Tofu Green Curry and Healthy Cooking

Because I’m soft and lumpy after a winter of relative leisure and because I need to harden up quick if I’m going to make it through this farming season, I’m trying to eat a lot healthier. Not that I’ve ever eaten that badly. At the house we eat fresh, local and something between vegetarian and vegan. We cook everything from scratch and we know how to do it. I grew up cooking in restaurants. My wife came up in bakeries and delis. Which is to say, we know how to make real yummy food using lots of fat and salt. We know how to pair good food with good drink. We know how to bake bread and we know a few things about sweets. Not that any of this is inherently bad. Food is important and we certainly enjoy our meals around here. But at some point it becomes about health. It becomes about having the vigor to do the things I want to do. And it becomes a problem when I need to get (and stay) “farm-lean”.

“You can pay your farmer or you can pay your doctor.” As a natural foods grocer and a farmer I’ve been hearing this for years. But honestly, for a long time I didn’t really buy it. Sure, buy organic and avoid a lot of toxins. That made enough sense to devote a career to. But food as medicine? Really? I’ll turn my organic russets into some nice pomme frites, thank you. At least that’s how I felt until very recently.

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And Away We Go!

Over the weekend we started planting out the basement grow room. And now, a couple days later, we have 1,200 plants happily germinating away. We start all our plants in soil blocks because they require no ag plastic and are much better for the plant (that’s what you’re seeing in the picture above).  So far we’ve started [...]

Seed Season Pt. 2

Golden Beet Seed

Forget love and romance. Forget chocolate dipped berries and delicate, lacy things. This year, our Valentines Day was about dirt, seeds and early onset exhaustion. In short, it was about the farm. Valentines was the day we’d set to begin our farm season. Sure we’d been building, planning and doing farm projects since New Year’s. But as of the 14th we’re putting all those things on hold. From now through November we’re in full production mode.

Early season is about seeds and long hours in the seed room (which has tripled in size since last year). Over the next couple weeks we’ll be seeding out all the plants for our first succession. Things like kale, rapini, broccoli, onions, leeks and chard all get seeded early, either to be grown for the May markets (kale and rapini) or because they have very long seasons (onions and leeks).

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On New Land and Canada Thistle

First for our biggest news ever: Last month we agreed to at least a four year lease on four acres of Boulder County Open Space land. It’s about 20 minutes from our urban, home garden (which we’ll continue to work) and comes complete with a retention pond and good ditch rights. We’re shooting to use a total of two acres this season, up from a 1/4 acre last year. Next year, if everything goes according to plan, we’ll use it all, bringing us up to 4 1/4 acres. We’ll still be a tiny farm by any sane definition, but hopefully we’ll then be big enough to be sustainable.

We’re over the moon with our news. We’ve been debating how to expand for over a year and farmland isn’t easy to find around here. It’s next to impossible to buy. In Boulder County ag land sells for at least $100k/acre, often without water. That’s way too much to ever make the nut farming. Fortunately for us, the county manages 95,000 acres of open space, much of which it leases back to local growers. This is how we got our land; through a county lease. It’s extremely affordable, has water rights and the county is there to support us through its extension office. It’s a great way to start growing on a larger scale.

All that being said, standing on the land this morning, in the freezing cold, ankle deep in snow and mud carrying a full load of t-bars was more than a bit intimidating. Four acres is a lot of dirt.  The methods and tools we used on our urban 1/4 acre aren’t up to this challenge. We need to update our system.

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