One of the great joys this season has been our field crew. Rather than just going into the field to tackle weeds and harvest, they have been so interactive and innovative. All of them have an abiding passion and commitment to growing food organically. We’ve been actively exchanging ideas, researching and learning – and thus growing. We are excited to see ideas literally come to fruition – and we think that you will enjoy the fruits!
Our market will be open Saturday, July 22 and Tuesday, July 25th from 8 am until 2 pm. Summer veggies are starting to come in nicely now – cucumbers, including the new and delicious silver slicer, green beans, okra, the early tomatoes in a riot of colors, shapes and sizes, the best summer lettuce for refreshing salads, our array of zucchinis and summer squashes for every use, the first of the various eggplants, wonderful cabbages and more. We are also offering the first of the season tree-ripened peaches and they are fabulous. They are so ripe that they need to be eaten quickly!
Pick Your Own:
Black raspberries – yum! Picking will be light on Saturday but it looks like their will be more ready next Tuesday.
We will keep the field open as long as there are ripe fruits available. We suggest coming earlier in the day for the best availability.
Pickles – the pick your own row will be open. We also have freshly picked available. The heaviest production is still a few weeks away.
Flowers and sunflowers – take home some sunshine!
Basils – this is a great time to be making pesto! Check out the many other varieties: cinnamon – so delicious with fruit or steep in boiling water and add a drop of honey; lemon – wonderful with fish, chicken and in beverages as is the lime; try Thai with all your favorite Asian dishes; the purple basil makes a stunning presentation in salads and a gorgeous vinegar.
So, we are at the cusp of summer fullness. We look forward to sharing it with you.
BLACK RASPBERRIES (very seedy)
July 14th, 2017
We pray, plot, plan, plant and water, weed and wait. Thriving crops bring us joy. The angst of a wild spring is passing and in its wake, thriving is happening. We wait for seasonality (too early for peppers and melons and the red raspberries and fall strawberries) and wait for the crops like cucumbers that are running a bit behind because of the spring weather. Meanwhile, we enjoy that which is ready – the summer lettuces, first of the ripe hoophouse tomatoes, the lovely array of zucchinis, green beans, flavorful garlic, first of the tender okra and more. And, we just keep weeding while we wait.
Our farm market will be open from 8 am until 2 pm on Saturday, the 15th of July and Tuesday the 18th. New this week – organic lavender! Several varieties are available, including culinary. Lavender ice cream anyone? The lavender is being grown by Anna, our passionate about produce manager and her husband Luigi. They have worked hard and the results are lovely and fragrant. More of the pick your own flowers are available now and basils are ready. Pick your own pickles will be starting next week.
Black raspberries: picking will just be starting this Saturday so amounts will be light. A truly ripe black raspberry is fabulous. So how do you know it is truly ripe? A berry that is TOTALLY shiny black, plump AND SLIDES OFF THE STEM WITHOUT ANY TUGGING is truly ripe. Black raspberries will not ripen any further once they are picked and don’t taste good when they are under-ripe. So go for the ripe ones!! Black raspberry season typically lasts about 2 weeks and picking is anticipated to be heavier next week.
These need a home this Saturday.
July 7th, 2017
If you were doing the dance on Highway 85, the field to the east probably wouldn’t have caught your attention. If you were spraying weeds with herbicide from the comfort of your air-conditioned tractor, you also would not have taken note. But, if you were this organic farmer, you would have been fascinated by the life surrounding you as you weeded. Of course, you would of at first been horrified at how quickly the weeds have grown. Soon, however, you would begin to see the ladybugs crawling all over the wild sunflowers and delighted in the brown lacewing that alighted on your arm. You would have been pleased to see the beneficial hoverflies sipping nectar from the wild-growing plains coreopsis blooms and ground beetles searching for prey. You would have begun to ponder how the weeds add to the biodiversity, feeding the beneficial insects that are protecting your crops. You would leave some, the ones that wouldn’t impact production, and be thankful that you could be a witness to this dance of life.
A month ago, we were just starting to plant out tomatoes and peppers, zucchini and cucumbers and all of the other summer delights. Melons were just germinating in the greenhouse – now they are blooming prolifically and setting fruit. Summer’s bounty is coming!
In our market, tender and sweet English peas are at their peak. It is always a delight to hear a kid who says they don’t like peas zip one open and exclaim “these are like candy!” Treat yourself to some relax time and zip some of open for yourself. They are delicious raw as well as just very lightly steamed with a little butter. Yum! Our crisp and juicy lettuce is so refreshing in this heat. Add a protein like eggs, tuna, cheese, nuts or grilled meat; other veggies and dried fruit like tart cherries and cranberries and you have a wonderful summer meal. The seven varieties of zucchini and summer squash are starting to produce and green beans are making their first appearance. Summer cabbage is in along with rainbow chard, sweet kohlrabi, fresh elephant and Spanish Rojo garlic.
Pick your own:
- Red Currants: picking will commence Saturday, the 8th of July and continue for 10 to 14 days. These make the best jelly that can be used as an awesome glaze for grilled or roasted meat or just enjoy on toast or a biscuit. They are also delightful for topping a special cake or pastry with a dollop of whipped crème. This is not the best crop for picking with small children.
- Black Raspberries: picking will start in about a week. We will keep you posted.
- Red raspberries and the fall crop of raspberries typically start mid-August.
- Pickling cucumbers: We are expecting them to start in about 10 days and go to mid-September.
- Basils: fresh, cinnamon, purple, lemon, Thai, lime and pesto are ready now.
- Flowers: they are just starting.
Market hours: 8 am until 2 pm on Tuesdays, & Saturdays.
We invite you to come enjoy life on the farm!
June 30th, 2017
Claudia shares this:
Light levels, the angle of the sun, what’s blooming and producing all clue me in to where we are in time. This year, everything feels a bit out of sync with lilacs and roses blooming a month or more early, garlic that we have harvested on the 4th of July for many years already out of the field and other crops delayed by the amazingly wet May. And yet, I am amazed, encouraged and thankful at how quickly and lushly growth is occurring.
For the next week or so, our market will be open on Tuesdays 8-1 and Saturdays from 8 am until 2 pm. For Tuesday, the 4th of July, we will have special hours of 8 am until 1 pm.
This week we are offering stunning lettuces for your 4th of July celebrations and delicious summer salads. Lovely and tender rainbow chard; fresh, sweet English peas; truly delectable tree-ripened certified organic sweet cherries from First Fruits in Paonia; freshly dug and flavorful Spanish Rojo and elephant garlic; garlic scapes so wonderful for pesto and grilling, basil and Italian parsley; and densely sweet cabbage are among our featured products. Mea culpa: we have the absolutely delicious sweet onion flavored shallot scapes now. They have white tips, not purplish. If you bought some earlier and they had a very strong onion flavor, they weren’t shallot scapes...our apologies and we will replace them with the real ones. Oops!
Grilling news: lots of the wonderful grass-fed and finished Heartsong beef, the wonderful pork from R Patch O Heaven and now the Doodley Rooster awesome pastured whole chicken, fed a certified organic corn and soy-free diet and USDA inspected.
Strawberries -out of season until mid August
Pie Cherries –many of you have already inquired about cherry picking. Sadly, this year, a freeze in May combined with two hail storms impacted the crop significantly a we will have to wait until next year for our favorite cherry pie.
Black raspberries: on a good news front, the black raspberries are setting on a nice looking crop. We expect to start picking mid-July and will keep you updated.
Pick your own – some basil is ready now, flowers will be starting in about a week, pickling cucumbers need a few weeks yet with the heaviest crop starting mid-August.
Have a wonderful 4th!
CAN 4TH OF JULY FIREWORKS COMPARE TO NATURES?
June 23rd, 2017
Claudia shares this:
The sun is burning hot today, that golden orb relentless at its northern zenith. It will linger long before slipping behind the distant peaks. We will be grateful for the cooling evening breezes and the gentle night sounds to commence. The escape will be brief as light begins to flood the eastern sky so early, rousing the roosters and commencing the chatter of birds. The morning air is chilly but in an instant the sun is burning yet again. We labor on, the days filled with seeding, transplanting, weeding, irrigating and harvesting. Suddenly it will be September and we will notice that the sun has shifted southward on its journey, lengthening our nights.
Our market will be open again on Saturday, the 24th of June, from 8 am until 1 pm. There will be some light strawberry picking available, especially earlier in the day. Our market is filled with a nice selection of our seasonal vegetables. Lettuces are especially nice with large, full heads that offer you great value. Our intensely flavorful and freshly harvested Rojo garlic is in the market now. Fruit logs are back!
Please watch our website at www.berrypatchfarms.com or call 303 659-5050 for current hours as they will be variable (due to erratic weather and hail that set back planting) until the next pick your own crops come in - red currants, pie cherries and black raspberries, early to mid-July. The good news is that thus far, many crops are looking good. As always, we thank you for your support of our farming efforts.
Rojo garlic harvested yesterday.
June 14, 2017
Berry Patch Farms Special Update
Good Evening; It is with great pain to see the strawberry harvest for June go "south" so quickly. We are not anticipating a lot of berries for the balance of June, but there is hope for the fall harvest. Please keep the farm in your prayers.
June 13, 2017
Berry Patch Farms Special Update
With the heat, the strawberries are ripening quickly. So, berry picking will be possible this Tues/Thurs/Sat from 8-1pm. Keep in mind that flat picking (6 quarts) will be possible in August-September. But for now a couple of quarts per family is possible. Remember, we provide the quarts for your convenience.
Also, there will be some veggies available on these days.
Have questions? Call us at 303-659-5050. See you soon.
June 9th, 2017
Nothing much makes this farmer happier than a greenhouse that is emptier because plants, long-tended, are in the field. Tim and I are so grateful to our “crew” for their dedication and extraordinary efforts! We aren’t finished yet but the end is in sight. Without Gregorio, Angelica, Cory, Stephanie, Naomi, Jade, Kaylynn and Farrel, you wouldn’t be looking forward to 42 varieties of peppers or 13 types of sweet vine-ripe melons, sweet onions, strawberries, raspberries and a myriad of other veggies and fruits. The pick-your-own flowers, pickles and basils will go out today. The plants are gorgeous and barring unforeseen issues, will be ready soon. Farmer Tim, along with Stephanie, has planted and tended thousands of strawberries and red and black raspberries. Mind you, with nearly seven inches of rain since May 1st, the weeds are thriving as well!
Our market will be open this Saturday, June 10th, from 10 am until 2 pm. We are offering freshly harvested and gorgeous and tasty butterhead, mini romaine and oakleaf lettuces, rainbow chard, kale, escarole (delicious sauteed with garlic scapes and pine nuts), scallions, spinach, mustard greens, baby broccoli, garlic and shallot scapes (great on the grill!), rhubarb and tender, young kohlrabi – delicious eaten raw and superb sliced and briefly roasted and topped with grated Parmesan. Duck eggs are back (certified organic diet), hen-fresh eggs, delicious grass-fed beef and pork raised on grass-fed milk and certified organic corn and soy-free diet also available. Fire up the grill! We will continue to have plants for sale – mainly basils, some nice cherry tomatoes, eggplant and now a wide variety of sweet peppers. It’s not at all too late for planting! If you pre-ordered plants, please try to arrange pick-up. If you can’t make it Saturday, please contact me by replying to this e-mail to arrange a time. The plants are just beautiful right now and should thrive for you.
At this point, we remain cautiously optimistic that strawberry picking will commence next Saturday but no guarantees. We will keep you posted!
Meanwhile, we invite you to join us for delicious fresh veggies!
Farmer Tim demonstrating farm cross fit exercise.
Summer at last!? After the fierce wrestling and roiling of tempests and temperatures of the last few months, it seems that warmth is the new norm. Can it be that roses are now free to bloom without snow obscuring their beauty? The dull browns of a dry winter have been covered with a verdant lushness brought on by over six inches of rain in a month.
The warmth of the last week has brought new crops to fruition. Our market will be open Saturday, the 3rd of June, from 10 am until 2 pm offering our beautiful and bountiful oak leaf, red and green butter and mini-romaine lettuces, escarole, scallions, mustard greens, kale, spinach, rainbow chard, garlic and shallot scapes, baby broccoli, the first of the tender young kohlrabi and rhubarb. Of course, fresh eggs, grass-fed beef and pork are also proffered.
The oak leaf and butter lettuces are available for just a short window in our micro-climate. Both make beautiful and delicious early summer salads. Escarole is a wonderful Italian green less familiar to many of us. It is a dead ringer for a head of lettuce but is most frequently used in a simple saute with garlic and capers or soups. Use garlic scapes as you would fresh garlic (so great with the chard!) and the shallot scapes are just delicious grilled or sauteed.
This week, we are offering beautiful basil plants in seven varieties along with two varieties grown for their flowers and fragrance. All are wonderful container plants. A number of different eggplants are also available and also make gorgeous container plants with their beautiful leaves and lavender flowers. Peppers in a number of different types will be available next week.
About the strawberries: we are cautiously optimistic for a harvest beginning some time in mid-June. We will keep you posted!
Now that the weather seems to have settled, we are about the business of getting fields planted with the warm season crops. We are so very grateful for the enthusiasm, energy, experience and dedication of our field crew and our beloved barn staff. It takes a village to grow this farm!
BUTTER HEAD LETTUCE
A YUMMY SPRING TREAT!
AS CLAUDIA THINKS.....
The plaintive cry of the killdeer reaches my ear, even as the north wind blows cold. The sun is warm when it isn’t obscured. The greenhouse is overflowing, the shade house full. Fields are filling, the weeds are growing. The incessant cries of hungry baby birds fill the air. Brazen bunnies graze on the abundant green. Newly planted raspberries wave and bob in the breezes. Wary of the sky, we plant as the fields dry between drenchings. Life has emerged even as spring, summer and winter have converged in this month of May.
Field production has begun and we have more to offer now. Our market will be open from 10 am until 2 pm Saturday, the 27th of May. We are offering fresh spinach, kale, mustard greens, green garlic, scallions, baby broccoli, sweet cabbage, arugula micro-greens and rhubarb along with fresh eggs, grass-fed beef (great for grilling!) and the pork (also great for grilling!) from R Patch O Heaven. By next week, there will be escarole and butterhead lettuces, along with more baby romaine. It is almost time for garlic scapes!
Tomato plants are available now and probably some next week also. Eight varieties of basil will be ready in a week or so, reserve yours now. Various types of eggplants and pepper transplants will also be ready in two weeks. These plants are growing in the finest compost-based organic potting soil and have strong, healthy root systems.
About the berries: the strawberries are setting fruit but it is too soon to accurately predict when picking will commence, given our fluctuating weather. We will keep you posted.
Our hours will expand as more produce comes into season and berry picking commences. We have at least some level of confidence that true summer will begin!
As we enter this Memorial Day weekend, let us truly honor not only those who gave their lives and suffered so much to found this country, to defend it and keep this world safe, but those who live even today with the profound physical and emotional impacts of their service. Please remember, too, the impact of military service on families.
PS: That picture of the funny looking aluminum ice cream cone is really a Hail Cannon which helps in the combat of hail by sending a 200 mph shock wave into the hail clouds, thus shattering the stones into small bits of ice.
THESE ORGANICALLY GROWN TOMATOES ARE IN NEED OF A HOME.
It’s maple twirler time, when the fan-shaped seeds of maple trees whirl and twirl their way from the tree-tops. Sometimes they fall gently like mini-parachutes on a gentle breeze and other times they are sent like buckshot from flailing branches. In my musings, I imagine them feeling a bit dizzy and confused, wondering where they will land as they swirl through the air. I feel that way a bit myself as we swing wildly from very warm to unusual chill, from profound drought to profound wet. Flowers are in bloom weeks before their normal time – and snowed upon. My orderly planting schedule is in a bit of disarray. The calendar says I should have seeded green beans and zucchini, winter squash and be on to melons but a look out the window at falling snow tells me otherwise. It’s a bit disconcerting!
Our market will be open tomorrow, Saturday the 20th of May, from 10 am until 2 pm. We have beautiful scallions, bok choy, some salad mix, sweet cabbages and fresh red rhubarb along with our artisan sun-dried tomatoes, nice assortment of dried beans, local honey, farm-fresh eggs, grass-fed beef and pork and more.
Yes, our offerings are limited this week due to the above noted vagaries in our weather as we transition from the winter high tunnel to the field. I do expect that more will be ready next week if it warms up as predicted.
Hang on to your hat as we twirl our way through this crazy month of May!
The sky has been crying but now the sun is shining. The birds are singing, the earth is greening. May is the month of transition from winter to summer. The wrestling has been going on for months and indeed, snow could yet fly this month but the relentlessly lengthening days will win out. The winter hoophouse is undergoing transformation and vegetable production will shift to the fields over the next several weeks. We strive to have a seamless transition of supply from the hoophouse to the field but that is dependent on our rather erratic (and dramatic!) weather.
Our market will be open this Saturday, May 13th, from 10 am until 2 pm. We are offering our freshly cut salad mix, bok choy, mildly piquant mustard greens, scallions, spinach, sweet cabbage and more. Try bok choy sauteed with scallions, sliced or slivered almonds, garlic and ginger with chicken breast that has been marinated in light soy sauce, olive oil, garlic, ginger and lime juice. Serve over a bed of similarly seasoned brown rice.
If you are grilling for Mom, consider the delicious grass-fed beef from Heartsong or pork from R Patch O Heaven. The wonderful handmade goat’s milk soaps and lotions from Caramel Apple Farm will be much appreciated by Moms everywhere.
Interested in tomato plants? We will be accepting orders starting this week. We have a wide variety to choose from but quantities are limited. Some tomatoes are ready to take home now but I will be happy to care for them here another week or so. Despite some warmer night temperatures, it is not yet safe to put out warm season crops that want both warm soil and night temperatures in the 50’s without significant protection.
So far, there is no snow forecast for Mother’s Day weekend! Hopefully, you will enjoy this beautiful weather while we have it. Feel free to come to the farm Saturday and enjoy seem sunshine, peace and quiet!
Do you know what this piece of farm equipment is?
Our weather has been like a hormonal teenager, swinging wildly between a sunny, sweet disposition to door-slamming tempests and from cold- shouldered to fiery blasts. Or maybe a better analogy is like bull-riding and always trying to anticipate the sudden and unpredictable swings of an enraged animal. Despite the wildness, we are grateful for much-needed moisture. The fields are progressing nicely, the greenhouse is filling with healthy, vigorous plants and the plants in the hoophouse have handled the temperature stress with aplomb. As for us, t-shirts co-mingle with winter jackets...
Our market will be open Saturday, the 6th of May, from 10 am until 2 pm. We invite you to stop by for our beautiful and fresh salad mix, bok choy, scallions, mild and delicious mustard greens, chard, spinach, dense and sweet cabbage, beets and more. Our large selection of delicious dried beans are a healthy, economical and easy way to add great nutrition and flavor to your diet. Hen-fresh eggs from Sweet Pickle and Charlie Wade farms are plentiful. This will be a great grilling weekend so the grass-fed beef from Heartsong will be on sale. Do try the pork from R Patch O Heaven.
As thoughts turn to gardening, we will again have the worm-composted alpaca “poo” that is such a fabulous fertilizer for gardens, containers and houseplants. Wildflower seeds selected especially for our climate that are friendly to pollinators are perfect for tucking in as a Mother’s Day gift.
We will be a offering a nice selection of healthy certified organic plants, primarily tomato, peppers and herbs at proper planting time in the coming weeks. We use an absolutely premium compost-based soil mix and best and most delicious varieties for our climate. You will notice the difference at harvest time!
And it’s off to caring for the fields, greenhouse, hoophouse and harvesting on a beautiful day!
A new art form at Berry Patch. But what is it??
We “bought the farm” nineteen years ago. Much life has been lived on this place during that time, as there was for the centuries before us and will be after we are no longer even a memory. We have been blessed with many special people during these years, each one contributing their unique gifts and personality. We received the sad news today that Cindi, our beloved CSA coordinator and one of the treasured “barn ladies”, lost her battle with cancer. Cindi’s wonderful serving “I can do that” attitude, quick smile and boundless energy have been missed for some months here and now will be missed here forever. She left an indelible mark in our hearts, as she did in many of yours.
Despite the dire sounding forecast, we plan to be open this Saturday, April 29th from 10 am until 2 pm. We had May in February so why not February in May? Classic Colorado. Anyway, we have plenty of fresh stuff like salad mix which we are making available with and without the “extras”, kale, chard, scallions, mustard greens, bok choy and spinach along with plenty of other offerings. We will have the coffee pot on and will do our best to make it worth your while to venture over. This sounds like a great weekend for a big pot of warming soup – we’ve got all the best ingredients.
Of course, if things become truly dire, do check with us 303 659-5050 before heading out.
Spring veggies are popping up all over and the summer veggies and flowers are on their way. Farmer Tim has been a strawberry planting machine and will tackle red raspberries in the next week or so, weather permitting. Cindi would be loving it.
Solidarity Then & Now.
The bees are dancing around my hands once again, foraging greedily amongst the bright yellow kale blossoms. A meadowlark sings sweetly from a fencepost in the late afternoon sun. The rich perfume of plum blossoms wafts on the north breezes, their pure white robes a dazzling sight. Tiny seeds are sprouting everywhere and new life is filling the greenhouse. It is truly spring on the farm. Both the workload and joy are increasing as quickly as the days are lengthening!
Our market will be open Saturday, the 15th of April, from 10 am until 2 pm. We are offering our unique salad mix; fresh spinach; the most tender and sweet, mild chard; mustard greens; baby kale for salads, teenage kale for soups and saute and Russian kale for all uses; fresh scallions; flavorful herbs including rosemary, cilantro, mint and dill, rainbow carrots; sweet beets and plenty more. We expect to be well-supplied with fresh eggs from both Sweet Pickle and Charlie Wade farms and are offering Heartsong Farms superb grass-fed beef and R Patch O Heaven pork. Spinach, chard and kale are all wonderful in Easter morning frittatas and other egg dishes. I expect to have enough of the delicious and fresh salad mix for all to enjoy.
Additionally, Alex, one of the main bee keepers at our community apiary here on the farm, will be here offering honey freshly collected from his hives. Yum!!
All of us at the farm are so very grateful for your support of our efforts and to our God for His gracious gifts and provision. Have a blessed Easter!