In this online newsletter you'll have a chance to learn about DenverFarmer.com, the produce we grow and our philosophy concerning growing good tasting, nutritional, fresh Farm to Table food. Our newsletter and our blog are opportunities to reach out to the community. We want to communicate not just a marketing message, but useful information that you can use on a daily basis to enrich you and your family's life.
We’ve started the process of becoming Organically certified by the USDA. I’m beginning to see why so few farms go the trouble of becoming certified. The process seems to be daunting.
We started by doing our due diligence and exploring the USDA’s organic program website. As many of you know I teach broadcast television and website design at the Colorado Media School located in Belmar. I mention this because if I had a student create a website as convoluted as the USDA’s, I’d make them do it again. The document regarding the rules of organic production makes a 56-page pdf file. Finding this material is like pulling teeth, slow and painful. I’ve spent hours at the computer surfing through the content trying to find a comprehensive list of steps to become an organic farm.
I did garner that the first real step was to contact the Colorado Department of Agriculture and talk to the individual that ran the Organic program here in our state. As an alternative, I learned that there were private companies that were certified to approve me and our operation. Good thing, as the representative from the Colorado Dept. of Agriculture informed me that they had stopped taking applications. Apparently, they did not have the manpower to process the applications that they already had. I was told that they might begin taking applications in the future, but they did not have the permission to do so yet.
I’ve heard through the grapevine that the cost of working with private companies was quite expensive and only made sense for large operations that could recoup the expenses easily because of the sheer volume of the operations. I was hoping that working with the State Department of Ag. would mean a reduction of those costs; no such luck.
Never daunted by things not working out the way I had envisioned, I contact company located in Lincoln Nebraska called OneCert. OneCert is one of those private businesses that has been approved by the USDA to certify productions as organic. I picked them as I am an alumni of the University of Nebraska and had spent six years of my life living in Lincoln.
I went to their site and filled out a very short form, and in five minutes had all the documents I needed to start the process. This is the difference in working with the government and a private enterprise. Although expensive, working with OneCert is not excessively so. I did learn from the Fed’s website that there was a program that would reimburse the cost of certification up to 75% but not to exceed $750. Based on what I’ve learned so far, this reimbursement will reduce our costs to a very manageable level. Good news indeed!
We have just begun filing the forms and preparing the material for OneCert, so I am not sure exactly what the future will hold and how difficult this might become. From what I’ve learned so far, I believe that farms that actually grow organically, have no real excuse not to go through the certification process.
We believe that everyone has the right to know how their food is produced. We believe in complete transparency regarding our growing practices and invite anyone to come and see our operation any time. We also believe that receiving the USDA certification and being allowed to use the Official Organic seal in our labeling and advertising will give our customers piece of mind, and a trust in our principals and practices.
We will continue to blog about the certification process as it occurs. It is our understanding that the certification can not be given until an inspector can visit our farm and examine the way we grow our produce and herbs. Unfortunately, this has to happen during the growing season, and that means the soonest we could expect approval would be next spring at the earliest. Stay tuned and visit our blog “The Urban Way” often for the latest updates.
Mom’s French Onion Soup
We have promised Mom’s French Onion Soup recipe for a couple of weeks, and we are finally going to deliver. We are sure you enjoy this traditional treat! This recipe was given to Mom by Julie Miller, a French Teacher in Indiana.
French Onion Soup
3 medium onions, sliced thin
2 Tbsp Butter
1 Tbsp Flour
2 cans of Consommé
4 cups of Water
¼ cup of Boiled Milk
¼ lb or Swiss Cheese
6 dried slices of French Bread
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 Tbsp of Melted butter
Cook onions in butter in heavy skillet until slightly brown. Sprinkle with flour and cook over low heat until golden, never allowing them to become dark brown. Add consommé and water. Bring to boil, constantly stirring with a wooden spoon, simmer gently for 20 minutes uncovered. Add milk. Pour into an oven safe casserole dish or individual oven safe bowls. Place slices of French Bread on top. Sprinkle generously with cheese. Add pepper and salt, drizzle with melted butter. Brown quickly under broiler flame or butane cooking torch. Serve piping hot.
DISCLAIMER: Sorry, folks, but my wife has gone “Southern Hoosier” on her blog this week… I tried to stop her, but sometimes she rambles on like a freight train…. My apologies in advance.
It is always wonderful to see our customers week after week…. We are very fortunate to have gotten to known so many of you and it is a real treat to see you almost every Saturday! This week, instead of a recipe, I thought I’d just share some tidbits and meanderings…..
Need to clean up your act….??? This past Saturday, we introduced handmade Soaps and Balms at our booth (yay!!) I am simply thrilled by this, as I just adore homemade, cold-pressed soaps. Made in Golden, by friends Paula & Shannon, these soaps and balms stand out by consisting of quality ingredients such as: Coconut oil, Olive oil, Mango Oil, Shea butter. There is nothing quite like the luxury of treating your skin well – and, why shouldn’t we? It’s the largest organ in our bodies! We are fortunate to have found Simply Sud-sational Soaps and to be able to introduce their some of their products to you. Try the samples at our booth or visit Paula & Shannon’s website at simplysudsationalsoaps.com
Barbara stopped by the booth this week…. She has been a wealth of wisdom to Brad & I… she teaches at Metro(?) and has a true passion for getting good food to our community and helping new Urban Farmers (like ourselves) get off on the right foot. She just started a radio podcast - check it out here…
Lonely Egg & 5 friends seek a carton to call their own…. A good friend of our needs some egg cartons… if you have some extra, please drop them off at our booth either Saturday, 9/19 or 9/26… 12 slot cartons will also gladly be accepted!
And, if you’d like, you can tell us your favorite “why did the chicken cross the road” joke….
My tip of the week…. Use distilled white vinegar mixed with warm water for mopping your kitchen floors…. So simple and straightforward it is almost silly, right?
Everyone’s kitchens are high foot traffic areas - kitchen floors just attract food spills, grease splatters, and tracks from our four-legged friends. I have tried various commercial products over the years - often concerned about what might be in the product, being aggravated by the (sometimes) high prices, and concern over potential toxins for our dogs and our family.
So the other day, I tried a simple combo of white vinegar and hot water on our tile kitchen floor (about a ½ Cup Vinegar to a gallon of water should do the trick.) Honestly, I could not believe how well it cleaned the floor…. No sticky residues… no triple rinsing to remove any toxins…. no coloring additives or perfumey smells…. Just simple clean.
I’ve tried the vinegar and water combo on both our tile and linoleum flooring – both have worked wonderfully…. I have read you can also use the combo on hardwood floors, although I have not tried it yet.
As always, do a little area and determine if this method works for you and your family.
Did somebody say Tomatoes…
It’s a wonderful time of year here at our Urban Farm… our tomatoes have come in, and they are deee-licious! However, they keep coming… and coming… and coming. Not that I’m complaining, but I find myself in the all too familiar gardener’s quandary of how to preserve, and I think honor, the fruits of one’s labor.
So, this weekend, I decided to can some of our excess tomatoes. Canning is a relatively straight forward process, much like freezing veggies. There are four basic steps – wash, blanch, prep, and process.
You can find the basic canning information on canning on many websites, and I won’t pretend to be an expert canner. Just know, there are two types of canning methods – water bath (WB) and pressure canning (PC). Water bath canning is utilized for high acid foods – pickles, jams & jellies, and some tomato preparations. Pressure canning is used for low acid foods – such as beans, corn, and most canning involving meat products. For your food safety, be sure to follow the canning method recommended by the recipe you are following. Also, note that altitude makes a difference! Here in Colorado we need to add 10 minutes of processing time (3000-6000 ft) to either method of canning.
My experience of canning tomatoes was fun, tedious, rewarding, and exhausting. The washing and blanching was a breeze. For blanching, I cut an “x” in the bottom of the tomatoes, blanched for 60 seconds, placed the tomatoes in an ice bath, and the skins truly did just peel right off.
At this point, I was feeling pretty darn good!
Then, the prep got to me….. the coring of the tomatoes “got” to me….. it took seemingly forever…. I stopped and searched to internet for tips…. I folded a load of laundry… I even contemplated (briefly) running away from home. In the end, I decided I was being too fussy about the coring. You can use the tomatoes whole, halved, quartered, or chopped. With all these options, why stress?
OH! I did do one thing right – I put my cutting board in a cookie sheet with a lip - this kept tomato juice from running all over the counter….
Once I had the tomatoes cored and seeded, I hot-packed the tomatoes into pint jars, adding a tablespoon of lemon juice per pint to ensure an adequate acidity level for water bath canning. Forty minutes later, I had 5 lovely pints of canned tomato loveliness.
I guess my point is – don’t be afraid to step outside you comfort zone when it comes to your family and food…. Try freezing or canning…. Try a new fruit of veggie, that you don’t quite know what to do with…… Try that new recipe (although, if you are adding wine to a chicken dish – I suggest not using red wine…. Ask Farmer Brad about the “Purple Chicken” incident of ’03…. I’m telling ya, the man’s a Saint when it comes to my cooking!)
A genetically modified organism (GMO), also known as a transgenic organism, is any organism whose genetic material has been altered using genetic engineering techniques. GMOs are the source of genetically modified foods and are also widely used in scientific research and to produce goods other than food.
We don’t know how everyone else feels about GMO’s, but we’d like to share our personal feelings regarding the use of genetically modified food. We think it’s wrong! Below we cite a page directly from the Institute for Responsible Technology’s website (10-Reasons-to-Avoid-GMOs). We think it says it all.
1. GMOs are unhealthy.
The American Academy of Environmental Medicine (AAEM) urges doctors to prescribe non-GMO diets for all patients. They cite animal studies showing organ damage, gastrointestinal and immune system disorders, accelerated aging, and infertility. Human studies show how genetically modified (GM) food can leave material behind inside us, possibly causing long-term problems. Genes inserted into GM soy, for example, can transfer into the DNA of bacteria living inside us, and that the toxic insecticide produced by GM corn was found in the blood of pregnant women and their unborn fetuses.
Numerous health problems increased after GMOs were introduced in 1996. The percentage of Americans with three or more chronic illnesses jumped from 7% to 13% in just 9 years; food allergies skyrocketed, and disorders such as autism, reproductive disorders, digestive problems, and others are on the rise. Although there is not sufficient research to confirm that GMOs are a contributing factor, doctors groups such as the AAEM tell us not to wait before we start protecting ourselves, and especially our children who are most at risk.
The American Public Health Association and American Nurses Association are among many medical groups that condemn the use of GM bovine growth hormone, because the milk from treated cows has more of the hormone IGF-1 (insulin-like growth factor 1)―which is linked to cancer.
2. GMOs contaminate―forever.
GMOs cross pollinate and their seeds can travel. It is impossible to fully clean up our contaminated gene pool. Self-propagating GMO pollution will outlast the effects of global warming and nuclear waste. The potential impact is huge, threatening the health of future generations. GMO contamination has also caused economic losses for organic and non-GMO farmers who often struggle to keep their crops pure.
3. GMOs increase herbicide use.
Most GM crops are engineered to be "herbicide tolerant" to deadly weed killer. Monsanto, for example, sells Roundup Ready crops, designed to survive applications of their Roundup herbicide.
Between 1996 and 2008, US farmers sprayed an extra 383 million pounds of herbicide on GMOs. Overuse of Roundup results in "superweeds," resistant to the herbicide. This is causing farmers to use even more toxic herbicides every year. Not only does this create environmental harm, GM foods contain higher residues of toxic herbicides. Roundup, for example, is linked with sterility, hormone disruption, birth defects, and cancer.
4. Genetic engineering creates dangerous side effects.
By mixing genes from totally unrelated species, genetic engineering unleashes a host of unpredictable side effects. Moreover, irrespective of the type of genes that are inserted, the very process of creating a GM plant can result in massive collateral damage that produces new toxins, allergens, carcinogens, and nutritional deficiencies.
5. Government oversight is dangerously lax.
Most of the health and environmental risks of GMOs are ignored by governments' superficial regulations and safety assessments. The reason for this tragedy is largely political. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA), for example, doesn't require a single safety study, does not mandate labeling of GMOs, and allows companies to put their GM foods onto the market without even notifying the agency. Their justification was the claim that they had no information showing that GM foods were substantially different. But this was a lie. Secret agency memos made public by a lawsuit show that the overwhelming consensus even among the FDA's own scientists was that GMOs can create unpredictable, hard-to-detect side effects. They urged long-term safety studies. But the White House had instructed the FDA to promote biotechnology, and the agency official in charge of policy was Michael Taylor, Monsanto's former attorney, later their vice president. He's now the US Food Safety Czar.
6. The biotech industry uses "tobacco science" to claim product safety.
Biotech companies like Monsanto told us that Agent Orange, PCBs, and DDT were safe. They are now using the same type of superficial, rigged research to try and convince us that GMOs are safe. Independent scientists, however, have caught the spin-masters red-handed, demonstrating without doubt how industry-funded research is designed to avoid finding problems, and how adverse findings are distorted or denied.
7. Independent research and reporting is attacked and suppressed.
Scientists who discover problems with GMOs have been attacked, gagged, fired, threatened, and denied funding. The journal Nature acknowledged that a "large block of scientists . . . denigrate research by other legitimate scientists in a knee-jerk, partisan, emotional way that is not helpful in advancing knowledge." Attempts by media to expose problems are also often censored.
8. GMOs harm the environment.
GM crops and their associated herbicides can harm birds, insects, amphibians, marine ecosystems, and soil organisms. They reduce bio-diversity, pollute water resources, and are unsustainable. For example, GM crops are eliminating habitat for monarch butterflies, whose populations are down 50% in the US. Roundup herbicide has been shown to cause birth defects in amphibians, embryonic deaths and endocrine disruptions, and organ damage in animals even at very low doses. GM canola has been found growing wild in North Dakota and California, threatening to pass on its herbicide tolerant genes on to weeds.
9. GMOs do not increase yields, and work against feeding a hungry world.
Whereas sustainable non-GMO agricultural methods used in developing countries have conclusively resulted in yield increases of 79% and higher, GMOs do not, on average, increase yields at all. This was evident in the Union of Concerned Scientists' 2009 report Failure to Yield―the definitive study to date on GM crops and yield.
The International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology for Development (IAASTD) report, authored by more than 400 scientists and backed by 58 governments, stated that GM crop yields were "highly variable" and in some cases, "yields declined." The report noted, "Assessment of the technology lags behind its development, information is anecdotal and contradictory, and uncertainty about possible benefits and damage is unavoidable." They determined that the current GMOs have nothing to offer the goals of reducing hunger and poverty, improving nutrition, health and rural livelihoods, and facilitating social and environmental sustainability.
On the contrary, GMOs divert money and resources that would otherwise be spent on more safe, reliable, and appropriate technologies.
10. By avoiding GMOs, you contribute to the coming tipping point of consumer rejection, forcing them out of our food supply.
Because GMOs give no consumer benefits, if even a small percentage of us start rejecting brands that contain them, GM ingredients will become a marketing liability. Food companies will kick them out. In Europe, for example, the tipping point was achieved in 1999, just after a high profile GMO safety scandal hit the papers and alerted citizens to the potential dangers. In the US, a consumer rebellion against GM bovine growth hormone has also reached a tipping point, kicked the cow drug out of dairy products by Wal-Mart, Starbucks, Dannon, Yoplait, and most of America's dairies.
The Campaign for Healthier Eating in America is designed to achieve a tipping point against GMOs in the US. The number of non-GMO shoppers needed is probably just 5% of the population. The key is to educate consumers about the documented health dangers and provide a Non-GMO Shopping Guideto make avoiding GMOs much easier.
Last year in our garden, we had our standard tomato crop. Some tomatoes, ripening late in the season. I wasn’t sure if this was a Colorado thing or if I’d done something wrong. Turns out it’s a little of both. Two season’s ago my Niece, in Hershey Nebraska, with just a few tomato plants, had a bumper crop. Really bumper, she begged people to come take some tomatoes. I can honestly say that that never happened to me.
This year I decided that if I were going to do this Urban farming thing, it would be in my best interest to learn more about growing tomatoes here in Colorado. I concluded from my research, most of which was conducted on YouTube, that I really needed to be more diligent in my pruning of the plants and really get a handle on suckers and extra unneeded foliage. I’ll cover those subjects in a future blog, but suffice it to say at this point that I became brutal in pruning and plant management. I must say that my tomato plants never looked as good as they did from these newly acquired skills. However, I was concerned about the lack of pollinating insects. My Niece's home is very near some commercial beekeepers, and bees were not a problem in her garden.
A large and healthy bee population is critical for a bumper tomato crop and our bee population had diminished over the last 5 years to frightening low levels. I won’t comment on this other than to say “Thanks a lot, Monsanto”. Last year I could count the number of bees I’d see each day on one hand. Ten years ago I’d have that many bees on or around each plant almost any time of the day. I did some research on how bees pollinated tomato plants and tried to come up with a manual solution.
I tried everything from “flicking the blossoms” to shaking the plants or cages and at one point attached a wooden ruler to a metal engraving pen (the kind you use to mark your name on metal tools). If the timing was just right, I’d sometimes see a little cloud of pollen be ejected into the air. I often thought that if I could find some tool that vibrated at the same rate as a bee, then I might create results similar to my niece.
After searching the internet, I found some pollinators that were priced way out of my league (close to $300 including shipping). I decided that “flicking and shaking” were going to be my only options, Until I ran into a website for the Vegibee. http://vegibee.com/index.php/
The VegiBee Garden Pollinators are designed to improve the crop yield for commercial and hydroponic growers as well as home gardeners. The VegiBee Co. offers two pollinators including a 5-speed rechargeable unit that retails for $49.99 and an express battery powered unit for $29.99.
VegiBee Garden Pollinators are ideal for use on all tomatoes, peppers, beans, peas and eggplant. These self-pollinating plants possess the “perfect flower”, containing both the male and female reproductive parts in the same flower. VegiBee helps to overcome low crop yields in these plants, caused by shrinking bee populations and home gardens sheltered from the wind.
I ordered one and have been unbelievably satisfied with my purchase. From the first time I used it, somewhat late in the season, I could see the pollen being released into the spoon. Although manually pollinating is tedious work, the results have been fantastic. My plan is to utilize the VegiBee next year throughout the growing season as well as in the greenhouse this winter.
I’m including a YouTube commercial for the Vegibee in this blog, as well as a link to the website. I have no affiliate agreement with this company and will not be receiving any “kickback” if you decide to purchase one for yourself. I just thought you’d like to know.
The bottom line is; whether it was my newly practiced pruning techniques, a better year, better compost and soil or the Vegibee, we have experienced the best crop of tomatoes ever. I plan on doing everything I did this year from here on out.
After bragging on Wilma’s World Famous Freezer Cole Slaw, I have to share my Mom’s All Occasion Spinach Pie! I’m not sure exactly when this recipe came into our lives – but I do know it was at least in the late ‘80’s. We had it at Christmas Brunch, birthdays, and for family coming in from out-of-state. I loved it then – I love it now. (And, what better time to share it, with our Recipe Contest going on? Hint, hint…)
It’s like a crust-less quiche – but quicker, tastier, and better (I might be a little biased.) It goes great with some fresh cut tomatoes for dinner or with some grapes for breakfast. It goes together in minutes, which makes it the perfect weeknight meal. And, leftovers freeze wonderfully, making a great “grab and go” option for office lunch.
Have I built it up enough? I think so, so let’s get to gettin’!
5 Tablespoons flour (white, wheat, or a combo)
1 teaspoons salt (I don’t salt ours… the other ingredients have enough salt for us)
1 teaspoon black pepper (I don’t measure – I just get out the grinder and go until it looks peppery enough)
Note: Mix the flour into the eggs 1 tablespoon at a time – keeps out the lumps
10 oz Frozen organic spinach (or better yet –blanch some fresh spinach – INCREDIBLE taste!)
16 oz Cottage Cheese (we prefer small curd)
8 oz “cheddar” cheese (we use all kinds of cheese! Pick your favorite! And, we sometimes use more than 8 ounces – don’t tell Mom!)
Place in a greased 8x8 pan and bake at 350 for an hour.
The thing I truly enjoy about this recipe is that you can play with it. Have leftover veggies? Add them in! Have 3 kinds of cheese you want to use up – go for it! Want to sub in Kale for Spinach – why the heck not…..? It’s your Spinach Pie – make it your own! I would advise on not going too “non-fat” with the cheese and cottage cheese - sometimes non-fat items do not melt down enough during the baking to give the dish the delicious meltedness it was made to exude.
One other thing -I must caution you– watch out for flavored cottage cheese in the dairy aisle!! I once (OK – Maybe twice!) purchased cottage cheese with pineapple added, imstead of plain cottage cheese… you can do a lot of things to Mom’s All Occasion Spinach Pie, but Pineapple? Not so much…. It did, however, make one Thanksgiving a bit adventurous for Brad and me…. But, brave Hubby pressed through a piece, just for his not-always-successful-in-the-kitchen wife.
Hey – be sure to enter our Recipe Contest. It lasts thru September 19th, should be tons of fun, and who knows – you might be the BIG WINNER!
DenverFarmer.com's Great Big Recipe Contest!
~ Prizes ~
Grand Prize: Family of Four Weekly CSA Share
Second Place: $10 Farmer Bucks
Third Place: $5 Farmer Bucks
As many of you already know, at our DenverFarmer.com website we have a recipe tab. Although it's always been our intention to have new and great recipes posted on a regular basis, we've found that there just aren’t enough hours in the day. No matter how good our intentions are. So after talking to our customers at the Market and having them share some of their recipes, we've decided to have a RECIPE CONTEST!
We are looking to give each and every one of you the venue to share your favorite recipe(s). A recipe is all you need, but we’d love to hear the story of the recipe as well. We hope to publish every submission*in our recipe section of our DenverFarmer.com website. We’ll make sure you get all the credit for your submission(s).
So, what do you have to lose? You’ve got great recipes and we want to share them with the world! Who knows, you might just be the big winner!
The more recipes you enter, the greater your chance of winning...Not really, but it sounds good!
The rules are pretty simple:
- We want you to share with us your favorite recipe(s). We’ll accept any recipe category.
- All recipes must include Vegetables, but do not necessarily have to be Vegan or Vegetarian. I’m from Nebraska and I love my corn-fed beef, pork, and poultry.
- Give us permission to publish it on our website with full credit for your submission.
- Allow us the opportunity to do a short five-minute interview with you on the telephone should you be one of our top three prize winners (we want to tell your recipe's story in our blog).
- *Recipes must be original or handed down from family or friends. Please don't send us recipes copied from the internet or a cookbook.
- We’d love for you to submit your recipe typed in an email, but if you want to scan a recipe card or take a picture of it with your cell phone, we’ll accept it. Assuming, we can read the ingredients and directions!
- All Judging is done by Brad and Sally and is final.
- *We have the reserve the right to exclude any recipe from the competition and future posts for any reason, without notification.
- Submissions begin immediately and will be accepted through September 19th, 2015.
We’ve heard many of your recipes already, take a moment and share them with the world!
1 CSA Basket image is a representation of the grand prize, contents and size may vary. Basket not included.
Sally here – with a quick tip for Preserving the Summer Harvest…
Fresh green beans are a staple of a Summer – but how do you enjoy that fresh-picked flavor all year long? We found the answer in freezing that Bountiful Summer harvest!
If you have never frozen beans before, good news! All it takes is 4 simple steps:
1. Prep the veggies
3. Air dry
That doesn’t sound so hard, does it? Well, the good news is, it isn’t. Let’s break it down.
Prep the Veggies:
Wash and rinse your veggies. Repeat. (That wasn’t hard, was it?)
Now, prep your beans – you can either snap them or cut them; just be sure to take the ends off. The goal is to get them the size you find most pleasing. Don’t throw any those ends – place them in a gallon freezer bag and put them in the freezer – I’ll blog about that later….. (can someone say “teaser”?)
Blanching is the process of quick cooking a vegetable then placing it in ice water to stop the cooking process. Blanching stops enzymes that can make your beans lose flavor, color, and texture. Some websites will say blanching is unnecessary – we find our beans are tastier blanched. But, experiment! This is your food, after all…
The crazy thing is that this blanching is super simple…. All it takes is a pot of boiling water and an ice bath (which is just a big bowl of cold water with ice in it.)
Carefully place your beans in the boiling water – we like to use a sieve to avoid splashing hot water on ourselves. Cook the beans for 2 minutes for small beans; 3 for medium beans; and 4 for large beans. Use the sieve to scoop out the beans and immediately place them in the ice bath. The general rule is to keep them in the ice bath as long as you cook them. I always make sure they are cold to the touch.Now, scoop then the beans out the ice bath (you’ll need it later for more blanching) and drain the beans…. Look at that gorgeous vibrant color!!
Repeat the blanching process until all the beans are done.
Place your beautiful beans on clean towels, gently blot them dry with another clean towel, and let them air dry. In Colorful Colorado, this doesn’t take very long. Why take the time to air dry the beans? This limits the amount of moisture on
them, which can lead to excess ice crystals when freezing. (Think freezer burn – who wants that?)
We use the Food Saver Vacuum System to seal the Beans. Yes, the Food Saver System we purchased was $150. That can be a bit pricey if you don’t freeze often. If you do freeze often, it is well worth the price.
If you don’t have a vacuum system, place those Green Beans in freezer bags and use a straw to suck out excess air. It’s not a perfect system but does get out more air than simply closing the freezer bag. Remember, excess air accelerates freezer burn – so get all the air out now for better beans later!
Place your beans in freezer bags, lay the bags flat on a cookie sheet, and place in freezer. This will let the beans freeze in a flat manner, which makes storage much easier. We use storage bins almost as a “filing” system for our harvest, so freezing our produce in the most compact way possible gives us the most storage space. It’s always a good idea to use a Sharpie to write down what is in the Freezer Bag and when it was processed. Frozen veggies last 8-10 months – noting the date helps you decide what to use when.
Now – you have garden fresh green beans at your fingers tips all year long…Remember, you don’t have to have a bushel of beans to freeze – if you have too many beans to use at one time, take a few minutes to freeze them. We like to take the frozen greens beans, cook for few minutes in boiling water, drain, place back in the cooking pot, then add Lemon Pepper and Organic Unsalted Butter.
That’s all there is to it…. So freeze those fresh, Organic Green Beans – Come Winter, you’ll be glad you did!
Let me know if you have any other ideas or methods for saving Beans!
Forget the hot dogs and Cracker Jacks; lettuce, cucumbers and tomatoes are the new hot food items at the ball game. A where do you suppose the grow these fresh veggies and herbs; why right out in the bullpen or on the roof of course.
Currently, four Major League Parks have converted portions of their operation into spaces that can now be used to grow an abundance of sustainable vegetable and herbs. Many of the parks incorporate their harvest into the concessions available to their fans.
In 2013, our Local Colorado Rockies teamed up with their local food contractor and the Colorado State University to create a 600 square foot space called “The GaRden”. Food harvest from this area is regularly used in dishes served at the Mountain Ranch Club.
Boston’s Fenway Park sports a 5000 square feet farm call Fenway Farms. Managed by a local urban farm company Green City Growers, Fenway Farm is expected to produce over 4000 pounds of harvested crops this year.
In San Fransico, the Giants not only have 4320 square feet of space dedicated to their farming endeavors, but also have hired a Community Development Manager. This new position is tasked with designing the way the garden in used on game days, creating tour programs for the fans, as well as managing a children's program.
In Wheat Ridge, over 6 new urban farms have sprouted in the last two years and we hear more are in the works. We firmly believe that people or tired of the disconnect between the food they eat and where and how it’s grown. That’s why we are planning or expansion for next season, plus the addition of our 4 season greenhouse.
Growing food for our family and yours is a passion for us. But, we’re not the only game in town. We urge you to support local growers wherever you find them. We also urge to start your own gardens. Nothing is quite as satisfying as prepping the ground, planting the seeds, tending and watering the plants, then creating a nutritional and delicious meal.
Please remember, we not only grow food, but we also have our Garden Design Service to help you build and layout our garden and irrigation needs. Additionally, we have recently begun our Land Co-Op, where we come to your space and do all the work. Let us know if you like to consider any of these options.