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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NoCo Urban Homestead Tour

NoCo Urban TourDo you daydream about turning your small suburban lot into an edible oasis? Do you grow food on a balconey that can barely fit a lawn chair on it? Do you read about hobby farming in your 500 square foot apartment? Dreaming of a day when you can have backyard chickens and a goat? If you answered yes to any of these questions, and come on be truthful it was yes to all of them, then this tour is probably for you.

Presented by Fort Collins Nursery, the NoCo Urban Farmstead Tour wishes to educate the public about a self-sustainable lifestyle that includes growing your own edibles, backyard chickens, goats and bees, home brewing and garden structures. The tour will feature small spaces utilizing environmentally sound practices.

This tour is family friendly and meant to be educational. Learn how to dream up, build and cultivate a working homestead on less than an acre in a city environment. You’ll visit six locations. Three homesteads in Fort Collins and three in Downtown Loveland. You’ll get to see first hand how these folks incorporate sustainable practices into their everyday life, without needing to head out of the city to greener pastures.

The Tour is September 20, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and all proceeds benefit the Loveland Youth Gardens and The Gardens at Spring Creek. Tickets are $15.00 and on sale now. Children 12 and under are free. Tickets can also be purchased at the door of the Harvest Festival at The Gardens at Spring Creek.

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Fruit Season

Healthy SnackI’m torn as I write this post. Summer is fading far too quickly. A chill is taking over the evenings and the days are growing shorter. I’m not ready. Not just yet.

On the other hand, we are coming into an abundance of fruit and other garden delights. It’s time to take the canner out and get some new lids for those beloved jars. It’s time for fresh pies at potlucks and a crisp or a crumble. Tart crunches and juice running down your chin.

Labor Day in my house will be spent laboring over the stove canning peaches. And quite possibly applesauce, depending on how motivated I am on a rare day off. The thought of cracking open a jar of peaches in January is actually pretty motivating. Ahhhh, capturing summer in a glass.

With that said, where’s a person to get large quantities of such sweetness? Hopefully the following list will help. And, as always, this is likely not an exhaustive list, but rather a good place to start. Inquire as to the availability of cases and seconds (great for canning and cheaper). Happy canning, freezing, drying and eating!! And tell them Erica sent you.


Garden Sweet U-pick – the u-pick gardens at Garden Sweet are open! In season are strawberries and raspberries (limited).


Ela Family Farms (Hotchkiss) The season is picking up and Ela has the following varieties coming into season: Starfire, Rosa, Suncrest. Coming up in September will be Coralstar, Blushingstar, Glowingstar, Allstar, Cresthaven, JH Hale and O’Henry. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and markets in Denver, Golden, Longmont and Boulder.

C&R Farms (Palisade) Growing more than 20 varieties annually, those in season now are Suncrest and Blakes. Coming up in September will be Cresthaven, Monroe and O’Henry. You can find C&R at Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Drake Road Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and also in Loveland, Lafayette, Louisville, and Denver.

Morton Organic Orchards (Palisade) The season, July 1 through September 20, has the following varieties: PF #1, Early Redhaven, Rising Star, Redhaven, Blazing Star, Roza, Redglobe, Suncrest, Cresthaven, Angelus, O’Henry. You can find them at the CAMC Farmer’s Market on the southside of Fort Collins on Wednesdays and Sundays from 11 am – 3pm. You can also find them at the markets in Broomfield, Louisville, Longmont and Boulder.

Road side stands of Palisade peaches – numerous! in parking lots and road sides all over Northern Colorado. Typically you are not buying direct from the farmer and may want to ask if that is important to you.


Ela Family Farms (Hotchkiss) The season is picking up and Ela has the following varieties coming into season: Zestar, Alkmene, and Gala. Coming up in September will be Golden Supreme, Jonathan, Swiss Gourmet, McIntosh, Jonagold, and Honeycrisp. In October you will find Ashmead’s Kernel, Cox’s Orange Pippin, Esopus Spitzenberg, Freyburg, Karminjen Sonneville, Pitmastin Pineapple, Hubbardson’s Nonesuch, Empire, Golden Deliscious, Fuji, Braeburn, and Granny Smith. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and markets in Denver, Golden, Longmont and Boulder.

Masonville Orchards (Masonville) Apple season is upon us and Masonville has the following varieties available: Akane, Gala and Early Gold. In the coming weeks they will have Blondie, Jonathan, Jefferis, Pixie Crunch, Honeycrisp, Empire, Burford Red Flesh, and about a month from now they will have Charlie’s Gold, Winter Banana, Sundance, Airlie’s Red Flesh, Blushing Goldens, Rome, Suncrisp and some others. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Greeley Farmer’s Market (Greeley – Saturday), Boulder Co Farmer’s Market (Boulder – Saturday and Wednesday) and CAMC (Fort Collins – Sunday and Wednesday) and CAMC (Loveland – Tuesday)

C&R Farms (Palisade) Coming up in September they will have Jonathan. You can find C&R at Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Drake Road Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and also in Loveland, Lafayette, Louisville, and Denver.


Morton Organic Orchards (Palisade) The season, August 20 through August 30, has the following variety: Red Gold. You can find them at the Harmony and Lemay farmer’s market on the southside of town on Wednesdays and Sundays from 11 am – 3pm. You can also find them at the markets in Broomfield, Louisville, Longmont and Boulder.


Ela Family Farms (Hotchkiss) The season is picking up and Ela has the following varieties coming into season: Bartlett (ending), Harrow Sweet, Comice and Bosc. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and markets in Denver, Golden, Longmont and Boulder.

Masonville Orchards (Masonville) Pear season is also upon us and Masonville has the following varieties available: Summer Crisp. In September the following varieties should be available: Seckel, Lucious, Shinseki Asian, and Chojuro Asian. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Greeley Farmer’s Market (Greeley – Saturday), Boulder Co Farmer’s Market (Boulder – Saturday and Wednesday) and CAMC (Fort Collins – Sunday and Wednesday) and CAMC (Loveland – Tuesday)

C&R Farms (Palisade) They currently have Red and Yellow Bartlett. You can find C&R at Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Drake Road Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and also in Loveland, Lafayette, Louisville, and Denver.


Ela Family Farms (Hotchkiss) The season is picking up and Ela has the following varieties coming into season: Shiro and Santa Rosa. Coming up in September will be Friar, Black Amber, Fortune, Italian, Sand tanley. In October you will find Elephant Heart. You can find them at the Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and markets in Denver, Golden, Longmont and Boulder.

C&R Farms (Palisade) They currently have plums available. You can find C&R at Downtown Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), Drake Road Farmer’s Market (Ft Collins – Saturday), and also in Loveland, Lafayette, Louisville, and Denver.



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What’s New in NoCo

There are two things happening in Northern Colorado that will likely be of interest to folks.

untitledThe first is the passing of the torch for Be Local. Be Local, a membership driven organization that has supported local food and farming, has gone through a lot of revision in the last 18 months. As a result of that revision they will be passing the torch to the Northern Colorado Food Cluster (NCFC). NCFC is an emerging industry cluster focusing on local/regional food-system innovation and investment. So, what does that change you might ask? What it means is that NCFC will be taking over the Winter Market this year and ensuring the continuity of wonderful asset in our community. It also means your investment in Be Local will continue to provide value and opportunity for Northern Colorado. If you are a current member and want to understand more about the changes, please email Ashley Colpaart of NCFC at .

The Winter Market is currently accepting applications for vendors through September 8. The Market is held on Saturday mornings from 10 am to 2 pm at the Opera Galleria, 123 North College Avenue in Old Town Fort Collins. The dates of this year’s Winter Market are: November 8, 15, 22, December 6, 13, 20, January 10, 24, February 14, 28, March 7, 28, and April 11.

Tunnamedhe second exciting thing happening in the food world is microloan availability through Living Soil Investments. The mission of Living Soil Investments (LSI) is to strengthen the local food economy and enhance soil fertility by making small loans to farms, ranches and the food businesses that help them thrive. LSI is a group of community members that value the importance of local agriculture that is resilient, regenerative and reconnecting. As a result, they have pooled together $50,000 in a common fund to provide loans from $5k to $20k with patient terms at fair interest rates. They are seeking businesses interested in applying at this time.

If you are a business that sources your inputs primarily from regional farms and ranches or otherwise promote the economic viability and job development of Colorado, advance watershed and farmland health, promote socially and culturally sustainable practices and seek to innovate, then you are the type of business they are looking to assist. In addition to farmers, ranchers and food producers, they are also interested in supporting projects and businesses that provide strategic infrastructure and foodshed needs, food processors making healthy and unique products, businesses addressing food waste and soil health and larger social issues of food security, hunger and public health.If you want to learn more about this great opportunity, check out their website or email them at


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Farm to Fork…Let’s Eat


Lyons Farmette

Lyons Farmette

There are so many ways to support local farmers. Buying from them at the farmer’s market or through CSA’s and meat shares. Buying local at the grocery store. And there is attending wonderful on farm events. This last one is a great one and usually means you get to eat awesome food without lifting anything more than your fork.

It’s that time of the season for farm dinners. While I know my lists are likely not exhaustive, I try to do my best gathering them so you can have choices.

Here’s the current run down of farm dinners:

Lyons Farmette:
August 27, 2014Spice of Life Farm Dinner
September 3, 2014 - {Eat}Catering Farm Dinner
September 17, 2014Blackbelly Farm Dinner

Lyons Farmette Benefit Dinners
September 28, 2014Art on the Farm, annual art show for BCAA and LAHC

August 22, 2014 -  Bison BBQ: A Farm to Table Feast on the Grasslands. From 6:00 to 8:00 pm AL Fresco dining with notable chefs coming together to create and to delight in local, sustainable food, all ingredients being sourced from around Colorado. As the sun sets, guests will join together around a long communal table amongst the beautiful grasslands to enjoy a family style four-course meal. As the dinner progresses, hear from notable chefs and ranchers involved in the creation of the meal. Chefs of the evening include Elise Wiggins from Panzanos Restaurant, and chefs from Cafe Bar, Linger and Root Down. Wine will be provided by Balistreri Vineyards. They will also feature a silent auction of one significant piece of western themed art, by the internationally acclaimed artist William Matthews.

Tickets: $110/non-member or $95/member. To RSVP for this fundraising event please contact Sara Armstrong at 303-693-3621 Ext 104 or by email at
*Registration will close on August 17, 2014 at 12:00PM MST. Corporate Table Sponsorship for 6: $750
Please contact Melanie at 303-693-3621 or for further details on corporate table sponsorships and benefits.

August 23, 2014 - Agri-CULTURE Fest and Feast
from 6:00 – 9:00 pm at the 8th Street Plaza in Greeley. The lucky bearer of this ticket will dine “under the stars” on locally sourced cuisine as the Greeley Creative District celebrates the CULTURE of our strong local agri-CULTURE roots. This dinner will bring locally sourced foods and professional chefs together to create this unique celebration of our heritage and the culinary arts. Meet the chefs and even some of our local producers as they prepare each dish which will be served “harvest” or “family” style in a beautiful urban outdoor setting. Adults can also enjoy locally brewed beers and libations from local distilleries. Entertainment will also be provided. Funding supports the newly certified Greeley Creative District as we bring together our urban and rural communities in celebration of our rich shared heritage. Tickets are $50 and available here. Corporate Table Sponsorships available. Contact Alison at the DDA office. (970) 356-6775

September 12, 2014Feeding the Families Farm Dinner at Happy Heart Farm, 2820 W Elizabeth Street, Fort Collins, Colorado. Seasonal menu by Chef Ricky Myers, produce from Happy Heart Farm and beer pairings by Odell Brewing. 5pm passed appetixers and farm tour, 6pm dinner. Live music by Clark Street Music Club. All proceeds go to Friends of Happy Heart Farm Feeding the Families. Tickets are $80 per person and you can buy tickets at Jax Fish House, Odell Brewing or Friends of Happy Heart website.

September 13, 2014Farm Dinner at Grant Farms. Join the farm for an outdoor evening of farm fresh fare, music, bonfires and more! Enjoy a six course meal prepared by Andy Grant, featuring seasonal produce and meats from the farm; visit the animals, enjoy farm tours, craft cocktails and live music, all in a picturesque garden setting.  Stay longer if you like, and join us for a bonfire as we dance under the stars. Dinner is BYOW (bring your own wine) for yourself, or to share with those around you. The fun begins at The Farmhouse at 172 Starbright Court in Wellington at 4PM with cocktails and appetizers.  Dinner begins at 6PM.  Bonfire with music at 9PM. Cost is $85 for adults and $25 for kids under 12.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                             September 27, 2014 – Harvestival Dinner at Grant Farms.

October 11, 2014Farm Dinner at Grant Farms. Details TBD.

October 18, 2014 – The Third Annual Bounty and Brews dinner to benefit The Growing Project. This year’s event features a gourmet meal prepared by seven local chefs in collaboration with seven local brewers. The event will be held at Jordan’s Floral.

Farmer in the Jax Kitchen
Every Wednesday in August Jax is inviting local farmers to cook a three farm fresh course dinner with their chefs. Cost is $35 per person ($25 for that farm’s CSA members). Call 970.682.2275 for reservations. August 13 – Revive Gardens, August 20 – Jodar and Lakeridge Farms, August 27 – Native Hill Farm.

Garden to Fork 2014
The Gardens offers a perfect excuse to explore new culinary adventures, have a date night, get together with your friends or meet new ones at our Garden to Fork Cooking Nights! Presented in partnership with University of Colorado Health, this Garden to Fork series will highlight the process of harvesting fresh produce grown in the Garden of Eatin’ at the Gardens on Spring Creek and transforming the ingredients into a healthy, delicious culinary dish. For more info click here.  Dates: Every Thursday, July 31-Sept. 18,  6-8 p.m., $25.

If you’ve always wanted to enjoy a farm to table dinner, I say go for it. It’s a great experience and supports a lot of local folks in the process. And then there’s the food. I mean really, what else is there! Tell them Erica sent you!

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Tour de Farms is coming!

Join the Sustainable Living Association on August 23 for the 8th annual Tour de Farms. The Tour is a leisurely 8 mile journey to various farms and gardens. You’ll check out some great urban agriculture projects, hear some presentations from local farmers, gain some knowledge and tools to apply to your own gardening endeavors, and learn how you can support efforts to strengthen our local food system. And of course, you will be able to eat some delicious local fare with a group of cool like minded folks.

In addition to the tour, you will have access to your new biking and gardening community through a forum only available to participants. Tour de Farms is a great way to observe and participate in sustainable communities and our local living economy. The tour is $25 per person and is limited to 50 participants. This is just another way the Sustainable Living Association connects us to our wonderful community and provides educational forums in sustainable living. Kudos to them!


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Calling all farmers or hopefuls!!

3 x's a dayAre you a farmer, or want to take the leap to be a farmer? Not sure how to take the leap or the next step in growing your business? The Larimer County Building Farmers and Ranchers Program is currently taking applications for its 2014 classes. The deadline to apply is September 1, 2014. Applications with a $25 registration fee must be received by the CSU Extension Building Farmer Program by the September 1 deadline to be considered.

The Colorado Building Farmers program is an 8 week program designed to help new farmers and ranchers explore agriculture as a business, while providing intermediate and experienced farmers and ranchers with tools and ideas to refine and enhance their business management, production, and marketing skills.  Each class begins with dinner, which provides time for socializing and networking, followed by presentations on topics on strategic business planning, managing risks in food and resources, recordkeeping and financial analysis, and marketing principles.  The goal of the program is for each participant to create a business plan.  The last two classes provide an opportunity for students to present their business plan and receive feedback from fellow students.

Classes run from October 6 through November 24 and is limited to 15 participants. The program is held at the CSU Larimer County Extension Office at 1525 Blue Spruce Drive, Fort Collins 80524.

Dinner is provided from 5:30 – 6:00 pm and presentations run from 6:00 to 8:30 pm. Cost is $220 (8 sessions) for new and intermediate farmers and ranchers ($320 for two people with ones set of handouts) and $140 (8 sessions) for experienced farmers and ranchers or $25 per class. A certificate of completion is awarded after completion and presentation of a business plan. Those with the certificate may apply in January 2015 for the Larimer County mentorship program.

Speakers include Nic Koontz and Katie Slota of Native Hill Farms; Curtis Bridges of Clydesdale Corners; Jon Slutsky of LaLuna Dairy; Marisa Bunning a Food and Safety CSU Extension Specialist; Attorney Kathie Riley; Dawn Thilmany-McFadden from CSU Dept. of Ag & Resource Economics; Jean Reeder of the Larimer County Farmers Market; Elizabeth Mozer of LoCo Food Distribution and Martha Sullens of CSU Extension.

Applications can be found online here. For additional information contact Karen Crumbaker, Extension Agent, at 970-498-6003 or

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Fall Planting

Hopefully you are reaping major rewards from all your hard work planting that garden this year. All the moisture has brought seahorse yields in my little rectangle jungle.

With all that harvesting you probably have some holes in your garden beds. Or maybe you let a small area rest for the season. Now is the time to throw in some cool weather crops to extend the season.

Colorado State Extension Services recommends the following for late July/early August planting.

Late July: Chinese cabbage, small carrot varieties, broccoli and turnips

Early August: kale, turnip greens and beets, peas

Mid-August: leaf lettuce, mustard greens, spinach and chard

Radish can be planted up through early September.

If you didn’t get around to planting a garden, it’s not too late! That’s a lot of great food for a late season. Happy harvesting and happy planting.

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So, the last post was a throwback of my favorite pie recipie. Well today I am still in cooking mode. Or, should I say easy non-cooking mode. Here’s a recipie adapted from Organic Gardening Magazine for a peach salad.

Ela Family Farm from Hotchkiss Colorado is at several of the farmer’s markets with their local peaches and roadside stacds with Palisade peaches are popping up all over the place.

peach-salad-Organic Gardening MagPeach Salad with Basil Oil


  • 3 ripe peaches, sliced into thin wedges
  • 3 cups arugula, spinach or other fresh greens from your garden. The peppery greens will give this salad a nice little spark.
  • 4 oz fresh crumbled chevre (I prefer the applewood chevre from Haystack Mountain)
  • 2 tbsp chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 3 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup fresh basil
  • 1/4 tsp salt

1. In a large bowl, toss together peaches, greens, chevre, and nuts.

2. Put oil, vinegar, basil, and salt in a blender or food processor and combine until smooth. If you are in a pinch, I’m sure Rocky Mountain Olive Oil company has a basil olive oil.

3. Divide peach salad among serving plates and drizzle with basil oil.

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TBT Pie Season

It’s a travel day for work. Poor me. Driving through the mountains during beautiful July. Seeing all the signs for peaches made me think of pie! Trust me, I’ll be heading home with a box or two of delicious palisade peaches. That leads me to share a post from last July. This crust is killer! Enjoy.

birthday pieIt’s here. The season is coming into full swing and the veggie choices are growing. And the best part? The peaches are here!!

The things you can find at the farmers market are herbs (basil for pesto anyone?), tomatoes, squash, zucchini, cucumbers, strawberries, carrots, peppers, kale, chard, eggplants, beets, salad greens and more. Last weekend I picked up some apricots that were divine along with peaches for a cobbler. It’s pie season!

This week was the hubby’s birthday. He’s a pie man more than a cake man. I am in full agreement there, so here is the wonderful pie recipe I used this week. This crust is incredible!



Triple Berry Pie


  • 2 1/4 cup flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 6 to 7 tbs. cold water

A good non-bleached flour is best, sometimes mixing it half and half with a wheat pastry flour. I prefer sea salt over table. It has a strong flavor so moderation is key. Earth Balance shortening in the sticks is the only way to go. Once I made this crust with it I haven’t used anything else.

Mix all the ingredients, except the water in a food processor, pulsing about 15 times until you have a crumbly mixture. Then, add the tbs. of water, first 4 then pulse a couple times, then the last two and pulse a couple times. The mixture should stick together without being too wet and gooey, and should not crumble too easily. The trick to pie crust is not to over work it. You should split the batch into two dough balls.

Flour your rolling surface and from the middle of the ball of dough working out. Back and forth works the dough a bit much and can cause tears in the dough. Work firmly and evenly until the dough is to your thickness liking. Somewhere around a 1/4 inch. Flouring the rolling pin helps too. The dough shouldn’t stick to the pin. Place the first dough circle into the bottom of your pie plate and keep the second for the top.

The Fillingberries

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 tbs. cornstarch
  • 2 tbs. quick cooking tapioca
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups each: raspberries, blackberries, hulled and halved strawberries
  • 1 tbs. cold butter, unsalted and diced small

Mix the first five ingredients then sprinkle them over the berries, mixing evenly. If your berries are super juicy, you may want to add a little more tapioca. I use tapioca flour, which acts as a binder and thickens the juice so you don’t have berry juice pie. Pour your berry mix into your pie shell and dot with the butter chunks.

Add the top crust and cut the overhanging dough to the edge of the pie plate. Seal the two crusts. Dab water between the edges of the two layers if you need to make a good seal. Pinch the edges for that classic pie crust look and poke small venting holes in the top and a couple slits to release the steam during baking.

Egg washing the top of the crust makes for a crisp top nicely browned. Just beat an egg white and brush over the top, finishing with a sprinkle of sugar. I like to use a sugar like Florida Crystals versus plain white sugar. The taste is subtler than white or substitute sugars. It lets the berries take center stage for the sweet.

Then, bake for 50-60 minutes in a 350 degree oven. If the top starts to brown too much before the pie is done, throw a loose piece of tin foil on top.

Serve warm with homemade vanilla bean ice cream if your feeling adventurous.

Enjoy! I know we did.

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Reader VIP Party at Lodge Sasquatch!


They’re here! Are you ready for the first round of our blogger events? Join us at The Lodge Sasquatch Kitchen on Tuesday, August 5th from 8:30-10:30 pm to hang out, chat about Fort Collins food and farming, and have a good time offline.

The Lodge has reserved space for us upstairs and is providing appetizers and the first round of drinks for your ticket price. You are more than welcome to purchase more drinks and entrees if you’d like! This is a ticketed event, and there will NOT be ticket sales at the door. We’re only selling a limited amount too, so get them while you can. You can purchase them through this link!

The money from ticket sales is going toward our updated website fundraiser that we’re doing. Missed those details? Then here’s that post. Don’t forget that you can get your Shirts With Perks, too! And if you can’t make any of our events this month, or purchase a shirt, then we have donation options available as well. Every little bit will help and we appreciate your support!

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