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.

Sunday, January 10, 2016

A Closer Look at Buckhorn’s Braising Mix
Here at Buckhorn, we are committed to giving all of our CSA members nutritionally dense foods all year round. During the winter, one of the most popular items we offer are a variety of salad green mixes. This week, I wanted to take a closer look at Buckhorn’s braising mix, which contains all or any combination of the following greens: broccoli leaves, tatsoi, cabbage, kale, pak choi, Swiss chard, and arugula. Green, leafy vegetables have long been understood to provide a whole array of vitamins and minerals that aid in the proper functioning of the human body. As a human nutrition and foods major, I was curious to see just what these foods actually contain and why our bodies need them! Let’s take a closer look at each of these powerful veggies:
Broccoli leaves – Until a couple weeks ago, I didn’t even know these were edible! I tossed the small leaves into a salad and found they tasted just like the florets (though I’m not really sure what I was expecting?). Broccoli leaves actually contain very high levels of anti-oxidants, Vitamin A and beta-carotene. The leaves have Vitamin C levels several times greater than the florets themselves and even contain some phytonutrients that aren’t found in the florets at all.   
Tatsoi – While this is one of the lesser-known vegetables, tatsoi is one of the largest powerhouse vegetables there is! Weight-for-weight, it contains more vitamin C than oranges and twice as much calcium as milk. In one cup, it provides your recommended daily intake for Vitamin A and C. It has even been recommended for women who are pregnant because of the high amount of folate it contains. 
Cabbage – The cabbage that has found its way into our braising mix is the Mammoth Red Rock variety. Red cabbage has been shown time and time again to be nutritionally superior to most green varieties. One study suggests that the vitamin C content in red cabbage is 6-8 times greater than green cabbage. Vitamin C and other antioxidants prevent free radicals from damaging our cells.
Kale – As a member of the Cruciferae family (which include many other vegetables found in our braising mix) kale contains high levels of fiber, iron, vitamin K, vitamin C, vitamin A, and calcium. It’s no wonder why this vegetable has been the focus of many health experts in recent years.
Pak Choi – This Chinese cabbage contains high levels of omega-3s and zinc. Like the other cruciferous vegetables, it contains many cancer-preventative properties, high levels of fiber to slow cholesterol absorption, and high levels of antioxidants.
Swiss chard – Displaying some of the most colorful leaves we’ve seen on the farm, this vegetable contains a unique compound called syringic acid, which inhibits an enzyme that breaks down carbohydrates. This vegetable is often recommended for diabetic patients because the slowed breakdown of carbohydrates helps maintain a more stable blood sugar level. In addition, chard contains high levels of calcium, which promotes bone health.
Arugula – It took me a while to appreciate the peppery taste behind this vegetable, but it is now one of my favorite additions of any salad! Like other green, leafy vegetables, it contains high levels of antioxidants and folic acid. Unlike some other greens, arugula contains low levels of oxalates, which are compounds known to inhibit the absorption of minerals.

At Buckhorn Gardens, our hope is not only to provide our CSA members with fresh vegetables, but to give our members confidence in making healthy food decisions as well. This begins with knowing what is in the food we eat and how it affects our bodies. With Buckhorn Gardens, you can be assured that your vegetables are ‘more-ganically’ grown to boost nutrient-density and encourage healthy, chemical-free food. Even Gizmo can’t keep his paws off our vegetables! ~Catherine


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