Friday, March 12, 2010

We've Moved!

Recently we had an Advisory Group meeting where we were able to form a Web Communications Work Group.  The group has gotten together and decided to move the blog to!  Come check out the new digs!

Make sure to bookmark our new site!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Faces at the Farm!

This spring has brought a few new faces to Monroe organic Farms!  The dog's name is Spot. She is a herding dog that is going to help out Jerry with moving the animals to different places.

There are eight new baby lambs that were born on the farm this year but I only have pics of a few of them.

The baby chicks are much bigger now and very healthy but they used to be this cute!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Working Member Potluck and Recipes

Hey there!  Well, the season's over, and we are all geting cozy with this big snowstorm.  I thought I'd post a couple recipes to share as well as a few pictures from our last days at the farm (notice all the heavy winter coats!).  Be sure to click the pictures for the best view...

The Tuesday working members had a potluck to celebrate a season well done, and Karen brought this awesome Pumpkin Ribbon Bread.  She said:

This recipe was a hit with the Tuesday Farm Crew and will be with anyone else you share it with. It's soooo easy and very yummy.

I've played with this recipe over time and have worked to make it less sweet but enough for either 2 loaf pans or 1 bundt pan. It's pretty in the bundt pan and easier to take a slice. I don't recommend cutting the recipe in half as it disappears really fast!

It's not gluten free, but I would imagine you can substitute with either oat flour or maybe spelt flour.

8 oz. cream cheese (Not the low fat separates and makes it weird)
1/3 cup sugar
1 1/2 Tablespoons flour
1 egg
1 teaspoon orange extract

1 can pumpkin (15oz)
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 2/3 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda

Filling: Beat cream cheese, sugar and flour. Add egg and orange extract. Mix to blend. Set aside.

Bread: Combine pumpkin, oil and eggs. Add sugar, salt, cinnamon, flour and baking soda. Mix to blend. Pour 1/4 batter into 2 greased and floured loaf pans OR 1/2 batter into greased and floured bundt pan. Carefully spread the cream cheese mixture over the bread batter (1/2 to each loaf pan or all of it into the bundt pan). Add remaining batter, covering filling. Bake at 325 degrees for 1 to 1 1/2 hours or until wooden toothpick comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pan(s). Store in refrigerator (if there is any left). My oven apparently runs hot, but its always done in 60 minutes!

*Serve with hot spiced cider with orange slices and cinnamon sticks. Then take pictures of all the smiles!
This bread was soooo delicious, and we were all clamoring for the recipe.  I'm certain you could also make it with homemade pumpkin puree instead of canned as well.  In fact, we actually tried it with pureed butternut squash instead of pumpkin, and orange zest instead of extract (I didn't have any extract on hand) and it can out pretty tasty too.  Karen did get a few responses from other farm members suggesting honey instead of sugar, coconut oil instead of canola, and that spelt is not gluten free and many people with celiacs cannot eat oats. There are three brands of oats on the market today that claim to be gluten-free. Oats themselves do not necessarily contain gluten but there is cross contamination that can cause problems. She's not tried the honey, but it makes sense and although she personally don't like coconut, if the oil doesn't make it taste or smell like coconut...Karen says go for it.  Enjoy.

Another Tuesday member, Fran, shared this recipe with me:

Coconut Peach Cobbler

Frozen peaches work in a pinch - without all the fuss of peeling fresh ones.
If the mixture seems too juicy, stir in 1 Tbs cornstarch to help thicken it. 

For the filling -
3 lbs ripe peaches, peeled, pitted and sliced (6 cups)
2/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 cups shredded sweetened coconut, divided
1 tsp ground ginger
2 Tbs unsalted butter, diced

For the biscuit topping -
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp table salt
1/4 cup shortening or unsalted butter
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp coconut extract
1-2 Tbs milk

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

Toss peaches with sugar, 1/2 cup coconut and ginger for the filling.  Reserve 1 cup coconut for biscuit and topping.  Place fruit in a 9-inch deep-dish pie plate or in a square baking dish.  Dot with butter.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt for the biscuit topping in a large bowl.  Using a pastry blender, cut shortening into dry ingredients until mixture resembles small peas.

Stir in 1/2 cup of the remaining coconut, the buttermilk, and the coconut extract.  Lightly knead mixture until all ingredients are incorporated. 

Form dough into a ball; let rest 5 minutes.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into a circle about 8-inches in diamenter and about 1/2-inch thick.  Carefully lay biscuit dough over peach filling; brush dough with milk.  Scatter remaining coconut over biscuit topping. 

Bake cobbler until a toothpick inseerted in the center of the biscuit topping comes out clean, about 30 minutes.  Cool 5-10 minutes.  Serve with ice cream, if desired.
We had a great summer, and hope you did too!  Stay tuned to this space for periodic updates, and see you next summer! 

Monday, October 19, 2009

10/19/09 Newsletter

Dear Friends of the Farm;

It is the last week of summer distribution and the time has flown by! Jerry & I would like to thank you for your generous support of this farm. We ended up with a great variety of produce under the circumstances! I understand there were other CSA farms in the area that did not fare as well.

We tried something different with the working members by having Team Leaders. These Leaders came from our Core Group & took ownership in our distribution day by getting everyone assigned job duties, overseeing Distribution, supervising the loading of trucks and even going on deliveries now and then. This was a huge help to Jerry and I and each Team Leader did an outstanding job!

Your CSA farm would not function without your working members. These are very unique people that want to be more involved with the farm than just getting produce. They are the very people that help in the planting of your crops, weeding and even harvesting those same crops. They get the opportunity to watch the farm reinvent itself spring, summer and fall. Members' children benefit from this the most by seeing crops evolve from peas & lettuce in the spring to winter squash in the fall.

Another experiment this year was having non-working members help with farm chores at certain times of the year. It was wonderful seeing all the people that came out in the spring to help plant this year. Our fall harvesting crews were smaller, but very effective. We would love to see more members get involved. This will help you feel more connected to your farm. It is fun and a great opportunity to meet other members. The more members that come out to help (especially in the spring), it will help to keep our costs down so that we do not need to raise prices every year!

Please continue to send in your surveys, either by mail or Distribution Centers will take them. Jerry & I take the time to read each and every one of them. We want your surveys, both good and bad. However, if you do not send in a survey, we will assume you were extremely happy with your vegetable share and wouldn't change a thing, (although it is always good to hear that)!

For those of you who wish you could get more produce; this is what our normal shares look like. If it wasn't enough produce for your family, you may need to increase your share size. For those of you who got too much, you may need to decrease your share size. Keep in mind, every growing year is different and we may not be able to supply the same amount of produce from year to year. A member who has been with the farm for 14 years had this to say, "It appears you have one bad year for every three good ones. The good ones more than make up for the one bad year!"

If you change your mind about the Winter Share and would like to get involved, please let me know. We did not get enough interest in a Golden Distribution Center, but did get enough members to start the Broomfield Distribution Center. The two Distribution Centers in Central Denver have given me their hours: 38th and Tennyson is from 4:30pm to 6:30pm and the Colfax and Sheridan location will be from 3pm to 6pm. Those members signed up for the Central Denver site will need to call me and let me know which location is your preference. There is a limit of 25 members per location, so if one fills up, you will automatically be placed in the other! Winter Distribution will begin Wednesday, November 4th.

This week you are getting French fingerling potatoes, Delicata winter squash, yellow onions, carrots, garlic, green cabbage or cheddar cauliflower, red and green peppers and tomatoes.

Thank you again for your support this summer and winter. We look forward to being your farmers again next year! Have a great winter!

Jerry, Jacquie, Alaina and Kyle

Drying Pumpkin or Squash Seeds

Rinse fibers from seeds. You will need ¼ cup salt to one quart water. Cover seeds with salted water and bring to a boil. Simmer for two hours. Drain seeds and dry on paper towels. Spread seeds on a shallow baking sheet. If desired, can add other seasonings at this time, such as; garlic powder, onion powder, seasoning salt, jalapeno powder, chili powder etc. Bake at 225 degrees for one hour or until golden brown. Stir occasionally. Seeds should be crisp to bite. Let cool completely and store in an air tight container.

Monday, October 12, 2009

10/12/09 Newsletter

Dear Shareholders,

Wow! It was cold this weekend! Our temperatures dropped to 15 degrees overnight. Just to return to a balmy 25 degrees during the day! I am really looking forward to our warmer days by the end of the week! Somebody tell me; is it supposed to be fall or winter?

The crew is working hard to get all the winter crops harvested for the Winter Share. This week they will be working on harvesting the winter carrots and the green and red cabbage. The carrots will be stored in a pit, six feet underground. The cabbage has a colder room waiting for them in a strawbale building. Hard to imagine, but the pit stays at a warm 55 degrees where the strawbale building will be colder because of being exposed to the weather. Which is just what the cabbage, popcorn, garlic and onions prefer!

We hope to plant next years garlic by the end of the week. Working Members started separating garlic last week. This isn't a hard job, just a monotonous one! Hopefully the job will be completed this week and Jerry can get it planted by Friday.

I made an error in one of the Denver locations. I was informed that 6th Avenue and Colfax run parallel to each other. (I did know that, but failed to recognize it at the time!) The actual cross streets are Colfax and Sheridan. Since the Central Denver locations have moved from the Wash-Park area, we will be calling each and every one of you who have listed the Central Denver location as your Distribution Center. You will have a choice of one or the other, (38th and Tennyson) with the understanding there is a limit as to how many people can be served at one location. Then everyone else will automatically go to the other location not completely filled.

The Boulder location will stay at Arapahoe and Foothills. Jon and Kim Haines (with the help of neighbors) have worked out a schedule to run the Distribution Center. It now looks like we will have a Broomfield Distribution Center too. Sherri MacLean has offered her home. We know of at least 8 to 10 people that would like to sign up; if there is a Broomfield location. If anyone would like to change Distribution Centers or would like to join as a Winter Shareholder now that we have a Broomfield Distribution Center, please let me know. Connie Brown is also willing to be a Distribution Center for Golden. We will need a minimum of 10 people to join at this location before we will make the drop off. Again, please let me know if you want to pick up at this location if there becomes a Golden Distribution Center.

Those of you who get honey monthly and bi-monthly will be getting the last shipment of the season. Hopefully, you have planned for the winter and have a small stash in your pantry by now!

This is also the last delivery of fruit. You will be getting DAnjou winter pears. They will keep one or two months in your refrigerator (helping you to extend your fruit into the winter). You will be getting them in the light green stage. It will take anywhere from 6 to 10 days to finish ripening on your counter top. They are ready to eat when they have a slight yellow tinge. This is a very prestigious pear. First Fruits is very excited to have them & hope you will enjoy them thoroughly! First Fruits would like to thank you for being patient with them and Mother Nature. They love being orchardists, but hate they do not have more control as to when fruit ripens!

This week you are receiving Acorn winter squash, Yukon Gold potatoes, yellow onions, carrots, celery root, garlic, broccoli, red and yellow bell peppers and tomatoes.

You have had everything before except the celery root. This is very popular to put into soups, stir-fries, salads or serve on a relish tray. It is one of the ugliest veggies we raise! Peel the outside tough root skin and discover the prettiest white flesh inside. Cubed, sliced or Julian is the best way to prep it.

This is week 17 out of 18. We have one more week to go! Your Distributors will be notifying you of the amount owed for eggs received this summer. Please bring a checkbook next week to pay for those eggs! Speaking of eggs, if you would like to receive eggs over the winter, you can do this even if you do not get a Winter Share. Send in your order form and we will get you set up.

Thanks everyone and have a great week!

Jacquie and Jerry, Alaina and Kyle

Herb Scallop Potatoes

¼ cup onion, chopped
1/8 tsp pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
½ tsp rosemary
¼ cup butter
¼ tsp thyme
¼ cup flour
2 1/2 cups milk
1 ½ tsp salt
5 to 7 large potatoes, sliced

Melt butter on medium-high heat and summer onion and garlic until onion is translucent. Stir in flour, salt, pepper & herbs. Add milk, stirring constantly until thick and bubbly. Cook 2 minutes more. Place potatoes in a casserole dish. Pour milk mixture over potatoes. Cover and bake 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Remove cover and bake another 30 minutes or until potatoes pierce easily with a fork.

Roasted Oregano Potatoes

5 to 7 medium potatoes
½ tsp dried oregano or 1 tsp fresh
2 Tbsp oil
¼ to ½ tsp salt
1 clove garlic, minced finely
1/8 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

Wash potatoes thoroughly do not peel! In a large bowl toss potatoes in the next six ingredients. Arrange on a cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for one and a half hours.

Note: This can be done with all root crops, try a mixture of turnips, beets, celery root & carrots to impress company! Important to make sure all veggies are approximately the same size.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Do you blog? Get to know other members!

Well, since I posted that newsletter this week, I've seen increased traffic not only here on the Farm's blog, but on my own blog: Schell Urban Homestead as well.  And, I received a great tip from another member and blogger, Annie @, in the comment section of one of my posts.  Annie has some amazing pictures of the farm (and all kinds of other fun things) on her blog.  Did you know that she received her working membership as an anniversary gift!?  How cool is that! 

This gave me an idea... to post a members' blogroll as a way for us to get to know each other a bit and to see pictures and exchange recipes and ideas.  We all have at least one thing in common already: loving the amazing, fresh organic produce from Jerry & Jacquie. 

So if you blog and are interested in connecting this way, leave your blog address in the comments section on this post.  I will add you to the blogroll at the right!  In the mean time, check out some of Annie's recipes on her site or some Thrifty Thursday tips at my own.  ;)

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Sweet Sugarloaf

Yum!  Get a load of those sweet Sugarloaf squash in our shares this week!  My favorite way to eat them: cut in half, scoop out seeds, butter the edges and bake for 40-60 minutes.  The flesh is great just like that, or with a little brown sugar and cinnamon added for dessert!  Delish! 

You can use this squash the same way you would use pie pumpkins or any other winter squash!  It's delicious!

*image from google search