News & Blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 8/2/2013 7:10pm by Josie Hart.

 

Dear shareholders,
Welcome to the fruit edition of the newsletter! The CSA is harvesting some gorgeous melons for you this week! Please read our grower’s edition of the newsletter at the bottom for more information on our melons by our expert staff. Also we will have a produce guide at both distributions to help navigate between melon types, pepper types, beet varieties and so on. Our CSA staff also can always help you with varieties and other veggie questions during distribution. We also have the fruit schedule from Ela if you would like to know what types of fruit you will be receiving August 13 or 15 for the fruit shares only.

Important Reminders:
We will have this Tuesday’s August 8 distribution at St. John’s Cathedral and not at our York St. location. This does not affect Thursday’s distribution- it is only for people who pick up on Tuesday.

Please register for our CSA classes on cooking and herbs!
Saturday, August 10: Herbs in the Kitchen with Susan Evans
Come learn how to preserve your herbal harvest for year round use in elegant vinegars, herb butters, robust pesto and savory seasoning blends. Well cover the best ways to preserve and store your fresh herbs. Recipes and samples included. $17 for CSA members, $30 all others
9 – 11 a.m. in the new Outdoor Kitchen at Chatfield

Saturday, August 10: Comprehensive Canning 101 – Jam Making with Local Fruit
1 – 3 p.m. in the new Outdoor Kitchen at Chatfield
$17 CSA members, $40 non-members

Urban Farm Tour!
Denver Botanic Gardens is partnering with Slow Food Denver and Grow Local Colorado to offer tours of urban agriculture projects throughout the Denver metro area. We grouped the four tours being offered this summer and fall together by geographic area: Southeast, Downtown, Southwest, and Northwest. Each tour will take participants to three urban agriculture projects, with a catered local, seasonal lunch at the last stop. Aug 11, Aug 24, Sept 21, and Oct 5. Register online or by calling 720-865-3580.


Produce list for August 5- 9
Melons
Chard
Cucumber
Hot & bell peppers
Eggplant
Basil
Onions
Beets
Parsley & herbs

Weekly Bread: Cranberry Walnut
Weekly Wild Food: Grape Leaves and Dolmas

Predicted Fruit Schedule
Week of:
Aug. 13&15- Peaches
Aug. 20&22- Peaches
Aug. 27&29 - Peaches
Sept. 3&5- Two bags of fruit: peaches and apples or pears
Sept. 10&12- Two bags of fruit: apples and plums, pears or peaches
Sept. 17&19- Two bags of fruit: apples and pears or plums
Sept. 24&26- Two bags of fruit: apples and pears, plums or peaches
Oct. 1&3- Two bags of fruit: apples and pears
Oct. 8&10- Apples and cider
Oct. 15&17- Apples and cider
Oct. 22&24- Apples and cider
Oct. 29&31- 20 lb. box of storage apples. When kept cold, these apples will be delicious for weeks.

Featured Recipe: Fresh Mint and Melon – Perfect for Breakfast
2-3 lbs. of cantaloupe or other melon
1/4 cup honey
1/2 cup orange, apricot or apple juice or coconut water
1 1/2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh mint, plus small sprigs of basil for garnish
¼ cup chopped almonds
Add any dried fruit or seeds in addition
1. Halve melons, scoop out seeds and remove rind. Cut flesh into large chunks. (You should have about 6 cups.)
2. Chop nuts and add to the cantaloupe, honey and orange juice in a bowl. Cover and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled, a couple hours or just overnight.
3. Just before serving, briskly whisk the fruit and stir in mint. Serve very cold, garnished with sprigs of mint/basil, if desired.
* Top the salad with Greek yogurt.



Grower’s Perspective- Melons are Here!

Chris Krabbenhoeft, CSA Grower

Melon picking...
To me, one of the best things about being involved with a CSA is being able to get produce at the peak of its flavor. In my mind, melons are perhaps the best example of produce that, when bought from a grocery store, can never be fully appreciated for its full flavor. That’s because, a delicate fruit such as melon needs to be picked under ripe to be shipped any long distance…even within the state of Colorado. And melons off the vine won’t get any sweeter, or ripen like some other crops. For someone who gets as excited about melons as I do, picking melons at the right time becomes an incredibly important responsibility.

But melons are also one of the trickiest crops to harvest. And in the gamble that is harvesting, each type of melon wears a different poker face, with different tells to determine whether each melon has reached full sweetness and maturity. This year four varieties of melon are being grown, two cantaloupes (Sarah’s Choice and Eden’s Gem), a canary melon (Brilliant) and a Crenshaw melon (Lilly). The process of finding melons to harvest requires first identifying potentially ripe melons by a color change of the outer rind, and then seeing if those melons will “slip.” The “slip” is perhaps the trickiest part of melon harvesting and occurs when the stem effortlessly falls off the melon. However, some melons such as the canary and Crenshaw are ready at a “forced slip,” when the melon has to be separated from the plant with a little more pull. While a melon ready to “slip,” like the Sarah’s Choice melons available at distribution this week, becomes pretty easy to identify after a couple tries, the forced slip is more of a guessing game and you might have to rely more on color and scent to determine if the fruit is ripe. And a good deal of tasting melons out in the field.


That being said, I hope all our work tending the plants, warding off the pests and taste testing melons brings you great tasting melons that you just can’t get from the grocery store.

Posted 7/26/2013 6:58pm by Josie Hart.

Dear Shareholders,

Thanks for joining our local food community! We hope you made it out to our CSA potluck and enjoyed seeing the farm. We want to hear how your CSA experience is going: the produce quality, distribution, new ideas, recipes and suggestions. We want to hear it all!  Email us at csa.chatfield@botanicgardens.org

We would like to thank all of our fantastic volunteers! The weeds are waging war on our beautiful veggies and we couldn't fight back without the help of our volunteer team. We'd also like to thank our distribution volunteers for their professionalism and resourcefulness to make each distribution a smooth process for all.


important
 info: 

Flowers: Fresh cut flower bouquets are for sale at both distributions. Please bring $5 in cash to distribution if you would like to purchase one of our gorgeous fresh bouquets arranged by our Chatfield horticulture staff. Flower types include snapdragons, straw flowers, zinnias, African daisy, celosia, salvia, sunflowers and many more.

Honey: Local Chatfield honey should be ready at the end of August, however each year is different so please stay tuned for information on availability and prices from our bee keepers, Bob and Josie.

Rubber bands: We have been bunching a lot of our produce to ease the time you spend in line picking out your produce, and we’d like to keep our process as sustainable as possible, so please save your CSA rubber bands and bring them back to us when convenient.

Fruit shares: The fruit shares will start up mid-August, approximately August 13 and 15. Ela Farms, our fruit share supplier in Hotchkiss Colorado, is higher in elevation than Palisade and some of the other peach producing regions that were affected by the late snow, which means they have a great peach crop coming! There is nothing better in life than a juicy organic Colorado peach (well maybe the CSA basil). Some of the late season apples did get a bite from the frost so apple quantities (think Fuji storage apples) for the fall may be slightly different than last year, however Ela will supply an adequate amount of additional organic goods to compensate if that is the case.

York Street distribution location changes: Please look for a separate email (where you can link to your calendars) so you know when the CSA pickup is at St. John’s Cathedral due to concerts or free days at our York Street location.  


community: children's picnic group at chatfield                                                  
There are families meeting at the children's play area at Chatfield on Thursdays to play and picnic after picking up your CSA shares. For more information please email us at csa.chatfield@botanicgardens.org and please join if you have kiddos!  


this week’s produce list for
july 29 - aug. 2         
This list is tentative and subject to change.

Thai or cinnamon basil
Green pepper
Garlic
White onion
Carrots or beets
Kale or chard
Summer squash
Cucumbers
Green beans!
Assorted herbs

weekly wild
foods
are going to take a break while we spend more energy on crops that take significant amounts of time to harvest like beans, squash and cucumbers.



weekly
bread:
 Wholegrain Sesame



featured
recipe:
We have additional recipes at both distributions so please look for printed, ready to go recipes that feature at least one or more CSA weekly crop.


Green beans with pine nuts and parmesan cheese
Taken from the indispensable cookbook for CSA members, From Asparagus to Zucchini: A guide to cooking farm-fresh seasonal produce.

3/4 to 1 lb. green beans, washed and dried
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoons wine vinegar
1/4 cup pine nuts
1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 425 degrees. Toss beans with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Spread in single layer on a baking sheet; roast on top shelf in oven about 15-20 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking time. Mash garlic with 1 teaspoon salt; add vinegar. Whisk in 3 tablespoons olive oil. When beans are done roasting, reduce oven to 350 degrees. Toss beans and dressing; season with salt (if necessary) and pepper. Spread pine nuts on a baking sheet. Roast them, shaking pan occasionally, until lightly browned. Sprinkle pine nuts and parmesan over tossed salad. Serve warm or at room temperature. Adapted from a dish tasted at Restaurant Rech in Paris. Makes 4-6 servings - Enjoy these beans as a side dish during dinner. Also makes a great grab-and-go lunch for a few days


Please check Denver Botanic Gardens' website for information on the CSA Education Series as well as other interesting classes and events at: http://www.botanicgardens.org/programs/classes/lifelong-learning  


 

Posted 7/19/2013 9:38pm by Josie Hart.


Dear Shareholders,

We are excited to annouce the basil edition of the CSA E-news! We have been giving out a manageable amount of basil each week to add into a couple recipes. So this coming week for both Tuesday and Thursday we will be giving all our shareholders a wonderfully large amount of basil for pesto making and other tasty basil dishes.

**Event reminder: CSA Potluck, July 26, 5:30-8:30 p.m. THEME CHANGE!!!

Due to it being basil week at the CSA, we thought it would be fun to host a basil cook-off instead (if you want to compete in the cook-off or bring any dish you like) to share with fellow CSA shareholders and CSA staff. Please bring with you any picnic items needed.  Head to the CSA Washstand/Hildebrand Ranch area of Denver Botanic Gardens at Chatfiled this coming Friday for local flavors, conversation and farm fun!

 

Weekly Produce List for July 22-26
*This list is tenative and is subject to change.

Basil
Red onion!
Garlic!
Beets
Kale
Chard
Summer squash or cucumbers!
Peppermint, oregano, sage - choice 

Please note: this first round of garlic is not fully cured so it's not for storage, like the white onions – we’re curing only the best heads so you might notice some smaller heads or small cracks in the outer layer of skin in this first round. The cloves inside are still good to eat (immidiately or out of the fridge.)

 

Featured Recipes: BASIL CRAZE 

One of the recipes I (Josie Hart-Genter) would like to highlight for this week is an adapted recipe from "Mesa's Edge," by Eugenia Bone, one of my favorite local Colorado (San Luis Valley) cookbook authors - she also has an amazing canning and preserving book that's worth reading as well. This recipe has two parts, a little involved but simple enough once you get going and perfect for a weekend starter dish with friends and family. Not the best recipe for a 20-minute weekday after-work recipe. I spent part of this week in an old mountain cabin outside Nederland, and loved being there in the simple kitchen with my mom, children and tons of CSA produce and other garden treats to cook with! Eugenia's book was a perfect accompaniment to our time there. I tried all of these recipes out while there and judging from the happy faces and questions about seconds, I think you all are in good hands with the following.

Squash Blossom or Summer Squash Fritters with Basil Aoli                                                  Adapted from Eugenia Bone

Squash Fritters

1 1/2 cup flour
1 can of beer (12 oz)
1 full teaspoon of baking powder
a few pinches of salt
12 squash blossoms or 12 medium sized strips of zuccini or any summer squash
Plenty of oil for frying

Wisk batter in a large bowl and set aside. If you are going to bread and fry squash blossoms (keep them dry and shake them out to get rid of bugs and dirt), use about 12 large male blossoms by pulling them away from your squash plants. If you are going to use the CSA summer squash choose a large one and purchase one extra. Or raid a zuccini from a friend's garden!
Slice the squash into long strips about 1/4 inch thick, making sure to cut length-wise

Add vegetable oil (not olive, and use plenty) into a frying pan and heat the oil until it's hot and crackles when you test it (use water or flour to test oil).

Dip the squash blossom or squash strip into the bowl of batter and cover completely.
Lay the battered pieces into a frying pan, keeping each piece seperate or they will stick together.
Fry for about 1.5 minutes on each side until a golden brown crust forms
After the peices are fried, lay them on a paper towel to drain the greese.
Fry all blossoms or strips and let cool.

Basil Aoli

1 egg yolk
3/4 cup olive oil
juice from one fresh lemon
1 - 2 fresh CSA garlic clove depending on size
salt and pepper to taste
3 Tablespoons of minced fresh CSA basil

Add the egg yolk to a mixing bowl and whisk. Very slowly pour the oil with a small stream gently into the bowl, whisking the oil and egg together until the oil starts thickening in the bowl. Add crushed garlic, lemon, salt and pepper, and fresh basil. Whisk until the mixture gets thicker. Salt to taste and and serve in a small bowl with your fritters.
(If you need to set the aoli in the fridge to thicken up more it should be fine for at least 24 hours).

Dip the hot fritters right into the aoli and enjoy. This is perfect for an appetizer and so rich you only need two or three fritters Per person.

Steamed Beet and Basil Salad - with shaved turnip and red onion (this dish only serves two unless you add this mixture over salad greens or arugula)

  1. Steam your 3-4 CSA beets until tender, let them cool (some people slip the skins off at this point) and chop them into bite-size chunks.
  2. If you still have your harukai turnip, shave it thin with a knife or 1/2 kohlrabi (or skip this step if you don't have these)
  3. mince 1/4 cup red onion
  4. mince 1 small bunch of basil leaves
  5. squeeze 2 whole limes into the beet mixture
  6. use plenty of salt to taste
  7. Non-local, but amazing extra ingredient - fresh sweet corn cut off the cob! (I steamed the corn lightly and set aside until cool)
  8. One splash of apple cider vinegar and toss everything together
  9. Put the salad in the fridge if you can for a few hours so the flavors have time to set.
This dish is great as a refreshing and quick meal when you're feeling hot. It also went great as a light partner alongside the rich fritters and aoli sauce. If you want more volume out of it, you can lay it on top of your salad mix or a bed of arugula. With no oil this dish is extremely healthy as well!

Basil Gin Fizz Cocktail

3-4 basil leaves torn up
juice from 1/2 small lemon
1/2 teaspoon honey or simple sugar
1.5 oz Gin
3 - 5 oz club soda

Muddle all the dry ingredients at the bottom of a pint glass with simple sugar or honey, pour the gin into the herb blend and stir well to mix everything together. Add the ice and soda water at the end - give it a good stir once again. Garnish with an additional basil or peppermint leaf.

Really, there is a long list of recipes and uses for basil that I'd like to include here, as basil really is one of the best crops we grow at the Chatfield CSA. But instead of a mile-long newsletter, I will include this link to a great weekly installment at the Huffington Post - covering what to do with your CSA basket during the week. Have fun with my favorite green goddess of a plant - basil!


Of course you can enjoy your basil the traditional way with pesto and pasta or with fresh mozzarella but being part of a CSA can be a great excuse to eat outside the box! Happy basil week!

Posted 7/15/2013 4:18pm by Josie Hart Genter.

Carla is a York St. CSA shareholder who has volunteerd her time to talk about the CSA experience and how she utilizes every CSA item so she doesn't waste and feels good about her food! Enjoy reading!


Monday July 15th:
As we saw last week the distributions are getting larger…our family is not!! Yesterday I was feeling like Lucy and Ethyl in the chocolate factory…the chocolates coming faster than they could box them up. I’m putting the blame on the Swiss Chard. Sooooo, in an effort to 1) not waste anything and 2) not be shown up by a vegetable and 3) combat the wet, nasty day…I took everything out that needed attention and now have a cauldron of soup on the stove and a heavenly scent wafting through the house.

Here’s what I had to work with:
Carrots…all colors from last week and the week before
Onions…used the one from last week and a regular supermarket one (sigh)
Garlic
A BIG bag of Swiss Chard…from 3 weeks of distributions. (we ate the other stuff already)
A large can of tomatoes, a box with not even a cup of barley and about a quarter bag of regular old brown lentils and two lone polish sausages lurking in the fridge.
Everybody knows how to make soup…so I did the normal sautéing of onions, carrots, sausage, threw in the garlic, added some ground cumin and two quarts of low-sodiumchicken broth, brought it to a boil and tossed in the barley…giving it a head start for about ½ hour. Then the tomatoes, lentils and chard.

So far I have ready for the freezer 3 pint and a half jars filled with what I’m now calling a “stew”…I guess there was more barley than I thought!! Anyway…when I heat it up, I’ll add MORE broth.

I did mention we are only two people? I figure after tonight, we’ll STILL have soup for lunch the next two days. It really made a TON…oh, at the homemade Rye bread will be just perfect…with perhaps a smear of butter!

Our refrigerator is lighter as well as the pantry. So…we’re ready for tomorrow and another distribution.

It SURE feels great to scan and utilize. I feel like an urban pioneer!! The best part……we are eating clean, feeling good and take pride is supporting the community.

Really looking forward to the turnips this week!

See you at the CSA pick-up..
Carla

Posted 7/12/2013 5:57pm by Josie Hart.

Dear Shareholders,

Summer squash is here! Onions are coming in nicely while cucumbers and melons are coming on gradually. The rainbow chard has been a classic iconic summer beauty, hasn’t it? Our flowers are just about ready for fresh bouquets to be sold at distributions. We hope you have enjoyed the distributions this year, but please feel free to send in suggestions to make your experience smoother. Please note, when you’re having friends pick up your shares regularly it is up to you to communicate all pertinent information they may need. 

Things to discuss: are there any location changes for distributions? Do you need to forward the emails with the appropriate distribution address to anyone? Also, please tell your friend what type of share you have. By now we hope everyone knows that the peck is a small single share and the bushel is a double share. Please let everyone know if they are doubling the amount of produce they take or not.

You can add additional emails to your account information simply by going to our website homepage, where you will see the ‘membership actions’ box. Click through to update your account.


Upcoming Event: CSA Salad No-Cook Off! July 26 (5:30- 8:30 p.m.)

That’s right - our first CSA potluck is coming up and we are so excited to have everyone out on the farm. We will have a no-cook off salad theme utilizing any CSA produce you want to bring (or not – fruit salad may be great!). Please look for an email invitation.

 

Weekly Produce List for July 15-19

Carrots
Hakurai Turnip (trust us, they’re different)
Summer Squash!
Onion
Basil
Arugula
Parsley
Kale or Chard


Bread Share: Garlic Rosemary or Sourdough

Weekly Wild Food: Purslane

 

Featured Recipe: swiss chard or kale pie

Heat oven to 400 degrees

Chop and sauté (3-4 minutes) together:
Greens (kale or chard) with olive oil, CSA onion, garlic (or CSA scapes),
One small CSA summer squash (small cubes)
Fresh chopped basil

Set aside the sauté mixture and then mix in a bowl:
6-8 CSA eggs 
2 cups milk or milk alternative
2 cups any cheese you like
(Add what other ingredients you like – bacon, smoked tofu or mushrooms)

In a large pie shell, line the bottom with the greens sauté and then pour the milk and eggs mixture over the top.

Add a small layer of fresh herbs like dill or oregano and parmesan. Bake for 30-40 minutes until the center is not wiggly. The great thing about this pie is you can let it cool and serve it cooled or fresh out of the oven! This makes a great weekend brunch item use your CSA mushrooms and serve this with your CSA bread and coffee!

Green Smoothies

1-2 bananas (freeze it for a while if you want)
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1 cup soy almond or coconut milk
3 cups of any leftover mild greens from the CSA (pursalane leaves would be great here, too)
3-4 ice cubes (optional)

Put the banana and peanut butter into the blender and puree until smooth. Then, one cup at a time, add the spinach, blending until smooth each time. Scrape down the sides of the blender with a spatula between blends and add a tablespoon or so of water if you need to get the spinach blending. Then add the ice cubes, if using, and pulse until smooth.

 

Grower’s Perspective: The Colorado Sun 
Phil Cordelli, Head CSA Grower

The heat is different here. The intensity of the sun is potentially destructive, as I found out with our first two rounds of transplants, left uncovered in mid-April. With everything else that gets transplanted from the greenhouse into the field we use a floating rowcover to shelter the small plants until they establish themselves enough to survive. We also keep the rowcover on fulltime for tender plants such as basil. We just picked basil this morning and I was thinking back to how spindly, yellow and dry the basil looked when we first transplanted it in late May. Josie told me we grow some fantastic basil here, and looking this morning at a basil leaf as big as my hand, I see she’s right. The basil is now knee-high in some places, and sets me at ease that the cinnamon and Thai basil we just planted, and which is now looking stressed and almost fried even under the rowcover, will come through just fine. 


There’s a leap of faith taken every time you sink a seed in the soil. We can try to control the circumstances for that little plant as much as possible, with good bed preparation, rowcover and soil amendments, but the basic fact is that we farmers and we eaters are only spectators to the growing of food. I’ve had a lot of fun adapting to the quirks of Colorado growing, from May snow to blazing sun to hail. Thanks everyone for rolling with us as the crew and I keep adapting, trying out new techniques and approaches. Thankfully the rich soils of our floodplain are extremely forgiving of relative novices such as us.

Posted 7/9/2013 2:10pm by Josie Hart.

Dear shareholders,

This is a reminder that distribution is held at St. John’s Cathedral tonight at the usual time 4 -7p.m. – rain or shine! The address is:

1350 Washington Street

Denver, Colorado 80203 

There is a “free day” at York St. today, and trust us – you don’t want to have to find parking there!

Thanks Everyone!

Posted 7/2/2013 2:26pm by Josie Hart.

Hello Shareholders,

We will see you all today starting at 4p.m. till 7 p.m. Our Weekly Wild Food is purslane, and we are handing out carrots! We also will have printed recipes for everyone to take.


Have a great day - see you this afternoon!

Posted 7/1/2013 6:56pm by Josie Hart.

Hi everyone! 


Please remember your bags for tomorrow's (July 2nd) York St. distribution. We had a great bag turn out for the first week but please keep up the great work of being sustainable all season long!


Also, next week, July 9th we will have York St. distribution at St. John's Cathedral once again: 

1350 Washington Street

Denver, Colorado 80203

 


Thanks! Let us know if you have any questions. Please email Josie.hart@botanicgardens.org 


See you tomorrow 4-7 p.m.

Posted 6/24/2013 5:53pm by Josie Hart.

Dear CSA add-on share members,

If you have purchased a bread, egg, coffee or mushroom share with us this season (we won't start fruit until August), we ask for your patience tomorrow picking up each item. We have been missing a couple shares each distribution, so tomorrow we will individually check you in for each share type.

This should only take a few extra minutes and it will really help us out to ensure the correct people are receiving the shares they paid for and of course are planning on receiving!

After tomorrow we will resume one check-in list for all add-on shares so things go as quickly and orderly as possible.

Thanks again, see you at Denver Botanic Gardens from 4 - 7 p.m. on the south end of the top parking lot!

Posted 6/17/2013 4:47pm by Josie Hart.

Hello York St. shareholders,

Please keep in mind that our distribution tomorrow will be at St. John's Cathedral, located at 3140 Washington St. Denver, 80203


This is about 5 minutes from Denver Botanic Gardens.  You can park in the front parking lot on the WEST side of the building. We will be on the lawn right in front of the west parking lot. If it is raining, we will be up against the building under shelter. 


The times are the same 4-7 p.m. - also please remember your bags, what type of shares you purchased and we will see you all there!

Thanks.