Category Archives: Newsletter

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.

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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!

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 – 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 – July 3, 2017

Dear Members,

This week you are getting garlic, red onions, carrots, fennel, green cabbage, summer squash (any kind) oregano and either iceberg lettuce or magenta lettuce (same as last week).

Fennel is a very versatile vegetable.  Not only are the bulbs delicious in soups, cooked with roast or pork and shred in salads or slaws, but the greens are great as well.  Eat raw or dried.  Add to fish or the cavity of chicken, find a fennel pesto recipe (why should basil have all the fun?!) or add to collard greens to give them a little zip.

This kind of oregano is a fairly mild form so I use a bit more than recipes call for.  You will need twice as much fresh as you will need dried in any recipe (and most recipes are referring to the dried form when listed).  It’s easy to dry, just rinse & put on a paper towel or plate and wait.  When dry, slide off of stem and put in a airtight jar.

Fruit:  There will not be any fruit this week, they are in-between pickings.

Strawberries:  Here we go again folks!  This is our theory about the strawberry patch:  After growing in some of the best conditions in our 30 year history; our Spring’s over the last 5 years have never been so crazy and unpredictable.  We believe that the strawberries are coming out of dormancy in February or March when it gets nice and warm.  Then April and May come along and Mother Nature decides to give us a little bit of winter again.  The cold, freezing temperatures are killing the plants that have started to send out new growth.  We lost over half of the new field.  Jerry, Kyle and Sam planted a third strawberry field.  What we are hoping is this; if just half of each field survives, maybe combined we will have an entire field of strawberries we can pick.  Keep your fingers crossed and hope for a better Spring next year. Where it stays cold in Feb. & March and then proceeds to get warm the middle of April and stays warm in May!!

Produce Payments:  Half of all your remaining fees are due the 15th of July (except for animals).  Late fees of $25 will be applied on July 21st.  Please allow 2 weeks for us to process your checks (will still get credit for arriving on time).  We will do our best to get them processed just as soon as possible!

If it is the 4th of July, then summer must be here!  Hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend!

Cream of Spring Vegetable Soup   (page 8 of the Farm Fresh CSA cookbook)

  • 4 T. Butter
  • 4-8 small turnips, chopped
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4-6 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 heads kohlrabi, peeled & chopped
  • 1 cup half & half

Melt butter in a pot, add onion one minute then add garlic and sauté until aromatic.  Add kohlrabi, turnips and carrots and sauté 5 minutes.  Add four cups of stock and cook until veggies are tender.  Puree soup until smooth adding additional stock until you are happy with the consistency (or don’t, I like both).  Return to pot.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Soup can be prepared a few days in advance or can be frozen at this time.  Before serving, heat soup and whisk in half & half.    Serves up to 6.