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.

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!


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