It’s All About the Water

Since moving to Colorado I have had some serious doubts about my green thumb. I have killed a lot of plants and had several garden fails. I do include the ...

The Market Season is Upon Us

Some things are worth repeating. One of them is the schedule of farmer’s markets. Why, you might ask? Because now is the time. Drake Road Farmer’s Market was the first ...

Gettin’ Your Buzz On

Sorry for the post title. I couldn’t help myself. Yesterday was the day for bees in Fort Collins. I know of several folks who went to Copoco’s Honey to pick up ...

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Farm to Table

Lyons Farmette

Lyons Farmette

‘Tis the season to start spending some time enjoying local feasts as the sun sets and the stars shine. Here is a little list to start off with. But trust me, as the season progresses they pop up like crazy. Don’t see your favorite farm on the list? Just ask them if they will be putting on any events.

June 20, 2015 SOLSTICE DINNER – Ring in the summer with drummers and fire dancers!! Grant Farms CSA is hosting four amazing “themed” farm dinners this summer featuring guest chefs, seasonal cuisine with produce and meats from our farm, wine from Vintages in Fort Collins, tours, live music and an elegant dinner in a picturesque garden setting. Sommelier Paul VanderTop will be available to introduce and suggest wine pairings and bottle service at each dinner. Themes range from Boots &Spurs, to Colorado Black Tie, tickets prices vary $75 to 120 ea.

July 1, 2015 – Black Cat Dinner at Lyons Farmette. Join Black Cat for their summer Hog Roast celebration, featuring their award winning Heritage Mulefoot Hogs.  For hours and hours they slow cook one of our magnificent hogs over plum wood embers.  The pork is paired with the spectacular vegetables of that morning’s harvest from the Lyons Farmette and our 130 acre Black Cat Farm.  Smokey, delicious and reminiscent of a bygone era of homemade cooking out on the farm, it is the best way we know to celebrate the peak of the summer harvest with friends and family.  $95 per person. Beverages ~ This farm dinner is also a benefit for the Boulder County Arts Alliance. The BCAA will be selling wine and beer at the dinner for their organization. There will be a wonderful selection to complement the menu.  Please do not bring your own wine or beer ~ you can plan on buying it here by the bottle or glass.

July 9, 2015 – Meadowlark Farm Dinner – Join the Lyons Farmette at the Farmette as Meadowlark creates their magic for an unforgettable dinner and evening.  More information about reservations and details on their website.

July 15, 2015 – Eat Farm Dinner at Lyons Farmette – Experience delicious cuisine, meet new people, and share a special evening at with friends and family as Eat’s chef and owner Katie Baum prepares an unforgettable meal. The day’s bounty from the Farmette and surrounding farms will take the starring role in a multi course dinner that spotlights the strong links between community farming and the pleasures of eating. Come with an open heart, and partake in the art, creativity and joy Chef Katie brings to an evening of great tastes with Eat and the Lyons Farmette!  $95 per person. Beverages ~ This farm dinner is also a benefit for PRIDE-Etheopia. Growing Gardens will be selling wine and beer at the dinner for their organization. There will be a wonderful selection to complement the menu.  Please do not bring your own wine or beer ~ you can plan on buying it here by the bottle or glass.

July 22, 2015 – Blackbelly Farm Dinner at Lyons Farmette – Join Blackbelly chef Hosea Rosenberg and his culinary dream team at the gorgeous creekside lawn at The Lyons Farmette. This evening is sure to impress you with a seasonal multi course dinner prepared with hand chosen ingredients from the Farmette. This amazing food and our unparalleled service are sure to bring you the ultimate private chef experience.  $135 per person. Beverages ~ This farm dinner is also a benefit for Growing Gardens. Growing Gardens will be selling wine and beer at the dinner for their organization. There will be a wonderful selection to complement the menu.  Please do not bring your own wine or beer ~ you can plan on buying it here by the bottle or glass.

July 25, 2015 – FARM DINNER – Grant Farms CSA is hosting four amazing “themed” farm dinners this summer featuring guest chefs, seasonal cuisine with produce and meats from our farm, wine from Vintages in Fort Collins, tours, live music and an elegant dinner in a picturesque garden setting. Sommelier Paul VanderTop will be available to introduce and suggest wine pairings and bottle service at each dinner. Themes range from Boots &Spurs, to Colorado Black Tie, tickets prices vary $75 to 120 ea.

July 31 , 2015 – BLUE MOON DINNER – Blues music is earthy, visceral, and connected. Experience dinner under the full moon and dine with the “blues”. Grant Farms CSA is hosting three incredible “MOONLIGHT” farm dinners this summer featuring seasonal cuisine with produce and meats from our farm, wine from Vintages in Fort Collins, tours, live music and an elegant dinner in a picturesque garden setting. Sommelier Paul VanderTop will be available to introduce and suggest wine pairings and bottle service at each dinner.

August 5, 2015 – Cured Farm Dinner at Lyons Farmette – Spend an evening at Riverbend in Lyons with Will and Coral Frischkorn, owners of Cured.  Cured, Boulder’s cheese and charcuterie specialists, partner with Front Range farmers to highlight the very best that Colorado has to offer.  In this intimate setting on a summer evening we will enjoy some of Colorado’s finest cheese and charcuterie before moving into a tasting menu build around meat and produce from Oxford Gardens, Bona Vida Growers, the Lyons Farmette of course, and Cure Organic Farm.  $110 per person.

August 12, 2015 – Blackbelly Farm Dinner at Lyons Farmette  – Join Blackbelly chef Hosea Rosenberg and his culinary dream team at the gorgeous creekside lawn at The Lyons Farmette. This evening is sure to impress you with a seasonal multi course dinner prepared with hand chosen ingredients from the Farmette. This amazing food and our unparalleled service are sure to bring you the ultimate private chef experience.  $135 per person. Beverages ~ This farm dinner is also a benefit for the Boulder County Arts Alliance. The BCAA will be selling wine and beer at the dinner for their organization. There will be a wonderful selection to complement the menu.  Please do not bring your own wine or beer ~ you can plan on buying it here by the bottle or glass.

August 19, 2015 – Arugula/Tangerine Farm Dinner at Lyons Farmette – Arugula and Tangerine restaurants founder, owner and chef Alec Schuler will prepare a fantastic end of summer 6 course meal created with a focus on high quality proteins and veggies, veggies, veggies.  Some of ingredients will be sourced from Lyons Farmette and the most of the remainder from within Boulder county.   The menu will give a nod to the “Paleo diet”, but with a little dairy and complex carbohydrates.  It will feature a light touch in the first two courses, then to seafood, to Longmont raised rabbit and culminating with a red meat, and of course finishing with something sweet.  $90 per person. Beverages ~ This farm dinner is also a benefit for the Lyons Arts and Humanities Council.
The LAHC will be selling wine and beer at the dinner for their organization. There will be a wonderful selection to complement the menu.  Please do not bring your own wine or beer ~ you can plan on buying it here by the bottle or glass.

August 20, 2015 – Meadowlark Farm Dinner – Join the Lyons Farmette at the Farmette as Meadowlark creates their magic for an unforgettable dinner and evening.  More information about reservations and details on their website.

August 22, 2015 – FARM DINNER – Grant Farms CSA is hosting four amazing “themed” farm dinners this summer featuring guest chefs, seasonal cuisine with produce and meats from our farm, wine from Vintages in Fort Collins, tours, live music and an elegant dinner in a picturesque garden setting. Sommelier Paul VanderTop will be available to introduce and suggest wine pairings and bottle service at each dinner. Themes range from Boots &Spurs, to Colorado Black Tie, tickets prices vary $75 to 120 ea.

August 26, 2015 – Spice of Life Farm Dinner at Lyons Farmette – Spice of Life‘s Chef Dijkstra prepares a meal that celebrates the Farmette’s harvest, drawing inspiration from the rich flavors of the season. With ingredients picked fresh at the Farmette on the day of the dinner, Dijkstra will craft a menu with his trademark creativity and flair, incorporating fresh twists with comforting classics. A Spice of Life prides itself on creating memorable experiences in addition to their delectable menus; they believe every day is reason for celebration. Using the Farmette’s crops like juicy tomatoes and flavorful greens, each of the three courses will celebrate the season and our community. Enjoy the surprise and innovation of a Farm to Table menu with neighbors and friends on the land where the ingredients were grown.  $100 per person. Beverages ~ This farm dinner is also a benefit for the Lyons Arts and Humanities Council. The LAHC will be selling wine and beer at the dinner for their organization. There will be a wonderful selection to complement the menu.  Please do not bring your own wine or beer ~ you can plan on buying it here by the bottle or glass.

August 29, 2015 – STURGEON MOON DINNER – Elegance in C… for CSA! The Sturgeon Moon Dinner at Grant Farms CSA will be their “Colorado Black Tie” themed moonlight dinner, featuring chamber music, exquisite cuisine prepared by a guest chef (TBA), wine from Vintages in Fort Collins, and tours, in a picturesque garden setting. Sommelier Paul VanderTop will be available to introduce and suggest wine pairings and bottle service for dinner.

September 2, 2015 – Bumper Crop Farm Dinner at Lyons Farmette – Bumper Crop‘s chef and co-owner Gary Silverman has been cheffing for over 35 years bringing farm to table since the late 70’s. In the first 1 1/2 year of business Bumper Crop has won best of Boulder, been written up in 3 publications, on TV twice, filmed for a PBS show Urban Conversion, 1 farm to table dinner, 2 beer dinners and catered over a dozen weddings. Gary is the local chile aficionado serving the best red and green chile in Boulder County and will be bringing a taste of Sante Fe on September 2 to the Farmette for a farm to table dinner featuring 5 courses with produce from the Farmette, beef and pork from Cure Organic Farm and much more.  We look forward to feeding you. Beverages ~ This farm dinner is also a benefit for Growing Gardens. Growing Gardens will be selling wine and beer at the dinner for their organization. There will be a wonderful selection to complement the menu.  Please do not bring your own wine or beer ~ you can plan on buying it here by the bottle or glass.

September 10, 2015 – Meadowlark Farm Dinner – Join the Lyons Farmette at the Farmette as Meadowlark creates their magic for an unforgettable dinner and evening.  More information about reservations and details on their website.

September 16, 2015 – Blackbelly Farm Dinner at Lyons Farmette – Join Blackbelly chef Hosea Rosenberg and his culinary dream team at the gorgeous creekside lawn at The Lyons Farmette. This evening is sure to impress you with a seasonal multi course dinner prepared with hand chosen ingredients from the Farmette. This amazing food and our unparalleled service are sure to bring you the ultimate private chef experience.  $135 per person

September 19, 2015 – FARM DINNER – Grant Farms CSA is hosting four amazing “themed” farm dinners this summer featuring guest chefs, seasonal cuisine with produce and meats from our farm, wine from Vintages in Fort Collins, tours, live music and an elegant dinner in a picturesque garden setting. Sommelier Paul VanderTop will be available to introduce and suggest wine pairings and bottle service at each dinner. Themes range from Boots &Spurs, to Colorado Black Tie, tickets prices vary $75 to 120 ea,

September 26, 2015 – HARVEST MOON DINNER – Get back to your roots with some down-home, old time string band music around our bon fire! Grant Farms CSA invites you to join in our celebration of rustic, organic cuisine, live local music and an unforgettable evening featuring local Colorado wine and food in an intimate, elegant farm setting. Grant Farms CSA is hosting three incredible “MOONLIGHT” farm dinners this summer featuring seasonal cuisine with produce and meats from our farm, wine from Vintages in Fort Collins, tours, live music and an elegant dinner in a picturesque garden setting. Sommelier Paul VanderTop will be available to introduce and suggest wine pairings and bottle service at each dinner.

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Farm to School Update!

thumbs_a-to-z-zucchini-yukon-potato-signsThe Colorado Farm to School Task Force is asking folks to support Colorado farmers through the Farm to School Bill, HB15-1088. The bill is sponsored by Representative Faith Winter (faith.winter.house@state.co.us) and Senator Larry Crowder (larry.crowder.senate@state.co.us). Just this week the bill passed the House Appropriations Committee.

So, what does the bill do? The anticipated outcomes are two-fold. In a state where we often get kudos for being lean, they aren’t talking about the kids in the state. One way to combat obesity in children is to get them to eat healthier and understand the importance of nutritional choices. The biggest opportunity an effort like this has is through school lunch programs. The second anticipated outcome is a boost in the state’s economy, especially in rural areas, through strengthening the support of local farmers.

Two main barriers farmers have to selling their products to schools are food safety and competitive pricing. This bill creates a grant program for Colorado producers to offset the costs of labor, material and equipment needed to meet food safety guidelines and other production costs. This would allow Colorado producers to sell their products to their local schools, thus enabling schools to support local while increasing the nutrional food choices of their students with fresh local food.

Healthy SnackOn the COFTS website, it states that farmers who participate in farm to school programs see an average 5% increase in their total income. This has ripple effects that improve the health of our whole economy; studies show that each $1 invested in farm to school programs produces $2.16 of local economic activity and for every one job created by schools purchasing local food, 1.67 more jobs are created locally. That sounds like a good deal, and builds some necessary infrastructure for our smaller farms.

If this is important to you, you can show your support by signing the petition. Let the Governor and our state legislators know that this is a priority for folks across Colorado. In the coming weeks, the COFTS and their partners will be traveling around the state collecting signatures and producing events to generate momentum. They’ll keep you in the loop along the way so you know where to find us (like their Facebook page to stay in the loop).

 

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Eating Local, Eating in Season

 

Photo courtesy Be Local Northern Colorado/ Dan Bihn

Photo courtesy Be Local Northern Colorado/ Dan Bihn

If you live on the Front Range of Colorado, especially Northern Colorado, you have access to some seriously good local food. Real food. The perfect time to start eating fresh is now. No excuses.
One obstacle in transitioning to eating local is knowing where to start. I receive countless inquiries like where can I find organic food, which farm is bio-dynamic or who sells pastured poultry. Internet searches can be daunting. Knowing what you are looking for is a great first step.

Start by asking what changes you want to make. Is eating within a certain mile radius important? Do you want certified organic or just want to know your farmer uses organic practices? Do you want humanely raised meat and animal products? Raw vs. pasteurized? What small steps can I take to start eating a local diet?

Whether you want to obtain all of your dietary needs locally or just want to incorporate more fresh food into your diet, you can do that. Here are a few places to start.

Garden Sweet Farm Stand

Garden Sweet Farm Stand

Farmer’s Marketsand Roadside Farm Stands – Markets operate from April through October from Cheyenne to Denver (check out our recent post from March 29 for a great list of markets). Fort Collins even hosts a Winter Farmer’s Market for year round access. While markets are limited to certain times and days of the week, there is an amazing bounty of fresh food and value-added products. Many markets also accept SNAP benefits, increasing access to good food for those who often have limited access. There is also the bonus of meeting the farmer and being able to learn about their farm practices and alternative options for purchasing their food. Farm stands on the other hand have a lot more access as they are usually open several days of the week. Those on the honor system (a system based on trust, where there is an unstaffed stand and you pay for what you take), are typically open longer hours during the day.

CSA – Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) is a symbiotic relationship between farmers and their consumers. In the traditional model of farming the farmer puts up all the front end costs to plant crops and waits months for a return on their investment. That is, pending risk of any unforeseen risks, like crop failure, weather, market fluctuations, etc. Then there is the CSA model. You purchase a food share for a fixed amount of time (a season or full year). The farmer is paid up front for the share and has money to plant, plan and spend more time focused on growing crops then seeking a market during their busy time. Both parties share the risks of the season. They also share the success. As a result, the consumer has a consistent flow of seasonal food delivered or picked up from a drop location on a weekly basis. There are also options for a seasonal credit to purchase what they like when they want it directly from the farm or farmer’s market. Sounds great right?

Well there’s more. You build a beautiful relationship. As a consumer you know where your food comes from and who grows it. Some CSA’s offer work shares. You assist in the cultivation of the food on your table for a discounted share price. It doesn’t matter if you aren’t a green thumb or have a full dance card. You can take part in the experience of being a farmer, if only for a few hours. In knowing where your food comes from, you develop a trust in your food source. Your neighbor, someone in your community, who faces you week after week knows the importance of maintaining that trust and delivers a share of it to you each week. The farmer is just as invested in your health and happiness as you become in theirs. Your palate becomes attuned to the season. What you receive in your share is dependent on what your CSA offers. Find that out in advance to make the best choice for you. At last count there are more than thirty CSA’s providing to Northern Colorado.

Duck, chicken and quail eggs

Duck, chicken and quail eggs from Donoma Farms

Purchasing Protein – There are numerous ways to purchase humanely raised meat and animal products. Whether you are looking to purchase ¼, ½ or full shares of meat or individual cuts, you can. Locally you can buy chicken, lamb, duck, turkey, goat, pork, beef, buffalo and more directly from the farmer. You can also find cheese, milk, raw milk shares, eggs, and other value-added products. Many farms allow visitors. One of the best things about local eating is transparency of the system. If you choose to you can observe how your food is cultivated and harvested.

Grow Your Own – In my opinion the most satisfying option, is growing or raising your own. Whether you live in an apartment with windows or a balcony, or on a suburban lot, you can grow your own food. Now more than ever there is an abundance of information on how to do that. I have a cousin that lives in Manhattan in a high rise and they grow food in their apartment, engage in charcuterie, make their own wine, and preserve food from the local markets. If incorporating fresh food, real food, into your diet is a priority, there really are no excuses. Just get started!

 

**This is an expanded version of an article previously published in Bella Spark magazine.

 

 

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It’s time for Tour de Coop!

 

10734063_803772573041499_4142721120018088968_nAre you a chicken enthusiast? Maybe you are dreaming of taking the next step in poultry wrangling with ducks? Or you need some wonderful ideas to please that stubborn HOA’s anti-chicken stance? Well, have I got the event for you. And bonus, you get to do your next favorite thing. Bicycle.

On May 17th, 2015 from 8:30am-1:30pm “Rain or Shine” the Sustainable Living Association will be hosting the 2015 8th Annual Tour de Coop, an urban chicken spirit revival, in Fort Collins.

Join the group on a 6 to 8 mile bike ride from coop to coop in and around Fort Collins. See a variety of urban backyard chicken coops, learn about chickens from beak to butt from experienced backyard chicken owners. This year they will be including a duck stop as well, to expand your poultry knowledge.

Starting location to be announced.

Cost is $25/human, limited to 50 people, and includes lunch. If you’re interested in a lovely day of bicycles and poultry, register here - http://sustainablelivingassociation.org/event/tour-de-coop/

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Happy Easter Folks!

Hope you are spending this gorgeous day with family and friends. I am. So check back on Thursday for my next post. Happy Spring!

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Livestock and City Limits

It’s springtime. Well, maybe not today. But the last couple weeks with this stellar weather has got folks itching to get outdoors, diggin’ in the dirt and raising little fluffy critters.

If you live in town, and are not sure which of these wonderful things you can partake, well, look no further than the City of Fort Collins website section on urban ag. They also have a great brochure on the nuts and bolts of what you can do in city limits.

The basics are as follows:

chicksPoultry

Female chickens and ducks are allowed. So, when you get those baby chicks at the store, you may be surprised by a rooster or drake in the mix. If this happens you will need to rehome them. Otherwise, the girls can stay. Trust me, if you have neighbors they won’t appreciate a rooster crowing. They don’t just sing in the morning!

If you have a half acre or less the number of birds you can keep is 8, if you have a half to a full acre the number is 12, and for each additional half acre you can keep 6 additional birds. A license is also required and can be obtained through the Larimer Humane Society (contact them at 970-226-3647, ext.7).

Bees

Bees are allowed within city limits. Colonies must be kept in hives with moveable combs in good condition. You’ll need to maintain a flyaway barrier of at least six feet in height (like a privacy fence at the property line). You’ll also need to ensure a convenient water source is available.

You can have two colonies on a quarter acre or less, 4 colonies on a quarter to a half acre, up to six colonies on a half to a full acre and up to 8 colonies on properties larger than an acre.

Goats 

Two Nigerian or Dwarf goats are allowed on all lots. Goats are subject to certain regulations and licensing requirements. Licenses and regulatory information can be obtained through the Larimer Humane Society (contact them at 970-226-3647, ext.7). Goats must be female or wethered males, and require vaccination for rabies and other diseases.

Other farm animals

Other farm animals are only allowed in areas zoned RUL (Rural Lands), UE (Urban Estate), RF (Foothills Residential), and RC (River Conservation). Horses are an exception. They are allowed on any lot within city limits provided each horse has a minimum of a half acre of open space.

*Information sourced from City of Fort Collins Guide for Growing Food and Raising Animals in Fort Collins

 You will also find information on gardens for personal and commercial use and hoop houses

 

 

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Getting ready for market season

MarketThere is only one more winter market in the Opera Galleria and that is April 11. You know what that means don’t you? It’s only a matter of time before the outdoor farmer’s markets start. Fresh food! Music! Sunshine! You get the gist.

So here is a breakdown of the Northern Colorado markets and their anticipated start dates. Are you excited?? After seeing this least there is no reason not to eat local every day! And this is just the farmer’s markets!

Northern Colorado Food Cluster Winter Market - Located in downtown Fort Collins at the Opera Galleria on North College on Saturdays from 10:00am to 2:00pm. Last day is Apr 11. Hosting up to 50 vendors.

Greeley Winter Farmer’s Market - Located at 1100 8th Avenue, January through April on the second and fourth Saturdays of each month, 9:00 to noon. 

Greeley Farmer’s Market at the Union Pacific Depot- Saturdays starting May 16 through October 31, 2015, and Wednesdays starting Jul8 through September 30. Times TBD. 902 7th Avenue.   

Wellington Farmer’s MarketThursdays from 4:00pm to dusk, this market begins June 4th to October. Located in Centennial Park, 3815 Harrison Ave., Wellington.

Drake Road Farmer’s Market  – Saturday mornings from 10:00am to 1:00pm, this market begins April 18 and continues through September 26, 2015.

CAMC Fort Collins Famer’s Market  – Sundays from 11:00am to 3:00pm from May to mid-November and Wednesdays from 11:00am to 3:00pm from mid-June to October. Located at Harmony and Lemay in front of Ace Hardware on the south side of Harmony.

CAMC Loveland Farmer’s Market  – Tuesdays from 11:00am to 3:00pm from May through October. Located on HWY 287 in front of Hobby Lobby (3133 North Garfield).

City of Loveland Farmer’s Market - Sunday’s from 9:00am to 1:30pm from June 28 to September 27. Located at 700 S Railroad Avenue, pavilions #1 and #2.

The Farmer’s Market at Jordan’s Floral Gardens – No information available about a market this season at time of publishing.

Larimer County Farmer’s Market -  Saturdays 8:00am to noon from May 16 to October 24, 2015. Located in the parking lot of the Larimer County Courthouse, 200 South Oak Street in Old Town Fort Collins.

Mead Farmer’s Market – Sundays from noon to 4:00pm from June 7 to August 30. Located at Mead Town Park.

Northern Colorado Farmer’s Market  – Sundays from 10:00am to 2:00pm from June through mid-October. Located in the Me Oh My Pie parking lot, 3522 W County Road 54G, LaPorte.

Windsor Farmer’s Market –  Saturdays from 9:00am to 12:30pm from June through mid-September. Located on 5th Street off Main Street.

Frederick Farmer’s Market - Thursdays from 4:00pm to 8:00pm (June & July), and 4:00pm to 7:00pm (August & September), from June through September. Located in Downtown at 105 5th Street.

Erie Farmer’s Market - Thursdays from 5:00pm to 8:00pm from June 18 through September 19. Located on Wells Street between Pierce and Briggs.

Lafayette Farmer’s Market - Sundays from 10:00am to 1:00pm from May 10 to September 6. Located at 400 W South Boulder Road.

Louisville Farmer’s Market – Saturdays from 9:00am to 1:00pm from May 30 to October 10. Located at 824 front Street.

 

 

 

 

 

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Diggin’ It

 

PovideAre you loving this Spring or what? While I wouldn’t mind a little moisture, I’ll take this lovely sunshine.

And if you are up for a fun event that will support a wonderful food related organization, this is a good one to check out.

Provide 2015 is a fundraiser for The FoCo Cafe and the Fort Collins Community, hosted by Old Town PeaceJam! The intent is to build a better community with a celebration of local music and food, and support The FoCo Cafe, the only non profit restaurant in Fort Collins! The FoCo Cafe serves healthy and tasty meals and allows diners to pay whatever it is they are able to. Its a place where people from all backgrounds and incomes can come together to enjoy the greatness of a good meal. 

THERE WILL BE MUSIC!FoCo Cafe

THERE WILL BE ART AND OTHER COOL STUFF! Check out their wonderful display of items in our auction from companies and artists around Fort Collins. If you are interested in submitting your art for consideration, email sarahmcfadden33@gmail.com. They can’t ensure everyone’s artwork will show but they’d love to see and share your mad skills!

THERE WILL BE REALLY DELICIOUS FOOD! Fresh, healthy, and locally made food will also be available. So buy a plate, enjoy a delicious meal and at the same time PROVIDE for a good cause!

THERE WILL BE FUN! Bring the people in your community – friends, family, artists, musicians, the foodies and the fan boys, humans of all kinds.

For more information about The FoCo Cafe, and the great stuff they do, visit: http://fococafe.org/

I’m diggin’ that! Share the bounty! 

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Butternut and Sausage Breakfast Hash

IMG_2198It’s Spring! Maybe you have some remaining winter veggies and are getting low on new and creative ways to use them up before the bounty of fresh produce starts rolling in. I can help you with that.

Typically we don’t think of squash for breakfast. Being a sweet potato fan myself, I was a little skeptical when I ran across this recipe. But now, I am a lover of butternut squash in the morning. Once you try it, you will be too. We can always find good reasons to add more veg to our diet, right?

Some of you may have heard of Danielle Walker’s Against All Grains, blog and cookbooks. The following autumn breakfast skillet is from her latest cookbook, Meals Made Simple. I could eat this every day! (moderation is key I hear). I just call it butternut hash.
First, get yourself some wonderful fresh ground unseasoned sausage. If you hit the farmer’s market you can get it from any number of local farms. Or, you can purchase a pig share and have a freezer full of the stuff!

To make the sausage you’ll want:
• 1 tablespoon ghee or bacon fat (I save my bacon fat from the bacon from my pig share)
• 1 ½ pounds ground pork
• 2 tablespoons chopped fresh sage (fresh is best, but ground sage to taste is an ok alternative)
• 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt (Old Town Spice Shop has a great salt selection!)
• 1 teaspoons fennel seeds
• ½ teaspoon ground cloves
• ½ teaspoon cracked black pepper
• ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

For the hash you’ll need:
• 1 tablespoon ghee or bacon fat
• 1 small yellow onion diced
• 2 cups diced butternut squash
• 1 cup diced apple (firm varieties work best)
• 3 cups stemmed and coarsely chopped kale
• ½ teaspoon sea salt
• 6 fried eggs (optional)

Now, for the cooking!
1. Make the sausage by heating the ghee or bacon fat in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork and ingredients, browning the meat until cooked through. Personally, I prefer to mix the ingredients with the pork prior to throwing it into the skillet to incorporate them evenly, but it’s not necessary. Cooking time is about 8 minutes. Drain the sausage and set aside.
2. Now for the hash. Using the same pan, add the ghee or bacon fat and heat the pan back up.
3. Sauté the onion first, about 3 minutes until fragrant.
4. Add the squash, apple, kale, and salt. Continue cooking for about 8-10 minutes, until the squash is tender.
5. Return the sausage to the pan, stir and cook for another minute to heat through. Serve with fried eggs, if you wish.

I suggest you try this dish before all the butternut is gone! Even the skeptics have loved it. The flavor is divine! So enjoy, and keep eating local!!

 

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Diggin’ It

I went a little further south for this cool community project. I love tiny houses. But I never thought about tiny farms!

In Colorado Springs they have the Tiny Farm Project through Pikes Peak Small Farms. This project is in direct reponse to the lack of small farms and newer farmers in El Paso County. As a result, we lose the generational knowledge handoff.

So how does it work? For every $30,000 they raise they can start a small farm and get new farmers on board without amassing the typical debt that comes with starting or buying a farm. What does that entail? A tiny portable home, a 1,000 square foot greenhouse, a mobile chicken coop, and needed outbuilding using portable shipping containers.

These new farmers will have low overhead so they can save money for a permanent long-term farm, while learning the trade in a temporary way, that can be passed on to the next new farmer.

Sounds pretty cool. I’m diggin’ it.

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