Field To Fork CSA

Fresh Local Smart

Thank you so much for your interest in our farm and CSA program. The 2014 CSA program is full. Please look for us at the Palisade and Fruita Farmers market for any of you produce needs. To volunteer or take a tour  on the farm please call or email us at fieldtoforkcsa@gmail.

2014 CSA is full

Field To Fork CSA is a farm in Palisade Colorado, we provide fresh locally grown produce to 120 households weekly in Mesa County Colorado. You can also find our produce on Saturday at the Fruita Farmers Market the Sunday Palisade Farmers market and many local restaurants. 

The Mission:

-Making healthy, nutritious and culturally appropriate food accessible and affordable.

-Supporting local, regional, family-scale, and sustainable food production.

-Building and revitalizing local communities and economies.

-Providing fair wages and decent working conditions for farmers and food system workers.

-Empowering diverse people to work together to create positive changes in the food system and their communities.

 

Freeze It!

Here is a guide to freezing veggies. With the garden bounty growing each week start freezing what you cant eat. I found this great article on the Colorado State University Extension web site and wanted to share it with you. What is better then eating fresh local food in the winter and not spending money at the grocery store on veggies? 

 

Freezing Vegetables

 

Quick Facts...

  • The quality of frozen vegetables depends on the quality of the fresh produce.
  • Blanching and prompt cooling are essential in preparing most vegetables, except herbs and green peppers, for freezing.
  • Blanch vegetables by placing them in boiling water or steam.
  • There are two basic packing methods recommended for frozen vegetables: dry pack and tray pack.
  • Most vegetables maintain high quality for 12 to 18 months at 0 degrees F.

Freezing is an excellent way to preserve fresh vegetables. The quality of frozen vegetables depends on the quality of the fresh products and how they are handled from the time they are picked until they are ready to eat. It is important to get the product from the garden to the freezer in as short a time as possible. It is important, also, to start with high-quality vegetables, as freezing will not improve the product’s quality.

Blanching and prompt cooling are necessary steps in preparing practically every vegetable, except herbs and green peppers, for freezing. The reason is that heating slows or stops the enzyme action. Enzymes help vegetables grow and mature. After maturation, however, they cause loss of quality, flavor, color, texture and nutrients. If vegetables are not heated enough, the enzymes continue to be active during frozen storage and may cause the vegetables to toughen or develop off-flavors and colors. Blanching also wilts or softens vegetables, making them easier to pack. It destroys some bacteria and helps remove any surface dirt.

Selecting Freezing Containers

Select containers best suited to the vegetable. Square or rectangular flat-sided containers make the best use of freezer space. Good quality moisture- and vapor-proof packaging materials made of glass or rigid plastic are best. They prevent drying of the food during freezer storage. Moistureand vapor-resistant bags and waxed cartons designed for freezing also retain satisfactory quality.

Selecting and Preparing Vegetables

Use vegetables at peak flavor and texture. When possible, harvest in the cool part of the morning and freeze within two hours. Wash vegetables thoroughly in cold water, lifting them out of the water as grit settles to the bottom of the washing container. Sort by size for blanching and packing.

Blanching Vegetables

Most vegetables may be blanched in boiling water or steam.

Blanching in Boiling Water

To blanch vegetables in boiling water, bring at least 1 gallon of water to a rapid boil in a blancher or large kettle with a lid. Lower a pound of prepared vegetables placed in a metal basket or cheesecloth bag into the boiling water and cover with a lid. Start counting time as soon as the vegetables are in the boiling water. Keep heat on high for the total blanching time specified in Table 1.

Follow the recommended blanching time for each vegetable. Under-blanching may stimulate enzyme activity and could be worse than no blanching. Prolonged blanching causes loss of vitamins, minerals, flavor and color.

Steam Blanching

Heating in steam is another way to blanch vegetables. Steam blanching takes somewhat longer than water blanching but helps retain water-soluble vitamins. Steam-blanching times are given in Table 1 for those vegetables that steam most successfully.

To steam vegetables, bring 1 to 2 inches of water to a rolling boil in a kettle with a tight-fitting lid and a rack that holds a steaming basket or cheesecloth bag at least 3 inches above the bottom of the kettle. Put a single layer of vegetables in the basket or bag so steam can reach all parts quickly. Place the basket or bag on the rack in the kettle, cover and keep heat on high. Start counting steaming time as soon as the lid is on.

After vegetables are heated, cool quickly and thoroughly to stop the cooking. To cool vegetables heated in boiling water or steam, plunge the basket of vegetables immediately into a large quantity of cold water that is 60 degrees Fahrenheit (F) or below. Change water frequently or use cold running or iced water. Use about 1 pound of ice for each pound of vegetables. It takes about as long to cool the food as to heat it. When vegetables are cooled, remove from the water and drain thoroughly.

Pre-Cooking Prior to Freezing

Some foods are best preserved by pre-cooking prior to freezing. Pumpkin, sweet potatoes and winter squash may be heated in a microwave oven, pressure cooker or oven until soft, then chunked or pureed or for storage in meal-sized portions using the dry pack method. Mushrooms may be lightly sautéed in butter or margarine, then cooled and dry packed. Stewed tomatoes may be prepared ahead, then frozen in meal-size portions. See specific directions in Table 1.

Packing Methods

There are two basic packing methods recommended for frozen vegetables: dry pack and tray pack.

To dry pack, place the blanched and drained vegetables into meal-sized freezer bags or containers. Pack tightly to cut down on the amount of air in the package. Leave 1/2-inch headspace at the top of rigid containers and close securely. For freezer bags, fill to within 3 inches of top, twist and fold back top of bag, and tie with a twist tape or rubber band about 1/2- to 3/4-inch from the food. This allows space for the food to expand. Provision for headspace is not necessary for foods such as broccoli, asparagus and Brussels sprouts that do not pack tightly in containers.

To tray pack, place chilled, well-drained vegetables in a single layer on shallow trays or pans. Place in freezer until firm, then remove and quickly fill labeled bags or containers. Close and freeze immediately. Tray-packed foods do not freeze in a block but remain loose so that the amount needed can be poured from the container and the package reclosed.

Labeling and Storing

Label packages with the name of the product and the freezing date. Freeze at once at 0 degrees F or lower. Because speed in freezing is important for best quality, put only as much unfrozen vegetables into the freezer at one time as will freeze in 24 hours, usually 2 to 3 pounds per cubic foot of freezer capacity.

For quickest freezing, place packages at least 1 inch apart against freezer plates or coils. After vegetables are frozen, rearrange packages and store close together. Most vegetables maintain high quality for 12 to 18 months at 0 degrees F or lower. Longer storage will not make food unfit for use, but may impair quality. It is a good idea to post a list of the frozen vegetables near the freezer and to check off packages as they are used.

References

Freezing of Vegetables, FDNS-E043-5. J.A. Harrison and E.L. Andress. University of Georgia Cooperative Extension Service, Athens, GA, 2000.

Table 1. Vegetable freezing guide. (Note: Blanching times given are for 5,000 feet or higher. At altitudes below 5000 feet, subtract one minute from times given.)

VegetablePreparation

Asparagus Select young, tender stalks with compact tips. Remove or break off tough ends and scales. Wash thoroughly. Sort for size. Cut to fit containers or in 2-inch lengths. Blanch medium stalks 4 minutes in boiling water, 5 minutes in steam. Blanch large stalks 5 minutes in boiling water, 6 minutes in steam. Cool and drain dry. Pack without headspace, alternating tips and stem ends of spears.

Beans, green Select young, tender stringless beans. Wash thoroughly, remove ends, sort for size. Cut into 1- to 2-inch pieces, leave whole, or slice into lengthwise strips. Water blanch 4 minutes. Chill and drain. Dry pack with headspace, or tray pack.

Beans, lima Select well-filled pods containing green beans. Wash, shell and sort. Water blanch 3-5 minutes, depending on size. Cool and drain dry. Tray pack or dry pack with headspace.

Beans, green soybeans Select firm, well-filled, bright green pods. Wash. Water blanch 6 minutes. Cool and drain. Squeeze soybeans out of pods. Dry pack with headspace, or tray pack.

Beets Select beets 3 inches in diameter or less. Wash; sort for size. Remove tops, leaving 1/2-inch stems. Cook in boiling water until tender: 25-30 minutes for small beets, 45-50 minutes for medium-sized beets. Cool and drain; peel, slice or cube. Dry pack with headspace.

Broccoli Select tender, dark green stalks. Wash; peel and trim stalks. To remove insects from heads, soak 30 minutes in a solution of 4 teaspoons salt per gallon of water. Rinse and drain. Split lengthwise into pieces not more than 1 1/2 inches across. Blanch in steam 6 minutes or boiling water 4 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry or tray pack without headspace.

Brussels sprouts Select green, firm, compact heads. Wash, trim. Soak in salt solution (see broccoli) 30 minutes to drive out insects. Rinse and drain. Water blanch 4-6 minutes depending on size of head. Cool and drain. Dry pack without headspace.

Cabbage Wash. Trim coarse outer leaves of solid heads. Cut heads into medium or coarse shreds, thin wedges or separate into leaves. Water blanch 2 1/2 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with headspace.

Carrots Select tender, mild-flavored carrots. Remove tops; wash and peel. Leave whole if small; dice or slice larger carrots 1/4-inch thick. Water blanch whole carrots 6 minutes, diced or sliced carrots 3 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with headspace.

Cauliflower Choose firm, tender, snow-white heads. Break or cut into pieces 1 inch across. Wash well. Soak 1/2 hour in salt solution (see broccoli) if needed to drive out insects. Rinse and drain. Blanch 4 minutes in boiling water containing 4 teaspoons salt per gallon of water. Cool and drain. Dry pack without headspace.

Corn, cut Husk, remove silk, trim ends and wash. Water blanch 5 minutes. Cool and drain. Cut kernels from cob. Dry pack with headspace, or tray pack.

Corn-on the-cob Husk, remove silk, wash, and sort for size. Water blanch small ears 8 minutes, medium ears 10 minutes and large ears 12 minutes. Cool and drain. Pack in plastic freezer bags without headspace.

Eggplant Peel, cut into slices 1/3-inch thick. To preserve color, drop pieces into a solution of 4 teaspoons salt per gallon of water. Water blanch 5 minutes in the same proportions of salt and water. Cool and drain. Tray pack or dry pack in layers separated by sheets of locker paper.

Greens Wash young, tender leaves well. Remove tough stems and imperfect parts. Cut in pieces, if desired. Water blanch tender spinach leaves 2 1/2 minutes; beet greens, kale, chard, mustard greens, turnip and mature spinach leaves 3 minutes; and collard greens 4 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with headspace.

Herbs Wash, drain, trim or chop. Tray freeze. Use in cooked dishes, as product becomes limp when thawed.

Mushrooms Select mushrooms free of spots or decay. Sort for size. Wash and drain. Trim off ends of stems. Slice or quarter mushrooms larger than 1 inch across. Dip mushrooms to be steam blanched for 5 minutes in a solution of 1 teaspoon lemon juice or 1 1/2 teaspoons citric acid per pint of water. Steam whole mushrooms 6 minutes; quarters or slices 4-4 1/2 minutes. Cool and drain. Mushrooms also may be lightly sauteed in butter or margarine and cooled. Dry pack with headspace.

Onions Wash, peel and chop fully mature onions. Water blanch 2 1/2 minutes; cool and drain. Also may freeze without blanching. Tray pack or dry pack with headspace. Use in cooked products. Will keep 3-6 months.

Peas, green Select bright green, plump, firm pods with sweet, tender peas. Shell. Water blanch 2 1/2 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with headspace.

Peas, sugar, or snow podWash, remove stems, blossom end and any strings. Leave whole. Water blanch 3 1/2 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with headspace, or tray pack.

Peppers, green, sweet Select firm, crisp, thick-walled peppers. Wash; cut out stems. Cut in half, remove seeds. Cut into strips or rings, if desired. Water blanch halves 4 minutes, slices 3 minutes for tighter packing and use in cooked dishes. Cool and drain. Freeze without blanching for use in salads and as garnishes. Dry pack blanched peppers with headspace. Tray or dry pack unblanched peppers without headspace.

Peppers, hot, condiment Wash and stem peppers. Dry or tray pack in small containers without headspace.

Peppers, chili Wash. Make a small slit in the side for steam to escape. Heat in 400-450 F oven 6-8 minutes or until skins blister. Cool in ice water for a crisp product. For a more thoroughly cooked product, wrap in a hot damp towel and allow to steam 15 minutes. Freeze without peeling or slit side, peel off skin and remove stem, seeds, membranes. Flatten to remove air, fold in half. Dry pack with waxed paper between single layers leaving headspace, or tray pack.

Pimentos Wash. Roast in oven at 400 F for 3-4 minutes. Rinse in cold water to remove charred skins. Drain. Dry pack with headspace, or tray pack.

Potatoes Wash and peel; remove eyes, bruises, green spots. Cut in 1/4- to 1/2-inch cubes. Water blanch 4-6 minutes. Cool and dry pack with 1/2-inch headspace, or tray pack. For hash browns, cook in jackets until almost done. Peel and grate. Form in desired shapes. Pack and freeze. For French fries, peel and cut in thin strips. Rinse and dry. Fry in fat heated to 360 F for 4 minutes or until golden. Drain and cool. Dry pack with headspace, or tray pack.

Pumpkins and winter squash 
(banana, butternut, 
Hubbard, buttercup)Wash; cut into pieces and remove seeds. Cook pieces until soft in boiling water, steam, microwave oven, pressure cooker or 350-400 F oven (cut side down). Cool. Scoop out pulp; mash, blend or put through sieve. Chill thoroughly. Pack with headspace.

Rutabagas Cut off tops of young, medium-sized rutabagas, wash and peel. Cut into cubes and water blanch 3 minutes. Cool, drain and dry pack with 1/2-inch headspace, or tray pack. For mashed rutabagas, cut into chunks and cook until tender in boiling water. Drain, mash, cool thoroughly and pack in containers with headspace.

Squash, 
(zucchini, yellow, white scallop)Select young squash with small seeds and tender rind. Wash, cut in 1/2-inch slices. Water blanch 4 minutes. Cool summer and drain. Dry pack with headspace.

Sweet potatoesSelect medium to large mature sweet potatoes that have been air-dried (cured). Sort for size; wash. Cook until almost tender in water, steam, pressure cooker or oven. Cool at room temperature. Peel; cut in halves, slice, or mash. To prevent darkening, dip halves or slices in solution of either 1 tablespoon citric acid or 1/2 cup lemon juice per quart of water for 5 minutes. For mashed sweet potatoes, mix 2 tablespoons orange or lemon juice with each quart. Dry pack with headspace.

Tomatoes, juiceWash, sort and trim firm tomatoes. Cut in quarters or eights. Simmer 5 to 10 minutes. Press through sieve. Season with 1 teaspoon salt per quart of juice, if desired. Pour into containers, leaving 1 1/2-inch headspace.

Tomatoes, stewedWash ripe, blemish-free tomatoes. Scald 2-3 minutes to loosen skins; peel and core. Cut into pieces and freeze or simmer 10-20 minutes until tender. Cool and dry pack with 1/2-inch headspace.

Turnips; parsnipsSelect tender, firm, mild-flavored small to medium turnips or parsnips. Wash, peel, cut into 1/2-inch cubes. Water blanch 3 minutes. Cool and drain. Dry pack with headspace.

Organic Agriculture Part 2 Soil Health

Myth Busting: Soil Health and Crop Rotation

“The rotation of crops is designed to nourish, exercise and rest the soil.”

In our last blog we talked about large scale organic agriculture and how those farmers nurish their soil and maintain plant health. Now lets discuse small farm soil and crop health. At Field To Fork CSA we have a integrated soil health and pest managment plan. We divide our fields into sections and have a three year plan for most crops. Those crops are moved throughout the field beds based on plant family and season. Our crop rotation is on a cycle. 

For example let’s say tomatoes, which are in the nightshade family, were planted in bed #1 this season. They will grow in bed #1 until they stop producing in early fall and will be pulled out. Next year, tomatoes will be planted in, say, bed #2, and something else, like peas, which are in the legume family, will be planted in bed #1. And the next year, both crops will be moved again. Bed #1 will not be planted with another nightshade plant, like tomatoes, peppers or eggplants, for three or more years after the tomato crop was pulled. Same goes for the legumes, and every other plant family. It is even three or more years between plant families being grown in the same bed.  

This kind of crop rotation helps balance the biological health of the soil, for different plants and families give and take different nutrients from the soil. Even over the winter, when not all of the beds are growing crops we think of as harvestable, the beds are planted with cover crops to perpetuate the nutrient exchange and to protect the soil from erosion.

With balanced, nutrient-rich soil, we are building the foundation of a healthy farm and food system—one that is sustainable, flourishing with seasonal and regional crops, and does not rely on chemical inputs.

 

Organic Agriculture Part 1

Myth #1: Organic Farms Don’t Use Pesticides

When the Soil Association, a major organic accreditation body in the UK, asked consumers why they buy organic food, 95% of them said their top reason was to avoid pesticides. They, like many people, believe that organic farming involves little to no pesticide use. I hate to burst the bubble, but that’s simply not true. Organic farming, just like other forms of agriculture, still uses pesticides and fungicides to prevent critters from destroying their crops. Confused?

Turns out that there are over 20 chemicals commonly used in the growing and processing of organic crops that are approved by the OMRI Listing US Organic Standards. And, shockingly, the actual volume usage of pesticides on organic farms is not recorded by the government. Why the government isn’t keeping watch on organic pesticide and fungicide use is a damn good question, especially considering that many organic pesticides that are also used by conventional farmers are used more intensively than synthetic ones due to their lower levels of effectiveness. According to the National Center for Food and Agricultural Policy, the top two organic fungicides, copper and sulfur, were used at a rate of 4 and 34 pounds per acre in 1971 1. In contrast, the synthetic fungicides only required a rate of 1.6 lbs per acre, less than half the amount of the organic alternatives.

The sad truth is, factory farming is factory farming, whether its organic or conventional. Many large organic farms use pesticides liberally. They’re organic by certification, but you’d never know it if you saw their farming practices. As Michael Pollan, best-selling book author and organic supporter, said in an interview with Organic Gardening,

What makes organic farming different, then? It’s not the use of pesticides, it’s the origin of the pesticides used. Organic pesticides are those that are derived from natural sources and processed lightly if at all before use. This is different than the current pesticides used by conventional agriculture, which are generally synthetic. It has been assumed for years that pesticides that occur naturally (in certain plants, for example) are somehow better for us and the environment than those that have been created by man. As more research is done into their toxicity, however, this simply isn’t true, either. Many natural pesticides have been found to be potential – or serious – health risks.2

Take the example of Rotenone. Rotenone was widely used in the US as an organic pesticide for decades 3. Because it is natural in origin, occurring in the roots and stems of a small number of subtropical plants, it was considered “safe” as well as “organic“. However, research has shown that rotenone is highly dangerous because it kills by attacking mitochondria, the energy powerhouses of all living cells. Research found that exposure to rotenone caused Parkinson’s Disease-like symptoms in rats 4, and had the potential to kill many species, including humans. Rotenone’s use as a pesticide has already been discontinued in the US as of 2005 due to health concerns***, but shockingly, it’s still poured into our waters every year by fisheries management officials as a piscicide to remove unwanted fish species.

The point I’m driving home here is that just because something is natural doesn’t make it non-toxic or safe. Many bacteria, fungi and plants produce poisons, toxins and chemicals that you definitely wouldn’t want sprayed on your food.

Just last year, nearly half of the pesticides that are currently approved for use by organic farmers in Europe failed to pass the European Union’s safety evaluation that is required by law 5. Among the chemicals failing the test was rotenone, as it had yet to be banned in Europe. Furthermore, just over 1% of organic foodstuffs produced in 2007 and tested by the European Food Safety Authority were found to contain pesticide levels above the legal maximum levels – and these are of pesticides that are not organic 6. Similarly, when Consumer Reports purchased a thousand pounds of tomatoes, peaches, green bell peppers, and apples in five cities and tested them for more than 300 synthetic pesticides, they found traces of them in 25% of the organically-labeled foods, but between all of the organic and non-organic foods tested, only one sample of each exceeded the federal limits8.

Not only are organic pesticides not safe, they might actually be worse than the ones used by the conventional agriculture industry. Canadian scientists pitted ‘reduced-risk’ organic and synthetic pesticides against each other in controlling a problematic pest, the soybean aphid. They found that not only were the synthetic pesticides more effective means of control, the organic pesticides were more ecologically damaging, including causing higher mortality in other, non-target species like the aphid’s predators9. Of course, some organic pesticides may fare better than these ones did in similar head-to-head tests, but studies like this one reveal that the assumption that natural is better for the environment could be very dangerous.

Even if the organic food you’re eating is from a farm which uses little to no pesticides at all, there is another problem: getting rid of pesticides doesn’t mean your food is free from harmful things. Between 1990 and 2001, over 10,000 people fell ill due to foods contaminated with pathogens like E. coli, and many have organic foods to blame. That’s because organic foods tend to have higher levels of potential pathogens. One study, for example, found E. coli in produce from almost 10% of organic farms samples, but only 2% of conventional ones10. The same study also found Salmonella only in samples from organic farms, though at a low prevalence rate. The reason for the higher pathogen prevalence is likely due to the use of manure instead of artificial fertilizers, as many pathogens are spread through fecal contamination. Conventional farms often use manure, too, but they use irradiation and a full array of non-organic anti-microbial agents as well, and without those, organic foods run a higher risk of containing something that will make a person sick.

In the end, it really depends on exactly what methods are used by crop producers. Both organic and conventional farms vary widely in this respect. Some conventional farms use no pesticides. Some organic farms spray their crops twice a month. Of course, some conventional farms spray just as frequently, if not more so, and some organic farms use no pesticides whatsoever. To really know what you’re in for, it’s best if you know your source, and a great way to do that is to buy locally. Talk to the person behind the crop stand, and actually ask them what their methods are if you want to be sure of what you’re eating.

First 18 Week Summer Share!

Hi Friends,

I hope you are as excited as we are to see you this week! 

Set a reminder:

Thursday - Lincoln Park (12th and Orchard) thursday from 4-7. We setup under or near the ASH shelter which is next to the play area.

Saturday - 743 36.1 rd Palisade Co. please drive through the private drive sign. 10-12

Saturday - Copper Club downtown Fruita. We will be at the Copper Club until the farmers market starts. 9-11

 

Week 2 Spring Salad Share

We really appreciate our CSA members driving out to Palisade every Friday to grab the spring salad share. Below you will see what the garden has been producing for us. Salad Mix, Spinach, Arugula, Mint, Parsley, Radish, Tomato Plant, Eggs, flowers and Popcorn.

image.jpg

Meet Peaches!

Hi Friends,

We are excited to introduce our newest member of our farm. Meet Peaches! She will be keeping all your veggies cool this summer and she will also be in charge of delivering your produce to Grand Junction! 

 

image.jpg
image.jpg

First Spring Salad Share

This Friday marks the first pickup at Field To Fork and we are so excited to start connecting with our CSA members again! If you have joined the CSA for the spring share please dont forget to come grab your fresh spring greens. We are very happy with the crops that will be available to you over the next four weeks and we hope you will feel satisfied as well.  The Author Barbara Kingsolver in her book Animal Vegetable Miracle writes about the cycle of farm life and gardening. She has really nailed how the first leaves of the garden are by far the most anticipated and warm feeling food. There are times we overlook the spring crops since we are lucky enough to live in a culture that can have any food at our finger tips at anytime. Through out the next few weeks you will nibble, dine and devour some of the best salad greens and spinach of the year and will then be paired with sweet baby root vegetables, sweet peas, snow peas, strawberries and some fancy herbs and spring onions. One of my favorite crops we offer with the spring salad share are the beautiful Peonies and Irises that the farm has been growing for over a decade. We also have garden plants available for your home gardens.

We are very excited to see you this week and please set a reminder to pick up your spring share. We do a market style pickup to save on boxes so please bring your reusuable bags to get your food home. We will provide paper bags if you forget.

 

“Once you start cooking, one thing leads to another. A new recipe is as exciting as a blind date. A new ingredient, heaven help me, is an intoxicating affair.” 
― Barbara KingsolverAnimal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life

 


 

Love Your Food!

xojess

image.jpg

We're Full! 2014 CSA

Hi Friends,

We are so happy to announce that our CSA program for the 2014 growing season is full. We will be at the Fruita Farmers Market on Saturdays and the Palisade Farmers Market on Sundays so please look for us and stop to say Hi!

 

xojess

Field To Fork CSA       Palisade Colorado   Community Supported  Agriculture

Photos by Audrey Carlson and Farm Crew