Hello Folks,

Here we are at Week 3…….The food comes in high yielding, tasty and relatively unblemished despite the high winds and lack of water this early summer season. For that we are so grateful, that and the fact that we don’t have a fire to battle like other parts of our state.

The farmhands and the farmer are adapting to the summer heat by starting at 6:30, which as the heat turns up will become 5:30 and 6 soon enough. I have been getting up early and tackling a weeding job most mornings this last week. It is very peaceful to be in the garden at dawn and to see the vegetables bounce up strong and happy without the bind and pig weed choking them. Vegetables being the Victor, once again.

The box is still quite green this week, but in the next 2 or 3 weeks that will change.

This week we have Napa Cabbage and Mesclun Salad mix from Rain Crow Farm. We have Kale, Radishes and a bit of Fennel from Zephyros Farm. From Round Earth, we have Cilantro, Kohlrabi for those who didn’t get Fennel, and fresh Dill. Small Potatoes came in with more Kale and Abundant Life gave us Collard Greens. Our own Fresh & Wyld garden grew you Kale, Peas, Cilantro as well, and a Basil Plant to keep alive with your Tomato plant this summer.  Some of the Basil Plants, the purple ones are Thai Basil, and the others are Italian Genovese Basil. Enjoy and pinch the flower tops regularly, so the plant doesn’t go to seed. You also get lots of Cherries and Apricots again this week, and the Austin Family came up with beautiful early bunches of red and white onions. Cobblestone Farm grew your beautiful Purple Glaser Garlic.

Here are some ideas for you to try with your different vegetables instead of actual recipes…..

Collards can be steamed lightly and served with Crispy Bacon and Buttery Croutons. Try a simple dressing made from Balsamic or Apple Cider Vinegar over the top.

Napa Cabbage of course can be turned into Spring Rolls. Cut the cabbage very thin, and add onions, ginger and Garlic to a pan. You can throw in some thinly sliced mushrooms, cilantro, carrots and bean sprouts if you have them around. Add a little soy sauce, chopped peanuts or almonds, and some Sambal Olek for heat. Let the lightly cooked ingredients sit in a colander for a few minutes to lose some of their moisture, before you roll them up in an egg roll wrapper. Seal with a little egg wash when you have wrapped it into its roll, and fry it in Grape seed oil. Yummsies!

Radishes should just be salt and peppered and dipped into creamy Avalanche Dairy’s Honey-Lemon Truffle or Garlic and Herb Chevre Dip/Spreads. You probably don’t have any of those on hand because they don’t last long in the fridge. You can buy them from us, and you probably should, because extra CSA veggies get eaten fast by the family when there is good tasting cheese to dip them in!

Apricots can be pitted and sautéed in butter and brown sugar. A squeeze of Lemon and a splash of Brandy make them some kinda wonderful over Ice Cream.

Kohlrabi can get peeled, chunked and steamed lightly. Butter, salt and pepper finish it off. It can also get peeled and eaten raw with a little Walnut oil, S & P and a hunk of Blue cheese. You could even soup it with a little roasted Garlic, Onion, Potato, Chicken Stock and Cream.

If you got Fennel instead of Kohlrabi it can be prepared in any of the Kohlrabi presentations above.

Fresh Dill, one of my favorites can be chopped into a salad that has globs of toasted Walnuts and fresh Chevre (goat cheese) w/ a Lemon-Garlic Dressing preferably.

We are gearing up for Cherry Days/4th of July over here, and you can find out the Schedule and the Local Haps on the Paonia Chamber of Commerce site.

It is a big party for us all, and you are welcome to come. We would love to have you. The Farmhouse has rooms available here and there thru the upcoming week of Celebrations, and we will be helping other Chefs in our area on next Saturday, July 7th, if you want to come feast in our town Park. Really the folks go crazy about this Cherry Day Holiday.

I have just had a weekend in July become available if any of you boys and girls want to come party at the Farmhouse. July 27, 28 & 29 is wide open if you have a Birthday, Bridal or group of friends you want to bring to us! I can help you plan it with some local activities like Wine Tasting, Cooking Class, Special Dinner, Massage, Horseback riding, Hiking, Biking, Fishing etc. Drop me a line.

I have a new Shopping Cart coming up on the web-site, this week that will make it very easy to order the rest of the food our valley offers. I will walk you through that when it’s up.

Last but not least, Farmer Chris writes about the rain a couple days ago. I was very glad to read him, he is pretty good at writing as well as farming.

“Last night I awoke to the sound of thunder. My windows were lit up with a flash of lighting. Then in rolled another boom of thunder. It was midnight. I waited for the sound of rain on the roof. None came. I started to think of all the fires. I had heard of some farmers in the Durango area who had to leave their farms for over a week due to out of control fire – if any fire is ever really controlled. My irrigation water is going to last another few days. Now all we are getting is dry lighting storms. Another flash and another clap came and went. I stopped thinking to try to listen. And there it was. A few drops on my tin roof. Then a few more and then an honest to god rain. I woke several times throughout the night and listened for the rain. It was there till 3. Not a lot of rain but the first real moisture to fall from the sky for several months.

It has been a brutal spring with bone-dry soil. Temperatures 10 degrees above average, 28 degree frosts after a 90-degree day, and uncertainty surrounding every decision I make. I am in unknown territory. I am farming in a drought. And I am finding it a wonderful experience though you would not know it by listening to me complain, whimper, cry, proclaim doom and gloom which is what I do most of the time. Except for when I am with the plants. Then I am filled with amazement that they are growing so well. I have peas setting fruit in 95-degree temperatures. That is not supposed to happen. Spinach that has not yet bolted and leaf lettuce that is still tender and sweet. The tomatoes are growing fast and strong as are the beans and the potatoes. The summer squash are full of cute little squashes. The flowers are blooming, the bees are a buzzing, and even with the pond drying up, things feel like they are going to be just fine, somehow. I really don’t know how but I’ll find out as the garden grows and I watch and tend.”

Chow Down for now, Good people of the CSA, Dava and crew of many….