First Carrots

Well, the first beets and carrots of the year are in and I’m pleased to say we were among the first farms to have them (We were the second farm at the Longmont Farmers’ Market by a week and the first farm at the Louisville Farmers’ Market). This is great news for us because demand is [...]

Kale: The Bones

Here are a couple pictures of kale I share mostly because I enjoy pictures of kale but also because kale, in a lot of ways, is the foundation of our farm.The best advice I can give folks wanting to farm on tiny plots, in close quarters, is to grow kale. Looking at it in a “yield [...]

On Food Safety and Cut Cabbage

You know it’s time to go when the conversation turns to food safety. Even without fantastically-horrible, emotionally-crippling stories of e-coli fatalities, it’s a troubling subject. At the very least, with all the associated cramping, vomiting and loose stool, it’s disgusting. Once, to earn a food safety certification for my job at the natural foods store I [...]

Teachers and Friends

For the last farmers’ market of the year, our friends at Dew Farms brought a truck load of 250-lbs pumpkins and hired a couple professional pumpkin carvers. (I know! Who knew such an occupation existed.)  The kids loved it. The big folk loved it. It was wonderful spectacle all around. This fantastic, mythical dragon [...]

Fennel Pollen

Fenel_patch

This year I let all our fennel go to seed, never harvesting more than a few bulbs. I know, it looks bad for me. Still more evidence of my fundamental sloth and incompetence, some might say. Fortunately, it’s different this time, because this time I had a plan. And my plan was this: I was going to let them bolt. Yep. That’s it. I was going to let them bolt. You see, this year I wasn’t in it for the fennel bulbs. Instead, I wanted to harvest fennel pollen. Unfortunately, after harvesting the pollen, I’m not sure what to do with it. Of course we’re going to eat a bunch. And there is a good market for fennel pollen. It’s a big market and can be quite lucrative (the pollen brings $20-$40/oz). But despite harvesting the entire patch, I only have a few ounces, too much to eat but nowhere near enough to make it pay.

Probably because of the glaringly, half-baked nature of my fennel plan, our farm partner, Adam, was… I’ll say… skeptical. Every week he wanted to cut some plants for market. “People are begging for bulbs,” he’d plead. But like a desperate, degenerate junkie, I couldn’t deviate from the plan. I wouldn’t. I was on the verge of a huge pollen score. I couldn’t just quit.

Fennel_Flower

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BEER!

Forgive the Delta Tau Chi style title outburst but I do love me some beer. Not to say we’d ever adopt a new farmers’ market just so we could hang around a beautifully rustic taproom sampling yummy, hoppy libations.  Not to say we’re into cool, local music or Longmont’s weekly Wednesday night cruiser ride. We have [...]

Defending Kale - Sesame Kale

summer_kale_up

Sixteen years ago, after more than a decade working in restaurants, I punched out from my last kitchen shift and took a job running the deli in a natural foods grocery store. The place was adorable. Our produce was 90% organic. (It was also 90% ugly and bruised but that’s what you got with organic back then.) We sold nuts and grains from huge, bulk scoop bins. We sold herbal cures and tinctures. All our meat was 100% hormone, steroid and anti-biotic free. And my deli? We served some good food (house made gravelax and pate spring to mind), but ultimately we were as crunchy as could be. We served hippies and the hippies loved us. They wrote songs about us! They named their bands after us! Really, they did. It was incredible.

The store and my deli should have been a haven for all things kale. But it wasn’t. We ordered exactly one case per week and we used it exclusively to garnish platters in the deli case. We never cooked it. We never served it. We never ate it and nobody ever asked us to. I don’t think I even realized it was edible.

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I'm a Stranger Here Myself

Stranger-Butter

We’re six weeks into the market season and despite my normally tenacious melancholy, I’d like to report that things are going great. It’s nothing less than a miracle. Our farm is tiny (really tiny, between 1/8 and 1/4 acre) and for many months, I’ve had a nightmare, flop-sweat kind of concern about our ability to produce enough food to support the market. But every week so far we’ve filled our stand and had plenty to spare. Hell, we’ve even been able to donate food and plants to some community organizations. Beyond that, people appear sincerely positive about what we’re doing and how we’re doing it. And money wise, so far we’re on the happy side of break even, so that’s good. But best of all, the people at market are great. They’re kind, involved, interesting and for the most part I can’t say enough good things about them.  They’ve made market Saturday the best part of my week.

Stranger-Adam

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And What A Week It Was

market-greens

Last week. Wow.
It was like racing through a dry, rocky river bed in the back of an old pickup, driven by a half-blind, half-drunk whiskey bootlegger. In a word – Bumpy. In three words – Real, Real Bumpy. A unsettling, impossible to get your balance, impossible to catch you breath kind of bumpy. Bumpy enough to bang a kidney loose and challenge your faith in comfortable things. It was one crazy week. Sure, there were good bits, and it was productive. But, it was rough and I’m very glad it’s done.

Milo Farmer's market

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