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Springtime in the Rockies!

It’s springtime here in the Rockies, and we all know what that means: abundant sunshine, sometimes strong winds, warm temperatures giving way to cold temperatures, glorious views of snow-capped mountains with green pastures, rain, and yes, snow! In other words, it’s that unpredictable time of year when a farmer must be prepared for all conditions in which to work to grow food.

 

A mid-April snowstorm puts the brakes on prepping outdoor beds for planting, but gives the mesa and the nearby mountains a good dousing of moisture, which will later be used for irrigation.

 

It’s also that time of year when we are forced to prioritize projects as we get the wheels turning for the upcoming season. We learned long ago that one can’t be fooled by a warm spell. Patience is a must. In other words, don’t plant cold-sensitive produce too soon, or you’ll live to regret it. The use of season extenders is how we can stretch what is a three-month frost-free season into a six-month growing season. We do this by, among other things, using hoop houses, planting lots of starters in the greenhouse that will eventually be transplanted and using row covers in the garden. A planting calendar with the exact dates on when to plant (with help from the Bio-dynamic calendar) also helps, with careful consideration to those plants that are cold tolerant. We have many tricks up our sleeves, gained from 12 years of commercial growing at 7000 feet in elevation!

Ultimately, the health of the garden comes down to the health of our soils. We’re strong believers in cover cropping as a means of producing “healthy soils.” Cover crops of cold-hardy winter rye and hairy vetch are planted in late summer and through the fall, and then tilled into the soil in the spring. Sometimes we’ll plant cover crops on fallowed beds in the middle of summer, with a warm-season buckwheat, which has a beautiful bee-loving and sweet-smelling blossom. The cover crops add nutrients back into the soil, compete effectively against weeds, help retain moisture and add organic matter to the soil.

A new implement this spring, the Berta Rotary Plow, has been invaluable to tilling in the winter cover crop and forming beds for spring planting. In the above picture, the plowed in beds are on the left, the bed being worked is on the right.

Beds that weren’t planted in a cover crop will see a thin coating of soil amendment produced as the end-product of our composting system.  A vegan may want to stop reading here. Why? Well, because the best soil amendment comes from the so-called “waste” provided by farm livestock — chickens, turkeys, horses, goats, pigs. In our case, that’s manures, yes, but also offal, blood and bone meal, and feathers from the poultry processing plant, which are all mixed together for two years with garden scraps and from the pastured poultry brooder’s wood shavings. We let all of this organic matter compost for at least two years before it becomes a suitable soil amendment. In our way of farming, livestock is an integral part of a holistic living and breathing farm organism.

So, what does all this have to do with prioritizing projects, which was the beginning of the thought process of this essay? This discussion is a long-winded way of saying that in the spring, we focus primarily on bed prep and getting as much seed into play as is humanly possible. That, in essence, becomes the top priority out of a long, almost daunting, list of projects. But it also takes water for seed to germinate and grow. So, part of the priority process is to reconstruct the farm’s water infrastructure, which was dismantled in the fall, before the long, cold winter months.

We also spent some time in the past few days burning ditch. That is, we burn the dead grasses in the ditches that restrict the even and smooth flow of water. An efficient delivery system of water is an absolute must in the drought-prone southwest. Every drop of water is sacred; every drop of water counts toward our success.

Our first apprentice arrived this week, Amy Sobel. Look for her profile soon (with a photo!). She’s awesome and an avid learner. Two more apprentices will arrive in May.

This past week, we had a mini “work day” with some of our CSA members. A good time was had by all. We spent a morning prepping beds, planting seed and cleaning up the garden.

So far, we’ve outdoors: peas, beets and carrots, to go with the garlic that was planted last fall. We’ve also seeded onions, lettuce, arugula, beet greens, bok choi, mustard greens, eggplant, peppers, tomatoes, leeks and scallions. Farmer Sajun Folsom, our only hired farm worker, is hard at work already, managing our pastured poultry flocks, three batches of which are now  in the brooder. Once they reach an age suitable to put up with the freaky mountain weather, these birds will be put out the pasture to feast on the grasses in the intensive rotational grazing pasture.

Our mama goat Dahlia is showing signs that she may kid any day now. She’s huge, barely trudging along in the pasture! We’re excited to be drinking raw goat milk again!

A neighbor showed up one morning, out of the blue, and offered to sell us his retired stock trailer, which we will convert into another chicken tractor to give our egg laying hens more space for their summer pasture rotations. We’ve ramped up our hen count this winter so that hopefully there won’t be an egg shortage this summer, when our delicious and nutritious pastured eggs are in such demand.

So, what does all this mean? It means that, if you’re still with us dear reader, you’re part of a revolution that goes well beyond the healthy food on your plate. It’s about an intimate connection to nature, it’s about the economy, it’s about agriculture, it’s about community, it’s about the efficient use of resources, it’s about bucking the power of the corporation and empowering yourself to be more free than you can ever imagine. It’s about restoring a healthy planet. It’s about your own good health. Thanks for being a part of the ride. After all, ultimately, you’re in control. Make sure you’ve prepped your own figurative beds, readying them to germinate the seeds that reside within all of us.

 

 

Signups now available for new CSA members!

Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery will be entering its 12th year of offering CSA shares this upcoming growing season. Our shares begin with nutritious and organic produce, and then you can add, as you wish, shares of pastured eggs, baked goods (organic bread and addictive granola), grass-fed chickens and turkeys. New this year will be the ability, in some capacity, to “customize” your box by asking for more (or less) of a particular vegetable. Our share prices are still the lowest in the region, and we intend to keep it that way. The 19-week season lasts from the week before Memorial Day Weekend to the first week in October.

To begin the easy signup process, check out the information sheet by clicking here. A link appears at the bottom of the information page that will complete your signup. While on the website, check out the newsletter section, which will give you a good idea of weekly happenings on the farm, including the contents of the CSA basket for that week. Lest we forget to mention, you will also receive a weekly recipe that includes items in your weekly box.

To get your appetite whetted, this was the contents of a CSA box from last August :

  • Beets
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Green and purple beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Green peppers
  • Flowers
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes for tomato shares
  • Chicken for  poultry shares
  • Eggs for egg shares
  • Bread for bakery shares

We would love to add your household to the long list of satisfied CSA members. Enjoy FRESH, nutritious food, available from a LOCAL source and stay healthy while contributing to the local economy.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Update on 2014 summer CSA shares

Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery will be entering its 12th year of offering CSA shares this upcoming growing season. Our shares begin with nutritious and organic produce, and then you can add, as you wish, shares of pastured eggs, baked goods (organic bread and addictive granola), grass-fed chickens and turkeys. New this year will be the ability, in some capacity, to “customize” your box by asking for more (or less) of a particular vegetable. Our share prices are still the lowest in the region, and we intend to keep it that way. The 19-week season lasts from the week before Memorial Day Weekend to the first week in October. For more information on the CSA, check out last year’s information sheet by clicking here. While there, check out the newsletter section, which will give you a good idea of weekly happenings on the farm, including the contents of the CSA basket for that week. Lest we forget to mention, you will also receive a weekly recipe that includes items in your weekly box.

To get your appetite whetted, this was the contents of a CSA box from last August :

  • Beets
  • Romaine lettuce
  • Green and purple beans
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Zucchini
  • Cucumber
  • Carrots
  • Green peppers
  • Flowers
  • Basil
  • Tomatoes for tomato shares
  • Chicken for  poultry shares
  • Eggs for egg shares
  • Bread for bakery shares

Yummy!!!

 

We are working hard to finalize our CSA registration information so we may begin the process. Renewing members from last season’s CSA have first dibs on shares that are available. For those of you wanting to signup for our CSA for the first time, have no fear: rumors that we’re “sold-out” are simply not true. Every year we have extra shares available to new members.

So, stay tuned as we work out the details on the upcoming season’s CSA. Registrations will begin in February!

Winter Bakery CSA shares now available … starting 1/3/14

Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery still has space in our winter bread CSA. A share guarantees you a once a week delivery of fresh organic bread or granola all winter long! Local, organic, delicious. As little as $3.25 a week.

Read on for more details:

 What it is:

Indian Ridge Bakery will be offering a 3-month long CSA for our breads and granola. Sign up for a once a week delivery of your favorite baked goods. Our sourdoughs and artisan breads were a huge hit this summer at the Telluride Farmer’s Market and many of you have been asking how you can get them during the winter, so we’ve decided to offer them through a weekly delivery program. The Winter CSA will focus on those artisan breads but will also provide options for our classic loaf breads, baguettes, and granola.

How it works:

Sign up for any and all of the options you would like to receive every week this winter. Deliveries will be once a week to Telluride, on Friday from 3-4 at an “in town” location (TBD) or at the farm in Norwood on Friday afternoons from 1-2.

When:

The bakery CSA will run for 12 weeks, starting Friday, Jan. 3 through Friday, March 21.

Payment:

Cash, check or credit card to be paid, in full, on the first day of pick up.

What do I do if I’m going to be out of town?

Have a friend pick up your order and freeze it! All of these breads freeze beautifully. Or give it away to your favorite person!

 

Call 970-327-4762 and we’ll send you a signup form! (More details are provided below.)

 

You’ll be able to sign up for one or all of the following options. You may also sign up for more than just one of any single options. For example: if you’d like two baguettes per week, sign up for two baguette options!

* Artisan Bread: A rotating loaf of artisan bread. ($6ea)$72 season

Examples: sourdough rounds, walnut or olive and rosemary batards

* Baguettes: Classic French baguette. ($3.50ea) $42/season

* Classic Indian Ridge loaves: ($4.50 ea) $54/season

Sunflower Oat, Seeded Multi-grain or Honey Wheat berry (you decide)

* Granola: Bulk orders by the pound.

Honey Almond ($5.85/lb), Chia Cherry ($5.95/lb), Gluten Free ($6.85/lb).

Example: 3 lbs Honey almond, ($17.55/wk x12=$210.60)                                                                                              

 

Call 970-327-4762 to place your order!

Now accepting apprenticeship applications for 2014!

We are recharging our batteries and getting really psyched for the upcoming growing season!  Although several months away, a seeming eternity when looking out the window at a good ol’ Colorado blizzard, the planning for next year never ends.

To this end, we’re announcing that we are now formally accepting apprenticeship applications for the 2014 growing season. The six-month commitment begins in early-to-mid April and ends in early-to-mid October. Only serious applicants, those interested in learning lots about how to grow food and raise livestock, need apply.

We ask that you fill out the apprentice applications, found by clicking here. If you want to read more about the apprenticeship position and what it entails, please go to the link that can be found here.  We will be making our selection by March 1, 2014, if not before.

Experienced farmers such as ourselves have a lot to teach. We’re always excited to pass on our experiences to other aspiring farmers. In this increasingly corporate dominated society, the world needs all of us now more than ever.

We look forward to entertaining your application.

Fall CSA season almost over (sob) …

We’re down to our last week of the fall CSA distribution. It’s been nothing short of a great success! Thank you to all of the regional households who participated. And thanks to apprentice Stephanie Turco for stepping up to the plate by farming and managing the CSA shares. It feels great to provide regional residents with nutritious food from our farm right up until Thanksgiving! We’re also proud of the fact that, in spite of what is now the imminent arrival of winter and super cold temps, we were able to grow the food with season-extending tricks and passive solar energy. We did not expend a single penny on fossil fuels to grow this food into the fall season.

Here’s a photo of a very recent CSA veggie basket; it’s full of health and nutrition:

Yummy!!!

 

And, here’s an image comparing and contrasting store-bought organic, “free-range” eggs and eggs laid by hens on our farm. Keep in mind, the commercial egg industry has stolen the expressions “free-range” and “cage-free” turning these growing practices into an abomination, where layer hens are still indoors, simply needing access to the outdoors (usually onto a concrete pad) and not housed in cages. Oh, yes, but they are fed organic grains … but where’s the grass?

The egg on top is marketed in a carton labeled organic, “free-range” and non-medicated. It’s essentially from an industrial flock of layer hens, raised indoors in a factory setting. The three eggs surrounding this pale yolked egg comes from our grass-fed, pastured layer hens. Our birds are still digesting green grasses in our incredibly fertile two-acre intensive grazing pasture.

 

CSA Full for the Season!

Thank you to all households who signed up for the 2013 CSA. We’re no longer taking new signups. We’re super psyched for the season; we’re off to a great start! The moisture of the past few days has been a real blessing. Thank you for your commitment to healthy and delicious food, your local farmers and a strengthening regional economy.

 

Meat Orders now accepted through our online store!

We have partnered with Farmigo (the online subscription service that is also handling our CSA share orders this season) to make ordering meats online a quick and easy process for you. If you’d like to reserve your winter storage pastured chickens, or order a pastured turkey, or a side of grass-fed pork, beef or lamb, please go to:

www.farmigo.com/store/indianridgefarm

If you need more information on any of these healthy, delicious meats, please go to the “Farm” button on this website.

Thank you for your continued support of our farm.

CSA shares still available for 2013 season!

Good news: we still have CSA shares available for the upcoming growing season! If interested, please click on the CSA information button. Then read the information, and follow the instructions to sign up through Farmigo. Pricing of our shares and share options are all available on our Farmigo sign up page. Thank you for your support!