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.

  • SHEPARD’s Pie
    Servings 4, Prep Time 20 mins,  Cook Time 30 mins


    1 lb ground beef
    1 small onion
    2 carrots
    4-5 medium potatoes
    ¼ cup parmesan cheese
    ¼ cup milk
    Salt and pepper to taste


    1.    Shred your carrots and onion.
    2.   Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    3.   Brown the ground beef. Lightly salt and pepper.
    4.   Cut up and boil the potatoes.
    5.    Once the beef is brown add the shredded carrots and onions and cook until soft.
    6.   When the potatoes are done, mash them, then add your butter, milk, cheese,  and salt and pepper to taste. 
    7.   In a pie dish layer you beef and veggies on the bottom.
    8.   Layer your potatoes on top of the beef.
    9.   Bake for 30 mins or until the potatoes are golden on top.
    10.  Enjoy. 

  • Chilled Strawberry-Rhubarb Soup

  • 4 cups ½-inch pieces rhubarb, fresh or frozen
  • 3 cups water
  • 1½ cups sliced strawberries
  • ¼ cup sugar
  • ⅓ cup chopped fresh basil or mint, plus more for garnish
  • Freshly ground pepper to taste
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • Preparation
    1. Bring rhubarb and 3 cups water to a boil in a large saucepan. Cook until the rhubarb is very soft and broken down, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl. Put a couple inches of ice water in a large bowl and set the bowl with the rhubarb in it to help cool it quickly. (If you aren't in a hurry, you can skip the ice-water bath.) Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until cool, at least 20 minutes.
    2. Transfer the rhubarb to a blender. Add strawberries, sugar and salt; blend until smooth. Return to the bowl and stir in ⅓ cup basil (or mint). Serve sprinkled with more herbs and a generous grinding of pepper.
    • Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the soup (without basil or mint) for up to 1 day. Stir in herbs just before serving.

Thyme Lemonade 


2 ounces blanco 100% agave tequila (sub with vodka if tequila isn’t your thing) 
1 ounce thyme simple syrup (see instructions below)
1 ounce fresh-squeezed lemon juice
splash of Sierra Mist or Sprite (tonic or soda will work in a pinch)
thyme sprig for garnish

To make the thyme simple syrup
Lay thyme sprigs across the bottom of a mixing bowl or medium container. Fill with white sugar until sprigs are just barely covered. Using a pestle or the back of a mixing spoon, crush sugar granules into thyme until all of the oils are released (about 3 – 5 minutes). Pour hot water (nearly boiling) over the mixture—for a thick, flavorful syrup, sugar to water ratio should be about 1:1. Cover with plastic wrap, let cool, and then refrigerate for 24 hours. The next day, strain the mixture through a sieve and discard the thyme sprigs and leaves. You now have thyme simple syrup! Refrigerate, covered, for up to 7 days.

To make the lemonade

Shake the liquor, simple syrup, and lemon juice with ice to chill. Then strain into a collins glass filled with fresh ice. Top with Sierra Mist or Sprite and garnish with a thyme sprig. Enjoy with friends on a sunny Colorado afternoon. 

Eggplant Parmesan recipe 
(adapted from How to Cook Everything Vegetarian by Mark Bittman)


2 to 3 pounds of eggplants
salt and pepper
extra virgin olive oil
2 cups fresh tomato sauce
8 oz. grated mozzarella cheese
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
about 30 fresh basil leaves

1. Cut eggplants into half-inch thick slices. If the skin is too thick or not perfectly firm, peel before slicing.
2. Put about 3 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Dredge the eggplant slices one at a time through the flour, shaking off the excess. Put a few slices in the hot pan and cook in batches, adding more oil as needed. Add some salt and pepper to taste. Cook for 3 or 4 minutes on each side until nicely browned, then drain on paper towels.
3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
4. Lightly oil a baking dish, then spoon a little tomato sauce into it. Top with a layer of eggplant, then a thin layer of each cheese type, then a few basil leaves. Repeat until all ingredients are used up, reserving some of the basil for garnish. End with a sprinkling of Parmesan (add a lot if you love cheese).
5. Bake for 20 to 30 minutes until dish is bubbling hot. Mince the remaining basil and sprinkle over the top. Serve hot or at room temperature, or you might even prefer it cold from the fridge like I do.

Tip: After sauteing the eggplant, throw some other diced veggies in the oil, such as fresh carrots, peppers, garlic, or onion. Saute until soft, about 10 minutes. Layer with the other ingredients in step 4

Got any bananas hiding on top of the fridge turning dark behind all those empty beer growlers? Yeah, me neither …but my housemate Gerb sure did. I’ll admit it, now that he’s gone on to Boulder to work at Cure Organics for the summer, I secretly had my eye on those bananas. I was surreptitiously watching them develop that luscious bruised & blackened color and waiting for that strategic moment to nonchalantly reveal to Gerb their decaying status in hopes of scavenging the bruised fruit to practice my baking skills again. My execution was perfect in all regards—gaining the free bruised fruit from Gerb at the ideal moment of fullest banana flavor and repurposing them into delicious bread to reward all three of us interns (Gerb, Aaron, and myself) for a good week of work. Scavenger Banana Bread I pulled this banana bread recipe out of Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, a cookbook that every home cook should be very familiar with. If not, it can easily be found at any good thrift store or used book store, fo-sho’. Makes 1 loaf (16 servings? …yeah, sure)
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (I used whole-wheat flour, cuz that’s what I had)
1 ½ tsp. baking powder
¼ tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. ground cinnamon (I used 2 tsp., cuz I like cinnamon)
1 egg (farm-fresh from Buckhorn gardens, of course)
1 cup mashed bananas (apparently that’s 3 medium bananas, but it worked with the two I scavenged from Gerb)
¾ cup sugar (I used a combination of molasses and honey, I think that’s why my loaf was so dark)
¼ cup cooking oil
1 tsp. finely shredded lemon peel ("optional"…cool, cuz I didn’t have any lemons) ½ cup chopped walnuts or pecans (I used ground up walnuts and raw sunflower seeds to make the ½ cup, cuz that’s what I had)
Also added: ¾ cup of cranberries chopped up in a coffee grinder, ¼ cup hulled hemp seed, ¼ cup rolled oats, ¼ cup brown flax seed. Maybe more, maybe less; I don’t remember.
Directions- 1. Grease the bottom and ½” up the sides of an 8x4x2” loaf pan; set aside. In a medium mixing bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and 1/8 tsp. salt. Make a well in the center of dry mixture; set aside.
2. In another bowl combine the egg (just beat it), bananas, cranberries, sugar, cooking oil, and, if desired, lemon peel. Add egg mixture all at once to dry mixture (see photo 1, pg. 119). Stir just till moistened (batter should be lumpy, see photo 2, pg. 119 [see what I mean, you need the book…you won’t know how to combine the egg and dry mixtures or how lumpy batter should look]). Fold in nuts, seeds, herbs, Gerbs, etc...Whatever, Jak
3. Spoon batter into the prepared pan. Bake in oven at 350F for 50-55 min. or till a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean (I use a knife). Cool in pan on a wire rack for 10min. Remove from pan; cool on rack. Wrap and store overnight before slicing (if you can resist that long…I couldn’t). I’ve never heard of a loaf of banana bread that lasts longer than a couple of days--our's was gone by the second morning.

Aside from working long and profitable days in the gardens here at Buckhorn Mountain, we interns occupy our days off doing various activities. Two of the more obvious and most common activities we practice are cooking and baking skills. Knowledge of these skills is a necessary complement to all the gardening techniques we glean from our friends and proprietors, Horton & Genevieve and the bountiful fresh-off-the-farm harvests we enjoy. Along with gardening skills we learn from H&G, we exchange plenty of recipes, cooking tips, and juicy gastronomic secrets. Many of our conversations during work fall back to, “so, what are you making for dinner tonight” or “what crazy leftovers did you bring us for lunch”? Even though eating fresh, raw vegetables is known to be the most nutritious way of gaining all the necessary vitamins, enzymes, minerals, and nutrients from your produce, daily chowing down on raw greens, carrots, nuts, seeds, onions, and garlic can get downright boring after too long. Plus, who eats onions and garlic raw anyways? ...Whatever, Jak.
English Muffins
Let’s begin with baking, just because having freshly baked breads, muffins, and biscuits consistently on hand is a delightful down-home comfort. Taking a couple of hours sometime during the week to bake fresh breads will provide you substantial grainy carbs to pair with other meals for the rest of the week (if you follow that whole food pyramid thing). Baking a batch of a dozen or two hearty English muffins is usually how I begin my days off the farm. Why English muffins? In my opinion, they’re the perfect size for morning fried eggs (over-easy please, with fresh greens, melted pepper-jak cheese, and Horton’s herbed dressing), great for toasting and melting parmesan cheese on top to pair with stews and soups (particularly excellent with French onion soup), and can be a nice snack toasted along with a spread of jam or butter (sprinkle cracked pepper or herbs on top for that added zing!). Shoo’ sometimes in the morning I dollop yogurt and granola with cinnamon on top of my English muffins—yeah, I just did that: grains on top of grains! …Whatever, Jak.
Alright, enough foolin’ around satiating, let’s get baked! I found this recipe for English muffins on MotherEarthNews.com (.org or w/e):
—Yields 12 muffins—
1 cup warm milk
1 cup warm water
2 tbsp sugar or honey
1/4 cup (4tbsp) melted butter or shortening
6 cups flour total (all-purpose flour for a lighter muffin, whole wheat flour for a denser muffin)
1 packet (.25oz/ 2.5tsp) active dry yeast***
1 tsp salt
Warm the milk, butter/shortening, and honey/sugar and stir until butter melts. Separately proof the yeast in warm water for a couple of minutes, then add the yeast mixture, salt, and three cups of flour to the milk, honey, and melted butter mixture. Continue adding the rest of the flour until a soft dough ball is formed**. Cover and allow the dough to rest in a lightly oiled/greased bowl until the dough doubles in size (apx. 1hr.). Punch down risen dough ball, roll out to ½” thickness, and cut into 12 rounds (I’ve been able to get 20 rounds out of this recipe using a pint glass to cut my rounds, so I think it depends on how wide your round is and how thin you roll the dough). Place the rounds on wax paper or baking sheet(s), leaving some space between rounds. Slightly flatten the rounds and dust tops with cornmeal. Cover and let rise another 30min. Preheat the oven to 350F and heat a lightly greased griddle/skillet to medium heat. Place muffin rounds on the griddle/skillet until dark golden brown (apx. 6min. on each side). Place rounds on a baking sheet and bake for another 5min. until edges feel firm. Cool muffins on wire racks.
*[Cooking at altitudes allows yeast to work faster, causing doughs to rise to faster and larger. Reduce yeast measurements by 1/4tsp and/or allow dough to rise outdoors in cool weather or in an area where temperature is between 35-50F]
**//Making dough is a balance between the liquid and dry components, ideally yielding a pliable and slightly tacky dough ball.//
Variations I’ve tried include: using molasses in place of honey, adding herbs (thyme, lavender fresh or dried) into the dry mix, adding seeds and grains (hulled hemp, flax, sunflower, rolled oats) into the dry mix, and using other flours (rye flour, barley, flax, and sunflower seeds can be ground up in a coffee grinder).

Lamb Meatballs
I got this recipe from "Nourishing Traditions," by Sally Fallon, one of my new favorites. My sister Beth and her husband Robbie came to visit this past weekend to see the farm for the first time. We had a wonderful time, and of course the weekend was filled with laughter and cooking. We tried Lamb Meatballs for the first time and it was just amazing. So here is how you do it...

2 pounds ground lamb
1 medium onion, diced
2 TBSP olive oil
1 TBSP dried rosemay or thyme (I used fresh of both)
2 eggs
2 cups whole grain bread crumbs (I used Jak's (intern) french loaf he gave me for my birthday)
1 cup cream
pinch of salt and pepper
1 1/2 cup red wine (I used a dry marsala)
2-3 cups beef or lamb stock (I used beef)
3-4 ripe tomatoes (I used 1/2 cup canned tomatoes bc tomatoes are not in season)
2 cups spinach, chard, kale, or beet greens (I used Kale)

Saute the onions and rosemary/thyme in the olive oil until you see that the onions are soft. Soak the bread crumbs in the cream. I used milk bc I did not have cream on hand. It worked just fine. Mix the onion mixture with the eggs, bread crumbs, sea salt and peppers with the ground lamb. Form balls out of the mix, just like a meatball. Cover the balls with a bit of flour and saute in a little olive oil until brown. Take the balls out and pour out the leftover oil. Pour the wine into the pan and scrape all the yummy tidbits off the bottom of the pan. Add the stock and tomatoes and let cook for a few minutes. Add your meatballs and greens. Let the dish simmer until the meatballs are cooked. We served this with a wonderful quinoa dish that Aaron and Jak brought over. John supplied Colorado Boy beer. Wonderful...just wonderful!


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