News & Blog

Welcome to the blog.
Posted 10/3/2018 11:17am by Josie Hart.


Howdy all!

There will be a special appearance this Thursday at distribution - Peg's home made grape jams/jellies. Peg has been making this jam for 30+ years and she is so happy to offer your family a jar! Bring some cash and pick some up this Thursday! 

Also - this may be the last week for flowers depending on when the frost comes. FYI.

 

Thanks all!

 

Posted 9/29/2018 10:28am by Josie Hart.

Dear shareholders,

With cooler temperatures our harvest has been slowing down and we have already started getting excited for next season. One thing we do to prep for next year is save seed from several varieties of veggies and herbs that we liked this year. Different species of plants pollinate and set seed in unique ways, so if you want to try saving seed at home, here are a few tips from Maddie to know before jumping on in. And here's a photo of Maddie imitating a watermelon radish:

 

Open pollinated varieties set seed that will produce a plant that is very similar to the parent plant or plants, or that is “true to type”. Open pollinated varieties are generally the easiest to save seed from, but some varieties need to be carefully isolated to prevent cross pollination. Crops such as squash and cucumbers have both male and female flowers on each plant and pollen must move from one to the other. In order to save seed which will produce true to type plants, you have to make sure there are no other varieties around that could pollinate the variety you want to save.

The easiest varieties to save seed from are self pollinating varieties. These varieties have both the male and female parts (the stigma and the pollen) in the same flower. Each individual plant can pollinate itself, keeping genetic variables constant. Some self pollinating crops include beans, peas, tomatoes, and lettuce.

Hybrid varieties are open pollinated varieties that have been allowed to cross pollinate within the same species – seeds saved from hybrid parents will not be true to type. Producing hybrid seed is beneficial because varieties can be selectively modified for a number of traits – for example to increase disease resistance, cold tolerance, uniformity or high yield.

There are many advantages to saving seed from plants you like and have produced well for you. After a few years of saving seed you'll be selecting for plants that are adapted to your specific environment, and you can also select for particular traits you want, such as saving seed from the first tomatoes you pick to encourage early maturity in subsequent generations.

Reminder: Our last Gleaning Day will be October 6 from 8-10.

On Wednesday, Oct. 3, from 6:30-8 p.m. at Gates Hall Denver Botanic Gardens presents Growing Healthier Together: Connecting Community Gardens and Cancer Prevention. 

The Community Activation for Prevention study (CAPS) is an innovative cancer research partnership between several universities and institutions including The University of Colorado, Denver Urban Gardens and the American Cancer Society. Learn about the relationship between gardening and health, as well as CAPS’ innovations in cancer research.  

Erin Decker, B.A., is a research assistant with the University of Colorado, an educator, and an artist. She enjoys being in nature and connecting people to good food and the natural world through play.  

Café Botanique is open to everyone and is presented by Denver Botanic Gardens’ School of Botanical Art and Illustration. The 30-minute talk starts at 6:30 p.m. and is followed by a discussion. Café Botanique generally meets on select Wednesdays, each time with a different topic relating to the Botanical Illustration curriculum. Here is the Café Botanique registration page 

HARVEST LIST:

  • Potatoes
  • Leeks
  • Green tomatoes
  • Butternut squash
  • Onions
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Sage or parsley
  • Watermelon radish

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

FEATURED RECIPE: Fried Green Tomatoes

This recipe is from Adam, one of our farmers and a certified Southerner from the coast of Georgia. 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup oil (vegetable or canola) or enough to cover the skillet 1/2 inch
  • green tomatoes cut into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 eggs 
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2  teaspoon cayenne
  • 1  tablespoon garlic
  • salt and pepper
*for a more/less spicier version, add or reduce cayenne
 
Directions
 
Preheat oil to medium, medium/high in cast iron skillet (or other high-walled pan). Make sure oil is completely heated before putting in tomatoes.
 
Season tomatoes with salt and pepper on both sides. Place the flour in one dish, in another place the eggs and milk, and in the third mix the bread crumbs in with the garlic powder, cayenne, and paprika. 
 
Cover the slices tomatoes in flour, then in the eggs, then in the bread crumbs. Make sure the tomatoes are covered completely in all three steps so that the bread crumbs will stick.
 
Add the tomatoes into the pan (be careful as the oil is hot and can splash) slowly allowing each tomato space so they are not touching. Fry evenly about 2-3 minutes on each side and place to dry on a drying rack (or paper towels) so they remain crispy.
 
Dipping Sauce
 
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise or plain yogurt 
- 1 tablespoon sriracha
- 2 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 teaspoon cracked pepper

*add more or less sriracha/garlic/honey to taste depending on your preference

 

Posted 9/22/2018 12:01pm by Josie Hart.

Dear shareholders,

Since fall is officially here and the rest of the summer crops are slowing, we'll have another Gleaning Day on Saturday, October 6 from 8-10 a.m. This time it will be mostly tomatoes and peppers, and we'll open up our perennial herb garden as well.

As CSA members, you know having access to local and fresh food is of high importance, yet it's easy to overlook the children and families who are food-insecure in the Denver area. Denver Botanic Gardens has several food access initiatives, such as the Farm Stands in food deserts program, participating in the SNAP/DoubleUp Food Bucks program and through donated CSA shares as well as donations of produce to hunger relief organizations. We value quality food and all people, regardless of income and neighborhood, and strive to create avenues where everyone can access healthy food.   

Some of you may have heard of the Healthy Food for Denver initiative that was gaining traction earlier this summer. The initiative needed 10,000 signatures to get on the November ballot--and was successful! We want to share a few details about the initiative so you are informed for November's vote.  

Although Colorado is experiencing growth in many sectors and has low unemployment rates, Colorado is one of the fastest growing states for childhood hunger.

The Issue:
- 68.5% of kids in Denver Public Schools qualify for free/reduced lunch
- Impacts 1 in 4 kids whose families cannot provide three meals per day
- Lack of food security directly affects children's ability to perform in school and shape habits that can extend beyond adolescence.    

The Solution:  
- Provide three healthy meals for kids throughout the year by filling in gaps between other programs
- Provide cooking, gardening and healthy eating classes while partnering with local farms and other organizations
- Schools and relevant nonprofits with aligned missions can apply for funds

Funding:  
- Increase current sales tax by .08% (less that one penny on a $10 purchase)
- Tax expires at the end of 9 years 
- Over 10 years, $100 million raised with $11.2 million in the first year
- Colorado has the 6th lowest state sales tax in the country at 2.9%  

This is just a snapshot of the initiative; visit http://healthyfoodfordenver.com/ for more information.   

HARVEST LIST:

  • Head lettuce
  • Red onions
  • Radicchio
  • Celeriac
  • Baby fennel
  • Kale
  • Garlic
  • Pumpkins or winter sweet squash

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

FEATURED RECIPE: Pumpkin pie

Winter sweet is a variety of Cucurbita maxima, the same type as Hubbards and Kabocha squash. The flesh is dry like a pie pumpkin but more flavorful. Their flavor will be most intense in October or November, since the starches in the plants will convert to sugars in storage. We have rather limited space, and so we will give them out now, and you can store them yourself in a cool place, or if you are as impatient as I am you can cook it on up now, the flavor is still quite nice.

In honor of fall, what else? Pumpkin pie! Pumpkins are Cucurbita pepo, and the variety we grow is New England Pie. For this recipe, I'm not going to get into the subject of pie crust - there are just too many strong feelings, and if I'm being honest I usually buy a premade one ... I do aspire to be the type of person who makes their own pie crust every time (it sounds so easy!) but I do make some concessions to convenience ... so now that you know my secret, on with the recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon cloves
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/2 cups pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup cream or evaporated milk
  • 9-inch pie shell

Instructions

Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Slice pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds (rinse and save them to toast along with the pie, they’ll be great on your next salad). Cook until tender. Let it cool a little bit then separate the flesh from the skin and puree.

Mix the first 8 ingredients together. Beat in eggs. Stir in pumpkin and cream. Pour into pie shell. Bake in a 400 degree oven for 50 minutes, or until knife is clean after inserting in center of pie. Cool completely before serving.

Posted 9/16/2018 9:24am by Josie Hart.

Dear shareholders,

Though summer crops are slowing down in earnest now (our last tomato pick was 300 pounds, down from our record of 1200 pounds!) we've still got plenty of storage crops such as winter squash, onions and garlic; and our last plantings of quick crops such as bok choy and hakurei are just up under rowcover. This year we are planning on holding distributions until the week of October 23-25, so another six weeks of produce yet to come!

Last week we discovered a new snack: fennel flowers! We'll cut some stalks to give out, since they are super sweet and have a nice fennel flavor. I think they'd be great sprinkled on a salad. 

A note for Tuesday shareholders, Judiasm Your Way is happening with multiple services on 9/18, and so parking will be extremely limited.

HARVEST LIST:

  • Napa cabbage
  • Onions
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Winter squash
  • Head lettuce
  • Fennel flowers

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

 

Posted 9/11/2018 4:24pm by Josie Hart.


This Thursday!

Sign up now to learn how to make this healing and healthy drink with CSA beets! Class will be held in the CSA outdoor kitchen. 

Image result for beet kvass

To sign up:

Don't Drop the Beet: Healing with Beet Kvass 
Thursday September 13 at Chatfield Farms from 4:30-6 p.m.
https://www.facebook.com/events/457350711396069/  

 See you there!

Posted 9/7/2018 2:41pm by Josie Hart.

Dear shareholders,

Tomorrow is Gleaning Day! We invite you and your families to come out between 8-10 a.m. to harvest some crops before they get mowed and plowed back into the ground. We'll have arugula, kale, collards, summer squash, cucumbers, melons, winter squash, basil and beans.

When you get to Chatfield Farms, park in the gravel lot and walk past the Hildebrand Ranch House and animals out to the dirt road. Take a left, walk past a pond and then our beehives on your right. Turn left into the fenced in fields just opposite our compost piles, and there will be volunteers to orient you, a list of crops and flags marking areas to be gleaned. There will be signs to guide you. Bring your own supplies, like gloves, knives for harvesting and bags or something to put your harvest into.

We'll have more honey this week if you forgot your cash or check, or want to stock up on some more. An Thursday, CSA shareholder and fermenter extraordinaire Asia Dorsey will be teaching the next class in her series:

Don't Drop the Beet: Healing with Beet Kvass 
Thursday September 13 at Chatfield Farms from 4:30-6 p.m.
https://www.facebook.com/events/457350711396069/ 

HARVEST LIST:

  • Shallots
  • Bok choy
  • Tomatoes
  • Parsley
  • Peppers
  • Spaghetti squash
  • Garlic
  • Head lettuce

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

FEATURED RECIPE: Spaghetti Squash

Spaghetti squash is a fun and easy break from pasta. Just slice it in half, scoop out the seeds, and roast in a 350 degree oven until tender. Let it cool a little bit, then take a fork and separate the strings of "spaghetti" from the skin. Since we have shallots and parsley this week, Chloe suggests trying it with a chimichurri sauce. Shallots are sweet and mild with a flavor that I think of as combining onion and garlic.

I like spaghetti squash with a sweet, fresh tomato sauce, not even cooked down too much. You could also pick a ton of basil at gleaning day to make pesto with, since there's garlic this week in the share. Really, its hard to wrong!

Posted 9/1/2018 1:30pm by Josie Hart.

Dear shareholders,

Next Saturday (September 8) is Gleaning Day! We invite you and your families to come out between 8 and 10am to harvest some crops before they get mowed and plowed back into the ground. A number of plantings are slowing down enough that it no longer makes sense for us to spend the time picking them when we still have so much work to do. This includes collards, summer squash, cucumbers, melons, winter squash, basil and beans.

Gleaning is an ancient practice that predates but is discussed in Deuteronomy and Leviticus in the Old Testament. There have been many rules and customs regarding the practice but essentially and at minimum it means that farmers should let the needy harvest the leftovers from their fields after the farmer has taken the economically viable portion of the crop. To honor this tradition we've invited UpRoot Colorado to join shareholders to glean produce to bring to families experiencing food insecurity.

When you get to Chatfield, park in the gravel lot and walk past the Hildebrand ranch house and animals out to the dirt road. Take a left and you'll walk past a pond and then our bee hives on your right. You'll take a left into the fenced in fields just opposite our compost piles, and there will be volunteers to orient you, a list of crops and flags marking areas to be gleaned. Please remember to bring your own supplies such as gloves, knives for harvest, and bags or something to harvest into.

Speaking of bees, Chatfield honey is back! Our beekeepers Bob and Josie Dolezal are excited about the quality of the honey this year, although quantity is down considerably. With the dry conditions this summer plants have had less nectar for the bees, and so the bees had to dip into the honey to keep themselves fed. 

We'll have pints for $15 and a limited number of quarts for $30 starting this week, and if you miss out this week we'll take your name down so you can hopefully get some in the coming weeks as they bottle up what they've harvested. 

HARVEST LIST:

  • Onions
  • Kale
  • Delicata squash
  • Thai Basil
  • Summer squash or Cukes
  • Potatoes
  • Peppers
  • Tomatoes

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

FEATURED RECIPE: Roasted Delicata Squash

Delicata squash is great roasted because the skin is tender enough to eat, so you don't have to peel it like other winter squashes. I generally set the oven to 400 degrees, and you can either slice the squash in half lengthwise, or if you want to minimize time the oven is on you can then slice the halves into little crescent moons. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and oil. For a wintry preparation try roasting the squash with onion slices and maple syrup and sage sprinkled on it as well, or for a more summery version try it with tomato slices and garlic. 

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.