My grandmother Bobbie taught me a couple of slick tricks: She used to cook all of a couple of types of produce for dinner, then freeze the left overs. This can be done with the vacuum packer too (mark the bag that it is fully cooked food). Now you have instant veggies that do not have to be cooked and can simply be warmed up and served.

The second thing she would do was to cook the produce, have it for dinner and then put the leftovers in a sealable plastic container. When it was full, she had instant vegetable soup! All she had to do was make the broth & add the veggies. Super easy, super-fast and (of course) the soup was delicious!

Fruit: You are getting nectarines from First Fruit this week. The fruit growers on the Western Slope are having a difficult summer. They had a very hard freeze at the end of April then another hard freeze at the beginning of May. Several of their trees were in bloom at the time. There was only one grower that had cherries and apricots. All of them said their apples were hit pretty hard and so far, only one grower said they would have one or two types of apple this fall. So, the majority of your fruit will be peaches. Between the three growers I use, Ela Family Farm, First Fruit and Rancho Durazno; we hope to get you as much fruit as we can throughout the season. (we do expect to get everything we need!) If they cannot provide the fruit, we will be dividing your Fruit Share fees between the growers to keep them in business. This is what Community Supported Agriculture is about. Supporting the growers in the good years and the bad!

Statements: Besides your deposit; half of your produce fees, honey, oil and fruit were due July 15th. Late fees have been added and new statements are going out within the week for the second half of your fees. They are due September 1st. If I am not paid in full by the first of September, all produce will be cut off and will not be delivered until we are paid in full. Missed produce will not be replaced.

We appreciate your business & thank you for your support! Jerry & Jacquie, Kyle & Sam

Newsletter – July 17, 2017

Dear Members,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, red onions, garlic, golden beets, cucumbers, squash and muskmelon. (Purple peppers and eggplant will be here soon!) The first two plantings of green beans froze in May & the seed rotted in the ground for the following planting. But they too will be here before you know it!

Fruit: You are getting peaches this week from Rancho Durazno (Peach Ranch). This is an early peach and is fairly free stone (which means it separates fairly well from the pit), but is not as free stone as the later canning peach. It is a very tasty, sweet peach. Please enjoy!!

Do you remember? Ten years ago this date, I was writing about the trend that several dogs and cats were getting very sick (with some even dying) from tainted food. It turns out that a by-product from the coal industry (Melamine) was being added to their food by China’s rice, wheat & soy meal producers. It turns out Melamine made the food appear to contain more protein even though Melamine is not a food substance and has no food value!!!

What was not being spoken about is the fact that US meat producers were purchasing inexpensive protein meal from China. Plus, it is a common practice for pork and chicken producers to feed their animals the floor sweepings from pet food manufacturers. So if you were not purchasing your meat from an organic source, there was a good chance that feed for these animals were tainted too.

As long as our meat industry continues to raise livestock on a least-cost basis, I believe our health is at risk. This includes the organic industry too. Did you know that most cost-cutting practices lower the nutritional value of our meat? The universal practice of raising cattle on grain and straw instead of hay and fresh pastures gives us beef that is higher in fat and lower in antioxidants & omega-3 fatty acids. Some cost-cutting practices proved to even be deadly. Feedlot managers in the 80’s and 90’s started adding cattle scraps (from processing plants) into cattle feed. Mad Cow disease was the tragic result of this cost-cutting idea.

Again I am touting the idea that buying locally grown products is your solution to this problem. Small local farmers care about their land and animals and work them in such a way that no feedlot would even look at. The cost is way too high. Our steers are raised with their mamas until they are naturally weaned and eating pasture grass on their own (about one year). We take them and continue to feed them pasture and hay. Three months before processing, in addition to hay & their pastures; we feed them a corn mixture we grind ourselves to soften the beef a little. The result is lean beef high in omega-3 fatty acid and the natural antioxidants normally found in beef with a low fat content.

Beef: We still have five steers available for purchase. The steers will be ready to harvest in December or January. A quarter of a steer costs $650 and a side is $1300. We will be happy to take these animals to Valley Packing of LaSalle, CO for you. It will take approximately two weeks before you pick up your meat because they hang the sides of beef to age it before it is cut and wrapped. You will have to pay Valley Packing for the processing when you pick that up!

Hope you have a great week!

Jacquie, Sam, Kyle and Jerry

Newsletter – June 27, 2017

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 peas, carrots, squash, kohlrabi, garlic, garlic scapes, onions and 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 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 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 fry’s with it and it is wonderful on its own sautéed until tender.

Fruit: You received cherries last week and will get apricots this week. We are working with Rancho Durazno & Ela Family Farms, both are certified organic. Rancho Durazno purchased those bags at a farm sale and was reusing them. I did not realize there was a bar-code number on the bag or would have addressed it in the newsletter!

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. Several members took it upon themselves to start these up and continually update them. Everyone needs to contact me directly by phone when making changes to their shares. I will need not only your name, but 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!

Donations: We are now taking nominations for families with health problems and/or financial problems to get a share from the farm. We have around 15 shares available after helping out current farm members. Please call or email your nomination including what their situation is & how to contact them. We will try to get those started no later than the middle of July.

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

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