Why Choose Local Food?

Why Choose Local Food?

Make your dollars count, and your community thrive. There are many benefits to supporting your local food system. Here are just a few.

1) Quality, Taste & Health

– Experience the quality and impeccable taste of local food. Food that has been picked within two days of getting on your table is crisp and more flavorful.

– Fill your body with nutrient-dense and mineral-rich foods. Picked fresh food retains its nutrients longer than produce that’s traveled long distances before it hits your plate.

2) Connection

– Learn the story behind your food more intimately. Get to know your grower, and how your food was grown. 

– Support your agriculture neighbors directly.

– Meet more members of the community and share the common thread of food.

3) Boost Local Economy

– Keep money in our community, and therefore boost our economy and resilience. Money spent locally  to farmers will be invested back locally.

4) Stewardship

– Invest in our local lands by supporting agriculture stewardship. By doing so you are investing in more open space lands and the individual work that each farmer bestows on the land they sow.

– Reduce our nation’s carbon footprint by decreasing miles traveled.

 

It’s that simple. An easy investment that pays off big.

Invest now for a summer of produce

At the Market: Invest now for a summer of produce

By: Boulder County Farmers Markets

Photo Credit: Sean Conway of Micro Farms harvesting lettuce in Lakewood / Daniel Bedell

 

It’s not a new story but one that’s tried and true. It’s a little risky and unpredictable. Any investment is. You never know exactly what you’ll receive each week as a return. But isn’t that the fun of it? We’re talking about buying shares in a farm, or Community Supported Agriculture (CSA).

CSA’s are the origin of the term “seed money.” Money that literally buys seeds, supplies and pays for labor for the season before any income from farm sales flow in. It’s a sincere investment that has potential to impact the community all year long, and bonus – you get a box of produce, meat or eggs each week during peak growing season.

Jeni Nagle, Front Range Manager for Ela Family Farms, an orchard in Hotchkiss, believes CSAs and farmers markets are the best way to support local growers.

 “Farmers have a lot of unknowns in their businesses – like crop failure,” says Nagle, “In those unknowns, it is nice to know that a portion of crops are paid and the fruit as a home. We give priority to our CSA members.”

Now’s the time to invest in that local farmers, and help them get their farms up and running for the year. Although one farm share is not one in the same. Therefore, it makes sense to shop around for the right investment that fits your style and needs.

For the Holy Grail of Vegetables

So you’re in it for the vegetables. We get it. Vegetables are literally our lifeblood too. There’s an endless list of amazing vendors to choose to get your CSA from if you want only produce goods.

You can get your start by looking at Aspen Moon Farm, Black Cat Organic Farm, Monroe Organic Farm, or Ollin Farms. These five are heavy on the veg. You really can’t go wrong.

Kilt Farms in Longmont goes one step further by offering customization. If you don’t like beets you’ll never get them in your share. This is a unique offering that isn’t possible through most CSAs. They even have home delivery for an extra $7 a week. Now that’s customer service localized!

For the Meat Lover

Whole pigs, half pigs or bundles of pork. Of course, there’s options for chicken and eggs too. Jodar Farms out of Wellington is just one of the farms meeting your meat needs for the season. Info on their 2020 CSA went live on their website yesterday. It’s worth noting that their happy, and roaming chickens are only available through the CSA and are not on sale at the market

Corner Post Meats down in Black Forest has a focus on regenerative grazing on their leased Audubon land rotating all their animals around 1,500 acres. Their CSA model offers a flexible, monthly meat box subscription. And oh wait, it’s shipped to your door. Make it a mixed bundle of beef, pork, lamb and chicken or opt for only the beef cuts.

For the Cherry on Top

Fruit shares are great on their own, or added to many of the options above. Some farms already have a relationship with orchards like Ela Family Farms where you can add a fruit option to your vegetable share. Or you can go all in on fruit because who doesn’t love boxes of peaches and apples, and cherries if the late frost doesn’t affect the yield.

Nagle says that they split their share types in three early, peak and seconds to best accommodate both their customers and the unpredictable spring weather. The early season share takes into account that mother nature may hurt their cherry and early season peach crop. It is little bit more economical given the risk.

However, Nagle says they still offer an insurance policy by offering value added – dried fruit, applesauce or jams should the fruit season go south. Ela only offers at market pickups or farm partner add ons because they believe that supporting other local growers strengths the ag community.

For the Mixer and Matcher

Reduce your food miles, and make your CSA a one stop shop. Cure Organic Farm or Red Wagon Farm are an example of this model. They have add-ons ranging from local eggs, bread, wine, cheese, mushrooms and fruit. You want, and they probably have a local food partner that features it.

For the Social Butterfly

63rd St Farm turns their weekly CSA pickup into a community throwdown. They have all the bells and whistles for their share – produce, eggs, meat, raw milk and new this year medicinal herbs. If it isn’t better than that – wash it all down with wine and a slice of pizza while you mingle with other food lovers.

Good things to know:

  1. Every share is a little bit different. This includes cost, size, timing and what you get inside your box. In general a share is about 20 weeks, and you receive a preselected box of produce each of those weeks. However, times are changing, and CSA models are too. Be sure to ask the fine print details of pickup and model.
  2. The risk. With any investment comes a small amount of risk, and in these changing climates what’s more risky than the weather. When you become a CSA member you share this burden with the farmer. They’ll put you first as a member if times get rough but at least they’re not in it alone if come hell and high water.
  3. You can also decide to select a share on agreed upon values. This is truly an example of voting with your dollars. Some farms focus on biodynamic systems and/or regenerative soil health rebuilding our ecosystems one season at a time. Ask these questions, and you’ll be surprised to understand the stewardship of these local, unsung heroes.

Hooked? Make it personal and check out BCFM’s 7th Annual CSA Fair on Feb. 24 from 6pm to 8pm at Sanitas Brewing. All of these farms and more will be present to provide deeper dig into their CSA offerings. Weigh your options over a craft beer and dinner. Either way, we know you’ll leave with the answers you need to sign up. Also enjoy a door prize giveaway, if there wasn’t enough incentive.


 

At the Market: Beets

Market happenings: Boulder Farmers Market will host a Reuse Day at the markets on Saturday. Vessel, a company aiming to replace single-use cups, will be on hand signing people up for its reusable mug program. Market-goers are asked to bring reusable bags, silverware and mugs because Refill Revolution, FLOWS and Respect Your Mother will also be at the market with educational information on reuse. If you have extra bags, help stock up the Boulder County Farmers Markets’ “Leave a Bag, Take a Bag” program. The drop off will be at the info booth.

Book club: Boulder County Farmers Markets, Slow Opportunities For Investing Locally (SOIL Boulder) and Slow Food Boulder County are teaming up to bring locals a book club that encapsulates a year in the life on a farm.

Starting this week, the three organizations will trade weeks reading a chapter (average nine to 10 pages) of “The Seasons on Henry’s Farm,” by Terra Brockman. From seed planning to changing climates and farm labor pitfalls, book club participants will get an inside look at the trials, tribulations and triumphs of farming throughout the different seasons. The club will have weekly Facebook discussions, and gather four times for a potluck during the months of the winter/summer solstice and spring/fall equinox. Email [email protected] to be invited to the discussion group.

In season now: Now farm fresh at market stands are beets, cauliflower, pumpkin, butternut squash, delicata, acorn squash, Brussels sprouts, carrots, Swiss chard, apples, onions, turnips, radishes, tomatoes, celery, arugula and potatoes. All season long, you will find honey, bread, baked goods, eggs, beef, lamb, goat, pork, chicken, cheeses, preserves and mushrooms.

Lots of this, please: The time is nigh to enjoy those earthy, colorful beets.

The farmer says: It’s been a while since the tried-and-true beet has been featured in this column. Luckily, we can enjoy these nutritious jewels mid-summer and well through November, if stored properly.

Beets have a lot of health benefits to offer —  the root vegetable is a good source of fiber, is high in nitrates and may contain anti-inflammatory benefits. If eaten regularly, they can keep blood pressure in check. The vegetable has also been known to increase athletic performance if the beet is consumed to a couple hours before training, so eat your heart out all you Colorado triathletes.

The versatile beet can also be used as a natural dye. When using natural fibers, like cotton and wool, the color will hold longer. Adding vinegar and salt will act as a bonding agent. Perhaps an experiment is in order?

How to prepare: Wash the beets, then cut the greens. Keep the greens and use them like you would Swiss chard, kale or collard greens. Beets lend themselves well to grating, roasting, steaming, boiling or pickling.  (Although you may want to wear gloves to keep fingers stain-free.)

Goes with: Beets pair well with potatoes, tomatoes, arugula, lettuce, goat cheese, butternut squash, onions and carrots.

How to store it: Be sure to store the beets after the tops are removed. Like most vegetables, the greens will pull moisture from the root, drying it out. And though the roots can last up to 10 days in the refrigerator, be sure to enjoy the greens as soon a possible. Beets can also be layered in sand to keep for months of winter storage.

Good to know: This list represents a general overview of the week’s harvest, not every item that is being produced locally. Some farms do not grow or have ready some items on the list

 

At the Market: Celery Root

In season now: Now ripe at local farmers markets are apples, basil, beets, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, celeriac, celery, cauliflower, garlic, green beans, kale, lettuce, mint, onions, potatoes, radicchio, spicy greens, Swiss chard, winter squash and spinach. Customers will also find honey, baked goods, eggs, beef, lamb, goat, pork, chicken, cheeses, ferments, preserves and mushrooms.

Lots of this, please: Filling stands now is the knobby, ivory-hued celery root, also called celeriac. This root vegetable possesses a slightly milder celery flavor and has some nutty tones.

The farmer says: Celeriac may not be pretty, but it certainly tastes magical. Reminiscent of Harry Potter’s mandrake root of healing, celeriac root packs a flavor punch — sans screech and spell power.

This strange vegetable may register as unique, or new, to the current generation, as it is very rarely found in grocery stores and is grown by only a handful of local farmers. However, celeriac has a history that dates back to the times of Homer’s “Odyssey” and is more common on European plates.

This cultivar to celery and cousin to carrots, parsnips and anise has been refined over the years and grows as a large, solid, knobby root with thinner stalks (think celery in reverse).

How to prepare: As an alternative to the potato, celeriac can be mashed, blanched, roasted or stewed for soup. Wash and peel it like a potato — but it may take a little extra grit to peel the roots. If you’d like to  channel some French cuisine, take this simple celery root remoulade for a spin: coarsely grate the root and mix it with a Dijon mustard, lemon juice and add some salt and pepper. You can even add in an apple if you’d like. This remoulade is a common dish in Europe.

Goes with: Celeriac pairs well with all root vegetables, like onion, potatoes, turnips, carrots and parsnips, as well as apples, bacon, leeks and cauliflower.

How to store it: If kept in the proper storage conditions, celeriac can be stored for up to three to four months. Remove the foliage, leave the root intact and unwashed. Pack in damp sand and store in a cool, dark place. The sand will help keep the storing temperature consistent and will help regulate the humidity. If you plan on consuming within a week, you can store in the refrigerator in a perforated bag.

Good to know: This list represents a general overview of the week’s harvest, not every item that is being produced locally. Some farms do not grow or have ready some items on the list.


Autumn Salad at Arcana

Arugula

Gem lettuce, torn in robust pieces

Point Reyes Blue Toma cheese, diced

1 apple, peeled, coarsely cut and marinated in 2 teaspoons of white wine verjus .

1 celeriac root, peeled, julienned and pickled

1 medium carrot, peeled and sliced medium-thin

Pickling Liquid

3/4 cup high-quality apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup filtered water

1 teaspoon fine sea salt

2 teaspoon cane sugar

Elderflower vinaigrette

4 tablespoons elderflower vinegar (strained)

4 tablespoons finest white wine vinegar

1/2 cup highest quality virgin olive oil (Arcana uses Estepa Virgen from the Andalusia region of Spain for this recipe)

3 teaspoon finest sea salt

.6 teaspoon cane sugar

Pickling directions: Bring pickling ingredients to a boil and pour over celeriac. Cover for one day. Will keep for a long time under refrigeration.

“The elderflower vinegar we make in house from fresh elderflower but can easily and quite nicely be made from dried elderflower. I love going to Rebecca’s apothecary here in Boulder for it,”  Arcana chef Samuel McCandless said.

Vinaigrette directions: Take a cup of finest quality white wine vinegar (Arcana uses Volpaia from Chianti in Italy) with 1 tablespoon dried elderflower. Heat vinegar. As it’s begins to boil, mix in the elderflower. Stir and cover for at least a day.

For the vinagrette, whisk together vinegar, salt and sugar. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil.

“It’s supposed to be a broken and refreshing vinaigrette highlighting the quality of ingredients used,” McCandless said. “Just shake or whisk before using to distribute properly.”

Dress greens, apples and celeriac with elderflower dressing and sprinkle with toma cheese.

“I like to have a salad on the menu that is crisp and refreshing at all times,” McCandless said. “One that virtually accommodates any guest (minus the cheese, it’s vegan). For the autumn season we are featuring Honey Crisp apples, arugula, gem lettuce, pickled celeriac, toma cheese and a vinaigrette made from elderflower preserved in vinegar.”

At the Market: Raspberries

Photo Credit: ripe, red raspberries / Boulder County Farmers Markets

Boulder Farmers Market

13th Street and Canyon Boulevard

4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 2

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 23

Lafayette Farmers Market

400 Block of East Simpson St.

4 p.m. – 8p.m. Thursdays through Sep. 26

Longmont Farmers Market 

Boulder County Fairgrounds

8 a.m. – 1p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 23

Union Station Farmers Market 

Denver’s Union Station

9 a.m. – 2p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 26

In season now:  Freshly harvested apples, basil, bell peppers, beets, cabbage, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans kale, lettuce, melon, mint, onions, peaches, peppers, plums, potatoes, radicchio, spicy greens, sweet corn, Swiss chard, summer squash and tomatoes. You will also find honey, baked goods, eggs, beef, lamb, goat, pork, chicken, cheeses, ferments, preserves and mushrooms.

Lots of this, please: mouth-watering, tart, red and golden raspberries with a touch a fall sweetness.

The farmer says: Erin Dreistadt, co-owner and farmer of Aspen Moon Farm, says now is the time for fall raspberries. They are a little sweeter than their summer counterparts – taking longer to mature and spending more time absorbing all of nature’s sugars.

Berries are in limited supply at the market so coming early is key. Choose from gold and red varieties, and a few secret pints of black.

Dreistadt says, “There are only a few black raspberry pints a market, and it’s like a treasure hunt when someone finds the very few we have.”

The gold variety is also pretty special, taking the longest to mature of all their gold and red varieties, therefore, have the shortest availability. Dreistadt says everybody has different opinions about their taste, but she describes them as like a red with a citrus accent.

Part of their scarcity at the market can be attributed to their laborious harvesting. Each berry is individually picked by Aspen Moon’s attentive crew. Dreistadt said the berry harvest had them in the field well after 7:30 pm last Friday night before market.

In order to keep these labor-intensive crops at the market, Aspen Moon Farm is asking for support from the community by way of raspberry picking volunteers. Choose from two shifts (morning or afternoon) every Monday or Friday through September. Volunteers must email in advance their interest to [email protected] to receive all volunteer details and logistics before your scheduled day.

Previous volunteers have likened their experience to that of heaven on earth – gratifying work with mountain views and pasturing cows an arms-length way. Beats a days work at the office any day.

Expect raspberries to be available at Aspen Moon Farm through September and early October depending on early frost. Heavy weather events can also cause a gap in harvesting.

How to prepare: We eat them simple and fresh – our favorite is a la Amelie, one berry per finger. You can also freeze them simply by popping in a freezer bag and into the freezer. No fuss, and the makings for future smoothies.

Goes with: honey, goat cheese, dark chocolate, mint, apricot, greens, cinnamon

How to store it: Store your raspberries in the refrigerator in the ventilated pint you buy them in. Don’t wash them until you are ready to eat as the water will start to break the fruit down.

Good to know: This list represents a general overview of the week’s harvest, not every item that is being produced locally. Some farms do not grow or have ready some items on the list.

Raspberry Sunflower Chutney

Makes about 2 cups

 

4 pint of raspberries

2 cups fresh peaches (about 3 large or 1 pound)

1/2 cup sunflower petals

1/2 cup red onion, finely chopped

3 tablespoons honey

1 jalepeño pepper, seeded and chopped

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard

salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup white wine vinegar

Directions: Toss everything except the vinegar in a big pot and cook them over medium heat for about five minutes while the berries burst and leak their juices in the pot.  Remember to stir every once in a while and add salt and pepper if you need. When the berries have completely broken down, about 6 to 8 minutes, add the vinegar and let the mix simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes while the chutney thickens.

Source: Chef Miche Bacher, owner of Niche Confections. www.nicheconfections.com

At the Market: Green Beans

Photo Credit: baskets of green beans at the Boulder Farmers Market / Boulder County Farmers Markets

Boulder Farmers Market

13th Street and Canyon Boulevard

4 p.m. – 8 p.m. Wednesdays through Oct. 2

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 23

Lafayette Farmers Market

400 Block of East Simpson St.

4 p.m. – 8p.m. Thursdays through Sep. 26

Longmont Farmers Market 

Boulder County Fairgrounds

8 a.m. – 1p.m. Saturdays through Nov. 23

Union Station Farmers Market 

Denver’s Union Station

9 a.m. – 2p.m. Saturdays through Oct. 26

In season now: Labor Day typically marks the end of the summer, but the market still screams summertime with a little pop of fall. Stock your pantries with apples, basil, bell peppers, beets, carrots, celery, cauliflower, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, green beans kale, lettuce, melon, mint, peaches, peppers, plums, potatoes, spicy greens, sweet corn, Swiss chard, summer squash and tomatoes You will also find honey, baked goods, eggs, beef, lamb, goat, pork, chicken, cheeses, ferments, preserves and mushrooms.

Lots of this, please: plump, green and multi-colored string beans.

The farmer says: Green beans are coming in strong and stealthy at the markets this week. This is another summer crop that we’ll see steadily until the first frost of the season. Wax are the most common, and in the highest supply. But now’s the time to sample the specialty varieties like – Dragon Tongue, cream-colored and speckled with purple or thin, long delicate haricots verts. There are two types of green beans – pole and bush, and over 130 cultivars branch off from there. Pole beans grow best on trellis or teepee, and bush requires no trellis, but produce earlier in lower yield.

While many vendors have beans of different varieties and larger amounts – Lyle Davis of Pastures of Plenty, typically the king of green beans at our Boulder market, is still waiting on his to finish off. Davis says this year has been particularly difficult for his beans, a crop his farm is well known for. His first planting produced a very low yield, and his Italian Romanos were chopped up by Mexican bean beetles. Don’t fret, if you’re a diehard Pastures of Plenty fan, Davis does expect some green beans in the next couple weeks, however in lower quantities than usual.

How to prepare: Most green bean varieties require some amount of preparation – either a quick trim or de-stringing (most perfectly ripe beans won’t need this). Blanching is perfect for a simple preparation, you can also blanche and sautee for a more tender texture. Roasting will bring out flavors more – toss in olive oil, salt, and pepper, and heat the oven to 450. It should take about 10 minutes.

Goes with: garlic, olive oil, summer squash, corn, bacon, tomatoes

How to store it: Store your beans unwashed in a reusable container in your vegetable drawer for up to seven days. As always the faster you eat the fresher and more flavorful they’ll be. If you’d like to freeze, trim the beans to the desired length and pop them in a freezer bag. No blanching required.

Grilled Peach and Green Bean Salad

INGREDIENTS

3 large peaches
(slightly under ripe–firm)
1 T vegetable, olive, or coconut oil
1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
1 1/2 cups pole beans, cut into 1″ segments
1 1/2 cups corn
1 tsp vegetable, olive, or coconut oil salt
1/4 cup bell peppers, cut into slices
1 tsp thinly sliced basil
(4 – 6 leaves)

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 425°.
  2. Cut peaches in half, remove pit, and coat lightly in oil.
  3. Place peaches on a hot grill, flesh side down. Once nice grill marks are achieved, flip over, and grill on skin side for 1 more minute. Remove from grill, and cut into slices.
  4.  Place peaches in a mixing bowl with the balsamic vinegar; set aside.
  5. In a separate bowl, toss corn and pole beans with oil and salt, and place on baking sheet. Bake for 8 – 10 minutes, or until beans and corn are tender.
  6. Remove from oven, and toss corn and beans with grilled peaches and vinegar. Add bell peppers and basil.
  7. Adjust salt for taste.
  8. Serve warm or chilled.

SOURCE Matt Collier, Chef, Seeds Library Cafe

Faces of Farming and Food: Haystack Mountain Cheese / Part One

Days are getting longer. Plants our budding. Seasonal allergies are upon us. Winter depression is lifting. And of course, it’s also farmer’s market season!

My name is Daniel Bedell and I’m a photographer and run the instagram feed @lightandwork where I have been exploring many careers and trades, but mostly farming. I am really excited to be working with BCFM this season and profiling different vendors. I love exploring the backstories of people, brands and products and your local market is a fantastic place to discover interesting stories and people.

One thing I love the most is when I discover the story behind something that I have used or seen for years and never given it a second thought. Ever since I’ve moved to Colorado I’ve bought Haystack Mountain goat cheese. It wasn’t until I was at the cheese making plant that I realized that the goat cheese was the same and that it was made Longmont 45 less than an hour from where I live.  

When I buy something like cheese it’s easy to forget it was made by people and not just squeezed out of some stainless steel machine. When you buy cheese, especially hard cheeses, from Haystack you are getting a food that was crafted by hand and imagined into existence by a single person. Jackie Chang was born in Taiwan and thought she’d spend her career in the medical field. But she and her parents moved to America and eventually Boulder and one day she found herself on a field trip to a goat dairy owned by Jim Schott’s the founder of Haystack. She loved the animals and began helping with them. A love of the animals turned eventually into a love of cheese and cheese crafting. She is now the master cheesemaker for Haystack crafting old standbys and dreaming up new cheese.

So now you know that something as Colorado as Green Chile Jack really comes from the strong hands of a Taiwanese immigrant woman who grew up more interested in beauty pageants than farming and thought Kraft Singles was the height of cheese.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Farmer Profile: Sunseed Farm

Farm Philosophy and Growing Practices:

The Munz Family has only been farming in Lafayette since last winter, but their already making good marks at two of our producer-only farmers market. They farm on the property owned by Duane and Shirley Johnson, who own Johnson Sharpening (long-time knife sharpening vendors at the Boulder and Longmont locations). Owner of Sunseed, Carrie Munz, spent a decade farming in Washington state before making the trek to Colorado so she is no stranger to farm life. You can find her for their first at the Longmont Farmers Market every Saturday and every Thursday for their second season at the Lafayette Farmers Market.

She uses her ecological knowledge as a former wildlife and fisheries biologist to care for the land and the water. Her farming experience instilled a love of the land and a passion for contributing to her community. Munz believes that eating locally and in season is a necessity not a choice and that it is her responsibility to help provide food for her local community.

Favorite crop & its challenges and joys:

“I love beets, I love the color and the fact that they are very nutrient dense.” This will be Munz’s second year successfully growing beets. She has tried before with limited success, but find in farming that every year is different. Weather, soil and insects change each year. “I always try again even if the crop hasn’t done well in the past.”

Fresh at the Market by Season:

Spring: radishes, turnips, mizuna, lettuce, pea shoots and spinach.

Summer: basil, zucchini, green beans and eggplant.

Fall: winter squash, pumpkins and onions.

Most season long – beets, cabbage, asian greens, carrots and kohlrabi.