The Recipe Box

Ranch Foods Direct’s Leona Espinoza shares her favorites, CLICK HERE.

New in Store

Luscious hydroponic Colorado greens to brighten up your winter, including fresh sweet basil. From CSS Farms at Colorado City, CLICK HERE to visit them online. Now offering the finest quality frozen vegetables, organic and USA grown, from Sno Pac Foods, a family owned business since 1900.

SWEETHEART STEAKS: Cut in heart shapes for a fun gift or romantic dinner at home.

Fine Dining… at Home

Ranch Foods Direct launches new home service option, individualized to suit anyone’s tastes or budget. CLICK HERE to read the news release.
Restaurant Profile
French bistro favorite for intimacy, romance

It’s the time of year for cozy dinners, and many locals will be turning to a Colorado Springs dining establishment that has been delivering a fittingly intimate experience for almost two decades.

La Petit Maison is located in a quaint Victorian-style cottage on Old Colorado Avenue, where tables are small, tones are hushed and a snowy patio outside hints at the bustling summer to come. The place exudes the quietly pleasant and conscientious demeanor of its proprietor and chef Henri Chaperont.

On a recent visit, we sampled creamy rich bowls of lobster bisque as we anticipated the stellar main course: a beautifully prepared Callicrate Beef New York Strip that seemed to run the length of the plate. Chef Henri’s quietly understated attention to detail is expressed in exquisitely prepared dishes and preference for quality ingredients. He also gives special care to the expert selection of wines and spirits.

Consistently voted a local “Best of the Springs” winner and already suffused with a romantic atmosphere, Le Petit Maison is also doing something extra special for Valentine’s Day this month by offering a five- course dinner for $60 plus tax and gratuity. The special menu will also be served on the nights proceeding and following Valentine’s on Feb. 14.

Chef Henri creates other special wine tasting dinners throughout the year. You can get updates (or other details) by visiting the website, CLICK HERE . (They serve dinner Tues- Sat, 5 -10 pm, Sunday 5 - 9 pm — Please note, they are closed on Mondays. Stop by 1015 W. Colorado Ave. or call 719- 632-4887.)

The French bistro is also available for private parties.

Make yourself a
student of local food —
On campus eatery ranks with the best

Quick quiz: the fresh local food Bon Appetit Management Co. serves on the Colorado College campus is only for the students. T or F? False!

For grabbing a quick bite, a smoothie or coffee and a snack, Ranch Foods Direct Retail Manager Kindra Dale enthusiastically recommends The Preserve at Colorado College (formerly the Herb’n Farm.)

“I’d never eaten there before, and I especially enjoyed the ground beef, pepperoni and cheese pizza. That’s the same ground beef and pepperoni we make and sell at Ranch Foods Direct,” Kindra said after a recent visit. “The vanilla sorbet, orange, banana and honey smoothie I had was wonderful too.”

Indeed, the welcoming deli is only a quick campus stroll away. It offers several hot entrees, as well as freshly made sandwiches, soups, salads and the house-made pizzas. Bon Appetit, which earned the contract to provide the college’s food service at the beginning of the school year, goes all out to buy local and features fresh quality ingredients from Ranch Foods Direct, Venetucci Farm, Colorado Bread Co. and Shawn's Bakery.

The Preserve’s lead supervisor, Kerstin, says the new food service contract has totally won over the students. “I’m very excited, and the rest of the staff is very excited,” she said when we stopped in for a bite at Kindra’s suggestion. “And I’m a local grower myself so I really appreciate the fact that they aren’t focused on trucking food in from South America.”

Kerstin, who raises goats near Calhan, was true to the spirit of Bon Appetit, pushing us to try a local cane sugar sweetened orange cream soda from the Durango Soda Company here in Colorado to go with our hamburger pizza and a helping of the creamy hot mac ‘n cheese complete with crunchy topping. Located at 1090 N. Cascade Ave., The Preserve is open daily from 11 a.m. to midnight. Remember, you don’t have to be a student of the college to enjoy eating there. The casual dining area offers a sweeping view of the gorgeous Rockies looming beyond a bright bank of windows. But you don’t have to stay: you can also pick up grab-and-go items including fruit cups, cheese trays, sandwiches, baked goods and candies.

For a full list of Bon Appetit locations on the CC campus, CLICK HERE.

Need a little sweetness?
Ranch Foods Direct candymakers offer goodies

Lois Jacobson and Mary Stephenson are cooking up special Valentine’s Day treats this month. Lois’ Henry Bars are her biggest seller, and it’s easy to see why. They have the decadence of a homemade candy bar. Mary’s molded candies are fun and fabulous, taking on a variety of whimsical shapes and flavors. Shop their selections at Ranch Foods Direct — or special order by calling Lois at (719) 351-7938 or Mary at (719) 233-1334. Mary’s made-from-scratch “Pixie Dust” candies are also available at The Preserve on the Colorado College campus.

Mary Stephenson

Lois Jacobson

Mark your calendar for more canning tips —
Meat canning demonstration offered Feb. 28

Ranch Foods Direct will host its next canning demonstration on Saturday, Feb. 28 at 10 a.m. Rachel Zimmerman will demonstrate how to can lean cuts of beef, such as top round, in jars using a pressure cooker. She’s already given store employees a sample. “Preserved this way the meat is so tender. You can use it for soups or stews or whatever,” says Retail Manager Kindra Dale who will assist Rachel with the demo.

The session is the first to be held in the new demonstration area next to the retail store. The space was created to provide greater comfort and convenience to participants. The canning demonstrations are free of charge to anyone who is interested. Just stop in at the store. If you need more info, call and ask for Kindra, 473-2306.

A random testimonial –

“I want three more steaks right off of the same cow as I got last time! Really, I have some out-of-state guests and I want to cook them some meat to show them what really good steaks taste like. It seems like I always cook better steaks in my backyard than I can get in a restaurant. The beef just doesn’t taste the same anymore. It doesn’t taste as good as it did in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Last week was the first time I’d tried the steaks here. I want three more of those rib-eyes.”

— Richard Graham, Colorado Springs

Speaking out for American industry —
Local manufacturer addresses national cattlemen’s group

Local manufacturer Dave Anderson gave a keynote address to cattlemen attending the 10th annual convention of R- CALF USA, a ranchers’ organization with hundreds in attendance. Manufacturers and food producers need to “stand together” to demand change in Washington, he said, including fair and adequate support for domestic farms and factories. He is a leader in the Coalition for a Prosperous America, a group of domestic manufacturers concerned about trade and economic policy, CLICK HERE.

Both groups face a similar challenge: global trade is replacing domestic farming and manufacturing with cheap imports, exploding the trade deficit and undermining the U.S. economy.

CLICK HERE to continue.

Life off the grid
Simple living appeals to couple

At a time when excess has brought the economy grinding to a near halt, living simply has never seemed like a more elegant and conscientious choice. Andrew Macdonald and his wife Sandra — who have joined the sales team at Ranch Foods Direct — are an inspiring example of the commitment to live a life of greater self-reliance.

“It’s very doable,” Andrew says. “It is a little more work. I cut firewood frequently in the wintertime. But I use a chain saw, not an axe.”

CLICK HERE to read more.

Did you know? … Fully one-half of the nitrogen in your body comes from man-made rather than organic sources. The level of nitrates in the Mississippi River today is four times what it was in 1900.

Fertile reading –
Invention of commercial fertilizer makes for fascinating tale

The story of fertilizer is fascinating. And that’s no b.s. Look at it this way: fixed nitrogen, the key ingredient in commercial fertilizer, is also the explosive material needed to build empires, and to defend them militarily.

In the story as told in Thomas Hager’s The Alchemy of Air: A Jewish Genius, a Doomed Tycoon, and the Scientific Discovery That Fed the World but Fueled the Rise of Hitler, the heroes are chemists and the supporting cast is filled with spectacularly successful entrepreneurs and struggling laborers. (And obviously Hitler has a cameo role.)

The reason to read it? Hager, a veteran science and medical writer, makes for a captivating storyteller, imparting an engaging history of nations, trade and the rise of science. The saga of synthetic fertilizer is the story of the modern world. It reveals a complex brew, in which the good is irretrievably mixed up with evil, bonding them as tightly as two atmospheric nitrogen molecules floating in the air (atmospheric nitrogen is represented by the symbol N2.) If only scientists were as adept at separating those two elements as they have now become at splitting apart the twin molecules that make up atmospheric nitrogen.

With the new abundance of synthetically produced commercial fertilizer from huge factories, Hager notes, “most humans have moved past the old traditional methods of crop rotation and manuring, severed the old ties between crops and domestic animals, increased average farm sizes and decreased crop varieties.” To a large degree the impacts on the environment and human life are still unknown (though there are reasons for concern.) Reading Hager’s epilogue gives off chills. Not surprisingly, his is a tale of progress, but also of tragic loss, on many levels. How astounding that the developed world has traded the plague of starvation for one of obesity and is sharing that legacy with the rest of the globe. After finishing this book, the reader wonders if human society will ever achieve the wisdom to take a sane middle course. Let’s hope so.

"There can be no doubt that a society rooted in the soil is
more stable than one rooted in pavements."

— Conservationist Aldo Leopold, author of A Sand County Almanac (2009 marks the Centennial of Leopold’s arrival in the Southwestern U.S.)

... 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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