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Posted 8/11/2018 11:29am by Josie Hart.

Dear shareholders,

Do you want the bad news first, or the bad news? Just kidding, its mostly good news ... this week we have been scouting our melon patch for signs of ripening:

The bad news is that someone else has been scouting the melons as well ...

 

I've written here before about the importance of crop rotation in organic pest management, and we are pretty rigorous about our rotations, but it turns out there are limits to its effectiveness when the pest is a bear that weighs 200 pounds and has a range measured in miles not feet! 

So we're fixing fences and gates around the field now, in hopes that we do have some melons to harvest next week since they are oh-so-close!

We are also going to harvest some lavender bunches for everyone this week. In previous seasons we sold them at distribution but with another half-acre planted this season there's plenty to go around! 

HARVEST LIST:

  • Garlic
  • Tomatoes
  • Basil
  • Carrots
  • Summer squash
  • Beans
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Lavender

*Please note the exact share may change due to weather or crop conditions.

FEATURED RECIPE: Jess's Gazpacho

At Tuesday's distribution one of our shareholders, Jess, mentioned that she made gazpacho with last week's haul, and given how many tomatoes we're picking these days its a great way to use them! She had a couple of interesting twists on the usual gazpacho recipe, like using zucchini in it to make it more creamy, so here's an attempt to reconstruct her recipe from the hasty notes I wrote:

Ingredients     

  • 4 large tomatoes, diced
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 diced bell pepper
  • 1 zucchini
  • ½ onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil  

Directions

Sautee zucchini for a few minutes and combine with diced tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, green onion, and garlic in a large bowl.

Stir in salt and let them sit overnight to draw the juices out.

Puree until smooth.

Season cold soup with salt and black pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and top with basil.

Posted 8/4/2018 11:55am by Josie Hart.

Dear shareholders,

It's that time of the season when we are just trying to keep up with the harvests! We harvest all greens and herbs the morning of distribution and pick tomatoes on a regular basis to ensure we are able to pick as close as possible to the height of ripeness and flavor; summer squash and cucumbers we pick every day except Sunday. 

This is unusual but we're going to go back to back with chard this week. We have three plantings all pickable right now, and the harlequin beetles have gotten to our older plantings of collards and kale, so rather than spray pesticides, we'll just mow down the old plantings and wait on the new ones to mature. They're in different fields, and we spent some time actually picking the beetles and their eggs off the plants into buckets of soapy water. That's farming without pesticides!

Below is a recipe from our pickler extraordinaire, Royce, which uses a lot of this week's produce in a novel way. 

HARVEST LIST:

  • Onions
  • Potatoes
  • Dill
  • Chard
  • Beets
  • Beans
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Summer squash
  • Cucumbers
  • Thai basil
  • Fennel

*Please note the exact share may change due to weather or crop conditions.

FEATURED RECIPE: Pickled Chard Stems



Ingredients     

  • 1-3 Tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 quart filtered or distilled water (not tap, which contains chlorine)
  • 1 bunch chard
  • 1 sprig dill
  • 1 tsp. red pepper flakes (you could also use some jalapenos)
  • Carrot slices (optional)

DIRECTIONS

Prepare a brine by dissolving salt in 1 quart filtered or distilled water. Slice the stalks away from the leafy part of the chard. Chop the stalks into desired sizes, from little chunks to long spears. Put the dill and the red pepper flakes into the bottom of a clean, dry quart jar. Put the chard stalk in and fill the jar with enough brine to cover the stalks but leaving at least 1 inch headspace in the jar. Cover with an airlock fermentation lid or regular lid, tightly closed.

Place the jar in a cool place away from direct sunlight for 24 hours, tasting the chard once it starts to ferment and monitoring it daily. Water may need to be added to keep the chard submerged. Ferment 2-5 days at room temperature. Once chard is fermented to desired taste, place a lid on the jar and store in the fridge. The chard stalks will keep for up to 2 months.

Posted 7/28/2018 12:44pm by Josie Hart.

Dear shareholders,

We hope you enjoyed the first tomatoes of the season! The firsts continue as we'll start picking beans next week. We might not have quite enough to give out for everyone right away but soon they'll be booming too. We enjoyed this last week of rain quite a bit, although it did set back some seedings, with fields today still a bit too wet to till. We'll try again tomorrow!

Most of our fields have a fairly high clay content, which means that the individual particles in the soil are very fine. With less air space in the soil than in a more sandy or loamy soil, it is much more prone to compaction, such as driving a heavy tractor on wet soil. We've changed our growing process a bit in the last few years to try to address this, one example is that we now have permanent beds, so the tractor tires are always driving over aisles and not in the bed where the plants will be growing. We also try to keep our soil covered with plants as much as possible, since compaction happens not just from a thousand pound tractor, but also from raindrops hitting the soil with all the force gained after falling thousands of feet!

I said early on in my tenure here that I would never complain about rain in Colorado, and I am sticking to that rule! 

HARVEST LIST:

  • Garlic
  • Chard
  • Carrots
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Summer squash
  • Cucumbers

*Please note the exact share may change due to weather or crop conditions*

FEATURED RECIPE: Fennel Panna Cotta

I'm including another fennel recipe, since it's one of my favorite vegetables, and we'll have another round of fennel in a couple of weeks (we thought we'd give you some time to deal with the monsters you got last week!). I'm also just excited to include a dessert recipe, which maybe gets not enough attention in our featured recipes, and is one of my favorite meals!


Ingredients     

  • 1 bulb fennel, including feathery top
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 grind freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons licorice-flavored liqueur, such as anisette or sambuca
  • 1 tablespoon powdered plain gelatin softened in 1/2 cup cold water, or 4 sheets gelatin soaked in 1/2 cup cold water       
  • 1 cup sugar, plus 2 1/2 tablespoons
  • 1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 cup chilled heavy cream

DIRECTIONS

Lightly coat eight 6- to 8-ounce ramekins with nonstick cooking oil spray and set aside (disposable foil cups are okay to use). Refrigerate a large stainless-steel mixing bowl so that it is well chilled. Cut the feathery tops off the fennel bulb; chop enough of the most delicate fronds (about 1/2-inch lengths) to fill 1/2 cup and set aside. Cut the bulb in half from stem to root end and then cut into very thin slices.

Place the sliced fennel, heavy cream, milk, sugar, honey, salt and pepper in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring to ensure that the sugar has dissolved, then remove from the heat and let the mixture steep for 15 minutes. Strain, discarding the solids. Add the liqueur and the softened gelatin and stir until the gelatin has completely dissolved. Divide the reserved chopped fronds among the ramekins, then fill the ramekins with the panna cotta mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 6 to 24 hours, or until set.

To serve, run a knife around the inside of each ramekin and invert the panna cottas onto individual plates; they should come out easily, with the fennel fronds displayed on the top. Scrape the seeds from the grilled vanilla bean halves into the chilled mixing bowl. Add the remaining 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar and 1 cup of heavy cream; use a hand-held mixer on high speed or a whisk to beat to soft peaks. Carefully fold the grilled berries into the whipped cream and spoon over the panna cottas.  Serve immediately.  

Posted 7/23/2018 2:47pm by Josie Hart.


Dear fruit shareholders,

We hope you enjoyed those fabulous cherries! Next week will be our first round of peaches from the Hotchkiss area of the Western Slope. We will send you a reminder on the same day so you don't forget to pick them up. There is always a lull between fruit crops in Colorado - especially between cherries and when peach season happens. You have not missed any distributions of fruit after the bags of cherries.

Because we are a CSA, we partner with fruit growers before the season starts - this means that each small farm has their own schedule for when harvest happens depending on several factors from elevation to weather and so on. As we get into apple season, you will be picking up fruit every week until late October.

Thanks so much,

The Chatfield CSA

Posted 7/23/2018 1:29pm by Josie Hart.

Dear Shareholders,

Greetings from Josie Hart, Farm Program Manager! I want to let you know about some very cool and TASTY events we are rolling out just for YOU.

IMPORTANT REMINDER:

Tuesday (tomorrow) we will be at a new location for distribution! Teller Elementary is located on 1150 Garfield St, 80206.
Same time - 4 p.m. - 7 p.m. plenty of parking.

Chocolate!: Fortuna Chocolate and Chatfield Farms Partner Up

Tomorrow and Thursday Fortuna Chocolate will bring you the very finest in ethically produced chocolate, freshly made by hand with farm ingredients! Please bring cash or card to distribution with you if you would like to support the most delicious and locally made confection around.

Chatfield CSA Workshop Series:

Chatfield Farms is partnering with Five Points Fermentation this year to bring you a new series of workshops to inspire the inner chef and bio-alchemist inside you. Below is a list of classes that you can sign up for:  

MasterClass: Probiotic Pesto Fermenting Herbs Thursday @Chatfield Farms 4:30 - 6
Date TBD https://www.facebook.com/events/205453676825184/   

Don't Drop the Beet: Healing with Beet Kvass
Thursday Sep. 3rd   4:30-6 @ Chatfield Farms
https://www.facebook.com/events/457350711396069/   

Orange Power: Carotene, Carotenoids and Carrots Antioxidants for Life
Thursday October 11 @ Chatfield Farms from 4:30-6 https://www.facebook.com/events/1374670969344667/   

 Sour Magic : Saurkraut, the Patterns & Practice of Fermentation

Thursday in November @ Chatfield Farms from 4:30-6 https://www.facebook.com/events/284544418781988/             

Space is limited on these classes, as they will take place in the outdoor kitchen during CSA distribution so please SIGN UP NOW.

Posted 7/21/2018 10:07am by Josie Hart.


Dear shareholders,

It's Lavender Fest! If you're sipping your coffee and wondering just how you'll spend this beautiful Saturday, come on down to the farm!

IMPORTANT NOTE:

With a concert happening this week on Tuesday we'll be moving distribution to Teller Elementary at 1150 Garfield St (80206). The parking lot is located on the north end of the building on the corner of 12th and Garfield. Look for our tents and box truck. Thursday's distribution is same time, same place.

HARVEST LIST:

  • Arugula
  • Fennel
  • Beets
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Kale
  • Summer squash
  • Cucumbers

*Please note the exact share may change due to weather or crop conditions*

FEATURED RECIPE: Carrot Fennel Soup

Ingredients

•2 medium fennel bulbs with fronds
•1 pound carrots, quartered lengthwise
•1 medium onion, quartered
•1 garlic clove
•5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
•2 1/2 cups broth, chicken or vegetable
•2 1/2 cups water

 
Preparation

Preheat oven to 450°F with rack in lowest position. 
Chop enough fennel fronds to measure 1 tablespoon and reserve. 
Set aside stalks and remaining fronds. 
Slice bulbs 1/4 inch thick and toss with carrots, onion, garlic, 3 tablespoons oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. 
Spread in a 4-sided sheet pan and roast, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 25 to 30 minutes. 
Blend half of vegetables in a blender with broth until very smooth. 
Transfer to a medium saucepan. Repeat with remaining vegetables and water. 
Thin to desired consistency with extra water and simmer 2 minutes. 
Season with salt and pepper. 
Serve soup sprinkled with reserved fronds.

 

Posted 7/7/2018 12:16pm by Josie Hart.

Dear Shareholders,

On Saturday July 21 from 9am to 5pm we'll be hosting our annual Lavender Festival here at Chatfield. For anyone interested in taking a closer look at where all your produce is grown we'll have farm tours as well as classes, live music, food and drink. Check out the Chatfield Farms website for a list of classes. Walk-up classes are available but seats are limited so advance registration is recommended.

HARVEST LIST:

  • Onions
  • Chard
  • Bok choy
  • Lettuce
  • Hakurei
  • Beets
  • Summer squash
  • Mint

*Please note the exact share may change due to weather or crop conditions*

FEATURED RECIPE: Chard Pie

Today's recipe is inspired by our most passionate chard enthusiast Katie. For weeks she brought in leftover chard quiche for lunch. One week happened to be light on leftovers for me, so I admired her foresight, and made some myself, more or less like the recipe below. I love the chard flavor in this, and the slight crunch of the chard stems, and best of all I think it tastes great cold too! 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 bunch chard, chopped, stems and all
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • salt and black pepper
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 cup shredded cheese
  • 2 pie crusts


INSTRUCTIONS
Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brown onion and garlic in oil. Trim and chop chard, add to pan and cook until just wilted. Beat eggs in a bowl, mix in cheese, salt, and chard mixture. Pour into pie crusts. Bake until a knife inserted into center comes out clean, 30-40 minutes. Makes 2 pies.

Posted 6/30/2018 12:32pm by Josie Hart.

Dear Shareholders,

This week we'll start pulling our earliest variety of garlic, Tempico Rojo. It is a smaller variety but packs a punch, with purple stripes and purple wrappers on the cloves. These are fresh, not cured like our main season garlic, so keep it in the fridge if you don't use it right away. 

We'll have one more week of cherries for the Fruit Share, and then a little break until early peaches come on. 

HARVEST LIST:

  • Garlic
  • Kale
  • Carrots
  • Basil
  • Hakurei turnips
  • Dill

*Please note the exact share may change due to weather or crop conditions*

FEATURED RECIPE: Kohlrabi Carrot Slaw

Another simple one, folks (I hope I'm not being too redundant with the raw salad recipes but these are my ideal summer preparations - I'll leave the more elaborate recipes til fall, and as always send on any ingenious recipes you come up with!)

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 bulbs kohlrabi (peeled and grated)
  • 1 apple (cored and grated)
  • grated carrots
  • 2 tablespoons roughly chopped parsley
  • salt and black pepper
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


INSTRUCTIONS
Using the largest size holes on a box grater, grate the carrot, kohlrabi and apple into a large bowl (watch your knuckles!). Toss with parsley, oil, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, salt and pepper. Serve!

Posted 6/26/2018 5:24pm by Josie Hart.


Dear flower share friends,
We are excited to start the flower share a little early this year! Today or next Thursday you will receive your first flowers. For folks picking up today, you will get one bunch of snap dragons, one bunch calendula, 2 asparagus ferns and one perennial stalk. As we get more into the season, we will increase the amount of flowers you will get in your share. 

The flower share this year is more of a "DIY" share. We will give you a variety of pre-bunched flowers and you can build your own bouquet when you get home. Each week, you will receive a mix of foliage (asparagus fern) different colors and varieties of flowers and some "fillers" like perennial yarrow or bee balm, etc. to fill out your bouquet. 

Make sure to put your flowers in water when you get home and change the water daily so your fresh cuts last a week or more. 

Please email me if you have questions about your flowers. You will pick up every other week - so today is our first Tuesday and next week will be our first Thursday.  

Josie - Farm Program Manager

josie.hart@botanicgardens.org 

 

 

Posted 6/16/2018 12:12pm by Josie Hart.

Dear Shareholders,

We try to spray even organic pesticides as little as possible, and we try to be as transparent as possible in all our practices. This week we sprayed a mixture of pyrethrum (derived from plants in the daisy family) and spinosad (a soil bacteria) on our potatoes to keep the flea beetles at bay. We scout for pests on a weekly basis and we try to spray early enough that we don't have to deal with a large population, which only necessitates more spraying ... 

Our main focus however is on growing strong and healthy plants which will not be as susceptible to insect damage, and more likely to withstand serious injury when insects do find them. Below are some thoughts from Katie regarding exactly how insects find the plants they like to feed on (we have a lot of time together out in the fields to speculate on all sorts of topics!). 

Once again (I never tire of talking about it!) the way to grow healthy plants is to build the health of your soil, and so our most important crops never get eaten. This week we mowed down the cover crops on the beds where we'll plant fall crops. Here are some photos of Maddy trying out our newest piece of equipment, the sickle-bar mower:

 

Katie says:

At Chatfield we work throughout the season to minimize the damage done to crops by common pests such as flea beetles, cucumber beetles, and squash bugs. Such pests are ones that farmers and gardeners alike struggle to control year after year. If you face this issue, and you’re like me, you may wonder where these pests come from and how they locate the specific crops that they feed on. A squash bug, for example, won’t go after crops that aren’t members of the cucurbit family, such as squash, melons, and cucumbers.                

So how do pests locate the right crop? It is believed that insects use chemical smell and taste cues to recognize plants, and that the insects can distinguish between plants based on their differing tastes and odors, determining the plant’s appeal to different insects.  Scientists also argue that visual cues play a role in pests’ location of their host plants. Phytophagous, or plant-feeding, insects are drawn to green things like leaves. Only after pests visually locates a crop will they use their chemical cues to determine whether or not they have landed on the right plant for them. Therefore, while bugs may use three different senses in conjunction with one another to complete the process of invading a plant, they must use them in proper order, and cannot use their chemical smell and tasting cues to direct themselves to crops on the other side of a field. Only once they’ve landed on a plant are they able to identify it.                

Pests like squash bugs overwinter as adults under crop debris, soil clods, and rocks in fields that they’ve occupied the previous season. Squash bugs emerge in the spring, using their cucurbit hosts as a feeding and mating grounds. If crops aren’t rotated through different fields each season, the bugs have a much easier time locating and destroying plants right off the bat.                

So the next time you find that an insect is feeding on the leaves of plants in your garden or on your crops, remind yourself that insects have amazing capabilities, and that produce with imperfections will still nourish you!

HARVEST LIST:

Chard
Carrots
Lettuce
Mint
Scapes

*Please note the exact share may change due to weather or crop conditions*

FEATURED RECIPE: Carrot Mint Salad

INGREDIENTS

• 1 pound carrots
• 3 tablespoons golden raisins
• 2/3 cup mint leaves, chopped finely
• 2 teaspoons lemon juice
• 1 tablespoon olive oil

INSTRUCTIONS
Grate carrots. Combine with olive oil, raisins, lemon juice, and mint. Season with salt and pepper, toss to combine well, and serve!