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.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Saturday's hailstorm put a bit of a damper on the Montrose Farmers' Market, but up at the farm it was fifteen minutes of pure panic! Breigh, Abby, and I were prepping the cucumber bed when we heard the storm coming. We wondered aloud why it was unusually noisy, then took off toward the dome at a full sprint as we dodged the mothball-sized hail. It wasn't enough to get ourselves under cover though -- we had to keep going out in the storm, braving the hail to bring in all the pepper and melon starts sitting outside to harden off. After the storm passed and our adrenaline rushes subsided, we headed outside to survey the damage to our crops outside. The chard, cabbage, and broccoli were hit the hardest, with some holes poked in their large leaves, but everything seems to have made it through ok. Then, to soothe our frazzled nerves, Abby and I went home to make delicious farm-fresh kimchi! You can read about our food adventure on Abby's blog.

Despite the unpredictable weather, we managed to have a productive week of planting. After much weeding, we transplanted eggplant, summer squash, winter squash, pickling and slicing cucumbers, over a hundred tomato plants, and five kinds of basil. We've all been working long hours to get all the crops in as soon as possible, but the days of planting rows and rows of vegetables are some of the most satisfying. Many thanks to CSA member Gail for coming out to plant summer squash! We're planning a big final push to get everything weeded and planted on Saturday, so this weekend would be a great time to come out and get your work day in.

A warm welcome to our fourth full-time intern, Mindy! Mindy is a Ridgway native who has been volunteering on weekends for over a month. We're so glad to have her around all the time!

The Telluride Farmers' Market Kicked off last week, and we had a great time. We sold out of all our root crops, and had to pick more beets, carrots, and turnips to have enough for the Montrose market. We'll be there every Friday, so come check out the market and pick up some extra treats to supplement your CSA share. All of the interns will rotate working at Telluride, so you'll have a chance to meet the whole Buckhorn crew!

Now that the days are so hot, we've been having lots of salad for farm lunches. Here's a quick and easy salad recipe using our root crops and herbs. Items available in this week's share are in bold. Enjoy!

Beet and Radish Salad

8 small beets or 2 medium beets
8 radishes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lime or lemon juice
1 tbsp chopped mint
1.5 tbsp chopped chives
salt & pepper to taste

Trim and roast the beets in foil until tender (about one hour). When cool, peel and cut into wedges. Cut radishes into bite-size pieces and combine with beets. Make dressing by combining olive oil, lime or lemon juice, mint, and chives. Toss dressing with beets and radishes, season with salt and pepper and serve!

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Many thanks to the 4th and 5th graders from Ridgway who came out to help last week! These students come out twice a year to help us with projects on the farm. Last fall they came out and planted cloves of garlic, and this week they weeded those same beds of garlic. The garlic they've been working on is now over a foot tall! The students also used teamwork and wheelbarrows to move huge rocks away from the fence line, and planted more than sixty trees along that fence. The trees are part of our edible landscaping effort and will someday produce wild plums, chokecherries, many colors of currants, and Siberian peas (a legume similar to lentils). We're looking forward to our next visit from the Ridgway students!

This week we also welcomed a new intern, Abby. She spent some time farming in Central and South America, so she's been a great help right away. On her first day working, we all went to the new greenhouse and planted more tomatoes. The greenhouse is looking good -- it's really starting to fill up! The holes in the black plastic are where we are going to plant peppers.

The weather is getting warmer, and the crops planted outside are starting to recover from the cold May nights. The broccoli, cabbage, kale, and chard are looking good, and this week we began picking spinach from the beds outside in addition to the beds inside the greenhouse. The potatoes I wrote about two weeks ago are starting to come up already!

We've got lots of root crops in the CSA share this week, but still have plenty of greens including some new greens selections. This week we'll have a few bags of a braising mix including beet greens, collard greens, kale, chard, mustard greens, and kohlrabi greens. We've also got turnip greens for those of you who want the greens without the turnip! And for those who are looking for a new way to eat all these greens, here's an easy and delicious warm salad dressing adapted from a recipe by The Seasonal Chef. They suggest serving over turnip, mustard, or collard greens, but arugula and perpetual spinach would work as well.

Warm Pecan Dressing

2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. honey or agave nectar
1 tbsp. Dijon or stoneground mustard
2 tsp. vegetable oil
½ cup pecans, roughly chopped or broken

In a small bowl, combine vinegar, honey or agave, and mustard. Heat oil in a saucepan till hot but not smoking. Add vinegar mixture and pecans and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes. Pour over chopped or torn greens -- I used 6 oz. collard greens and 6 oz. turnip greens -- and toss well so all the greens are slightly wilted. Serve immediately.