Last CSA distribution this week

We feel so privileged and honored to once again be your farmers this past growing season. It’s really with mixed emotions that we bid the summer season farewell. But ’tis the season. Last Friday’s hard frost knocked the garden down so that now only the hardiest of hardy plants are surviving. Many of these surviving vegetables (chard, kale, lettuce, carrots, etc.) will continue to be distributed during the fall CSA season, which, believe it or not, begins next week!  Most of the root crops had already been harvested. Overall, we feel the summer has been extremely successful on many, many fronts. We hope you share that sentiment. We’d love to hear your feedback if you’re so inclined.

We have one batch of pastured poultry left to process this Wednesday. The season is winding down quickly, filled now with projects aimed at “buttoning down for winter.” The Ram Pump was dismantled last week, and the remaining water systems will all be retired for the season this weekend. We are selling half of the layer flock to folks interested in having backyard layer hens. The mobile chicken coops  that have served us well this summer (read: converted horse trailers) will be mucked out, with the roosts and nesting boxes re-installed in  the greenhouse, which will serve as the winter home for the younger of the layer hens.

Sadly, the apprentices will be leaving soon for greener pastures. Stephanie will remain, as the farmer in charge of the fall CSA. She’ll be sending out an email soon to explain the ins and outs of the fall CSA. Stephanie is very capable of doing a great job. We’ve had an awesome group of young future farmers this season and we wish them all the best in their life’s pursuits and adventures. Saturday night we’re hosting a Thanksgiving Dinner for these fine folk who have learned so much while giving of their time and energy. And a big thank you goes out to Sajun Folsom, who so ably ran our pastured poultry and grass-fed turkey operation this summer, and to Hannah Rossman our baker extraordinaire. Both Sajun and Hannah will return next summer, which we’re so psyched about!

Food  in all its various forms continues to make headlines throughout the land. Some of this news relates to the latest in food fads, some of it is the latest in nutrition, some of it is in the form of the Farm Bill, some of it is in terms of climate change, some of it is in the form of GMOs and industrial agriculture, and yet more is in the international sphere. Regardless, please keep your eyes peeled for news related to the success and sustainability of small farmers in the US and elsewhere. You see, while this small farm revolution which you may or may not realize you’ve been a part of the past 19 weeks is strengthening, there are strong forces in the large industrial ag world which are conspiring to see its demise. It is up to all of us to educate ourselves and be active in issues pertaining to your rights as consumers to continue having access to the healthiest, most nutritious food available. In the end, the health of rural communities such as Norwood, and the health of the global environment will benefit.

Thank you again for an awesome growing season!

What’s in this week’s box

  • Leeks
  • Mustard greens
  • Beets
  • Fennel
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Spaghetti squash (pale yellow and oval)
  • Kabucha squash (dark green or orange –”Hubbard” variety)
  • Swiss chard
  • Green peppers
  • Pastured poultry for all chicken shares
  • Pastured eggs for all egg shares
  • Addictive granola and organic bread for bread shares

This week’s recipe is Spaghetti Squash with Sausage Filling, can be found by clicking here.

Butternut, acorn, spaghetti, pumpkin and green and red kabucha squash.

 

How to properly store your winter squash

When harvesting pumpkins and winter squash, handle them carefully to avoid cuts and bruises. These injuries are not only unsightly, they provide entrances for various rot-producing organisms. Cut the fruit off the vine with a pruning shears. Leave a 3- to 4-inch handle on the pumpkins and a 1 inch stem on the winter squash. A pumpkin with a 3-to 4-inch handle is more attractive. Also, pumpkins and winter squash are less likely to rot when they are harvested with a portion of the stem attached to the fruit. Do not carry the fruit by their stems. The stems may not be able to support the weight of the fruit and they may break off.

After harvesting, cure the pumpkins and winter squash (except for the acorn types) at a temperature of 80 to 85 degrees and a relative humidity of 80 to 85 percent. Curing helps to harden their skins and heal any cuts and scratches. Do not cure acorn squash. The high temperature and relative humidity during the curing process actually reduce the quality and storage life of acorn squash.

After curing, store pumpkins and winter squash in a cool, dry, well-ventilated location. Storage temperatures should be 50 to 55 degrees. Do not store pumpkins and squash near apples, pears, or other ripening fruit. Ripening fruit release ethylene gas which shortens the storage life of pumpkins and squash. When storing pumpkins, place them in a single layer where they don’t touch one another. Good air circulation helps to prevent moisture from forming on the surfaces of the fruit and retards the growth of decay fungi and bacteria. Placing pumpkins in piles generates unwanted heat which may result in the rotting of some fruit. Periodically check pumpkins and winter squash in storage and discard any fruit which show signs of decay.

Properly cured and stored pumpkins should remain in good condition for 2 to 3 months. The storage life of acorn, butternut, and hubbard squash is approximately 5 to 8 weeks, 2 to 3 months, and 5 to 6 months, respectively

Students participate in local organic farming

We had numerous student groups from throughout the region participating in various programs here at the farm all summer long. Telluride Academy brings a camp program here every Thursday during the summer, and most of the regional preschools involve their youngsters. More recently the Telluride Institute’s Watershed program brought a group of middle schoolers from Nucla and Naturita for an in-depth tour. Monday it was the Telluride High School’s turn, as a busload of kids showed up to help out with various projects for several hours as part of their Community Service commitment.

A large student group from Telluride High School descended on the farm Monday to fulfill their Community Service commitment while working hard for several hours. We harvested winter squashes, pulled dead eggplant, sunflowers, the flower bed and tomato plants, all part of winter preparation here at the farm.

 

We enjoy the time we spend with these young people, hopefully influencing them in a positive way to make smart choices related to agriculture and the food they eat.

The following letter (one of  several) appeared in our post office box this morning from a student at the Nucla Middle School:

Dear Indian Ridge Farm,

Thank you for taking time out of your very busy day to take the students of NEMS and I on a really awesome tour. I think that what you do for your farm and your community is really generous and cool. Just the way you conserve and use materials that other people would just throw away is really cool. Also, it is awesome that you don’t use any harmful chemicals on your garden and that your raise and butcher your chickens and turkeys all on your farm. I also think it is very cool and conservable that you mostly always provide your own water and energy. I even took some ideas from your farm and property and tired to put them into effect on my property and use them for my horses. I just want to thank you again for the awesome tour you took us on and also for feeding us some, too :) .

With that, we say, “Until next year!” Thank you again for supporting local agriculture.