Category Archives: U-Pick

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!!!) 

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Newsletter – July 11, 2017

Dear Friends of the farm,

This week you are getting Yukon Gold potatoes, garlic, Walla Walla onions, red beets, cucumbers (Either the regular slicing cucumber or a pickling variety ~ both equally delicious to eat raw, but only the pickling variety can withstand the canning process for making pickles.), summer squash ( any kind), cabbage or broccoli, muskmelon (it’s just the beginning!) and kale.

This is a new variety of muskmelon that comes on early and is supposed to be pretty sweet. It is the earliest we have ever picked muskmelon and we are so excited!! They will get sweeter over time, so if yours is not the best you have ever eaten; maybe the next one will be (especially when our main season variety comes on!)!!

We started harvesting the potatoes and even though there are a few big ones, the majority is still very small. Their skins are so tender at this stage, and they can get roughed up or bruised pretty easily. Wash gently, don’t scrub, throw out the badly bruised (a small bruise won’t hurt) and cook them up…. Because the first-dug potatoes are absolutely the best and don’t take any time to cook!

Fruit: No fruit again this week, but peaches are just starting to bear! So there is a good chance we will get peaches next week. Yay!!!

Pickling cucumbers: I am taking names and phone numbers for those of you who would like to come pick pickles. The only day and time available will be Sunday morning at 8am. We will start out hoeing for an hour then we will move on to the pickle patch. Please do not email your information; I am not checking email very often anymore because I am not in the office, call the number above and leave a message! I will call you back to schedule a day to pick when the field really starts to produce.

Do you remember? Back in 2004 we were bombarded with videos of cattle with Mad Cow Disease. There was a cartoon in the paper I thought was hilarious and kept it in my office closet. I recently came across it and thought I would share it with you… Unfortunately the piece had gotten wet at some point and I cannot read who the artist was. But it reflects the issues we were dealing with at that point of time.

A gentleman is sitting at a fine restaurant looking through a menu. He says to the Waiter, “Until this Mad Cow thing passes, I’m staying away from beef.” The Waiter replies, “Then may I recommend the mercury-laden fish with a side of genetically altered corn?” Ah….awareness!

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.

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. Cook until tender.

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 – September 26th, 2016

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Dear Friends of the farm,

This week you are getting potatoes, yellow onions, carrots, broccoli, purple peppers, basil, yellow & red tomatoes, either butterhead or romaine lettuce and corn (the last picking).  And there is a possibility you will get either cabbage or cauliflower too.  This is a great week for distribution, enjoy!

Fruit:  Sorry folks, I have been lax on telling you what you are getting and from who for the last couple of weeks. Once I really didn’t know and the other time I completely forgot to mention it!  The pluots and peaches were from Rancho Durazno, the red and green pears were from First Fruit and the plums and pears were from Ela Family Farms. You will be getting apples for the rest of the season from Ela Family Farms as well.  This week you will receive Gala apples.

Tomato Picking:  Several of you have been asking about tomato picking and that will not happen this year.  Jerry tells me that the storm destroyed most of the tomatoes.  What was left has been ripening slowly and we have been giving them all to you each week.

Lost & Found:  Lost – when we put the yard games away this year we discovered we are missing two red bean bags and one tennis ball.  I do not plan on replacing these items so if you could check with your kids and return these items to your distributor, we would really appreciate it!  The bean bags were homemade to look like strawberries. Found – I have a plate, several bowls and utensils that were left behind.  I do not mind returning them.  Please call and let me know what you need and where to send it.  Thanks!

T-shirts:  Hurray!  We finally have them, (a little late I know) but they are here!!!  Thank you for supporting the fund that helps pay for the donated shares. Farmers do not get credit on their taxes for donating food.  It is a true donation of the heart and we feel this is an important part of being a farm.  We decided to sell the cookbooks, hats and t-shirts to help fund this instead of making a profit and sticking it in our pockets.  I love the look of these shirts and hope you do too! Enjoy them, wear them proudly knowing they are for a good cause and thank you for your support!

Braised chicken with root vegetables
(page 64 in cookbook )

1 T olive oil
1 bunch of kale
4 med. potatoes
4 cloves garlic, smashed
1 bunch turnips with greens
salt & pepper
2 springs of rosemary
3 large carrots
4-6 chicken pieces (thighs and legs)
2 cups dry white wine

Chop all greens, cube, half or quarter veggies. Cook garlic and rosemary in oil til fragrant.  Add veggies and greens to pot, season with salt & sauté for five min.  Season chicken with salt and pepper & set aside.  Add wine to veggies and reduce by one-third.  Put the chicken on top of the veggies, reduce heat to low, cover tightly with lid and cook until chicken is tender and juices run clear, app. 40 minutes.  Serve with crusty bread.

Newsletter – September 5th, 2016

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Dear Members,

This week you are getting potatoes, white onions, purple carrots, daikon radish, white turnips, eggplant, jalapeno peppers, bell or specialty sweet peppers, cabbage, tomatoes and corn. Fruit share will be getting getting pluots and peaches and anyone who ordered a box of peaches will be getting that, too.

Winter Share and Animals: Thank you for taking the short survey. Here are the results: out of 90 people surveyed; 60% wanted organic squash and 40% said not to purchase anything. 60% said not to purchase any dried beans and 40% said to purchase them. So….Jerry will purchase local, organic squash for November and December and not for January and February. He will not purchase any dried beans at all.

We are looking for a new distribution center (DC) in Boulder. I need someone there to help us unload the truck and be present for distribution. Time window of two hours is required, (preferably late afternoon/evening), but longer hours or hours that suit your CSA customers are fine. We need a garage at least the size of a single car because of cold weather. You get $100 discount for helping out. This is not difficult work, the members are so excited to see you & get their bags of produce and you get to choose your hours. Please call me if you need more info! If we cannot find a DC, you can go to Westminster or Longmont.

Here is the Winter Storage Share Form 2016. I will need this back by the end of September. Please mail to me with your check to pay the deposits. I will be offering shares outside the CSA at this time because pre-ordering occurred this past January/February. Call me if you have any questions, I am still not checking email but once every week or two.

Festival RSVP: This is our 80th Anniversary! Let’s celebrate in style by getting together on a beautiful day in September! Nothing speaks of a party without food. Hamburgers, hotdogs, drinks and your utensils will be provided. Why not boast a little and bring your best side dish.

Please continue to call or email Peg Lehr with your RSVP (wrdwrrior@comcast.net or 303-877-2554). We cannot figure out how much food, plates, forks etc. without these numbers. The festival is Sunday, September 18th from 11 to 4. The deadline is September 9th.

We will have U-pick hot peppers and raspberries (plus a few surprises in the barn). You will not be able to get a full bushel. Peppers will be roasted as full bushels and then divided equally into thirds or (quarters if necessary)! We will have hayrides to the pumpkin patch (Jerry will purchase organic pumpkins for the occasion). We plan on making a display from a 1990 festival with a picture of our family from that time period. You are welcome to have your picture taken with this display and a few murals will have been painted for picture taking as well. Other activities include face painting, corn shucking contest, stick horse races (Please bring your best steed. Prizes will be awarded for races and a grand prize for the best in class!) plus games on the front lawn. We hope to have a new game available where families compete by loading up dad with pumpkins and he tries to carry them to a finish line. The winner gets to keep all the pumpkins he can carry! Canning contest for jams/jellies, savory/sweet relishes and pickles. Let Peg know if you are bringing something to be judged. T-shirts and hats will be available (I hope) to purchase by the festival.

Several members have been so gracious to help with food expenses this year. One member of the farm is having a large sheet cake made to commemorate our 80th anniversary. If you decide to bring a dessert, I would say we only need gluten free. A second member has graciously offered to bring all the hotdogs and buns for the festival. Thank you in advance for your donations.

Mark your calendars to keep this day open. We plan on having a ton of fun!!!

Volunteers needed: The festival cannot run without all the extra hands that day. If you have not volunteered in the past, this is an excellent opportunity to invest some of your time into the farm! We still need Volunteers for the following: the Check-in Station, 4 Master Grillers, people to cut up produce, set up tents, tables and chairs, sevearl to rinse cookware & set under the serving table and resupply cut veggies & to refill drink containers, 4 to check on bathrooms and empty trashcans around the area, 5-6 people to run the canning booth and/or t-shirt booths.

Storm Follow-up: Please visit our Facebook page to stay on top of what is happening on the farm. Sam and Kyle have taken over the page, made it public and are going to post information & pictures as often as possible so you can see firsthand what is happening on the farm.

The farm is looking better these days (and doesn’t smell anymore!). We were impressed with how quickly the Patty Pan squash repaired and started producing again. The zucchini and straight neck squash have also repaired slightly and continued to produce a little. The third and fourth planting of squash wasn’t hurt as badly because the plants were smaller in size and the huge hailstones were far enough apart to not affect them as much. Eggplant is an extremely sturdy plant. Of everything, it didn’t get torn up as much. The hail did knock off most of the flowers though. But soon there were pretty violet flowers all over the plants again. You are getting all that the plant had produced before the storm. Time will tell if we get more later in the season. You are getting tomatoes from the 2nd and third planting. We stager the planting so you get a fresh supply of tomatoes all season. Plus, when there are too many ripening at a time, this gives us a chance to offer u-pick opportunities. We do not know at this time if there will be enough tomatoes to pick by the box this year. We will keep you informed! At lease we have a few for distribution and that is what really counts!! Your bell peppers and specialty sweet peppers were hurt badly and have not really come back at all. The plants look fine, but the peppers were crushed by hail. We are gleaning the fields for every possible pepper we can find. And as I have said before; all our root crops have survived and are looking well for both the summer and winter shares.

Our Insurance Policy: Did you know that we use the farmers markets as insurance for our CSA? We normally go to 9 farmers markets a week. After the storm, we quit all but one. (We estimate we lost 65% of our crop.) I still attend the farmers market in Boulder on Saturdays. We do this for two reasons: 1. Customers are more accepting of the damaged produce and 2. I get more money for my produce at this market.

We discovered a few years ago that we could not cut out all the farmers markets. The reason? We have so much production from Thursday through Sunday (when we don’t pick for members) it has to be picked and used somewhere. You see, we pick every day or the produce would be huge & uneatable. Over time, we discovered when we have a bad year and produce is in short supply, we can cut the farmers markets out and all the produce is saved and given out for distribution. We have had small hailstorms before, but our members very seldom felt the affect. We would lose a crop or two, but most fields could still produce something and be harvested for members.

What can you do to help us? Purchase a Winter Share! We would not survive this storm if we had to depend on farmers markets. But unlike other CSA’s, we put our members first and you always get the best the farm can offer (and all the leftovers from Thursday go to market). Most people walk away from my farmer’s market booth because of the dings, scars and bruises. If it was not for our CSA, we would be lost. Your insurance is the farmer’s markets, but our insurance is the CSA! This is what CSA is about: Support your farmer in the good years and the bad. And when you have an opportunity, support your community too. You can do that by donating your share when you go on vacation or business trips. Unfortunately, you are seeing the results of a very bad storm, but on those good years, (which happen more than not) you will get the bounty and all its glory!

Spicy Roasted Veggies
Serves 8

In a plastic re-sealable bag add:
¼ cup EVOO
1 tsp sugar
1 tbsp chili powder
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic salt
½ tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion salt
4# root veggies, any kind
Cut all the veggies the same size and place in bag with oil & herbs. Bake on cookie sheet at 400 degrees for 35 minutes. Wonderful cold or hot!

Thank you very much for being so good to us!
Jacquie, Jerry, Kyle and Sam

Newsletter – July 26, 2016

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Dear Members,

This week you will be getting Yukon Gold potatoes, garlic, red onions, carrots, slicing cucumbers, lemon cucumbers, squash, green beans, muskmelon and yellow & red watermelon.

Fruit: First Fruits will be giving you Rainier Cherries and early season peaches called Paonia Sunrise. The cherries are tender and bruise easily. Eat the bruised ones right away; they will be very sweet and delicious!

Honey: Only those of you who are getting honey monthly will be getting it this week. Members who purchased honey to be delivered one time – will get it in August or September depending on the hive health and production. Clark’s Honey Farm provides us with pure, raw, unfiltered honey. In addition to being a great natural sweetener, honey has a multitude of benefits that many people don’t know about. We all know the benefits of the pollen in honey collected from our area. But did you know honey has been proven to be a natural throat soother! It is a humectant, which means it attracts and retains moisture. This makes honey a natural fit in a variety of moisturizing products including cleansers, creams, shampoos and conditioners. Honey is also a rich source of carbohydrates, providing 17 grams per tablespoon, which makes it ideal for your working muscles since carbohydrates are the primary fuel the body uses for energy. Carbohydrates are necessary in the diet to help maintain muscle glycogen, which are stored carbohydrates within the muscle. Its’ unique blend of natural sweeteners (from many sources of flowers) gives it the ability to provide quick energy. It does cost us 64 calories per tablespoon and those of you on a low carbohydrate diet; Watch Out!

Donations: I want to thank each member who nominated someone for a free share from the farm this summer. We have given out 18 shares to people outside the farm and we have partially donated shares to 10 people within the membership. This is a big deal to us. We feel it is an integral part of a CSA farm. We are so fortunate to be able to feed so many people. And all of you are so into the farm and supporting what we do; we just want to give back. We do not get to “write off” these donations on our taxes, so it is a true donation from the heart. It is important to remember those who need a helping hand and are grateful we have the capacity and product to do it! We love the fact that most of you also donate your shares when you go on vacation. This helps the community you live within! So many happy tummies this year that might not otherwise have good, healthy food to consume!!

Pickles: I am sorry I have not been able to call anyone to pick pickles. Last year we had very few people interested in the crop so we only planted one row per planting. The first one didn’t produce much, but a new row is on, so I will be calling no more than 4 or 5 people at a time. Hopefully we can get all of you out here soon!

A Reflection from 2011 (five years ago): This has been a roller coaster ride for the farm this summer. Spring was wet, cold and full of hail. Then it got extremely warm & dry come August and September (August being one of the hottest on record!). And then we had one of the prettiest falls I’ve seen. If it wasn’t for this beautiful long fall, several of our crops would not have matured and you wouldn’t have gotten them! What a nice benefit to offset our cold spring. (2011 preceded the horrible drought of 2012 which almost shut the farm down for the year! There was very little water anywhere and we had to search far and wide for water! Due to the drought we had no hail at all and one of the best crops the farm could provide. We let all the pasture and alfalfa die that year and got rid of or reduced the animal population.)

Have a great week! Jacquie and Jerry

Harvest Festival 2012

This year’s Harvest Festival was so much fun!  Here are a few pictures we captured of the day!  Can’t wait until next year!!

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