Located at the base of Buckhorn Mountain at 6700' elevation, Buckhorn Gardens is a small, organic vegetable farm 13mi. south of Montrose, Colorado. Our farm is an active part of a 12,000 acre ranch; however, we only manage 3 acres with intensive vegetable gardening.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Well, you would think because winter has arrived the farm duties would slow down, however we have been busier then ever finishing up projects before the snow covers the ground. Lucky for us the days are short this time of year and Mother Nature is taking her time covering us with snow. We have missed out on two major snow storms, receiving just a dusting while areas around us are measuring their snow fall in feet. Every year our final projects are planting garlic, putting our beds to rest and clean up/pickup. The reoccurring landscaping project seems to get rescheduled to spring and then back to fall every year! The winter CSA started last week and despite numerous nights with below zero degrees, the greens look great.

After three years we are sill finding giant rocks in the beds

I always wonder "how did we miss these rocks the last time we worked in these beds!"

Collecting leaves from town and transporting them to the farm.
After weeding the beds, we sheet layer them with plant matter, leaves, manure and then straw

A new growing space for next year

The garden beds all put to rest for a long winters nap

Saturday, November 28, 2009

On Monday Jinelle and I (the return of the old blogger, Breigh) drove up to Grand Junction to drop off Alison at the train station. She will at last be reunited with her love, Jesse! We will miss her great blog entries and positive attitude.

Ode to the Blogger
By John

She came with books and a french degree
Excited to grow and write
Her quick sailors wit kept us laughing and baking kept us fed
She headed east, our gardening friend, to a love in cold Wisconsin
Stay warm out there
We will miss you dear
The blogger is gone, but we must go on...

Here is on more blog entry by Alison....
Last Wednesday the farm adopted three llamas from a neighbor down the road. Breigh, Jinelle, John, and I drove over in the kubota, then Jinelle, John and I each walked a llama down to our goat barn.

Walking the llamas back to our barn

Eventually these llamas will probably have a home up at the farm site, near the turkeys and chickens, but for now they are cohabiting with the goats. This is a bonus for us, because it ensures that our goats won't be harmed by coyotes.

From left to right, Dusty, Samson, and Scout

On Tuesday we said our goodbyes to our enormous turkey, Rocky. Darren and John took care of the harvest. Once cleaned, the bird weighed over 30 pounds, probably 35 pounds if not more. Breigh and I put him on our scale in the wash shed, which maxes out at 30 lbs, and could not get an accurate reading.

Our newest intern, John, getting ready to harvest Rocky

Thanksgiving, of course, was a day of cooking, feasting, and hanging out outside, where the sun was shining. Breigh did most of the turkey prep, Darren was in charge of stuffing, Jinelle was on mashed potatoes, John made biscuits and sweet potatoes, and I made the green bean casserole. Everyone helped with dessert making the night before, and we had four pies to split among five people. It was a Thanksgiving feast to be remembered for a long, long time. We hope you all had a marvelous holiday as well.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Buckhorn Crew would like to extend a special thank you to all the families who came to the farm on November 7th to harvest their own veggies. Members got to experience the joy of picking lettuce, spinach, and braising greens leaf by leaf. Many families busted out shovels to harvest onions, leeks, and parsnips. We also had tomatoes, potatoes, and cabbages already picked for people to choose. Around noon we took a break for a potluck lunch, feasting on lasagna, butternut squash dip, and salad. Everyone had an excellent afternoon!

We would also like to say thank you for a great CSA season all around. If you'd like to sign up for next summer's CSA, renew your membership by January 15, 2010 by contacting Breigh via email or telephone. We look forward to hearing from you and growing your nutritious, flavorful organic produce next season!

All of the many children who came to the farm had a great day
Apologies for the extended absence! It's been a crazy month here at Buckhorn, but I'm going to try to update you with as much as I can. This post will be devoted to telling you about the afternoon we spent with our friend Ashley, who is an intern at Dancing Willow in Durango. She shared with us her knowledge of making tinctures, infused oils, and salves out of herbs from our garden.

We planned ahead and picked several herbs to dry the day before the session. Borage, comfrey, calendula, ashwagandha, and gotu kola were the herbs we picked ahead of time. We harvested rosemary the day of the session and made fresh rosemary oil.

We used the dried borage, comfrey, and calendula to make an infused oil using cold pressed olive oil and a blender. The ashwagandha was used to make a tincture by soaking its dried root in a large jar full of grain alcohol.

Our last and most ambitious project was the salve we made at the end of the day. We used 2 ounces of beeswax, 2 ounces of cocoa butter, 1/2 ounce of the comfrey/borage/calendula oil, 1/2 ounce of purchased essential rose oil, 4 ounces of pure oil (not infused or essential), and 2 ounces of shea butter. We heated all of it in a double boiler, poured it into small containers, and let it harden overnight. In the morning we had a fabulous hand salve!

Crushed borage and comfrey on the left, dried calendula flowers ready to crushed in the food processor

Breigh pouring infused rosemary oil out of a blender through a cheesecloth

I'm helping Breigh get every last drop of that rosemary oil

Pouring the hot salve into vessels to harden

Monday, November 2, 2009

Hello all, I hope you've enjoyed the 60°F weather we've been having after all that cold snow! The farm is doing just fine after all of the extreme temperatures. Our low was 10° on Thursday night, but all the vegetables pulled through just fine.

Breigh and Rajah outside the dome in new snow

Fresh snow caked on the dome, seen from the inside

Your friendly Buckhorn blogger, shoveling snow off of cabbage and cauliflower with the help of Rajah

The temperature in the dome stayed around 39°F and the temperature in the high tunnels were around 33°F. "The soil keeps the temperature in the high tunnels surprisingly high during the extremely cold weather," explains Breigh. The small leafy greens that we seeded and transplanted last week stayed fairly happy and productive thanks to the mini high tunnels we constructed over each row in both Mars and Polaris.

The mini high tunnels

We uncover the mini high tunnels every morning and recover them every night

The dome is now fully planted with head lettuce, spinach, radishes, scallions, and a few other miscellaneous greens. All the transplants look great, so be sure to check it out when you come for the pick-your-own extravaganza this Saturday! (Don't forget to RSVP by Thursday the 5th!)

Today we planted some of the many, many garlic cloves we will be planting in the next few days. This afternoon we got Spanish Rojo, K's Backyard, Khabar, Kettle River Giant, and Panesco Blue in the ground, so you can start looking forward to those and many other varieties around next July. We have a lot more varieties to plant. So many, in fact, that we are having a hard time coming up with beds to put them in!

We hope to see many of you this coming Saturday for the pick-your-own and the potluck at noon. If you are curious about the Farm Tour we took a month ago, find the blog entry from October 9th that I just posted a few minutes ago for a synopsis of the excursion and lots of pictures. Until Saturday, be well!

Pea greens sprouting up fast in Mars

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hello again everyone, sorry about the brief hiatus. We've had a few technical difficulties and some hectic weeks here at Buckhorn. The temperatures have begun to drop and covering and uncovering beds has become a frequent chore. We had a morning of steady, cold rain today and there was some snow up on Buckhorn (Storm King). We've been spending the bulk of our time ripping up old beds, amending them, and replanting them for our winter crops.

Several trays of seedlings waiting to transplanted in Mars the hoop house

A new row of Red Russian kale transplants in Mars

This has been going on in the greenhouses and the dome for the most part, since this is where the bulk of our winter crops will be grown. Long rows of kale, chard, spinach, and lettuce have been planted in the greenhouses as well as partial rows of carrots, beets, leeks, and scallions. Radishes and daikons as well as more lettuce and carrots will be planted in the dome. Some of the radishes as well as some basil have been planted in the dome already.

A freshly dirt-filled bed in the dome, waiting to be planted

Lately we've been lending a helping hand at some other farms. Two weekends ago, Breigh and Darren helped the folks at Circle A Farms tighten their hoop house (greenhouse), so as not to be lost to high winds. Last Friday Breigh, Darren, and I drove to Tomten Farm on Hastings Mesa to help with the construction of a 33-foot diameter dome that is new to their operation. I had a great time meeting other farmers and seeing other farm sites.

After the work day, we all went to the Telluride Farmers Market Dinner, which was held at Cocina de Luz on Main Street. Buckhorn Gardens would like to send out a big thanks to Chris, the farmers market director, and all of the other folks who helped to put that event on. Everyone had a great time eating delicious food donated by all the farm vendors.

Some information for our CSA members who pick up at the farm and who live in Telluride: We will be having this week's pick up on Thursday, as usual. This is also the case for the Thursday October 29th pick up. Thursday November 5th will NOT be a pick up day. Instead we will be hosting a "Pick Your Own" CSA Day on Saturday November 7th. Bring your family, friends, and work gloves if you feel like pitching in with some bed amending or weeding after you pick your own share from the garden.

I hope everyone is having a great week, take care!

Jack-o-lanterns carved down at the intern shack -- Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 9, 2009

The last weekend in September, Breigh, Noel, Jinelle, Jesse, and I set out on a road trip to New Mexico. After doing chores on Saturday morning, we packed the car and headed for our first stop, the Durango farmer’s market. Here we chatted with other farmers, compared prices, and bought apples. We had some lunch in Durango then hit the road for our next destination, Taos, New Mexico.

Driving in to Taos, we passed the “world headquarters” for Earthships, houses made entirely from recycled materials and built into the ground. It was a neighborhood consisting of over 100 Earthships. You couldn’t even see them all from the road and they spread over miles. We returned to this site on our way home, to have a look around the visitor’s center (which is an Earthship), but we found a seminar under way that prevented us from going inside. There were license plates from as far away as Ontario and Alberta in the parking lot.

The first farm we visited on Saturday was called Hondo Seco Farms, or “2 Blondes Farming” located just outside of Taos in a small town called Arroyo Seco at about 7,600 feet. We visited one part of this farming operation (it is somewhat spread out) and were welcomed by a charming blonde woman named Julie in overalls and knee-high rubber boots. “I’m doing irrigation today,” she explained. Irrigation was, in fact, one of the most interesting aspects of this farm for me.

At Buckhorn, we use only drip lines and hand watering as of now. At Hondo Seco, they use a system of small ditches to water their fields. They do this only once a week. Julie explained to us a peculiar ritual that they take part in order to obtain their water. They use the old acequias to water their fields and every six days they must visit the mayor and ask for their water to be turned on.

Hondo Seco also had a medium-sized hoop house, a mature and lovely orchard, a beehive, and a very nice looking chicken coop that housed a handful of young chickens.

View of the Blondes' main field

Sweet chicken coop with young chickens

Jinelle and Noel inspecting the greenhouse

Irrigation ditches - fascinating!

Saying goodbye and thank you to Julie at Hondo Seco, we hopped in the car to drive to our next destination, Beneficial Farms, in the hills outside of Sante Fe. Steve, who welcomed us, is farming at about 7,000 feet and living completely off the grid. He has owned the land since 1979 and began farming it 1994. The farm is part of a year-round CSA cooperative with several other farms in the area. It also produces 150 - 300 eggs a day from its large flock of chickens, which Steve sells wholesale. One greenhouse is home to tomatoes and peppers, and the roof can be opened during the summer.

The adobe/hay structures were one of the most impressive aspects of this farm. The intern/guest house has two sides made of hay, one of solid adobe, and the fourth of wooden frame. This structure is also the packing/processing center and there is a sunroom/green house attached on the south side. All of the living spaces, farming spaces, and animal spaces are completely off-grid, as I mentioned. Steve uses rainwater catchments, solar power, and wastewater recycling to accomplish this. Below is a photo of just two of the rainwater catchment tanks.

Steve's fields and the adobe structures in the distance

Two rainwater catchment tanks on the side of the intern/guest house

Steve left us with some words of wisdom on the value of obtaining ones own land and staying on it. He said that 30 years on the same patch of land has given him the ability to not only read his own land very well, but the ability to read unfamiliar land almost immediately as well. This skill allows him to time his crops well and to know what his soil needs. His thoughts were taken to heart among the five of us guests and I think we all ached a little inside just thinking about getting our hands on land of our own.

That night we camped out in Sante Fe National Forest, then headed back to Taos the next day for our final farm tour. We pulled into Morning Star Farms, back in Arroyo Seco, and Melinda, the farmer, greeted us warmly. Like Benefitial Farms, Morning Star practices Biodynamic farming. She has been farming for 12+ years and has had her CSA running for about 10. This year the CSA has about 54 full shares, all of which is produced on about 2 acres, much like ours, and she doesn't use a tractor either. She has two green houses full of tomatoes, basil, and many other warm season veggies. She also grows corn, which was impressive to us, given the size of our stalks this year. Her crops were grown very close together, which was some advice we learned from Steve the day before, in order to maximize water efficiency. As the soil gets better at Buckhorn, we should be able to start doing the same. Morning Star also attends the Arroyo Seco farmer’s market and also sells to local restaurants.

Noel regards the corn with wonder

Morning Star's adorable farm dog, whose name I never caught

There were at least two more rows of basil just like this. Pesto anyone?

We said goodbye to Melinda and prepared for the long drive home. It was an excellent, educational, and beautiful trip.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The weather here at Buckhorn has taken a sharp dive past autumn and straight into winter. We've had many nights in the low 20s this past week, our lowest being 21°F. This has been uncharacteristic for the area. We all love an Indian summer, and sadly it seems we will be found wanting this year. As a result of the wintry temperatures, we've lost a lot of vegetables despite the fact that we double covered most of our outdoor crops. Beets and broccoli will not be making another appearance this season and some of the greens have suffered frost damage. Wednesdays are our day to harvest greens and it was quite the challenge. Many leaves have brown tips, so we have to do our picking with an even more selective eye than we usually do.

In preparation for the forecast cold snap, we completely tore up the two green houses. Last last week we harvested several hundred pounds of green tomatoes, which are currently ripening (fingers crossed) in our root cellar. While we wait (and hope and pray) that those turn red, we're working on finding some recipes for green tomatoes. Those will likely be making their way to you CSA members in a few weeks.

Now that all the tomatoes, squash, cucumber, melons, and other miscellaneous veggies have been uprooted from the green houses, it's time to get the beds prepped for their winter residents. We have begun doing this in the past couple of days. First we soak alfalfa pellets, which we then spread on the beds to add nitrogen to the soil. Next we spread a layer of dry, crumbled leaves to add organic matter. If we're lucky, we can put down some pine needles as well, which are naturally acidic and benefit the alkaline pH level in our soil. The next layer is one of cow manure and compost, which contribute more organic matter and nitrogen to the beds. Our next step was to use the small rototiller to mix up all the aforementioned ingredients. This is a step that we will skip in the future. It chops and thus multiplies the roots of weeds we worked hard to eradicate. Second, it destroys the "structure" of the soil, which in turn compromises the diversity of micro-organisms that benefit the plants. Further, after time it can cause the formation of a "tiller pan," a layer of hard packed soil just below where the blades of the tiller reach in the dirt. This is the last thing we need in our clay-ridden soil. Newer beds, like the ones we are working in, do benefit from the rototilling, so we decided to use the contraption again this time.

What will go in these beautifully prepped beds? We have over a dozen flats of transplants readily waiting in the dome. These little plants include cold-hearty greens like kale, chard, arugula, spinach, and perpetual spinach. We are also going to directly seed lettuce and our special "lettuce-less bliss mix" (a label coined by Darren mere minutes ago). After these crops are planted and transplanted, we are going to use an Elliot Coleman technique to aid in their protection from cold. With hoops of wire and long strips of remay and plastic we will basically create mini hoop-houses over the rows of veggies. This should double up the warmth kept around the greens as they grow.

The last bit of exciting farm news is that we are now hosting a billy goat to breed with our oldest and best-milking goat, Belle. The other two goats, Fanny and Chev, have gone away so that Comanche and Belle could have the barn to themselves. Comanche (ko-MAN-chee) smells pretty bad, so we have special "goat clothes" that we wear to the barn to milk Belle now.

That's all there is to report from the farm this week. See you all tomorrow or at market, be well!
Sweet and Gooey Parsnips

1 pound parsnips
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground pepper

1. Scrape or peel the parsnips, then cut them into sticks about the size of your little finger. Dry well with paper toweling.
2. In a heavy 10-inch skillet, melt butter; then add the parsnips, shaking to coat. Sprinkle with nutmeg. Cover tightly and sauté on medium heat for about 5 to 10 minutes. The parsnips should be tender and gooey, and slightly caramelized. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Yield: 4 servings

Cock-a-Leekie Soup

2 1/2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
3 cups water
1 stalk of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1/2 cup barley
1 cup chicken broth
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons minced fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
3/4 pound leeks white and green parts, sliced (about 1 1/2 cups)

1. In large saucepan, combine the chicken breasts, water, celery, carrots, barley, chicken broth, bay leaves, rosemary, salt, and pepper. Heat to boil. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 30 minutes.
2. Add the leeks, heat to a boil, reduce the heat again, and simmer until the chicken is tender.
3. Remove the chicken and let cool. When it is cool enough to handle,cut into bite-size pieces.
4. Skim any fat from the broth and remove bay leaves. Put the chicken pieces back into the broth and reheat for about 5 minutes.
Yield: 6 servings

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Greetings everyone! Sorry about the week-long delay. We had two busy, eventful weeks here at Buckhorn. Two weeks ago we tore up most of the beds in the dome, including the melons, the tomatoes, and the kale. We left the hot peppers, the perennial herbs, and some miscellaneous plants like nasturtiums, alyssum and datura. Next we will amend the beds and plant some cold hardy veggies. If you're a CSA member who picks up your share at the farm you should definitely poke your head in the dome - it looks pretty darn empty now!

The next weekend Breigh, Darren (and his parents) and my fellow interns worked a long Monday off in order to get all of the beds covered with frost blankets. For this we used mostly Remay, a white mesh material, and some old bed sheets that Jinelle scored from the thrift store. We situate the blanket over the length of the bed then secure it tightly with large rocks so that the wind doesn't pick it up. The frost did happen Monday and Tuesday night last week, so we were right to have covered everything, but we reached a low of 28°F so some of the crops were effected anyway. Squash, melons and cucumber production has definitely slowed down due to the cold. Outside tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and beans were all lost. All the beds are uncovered at the moment so they can carry on with their photosynthesizing, but they will need to be covered again before the end of the week - there's a chance of snow on Thursday!

The reason the blog didn't get updated last Tuesday was because we harvested the kid goats. Darren and Jesse did that dirty work while Noel, Breigh, Jinelle and I did another sort of dirty work - shoveling out the goat barn so the mother goats could have clean living quarters in exchange for their kids. I helped a little bit with the kid harvesting process and it was eye opening to be sure. I figured that I will likely be partaking in the goat meat so I thought it would be appropriate to lend a hand.

This weekend was very exciting because we, Breigh and the four interns, took a farm tour! I plan on devoting an entire blog entry, including pictures, to this excursion because it was so fun and so educational. We had the opportunity to visit with three farmers to see how they run their operations. It was a great road trip and I'm looking forward to talking more about it in another post.

Today was an exciting day for Breigh and I here on the farm because we welcomed the 4th and 5th graders from Ridgway Elementary to help us with a few special tasks. They moved around the farm in three groups. One group helped me dig up potatoes, another group popped and planted seed garlic, and the last group hauled rocks into one of the new beds in the dome. All the kids had a great time getting their hands dirty and we were able to experience the unique gratification that comes with instilling the value of earth-tending in the next generation.

That about does it for the past two weeks. I hope you're enjoying the last of the warm weather as well as the transition into the coziest and loveliest of seasons, autumn. Be well, we will see you soon!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Half of our booth at the Telluride Farmers Market

This week on the farm wasn't nearly as eventful as last week, with our spontaneous, educational field trip. Thursday was devoted to CSA and market prep as usual and Friday was market day for Breigh and me. We spent Saturday pulling up the melon beds in the southern hoop house Mars to replace them with carrots and beets and weeding various outdoor beds like the new carrots and the cover crops.

After two restful days off, during which Breigh canned tomatoes and made peach fruit leather, we returned to work today to pull up more outdoor beds, weed them, and plant radishes and turnips. We also weeded two-thirds of the 100-foot spinach bed.

I was unable to locate the information I promised concerning who to contact about the anti-uranium mill cause. My apologies there - the sheet we had with the contact info was conveniently lost in the proverbial shuffle.

Next week we'll be posting pictures of peppers and eggplants for identification purposes. Check back to determine which of your peppers are spiciest! Have a great week everyone.

A picture of some of our winter squash, which will be available through the winter CSA.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

On a Wednesday morning, we interns expect to wake up at 5:30 AM, bounce groggily to the farm site in the trusty Kubota, and pick the greens for your salad and braising mixes until about noon. Today, having been given a more forgiving wake up time, we rolled up to Breigh and Daren's house around 7:40 and were immediately herded into the van. Breigh was exclaiming that she'd been calling us and we needed to pick the lettuce as fast as possible so that we could go to a meeting about uranium in Montrose. We were all a little confused, but we did as we were told, and soon found ourselves in a large gymnasium/meeting venue of sorts with about 150 other people all interested in learning about the Pinon Ridge Mill, a uranium processing plant that is in the works for construction east of Montrose.

The meeting was not only informational, but served as a venue for members of the community to voice their opinions supporting and opposing the construction of the plant as well. Us farm folk went to support those who opposed the mill, and their numbers certainly needed fleshing out. Most members of the community who were present and who spoke were in strong favor the mill because it would provide roughly 1,300 jobs and supposedly boost the area's economy. None of them seemed to comprehend the serious repercussions the presence of this facility would have on not only the environment, but on the health of the area's residents for hundreds of years.

We all know the terrible effects of radioactive materials like uranium, and if this mill should be constructed, the harmful byproducts will be in the air, the water, and the soil all over the area. While the mill itself is many miles outside of town, there will be trucks driving through town and on other local stretches of highway (including by our farm) delivering enriched uranium away from the mill and toxic chemicals like sulfuric acid to the plant.

"If this mill is built," Breigh says, "we will not be farming here."

This is a serious and valid statement. Would you continue your CSA share knowing the produce you were receiving was contaminated with uranium byproducts like radon? The fact of the matter is, this project must be stopped. It is currently being reviewed by the commissioner of Montrose County as well as an evaluation committee, who were present today at the meeting. State scientists are also evaluating the situation on a chemical level, and this should play in to the decision of county leaders who are approving the special permit. Please, make your voice heard on this topic by contacting county leaders. I will probably be posting information on who to contact and how next week if not sooner.

Back on the farm, we harvested a whopping 217 pounds of tomatoes before CSA and market last week! This was Buckhorn Gardens’ largest harvest of tomatoes in its three-season history. We also tore up old beds of cauliflower and carrots in order to transplant broccoli and spinach seedlings. This afternoon we finished processing the garlic that has been drying the barn for a few weeks. The harvesting of squash, cucumbers, and tomatoes continued as usual along with various weeding projects. This post was on the longer side, so thanks for reading until the end! Best wishes from the crew at Buckhorn Gardens, we’ll see you soon!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

My apologies for the late blog post! This week was a bit different on the farm because we shifted our weekend in order to harvest chickens this Monday. We raised 40 feed chickens over 14 weeks and processed 39 of them in about 10 hours (we lost one to a suspected coyote a couple of weeks ago). It was a long day during which we experienced some technical difficulties with our borrowed equipment. However, once we solved all the problems, the operation went very smoothly, especially with the help of the trusty plucking machine! This somewhat violent contraption vastly aided in the feather removal process, virtually eliminating the need for human hands to go over the carcasses with tweezers for a fine-tune cleaning. We now have 39 beautifully vacuum-sealed chickens in the walk-in fridge.

That was our major event for the week, but weeding and harvesting continued as usual. We harvested a whopping 145 pounds of tomatoes before the CSA pick up last Thursday. Bed preparation for winter crops continued as well. I pulled thistles out of four 75-foot beds to make way for my bind weed-pulling comrades. Good progress was made overall!

And now for some of the recipes I promised last week. Wondering what to do with all the squash and cucumbers you've been getting from your CSA share? Here are some ideas for you!

Cuke Dip

1/2 cup (or more) finely chopping cucumber
8 ounces cream cheese
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 clove garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon pepper
2 teaspoons wine vinegar
2 tablespoons fresh minced parsley
3 tablespoons paprika

Mix to blend well. Makes 1 1/2 cups. Serve with corn chips, assorted vegetables, or chunks of French bread.


(Beef) Zucchini Ratatouille
You'll notice this recipe has quite a few veggies you can get from your CSA share or market. Plan ahead for this dish this week, and make it vegetarian if you prefer.

2 large onions, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1lb zucchini, thinly sliced
1lb tomatoes, peeled and sliced
1 small to medium eggplant, peeled and sliced
1 green pepper diced
1 clove garlic, minced
(1-1 1/2 pounds ground chuck)
1/2 teaspoon salt

Sauté onions in olive oil for 5 minutes. Add zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant, green pepper, and garlic to onions and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. (Brown meat, drain, and add to vegetables. Cook 5 minutes, season with salt.) Serves 5.

Have a wonderful week, see you tomorrow!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Greetings from Buckhorn Gardens! August is moving right along and so are our projects. We spent the last week getting transplants of spinach, kale, chard, and scallions into the dirt. We continued preparing beds for the planting of more fall crops and spent plenty of time chasing the turkeys out of the lettuce beds. Progress is also being made on the construction of our new storage sheds.

This week, as promised, the rest of our blog will be devoted to helping you determine which varieties of fruit and veggies you selected at the CSA pick-up or at the market. We'll be identifying tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, and melons.

In the first image we have three varieties of our largest, knobbiest tomatoes. From left to right, you're seeing a Goldie, a Soldacki, and an Italian Heirloom. From left to right in the second image, we have an Abrason, a Black Grim, a Green Zebra, and a Tigerella.

Next we have several varieties of cucumbers. The large pale green cucumber, a close relative of the Honey Dew melon, is called an Armanian cucumber, and this is actually a small example of one such fruit. We grow these up to two and a half feet! Don't be shy about them, give one a try sometime and make yourself an epic cucumber salad. The long dark green cucumber in the image is called a Japanese Long. The shorter light green one is a Poona Kheera, which is an heirloom variety originally cultivated in India. Both of the latter are characterized as crisp, sweet, and mild.

Next we have a couple of rounds of squash and zucchini. The yellow team consists of Saffron, Zephyr, and Lemon squashes, from top to bottom. The green team consists of the little round White Scallop Patty Pan on the far left, and Sultan, Raven, and Cocozelli from top to bottom. Note the nutty flavor of the Zephyr squash. The Saffron is an open pollenated variety. The White Scallop is a very ancient Native American heirloom squash grown by northern tribes for hundreds of years and is very tasty fried or baked. Don't forget that if your squash has darker skin it is better for your health because darker skins contain higher levels of antioxidants!

In our last ID category, we're addressing some of the tasty heirloom melons you may have selected at the CSA pick up or at market. From left to right you're seeing a Kansas, a Charentais, and a Cochiti Pueblo. The Cochiti Pueblo is an ancient variety of melons originally cultivated by the Native Americans whose name they share outside of Santa Fe. These and the Kansas, which is a rare variety, are similar to what you'd think of as a cantaloupe. The Charentais (pronounced "share-on-TAY"), a sweet, firm French melon, is slightly more fragrant and toothsome.

That does it for our produce ID! Be sure to let us know if there is another type of fruit or veggie you'd like some help identifying. Keep an eye out of recipes and more pictures in the weeks to come. Take care!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

I am pleased to announce an end to the Buckhorn Blog hiatus! My name is Alison, I'm from Seattle, and I'm the newest intern here at Buckhorn Gardens. I've been here for about two weeks and have loved every minute of it. Now for all the summer updates!

Summer has just truly begun in our neck of the woods. We are finally harvesting tomatoes; today we picked 72 pounds! Summer squash and cucumbers are also booming right now. We have two types of reasonably-sized cucumbers, one for slicing and one for pickling, and one type of unreasonably-sized cucumber, the Armenian, which some of you have ventured to try at your CSA pick up or at the market. Our hot peppers are heating up as well, some choice varieties being Beaver Dam (light green and short), Anaheim (light green and long), and Jalapeno (dark green and short). Next week we will be posting pictures of all our different types of tomatoes and squash, to help you identify what you picked up at CSA or market.

Last week we pulled up the entirety of our garlic crop and it is currently drying in the goat barn. You had the opportunity to pick up some of our varieties last week at CSA and market, such as Red Russian and Purple Crystal. This week we weeded and mulched the former garlic beds to prepare them for a cover crop of Buckwheat, which will help improve the soil for the next crop we decide to plant.

Speaking of seeding, we planted several autumn crops this week that you can start looking forward to, including broccoli, cabbage, spinach, Asian greens, beets, and radishes. And maybe it's a bit too early to start talking about this, but don't forget to consider becoming a member of our potential Winter CSA. We intend on featuring one or two bags of greens like lettuce, spinach, kale, and chard per week, as well as garlic and an onion and winter squash option. Don't hesitate to talk to any of us about this possibility, as we'd like to gauge the level of interest amongst our current members before setting anything in stone.

Farm projects have, of course, carried on throughout the summer. We just finished installing a walk-in cooler which greatly expedites the process of packing to go to market on Friday and Saturday mornings. We are now gearing up for the construction of the third hoop house, which has yet to be named. Any suggestions?

Thanks for checking in with us even after such a long break. We'll get some pictures up next week. See you this weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009


9 inch unbaked pie shell
1 and 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
6 beaten eggs
1 cup milk, added to eggs
1 bag spinach, kale or chard chopped
1 head tatsoi, mizuna or small bok choi chopped
1 bunch scallions and/or green garlic chopped
1 cup shiitake mushroom chopped
1 bunch any herb

Saute mushrooms, onions, garlic, greens and herbs until soft. Add to pie shell followed by cheese and then egg mixture. 35-40 minutes at 400 degrees.

The greens just keep on coming. This week we started to harvest some greens from outside. We were a little worried after about 5 minutes of a heavy hail storm on Tuesday, but most everything still looked great. For the last 4 weeks most of our veggies have been coming from Polaris (we finally named our first high tunnel, which is on the north side). The next few weeks we will be phasing out the cool season crops from in the high tunnel and start harvesting them from outside. However, we still have a few veggies in Polaris that have just started to produce, like snow and snap peas which we will have this week and carrots for possibly next week.

As for the rain, well we wish it rained like this more often! We have spent the rainy days planting in the greenhouses. In the dome we transplanted some citrus trees, planted our honey fig and some hot peppers. We also trellised our melons which already have baby melons! Mars is completely filled with tomatoes, peppers, eggplant, basil,okra, sweet potatoes, more melons, pole beans, cucumbers and some squash. In Polaris we have transplanted artichokes and now we need to start taking out the spinach and other greens to make room for more melons and tomatoes. In between the rain showers we planted over 180 strawberries, transplanted more tatsoi and mizuna and of course weeded. Any volunteers to help weed?

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Well, week 4 is here and guess what, more greens! More spinach, kale, chard, perpetual spinach, mustard greens and salad greens. Our salad greens consist of lettuce, kale, chard, mustard greens, mizuna, tatsoi, beet greens, pea shoots, arugula and sometimes spinach. This is our spring mix and it will change depending on the season. During the summer when its hotter the mix is mostly lettuce. Last week we had some new veggies like broccoli, Japanese summer turnips, radishes and beets. This week more of the same, however this will be the last week we have parsnips until late fall.

Last week we covered Mars, our second high tunnel with plastic. Just one more to build! So far we have planted over a hundred tomato plants in Mars. We will also be transplanting artichokes, sweet potatoes, hot peppers, bell peppers, eggplant, okra, melons, cucumbers and some summer squash into our high tunnels. Our first high tunnel still needs a name, any suggestions? Outside we have been laying weed barrier in pathways. First we tackle the weeds with the weedwacker and then cover them up forever! There has been lots of bed prepping too, for strawberries, lettuce and celery transplants. Have a good week...