Happy Summer Solstice!

Hopefully everyone had a rejuvenating Bluegrass Festival Weekend. We know: you either love it or leave it, literally. We’re in the former camp. In fact, the farm calls this festival a “holiday weekend,” and, with some manipulation to our daily schedule, we go out of our way to enjoy the fine pickin’ in the Telluride Town Park. The festival always seems to coincide with the Summer Solstice, too, which is a significant time in the growing season giving one another reason to howl at the moon. When we’re not in the park in person, we’re listening in on KOTO radio. For the fifth or sixth year in a row, Indian Ridge supplied backstage with salad greens, and, new this year, with some granola for the breakfast feast. In exchange we received passes that we could share with the apprentices. All in all, it’s a win-win for all involved! Now if we could only catch up on the sleep deprivation we all seem to be experiencing.

What’s in your box (with lots of recipe ideas!):

Beautiful Head Lettuce

Mustard Greens (see this week’s new recipe, Noodles with Bacon and Mustard Greens)

Chinese Cabbage (Chinese Cabbage Slaw)

Garlic Scapes (the flower head of a garlic plant; eaten in the same manner as green onions. Recipe idea: here)

Beets

Radishes

Peas (Friday and Saturday share distribution this week; Tuesday share distribution next week)

Pastured poultry for all chicken shares

Pastured eggs for egg shares

Addictive granola and organic bread for bakery shares

The importance of GMO labeling

Many of our members will remember Dr. Judy Ingalls, who used to be the town of Telluride’s medical doctor up until several years ago. She’s been spearheading a local petition drive to get a GMO-labeling law on November’s Colorado ballot. On Fridays, she can be found near our booth at the Telluride Farmers Market. If you haven’t already, we strongly recommend you sign her petition. Why? Quite simply, we all have a right to know what is in our food. Current laws don’t require food manufacturers to label whether or not the ingredients in their products, primarily corn and soybean, contain GMOs.

What is a GMO? As defined by the website labelgmos.org, a genetically engineered food is a plant or meat product that has had its DNA artificially altered in a laboratory by genes from other plants, animals, viruses, or bacteria, in order to produce foreign compounds in that food. This type of genetic alteration is not found in nature, and is experimental.  From our own perspective, GMO seeds have been developed so that conventional farmers (read: non-organic) can use bucketloads of herbicides, insecticides, fungicides and pesticides on their crops to control weeds without damaging the food crops. In other words, the seed has been genetically altered so that chemicals, mainly glyphosate commonly found in Roundup, won’t harm the crop but will kill the weeds. The result has been that herbicide use has increased tremendously in the past 5-10 years, harming soils while also putting food products out in the marketplace that contain these GMO products. And of course, we’ve all read about the “super weeds” that have now developed a resistance to glyphosates, creating quite a connundrum for these conventional farmers.

Some more reasons for signing the petition are that there have been no long-term studies done on the effects of GMOs on human health. That’s right: we’re all guinea pigs in this corporate experiment. Meanwhile, livestock who consume GMO-tainted feed have been found to have digestive issues. Sixty-four countries around the world are now requiring the labeling of GMO foods; only Canada and the US remain holdouts in this drive among industrialized nations.

At Indian Ridge Farm we use only organic seed (non-GMO) and we source out GMO-free grains for our livestock feed. The labeling of GMO will show the industry that consumers are serious about what they put in their bodies, and should increase the demand for more traditional, non-GMO seeds to make a return to the marketplace.

Western Slope honey now available at Telluride Farmers Market!

Thanks to the hard work of CSA member Laura Duncan, we now have seven bee hives at the farm. They’re all in various stages of development, but all appear to be healthy. While we’re not commercially making honey from these hives, we have sourced with Epicurean Honey Company, a bee cooperative based in Parachute, Colorado, to make honey from the Western Slope available to customers at our farmer’s market booth in Telluride. The honey is “fastidiously handled gourmet honey,” in the words of beekkeeper Blane Colton, who is a real character in this own right.

Laura Duncan examining a full top bar of honeybees hard at work!

Here’s a little fascinating factoid: A one pound jar of honey represents some 10 million honeybee flower visits and a flight distance of 10 times the circumference of the earth. Ponder that one for awhile!

(For the record, we also supply customers with Vermont Maple Syrup, from some 10,000 trees tapped by Norwood local and Vermont native Tom “Stretch” Lawrence. He notes that production was down in New England because of the harsh late winter weather that region experienced. But the maple syrup speaks for itself! This product can also be found at our booth in Telluride. Try some!)

Other farm news …

A few reminders:

• If you haven’t already done so, please make payment on your last installment for this season’s CSA share. Keeping a positive cash flow this time of year is a real challenge, and we rely on CSA payments to keep it happening. Thank you to those who are current in their payments to the farm; we appreciate it very much

• Please wash your produce, especially your salad greens.

• July the 4th falls on a Friday this year; the Telluride Farmers Market will be held on Thursday, July 3, from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. We will have our CSA box delivery to the market on Thursday, July 3, unless you hear otherwise from us in the form of another email.

Some 80 very healthy tomato plants made it into the ground last week, with more put in the ground today. We start the plants from seed in April, nurture them along through the remaining cool spring season, and then wait until after the last frost date for their final transplanting into the ground. With some luck, we should see a bountiful tomato harvest this season.

 

Oh, the wonders of intensive grazing! This image was taken on June 19, 2014 in our intensive rotational grazing pasture, where the pastured poultry, a flock of layer hens and the turkeys (soon) reside. This field has seen scant irrigation, but the benefits to pasture from the fertility put down by the various livestock, are noteworthy. In places, the grass is almost five feet tall.