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First fruits

Over the mountains and through the woods… The Western Slope peaches are here! These sweet golden peaches join a succession of high quality summer berries and fruits (cherries, apricots and more) supplied to Ranch Foods Direct from Austin Farms at Poania.

“I was born with my mouth open… entering this juicy world of peaches and lemons and ripe sun…”
- Poet James Tipton

No-Wonder bread

No wonder bread-maker extraordinaire Shawn Saunders' pumpernickel is so divine. It's made with chocolate! CLICK HERE.

Refuel for

“Knowing where your food comes from can change your life.”
-Chef Alice Waters, chef and founder of the Edible Schoolyard concept

By month's end, more area school kids than ever will go back to school with Ranch Foods Direct products on the menu in their cafeterias! Colorado College now features Ranch Foods Direct and neighboring business Colorado Coffee Merchants on campus.

Recipe box
Peach soup and mushroom pie, CLICK HERE.

A rave review

Colorado Springs photographer Jim Keen's stunning book depicting historic working ranches of the West recently earned a regional book award from the Mountain and Plains Independent Booksellers Association

Copies of the book are available at Ranch Foods Direct. CLICK HERE for more about Keen Media and the book.

A warm, caring shopping experience

“Your staff is warm, caring and makes us, as customers, feel welcome and excited on each visit. You have some wonderful advocates there!”
-Tim Boddington, Ranch Foods Direct customer

Questions? Ask, call or send an e-mail!

Celebrate farmers markets!

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has officially deemed Aug. 3-9 "farmers market" week to celebrate the growth of farmers markets and the farmers they support.



August 2008

“When eating a fruit, think of the person
who planted the tree.”

- Vietnamese prove

Playing host to the Saturday Colorado Farm and Art Market, the Margarita transforms into an inviting weekend scene with a companionable sense of community.

Pati Burleson, chef and founder of the Margarita at Pine Creek, has always been willing to stray a bit from the beaten path on a quest to find inspiring food.

So it's pure serendipity that the Margarita began hosting the Saturday Colorado Farm and Art Market this summer in a relationship that is clearly a perfect fit, bringing farmers bearing fresh foods just steps from her kitchen.

While area growers and artists sell a variety of interesting products under their bright blue and white tents, the Margarita patio offers sun-dappled tables and chairs under leafy trees for enjoying espresso and a tantalizing breakfast: individual soufflé-style quiches (aka “egg puffs”) made with farmer's market cheeses and sausage, incomparable crumb-covered coffee cake and farmers market brats fresh off the grill. (On Saturdays, the restaurant opens for drinks on the patio at 4:30 p.m. and formally opens the doors for dinner at 5:30 p.m.)

Inside, and on the bar menu, all of the burgers feature ground beef from Ranch Foods Direct. “We're all really into using the Ranch Foods Direct stuff,” says Eric Viedt, the head chef here for the last eight years. “All of our ground beef is coming from Ranch Foods Direct.” He has also on occasion served the Callicrate hanger steak and the flat iron. “Everyone loves the burgers,” he says. “The hanger steaks we had were fantastic.”

CLICK HERE for more.

Beef and Beaujolais with banjos

The American Culinary Foundation's Club Nine, a non-profit group of local civic-minded chefs that includes the Margarita's Eric Viedt, hosts its annual Fiddles, Vittles, and Vino bluegrass and culinary arts festival from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. August 23 at the Rock Ledge Ranch. All proceeds are donated to food and education programs at the ranch, a local living history showcase. Ranch Foods Direct will join other venders in cooking up and distributing tantalizing food samples. Here's your chance to stroll the expansive grounds in Garden of the Gods Park while sampling great food and enjoying live music. Tickets are $40 per person but you can get a discount by buying your ticket in advance. Get one at the Rock Ledge Ranch Heritage Shop or on-line, CLICK HERE. Rock Ledge Ranch is located across the road from the Garden of the Gods Visitors Center.

Did you know...? It takes ten thousand years to form an inch of topsoil.

Product Q&A: A question on cooking times

Q. I have been a customer for about 8 months and love the products.
I have noticed that your beef products take a lot longer to cook and I often serve them less cooked than I like. Can you give me some idea of how long to cook burgers and steaks to medium rare? I cook them twice as long as the grocery store product and they still appear to be undercooked.

A: Ranch Foods Direct Owner Mike Callicrate responds: During our slaughter process, essentially all of the blood is removed from the meat. Since there's no blood in the product, it doesn't turn color like other meats do. Blood turns color quickly; muscle fiber does not. Our meat actually cooks faster but because of the absence of blood (which is usually what you see turn a gray color in the meat) it retains its pink coloration. Remember that looks can be deceiving. Cook to temperature, that's the key. And I want to point out that our beef is safer: when the blood is removed, the medium on which bacteria grow is also removed.

General cooking instructions with additional details are available on the website under the tab “Cooking Instructions and Consumer Info.” CLICK HERE.  

Food for thought: BOOKS

Sweet harmonies

There's sweet harmony in the fact that music and food are both artforms with the power to move and inspire. In her new book, Colorado Springs Independent founder and contributor Kathryn Eastburn - author of a comprehensive cover profile on Mike Callicrate written after Ranch Foods Direct first opened for business back in 2002 (CLICK HERE) - explores the phenomenon of “sacred harp” singing, simultaneously managing to explain why the human voice raised together in song can be more satisfying than a glitzy professional concert - and why the food at church potlucks is often tastier than pretentious gourmet fare.

The book, A Sacred Feast, is a culinary travelogue marking Kathryn's visits to different “sacred harp” singing groups around the U.S. The result is a collection of great home-style recipes (squash casseroles, cream pies and sausage with mashed yams, to name a few) from some of the singers Kathryn met along the way. She originally started her project by writing a magazine article for Texas Highways. Her initial research drew her in to become a full participant in a uniquely American cultural tradition. She recalls that “arriving at Sacred Harp singing and participating in the American tradition of all-day singing and dinner on the ground was down-home glory for me.”

To learn more about it (and savor the recipes) look for the hard-cover book in area bookstores and at the Pikes Peak Library District. CLICK HERE.

  The carnivore's dilemma

Journalist Susan Bourette went undercover working at the largest pork packing plant in Canada for a week so that you don't have to. For a gripping portrayal of daily life as a meatpacking worker, read the opening to Bourette's book “Meat: A Love Story,” which describes her packing plant experience.

Admittedly, Bourette's romance with meat is a bit tempestuous, something of a classic love-hate relationship. Her packing plant employment seems especially likely to kill the deal. But when her attempts at vegetarianism fail, she begins scouting out chefs, ranchers and restauranteurs who present an alternative to Canada's Maple Leaf Pork and its big U.S. counterparts. Her writing style is keen and playful - at times slyly humorous - but the impressions she documents are dead serious. Her conclusion: eat less meat if you have to, but eat better meat.

“All good food is rooted in time, place and culture,” she observes. “It is idiosyncratic, unique and expressive of the place where it's made and the people making it. The closer the food is to the place, the more it defines its makers and eaters, the more intense its flavors… What we are really celebrating when we gather for a meat meal is our reconnection to the earth, to our communities and our collective history.” CLICK HERE.

(Meat lit appears to be sizzling! Some other recent meat titles to look for that explore a similar theme: The Shameless Carnivore: A Manifesto for Meat Lovers by Scott Gold, and The Compassionate Carnivore by Catherine Friend.)

  Did you know?... The Inuit of Canada and Alaska thrived for decades on a diet consisting almost entirely of meat and fat with almost no fruits or vegetables. Award-winning science writer Gary Taubes explains in fascinating detail how protein can provide for virtually all of the body's needs - and combs through more than a century's worth of weight-loss studies that shaped conventional (albeit erroneous) recommendations to avoid animal and dairy foods - in his compelling book, Good Calories, Bad Calories: Challenging the Convention Wisdom on Diet, Weight Control and Disease. CLICK HERE to order.


... Your local source of
natural beef, poultry,
buffalo, pork, lamb, eggs,
wild seafood, deli meats
and cheeses, meals
and more!

Member, Peak to Plains Alliance

Store and Meat Plant
2901 N. El Paso, Colorado Springs 80907
Retail Hours: Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-6 p.m.
Saturday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Sunday
(719) 473-2306 or 1-866-866-6328

Mike Callicrate, Owner

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