Category Archives: Colorado Weather

Newsletter – June 20th, 2017

Dear Friends of the Farm,

Welcome to our first week of Distribution!! We have a beautiful bag of produce coming your way! In May we had two freezes and a hail storm. Jerry has always pushed the limits on trying to get produce as early as possible for you. We have three cold frames filled with carrots, tomatoes and beets. We cover early plantings of field crops such as kale, turnips, tomatoes, summer squash and cucumbers with a light cloth to protect it from freezing and hail stones. The cloth did its job because we are starting to uncover these crops to weed and they look terrific (though the cloth is full of holes)! The rest of the farm is really looking good too. Now that it is getting so hot (hard on humans, but great for plants) everything is growing like crazy & green, green, green!!!

Produce: This week you are getting butterhead lettuce, peas, garlic scapes, summer squash (either yellow straight neck, zucchini or Q-ball (light green, round type zucchini)broccoli, kohlrabi and garlic. 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-washing 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 1440 pounds of produce to organizations around the metro area. Let’s try to beat that record! 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!!!

4th of July: Since the 4th lands on a Tuesday this year, we will be doing Tuesday distribution on Monday. The rest of the days will remain the same.

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 or if you prefer to access the blog. 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 (also run by members) as well for pictures and videos!

The next u-pick crop coming up is pickles and that will be sometime in July. The strawberries did not make it, so we are out again this year. We need to have normal springs (freezing in Feb & Mar without freezing in May!) in order for a decent crop of strawberries.

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 2017 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 are 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

Newsletter – October 3rd, 2016

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Dear Farm Members.

This is week 17 of an 18 week season. You are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, garlic, yellow onion, yellow carrots, cabbage, squash, eggplant, anaheim & jalapeno peppers, spinach, lettuce, yellow & red tomatoes and corn. Just another fabulous day of distribution! Please enjoy!! If garlic or onions are getting ahead of you, they both freeze really well. Chop to the size of your choice, fill a freezer bag and throw in your freezer! It is as simple as that! To roast the hot peppers: simply place under your broiler or over your grill and turn every once in a while until the outside turns brown. Put into a heavy plastic bag and “sweat” until cool. Peel and place in a freezer bag and freeze or use fresh in salsas, soups, green chili or any Mexican recipe.

Fruit & Honey: This week you are getting apples and this is the last delivery for honey.

Volunteer Weekend for Garlic Separation: Jerry would like as many people as possible to come to the farm this weekend to help get the garlic separated for planting. We will do this for two hours on Saturday and Sunday starting at 10:00 am. No need to make an appointment; please just show up!

Returning Bags: It is vitally important to return all bags to your distributor over the next two weeks. We need to take an inventory and get reorders placed for next year. You will be receiving plastic bags the last two weeks and we do not want these bags back!

Farm Recovery: I would say the recovery has been miraculous! Wow! As bad as the hailstorm was, I didn’t think some of the root crops would recover and here we are, picking tomatoes and corn in October….no less!!! The variety of produce really has been great. We couldn’t have imagined a better turn out!

1925 to 1944: Lester Monroe moved to Greeley, Co in 1925. He married Margaret Brownfield, started a family and farmed a small acreage on the north side of town. Jerry Sr. remembers selling corn door to door; a “baker’s dozen” (13) for a penny in the early 1930’s. They ran a small farm stand at the street and sold to all the small grocery stores around the area (including Ft. Collins, but not Denver). There were no Safeway’s, King Soopers or Walmarts at that time. This is where everyone shopped for food in those days and everyone was eating our produce! Believe it or not, the Monroe’s were pushed out of town by development. With inheritance from Margaret’s side, they purchased the “Homeplace” east of LaSalle in 1936 and continued their farming adventure. Lester decided to start selling to a wholesaler in the Denver area near the railroad called Denargo Market. Because they had so much land (and three strapping boys to do the work) Lester decided to start a dairy in 1937. It wasn’t too long before WWII came knocking on their door and took Jerry Sr. right out of high school to Germany in 1944 &45. In 1946, Jerry Sr. finished high school, married Nadine Annen, moved to the farm to begin their life together and continued farming. Nadine was a 2nd grade teacher for 36 years. Jerry Sr. remembers filling a Model A Ford pickup with watermelon in the late 1940’s and selling the whole thing for a $1. He thinks there would have been around 10 watermelons in there!

Have a good week!

Jacquie & Jerry

Newsletter – July 20, 2015

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Dear Friends of the Farm,

This week you are getting New Red potatoes, red onions, garlic, green kohlrabi, beets, carrots, squash, rainbow chard and maybe a cucumber. We have hit that lull in the crops where you are pretty much going to see the same thing for a while. I hope every now and again something new will come along and make the share look a little more exciting!

We are starting the pickle wait list. Even though both the slicing cucumber and the pickling cucumber plants survived the rainy month of May, they have been very stressed out. The plants are stunted and at this time are not producing very many cucumbers. We will be giving them out in distribution so that you have some cucumbers to eat (I prefer pickling cucumbers over slicing anyway!). And just as soon as we have an abundance, we will start calling people from the wait list. Please call me to be placed on the wait list. I will need your name, phone number and whether you will want a full bushel or a half bushel of pickles. Do not leave your information in the blog comments – I will not receive it. Calling me is the only way to be put on the wait list.

Fruit: This week you are getting apricots again. I found that they get sweeter with time! I set out half the bag in a bowl on the counter and they were great in about three days. Peaches will be in soon, so you can probably expect them next. I expect you should get somewhere between 60 to 80 pounds of fruit this summer. And if I have anything to do with it (which I do!) you will get all 90 pounds by the end of the season! Ranch Durazno has been wonderful in helping me find fruit. He knows most of the growers over there and is talking to all of them. But like so many fruit growers, they have already committed their crop to a purchaser. That does not mean we can’t find apples and pears. It just is a bit challenging at the moment!

Several of you have sent checks in support of First Fruit Organic Farm and I want to say thank you. We even got a check from a member who doesn’t even get a Fruit Share! The note simply said, “Please pass along to First Fruit. I want to support any organic farm that has worked so hard to give out such lovely produce.” If anyone else would like to make a donation, I will accept your checks and send them to First Fruit on the 15th of August. Please make them out to First Fruit. Thank you again, you do not know what this means to me!

Honey: Those of you who get monthly deliveries of honey will be getting that this week. I was informed by Clark that the bees were affected too by the constant rain. They are making honey like mad but they, like so many other things, are delayed. For those of you who are getting a one time delivery of honey, you will not be getting that in August, but in September instead. There is nothing we can do, but wait for the bees to do their thing!

This is going to be one of those trying years. It is the reality of farming and what I am trying to teach you about food production. It isn’t easy, but we love what we do! Feeding people is our passion!! We wouldn’t want to live or work any other way!

Jacquie, Jerry and Kyle

Newsletter – June 29, 2015

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Dear Members,

This week you are getting swiss chard, turnips, beets, onions, carrots, garlic, snap peas and squash. We are thinning the beet crop. You are not going to get a lot of them. So eat them raw shredded in a coleslaw or salad. It doesn’t look like the snap peas were very productive, so you may get snow peas too or instead of snap peas. There will be a very slow start to the season. The cold and rainy days stalled the growth of all the plants. So when we start harvesting crops, you will not get very many. You will have to be creative by combining the wonderful treats we are getting to make a meal.

Fruit: Unfortunately you will not be getting fruit this week, as we expected. The deal fell through with Eat a Peach Farm. But you will get fruit next week; probably apricots.

Boxes: I’m sorry. I guess I didn’t finish my thought process last week about the boxes! At some point you will need to add a cloth bag or box to your vehicles to pick up additional crops. We do not bag things like corn, melons and tomatoes. You will need a container in order to take these things home. Do not expect the Distribution Center to provide you a bag…more than likely, it will not happen and you will need to place these crops on your seat or floor of the car! Some members bring extra bags or container, transferring their produce right on the spot at the DC and leave their bags right then and there. This way they do not have to remember to return them.

Crops: Things are really starting to come out of the shock from the storms in May. The farm is looking great! Now, if we could only tame Mother Nature’s explosive temper that flares up from time to time! (No more rain, no more hail!!) I know several of you have been hit by the recent bad weather…basements are flooded, your streets & cars may have been affected, hail damage to roofs and vehicles, toppled trees, etc. Know we are thinking about you and hope you were not affected to badly.

Thank you to those of you who made it out to the farm Sunday. We got a tremendous amount of work done and the crops look wonderful. Jerry was so happy that all the row cover was removed and the side of the plastic was hoed. It was a big project and with so many people coming to help, it really made it seem easy! We all went home tired but filled with great accomplishment. Thank you!!!
Jacquie, Jerry and Kyle

Newsletter – September 15, 2014

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, carrots, yellow onions, cabbage or broccoli, cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, squash, eggplant, green and orange bell peppers, tomatoes, and muskmelon or honeydew. Those who get a monthly delivery of honey will get some this week. First Fruits is bringing a half box of Summer Lady peaches and a half box of Gala apples.

Winter Share: The deadline for sign-up is in two weeks! If you cannot find your original copy, please ask your DC, they should have additional sign-up forms.

About Your Farmer: A member recently said they thought this was a great year for produce. My simple reply was you actually have a great farmer. I know it is hard to imagine what it takes to get this job done. Especially since we do not have any control of the most important aspect of farming: the weather. This was a difficult year to grow anything because it was too wet and too cold. Because you have a fantastic farmer with a lot of expertise, Jerry made this year look easy with good quality produce. In actuality, we had tractors stuck in mud and fields we couldn’t get into because of too much water. The tomatoes and peppers are a testament to the cold weather. They are having a hard time ripening. Corn seed rotted in the field and had to be replanted over and over just to get the few pickings we received. Watermelon rotted before they had ripened or were too waterlogged to have any flavor and tended to over-ripen overnight! (Sorry if you got one of those.)

Jerry sits down every winter for a couple of months planning the next year. Is there something new we can try, where are we planting, how many times can we plant it, how soon can we plant, and how far into the fall can we harvest? This all makes a difference in your season: what you get, when you get it, and how much you get. After all that planning, the weather can change everything. It can kill a crop, make it abundant, slow it down, or speed it up. Being the caretaker of a farm takes longevity, experience, and patience.

We have been more or less in a drought since 1998. Our weather has changed for the warmer. This past summer reminded Jerry and I what it was like when we were kids. Tomatoes didn’t ripen until mid to late August, watermelon was picked in September, nothing was picked in June—it was way too cold for anything to be harvested by then and our first frost was around September 25th. Guess what folks: we had a light frost last Saturday morning (the 12th)! Some crops were hurt, but as of Sunday morning, nothing has died. The light freeze will really slow things down now because the plant is stressed. I think we are all in for a surprise this winter if we keep going on with this moisture track!!!

Our 80th Anniversary in 2016: Yes, you read that right! We will be turning 80 years old in 2016. We really want to celebrate in style that year. So we want everyone to put on their thinking caps and let us know of things you may have done at other places that may be appropriate for our farm festival. I want to have a t-shirt design contest. How about issuing a new cookbook for our 80th Anniversary? We need your recipes!!! Everyone has a favorite recipe…even if it came from somewhere else! We just need to give credit where credit is deserved! So please send your favorite to Michele Morris: michele@cookingwithmichele.com. If you would like to help edit or work on the cookbook project, please let Michele know. I also want to include artwork from members of vegetables. But the highlight would be to have your farm scene on the front cover! If you are interested in creating an art page, submit that to Michele too! Everyone will have a chance to vote on the winning cover next season! Email me your ideas on how to celebrate!!

2015 Share Renewals: Because Jacquie doesn’t check this blog for comments, please contact her directly about renewals.

Have a wonderful week,

Kyle, Jerry and Jacquie

Newsletter – August 5, 2013

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Dear Friends of the Farm,

 

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, Walla Walla onions, carrots, cucumbers, summer squash and, green peppers.  There is a possibility of getting green beans, corn, tomatoes, muskmelon, honeydew and watermelon.  There is no fruit for the fruit share this week. Continue reading

Newsletter: Sept. 28, 2010 – Winter Shares, Lost & Found, Freeze Warning


Dear Members,

This is week 15 out of 18 deliveries.  You are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, yellow cooking onions, carrots, summer squash, possibly some cucumbers, red peppers, banana peppers, tomatoes and bi-color corn.  New this week are diakon radishes, celery and butternut squash.  We will be getting fruit this week.  First Fruits Organic Farms are sending Honey Crisp and Gala apples.

We have found a Distribution Center in Central Denver on the east side of I-25.  The location will be near 6th Avenue and Downing.  We are still looking for a Distribution Center in Boulder.  If no one volunteers, we will be calling each and every person who signs up for a Winter Share asking them to be the Distribution Center.  Please consider volunteering.  You get a $100 discount and the produce is delivered to your door.  Best part about it, you don’t have to drive to pick up your produce!

The Winter Share deadline is coming up on October 1st.  Winter Share forms can be found at your Distribution Centers!  Or you can call me and I will mail one directly to you.  Those of you who have already registered for a Winter Share this spring do not need to sign up again.  It will be transferred from your Summer Share information, including your egg order.  Contact me if you want to increase or decrease the total amount of eggs you receive each month.  Winter Distribution will begin November 3rd and will be delivered every-other Wednesday through February 23rd.  We will skip December 29th delivery and give you a double bag on Dec. 15th (the week before Christmas).

Jerry and the guys have finished harvesting the dried beans.  We grew black beans and kidney beans for the Winter Share this year.  They look terrific!  It looks like we will have enough to give it out every distribution!  I made a pot of chili out of the kidney beans just to see how they taste.  Oh Wow!  I was surprised by the freshness and how wonderful they tasted!  I am really looking forward to this.

New items have been found from the Harvest Festival.  They include:  a tea towel, a cell phone and canning jars that had pickles in them.  Item not claimed yet are:  a clear plastic bowl, pottery serving dishes, duffel bag with dishes, a large baking dish, a large white plastic serving spoon and several other metal serving spoons; two of which are matching and belong to the pottery serving bowls.

If you are one of the many people who did not bring a one gallon container to the Festival to pick tomatoes into and barrowed one of our wooden baskets, please return them if you took them home.  They were only for measurement purposes.  We need them for Farmers Markets and several are missing!

If you could not make it out to the Harvest Festival and would like to pick anaheim chilies and have them roasted, you can do that this week.  I will be available Tue & Thr at 6pm and Sunday at 10am or 1pm.  Please call and make an appointment.  It costs $5 to roast!

It is that time of year where we can have a hard freeze that will take crops away from distribution.  Are you available to help pick produce at the last minute?  Some crops can be saved and given out for distribution if we can get them safely inside the barn or strawbale buildings.  We are going to set up a freeze warning system. Lorna Carnahan will be in charge of this.  Contact her at 208-371-8372 or at lornacarnahan@gamil.com.  If it looks like we will have a freeze, a warning will go out and picking will start immediately.  We will mostly likely pick peppers and probably tomatoes.  There are not too many of these left so we may just let them go!

If you are one of the many Members who are saving the heirloom watermelon seed, it must be in a paper envelope.  They cannot be saved in a plastic bag.  By the time we get them, they have completely molded and they are no good!

Again, I would like to thank everyone who helped out and attended the Harvest Festival.  There really was a great turnout and I think everyone had a great time.  I know I did!

Have a great week!

Jacquie, Jerry, Alaina and Kyle