~ APRIL 2009 ~

Did you know? …
In a tough economy, families are saving money by buying food in bulk. As a result, home freezers have become the top selling appliance in the country.

For information about Ranch Foods Direct Home Service, CLICK HERE.

The Recipe Box

For spring zing, savor the taste of the garlic mystique, CLICK HERE.

Have a heritage ham
for Easter dinner!

Multi-hued eggs hand-painted by nature for your Easter baskets! Made-from-scratch pork or chicken sausages for Easter brunch. SHOP RANCH FOODS DIRECT.

Restaurant Profile
Now that’s pizza!

Fresh artisan pizza deserves to be accompanied with a good wine or a local craft brew. And what a satisfying combination these ingredients make!

Dave Brackett and his family brings to Colorado Springs the first class pizza experience his family fell in love with while living in Italy.

Dave is actually trained and certified in Naples-style wood-fired pizza-making mastery. He shares his talents at what is being hailed as the city’s best new restaurant: Pizzeria Rustica in Old Colorado City.

CLICK HERE for more.

Creative young chef a rising star

Jake and Telly’s executive chef Jeremy Engle and “Team Jake” put on a dazzling performance — complete with knife-throwing theatrics — to earn top accolades from their peers during the annual Pikes Peak Restaurant Association Expo last month.

During the Iron Chef-style competition, Jeremy transformed his Callicrate Beef tri-tip into a lavish dish drenched in caramelized onion demi-glaze with fried parsnips and Rockefeller-style spinach — truly phenomenal to see and, apparently for the judges, to taste. His familiarity with preparing the Callicrate Beef tri-tip might have given him an edge: at Jake and Telly’s, he’s already prepared it “like 50 different ways.”

He also created a beautiful lamb and shrimp skewer perched upright in a blood orange boat surrounded by kiwi foam and a much coveted goat cheese and vanilla milkshake with candied pecans and quartered figs. His avocado salad with hot bell pepper and mushroom medley and lemon-braised asparagus in truffle oil was also a work of art.

“He’s got an awesome creative mind,” said proprietor Jake Topakas of Jake and Telly’s, CLICK HERE as he served food samples at his booth.

Jeremy credited his flare for presentation with nine years of art classes. His grandmother was a classically trained chef and “food just kind of fell into my lap,” he explained after the craziness of the competition subsided.

CLICK HERE for more from the expo.

Hope: It’s in the bank

“There are people in the world so hungry, that God cannot appear to them except in the form of bread.” —Gandhi

The new Care and Share warehouse at 2605 Preamble Point will host Taste of the Springs, featuring the talents of many local chefs, to raise funds for the Southern Colorado Food Bank on Sunday, April 5. The event runs 3 to 6 p.m. and tickets are $65. Another option for supporting the cause: pick up a Recipes for Hope cookbook, full of recipes collected from local chefs and featuring Jan Oliver’s colorful artistry on the cover, for $14.95. (Fully 75 percent of proceeds go back to the food bank.) CLICK HERE to order.

The year in garlic

Dan Hobbs is Colorado’s guru of garlic, so much so that this year he is selling shares of his diverse harvest to expand his Avondale farm.

Hobbs, who is a member of the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers that supplies Ranch Foods Direct and participates in the Peak to Plains Alliance, grows the seed used by other farmers to grow still more garlic and open-pollinated fruits for food. He heads up the Organic Seed Alliance and is also involved in a wide range of community development efforts including farm-to-school projects.

Somewhere along the path of his early farming experiences this Denver native got caught up in the garlic romance rhapsodized in a smattering of lyrical books. “I do find that there is a certain mystique around garlic,” Hobbs says modestly from behind sparkling blue eyes. “It’s interesting.”

A resurgence of interest in specialty gourmet garlic probably got a boost in part from the sweeping changes the industry as a whole has undergone. Gilroy, California, once the famed U.S. garlic capital, is no longer what it once was. “Most of the garlic industry went off to China and Mexico,” Hobbs says. “Gilroy moved their seed production to Nevada and bring it back to Gilroy only for processing.”

Enter a new wave of interest in heirloom and specialty garlic.

CLICK HERE to continue.

Dan Hobbs and family

More progress ahead on Farm to School?

The seven farmers who make up Arkansas Valley Organic Growers are plowing ahead with several fresh-food-in-the-schools projects this year. Many hope the new vegetable gardens at both the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture in Washington D.C. are symbolic of a shift toward a new way of thinking about food production and its connection with institutional food service programs.

The absurdity of a system that keeps fresh, healthy, local foods out of schools, even ones where health issues are paramount, is starkly told in the latest issue of Gourmet magazine. The article features one Native American boarding school in South Dakota that traded a history of food self- sufficiency for dependence on the government’s surplus commodities. “No junk food. And nobody went hungry,” one former student remembers of the school’s early days, when growing potatoes and cabbage, making their own sauerkraut and harvesting their own meat was part of the curriculum. Recalled another: “Nobody ever got sick.” CLICK HERE to read “No Such Thing as a Free Lunch” by Gourmet contributor Sam Hurst.

Did you know?... Water for irrigation is being pumped out of the Ogallala Aquifer of the Great Plains at an annual rate 18 times the volume of the Colorado River. Scientists say it would take natural processes 6,000 years to refill it.

Just in time for Earth Day, Sustainability Network blooms

“I’m hoping this group will increase the awareness of the importance of supporting the local community. If you support local business, then you support local prosperity. If you support Wal-Mart, then we’ll no longer have local businesses. We’ll just have global businesses.”
— Mike Callicrate, as quoted in the Colorado Springs Business Journal

Last fall’s Southern Colorado Sustainable Communities Conference has blossomed into the Pikes Peak Sustainable Business Network made up of ecologically minded businesses and community leaders marshaled together by Executive Director Eric Cefus. He’s pushing businesses to adhere to what he calls a “triple bottom line” approach: profit, people and planet. CLICK HERE for more information or to become a member.

The network, which overlaps conveniently with the local and sustainable food mission of the Peak to Plains Alliance, is bringing together an interesting mix of advocates to share a vision for a healthier planet.

Among them is Tisha Casida, publisher of That’s Natural, who is also involved with Peak to Plains.

The Pikes Peak region is blessed to have a proliferation of food-related publications, many of which are available at the Ranch Foods Direct store. That’s Natural is a Pueblo-based magazine now expanding more broadly in the Colorado Springs market.

“My brother and I grew up on a farm,” Tisha says. Her interest in natural and organic products began when she developed health issues at age 18. She wonders now if pesticides in runoff water might have been a factor. “Our farming was minimal but we had big farms all around us,” she observes. She overcame the threats to her health by improving her diet and putting a priority on physical fitness.

A business and political science major in college, she became active in environmental politics and studied more about the food system before returning home to Pueblo.

She started That’s Natural three years ago and watched it grow to the point where it is available at 170 locations in Pueblo and El Paso County.

She admits publishing comes with a steep learning curve but personal passion drives her. With a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, she is developing a sustainable agriculture curriculum for Pueblo schools and after-school programs.

“I don’t want to see small farms die,” she says. “I love free markets.”

Pick up a copy of That’s Natural next time you visit the Ranch Foods Direct store or CLICK HERE Tisha is an example of the wonderful and dedicated people involved in the local sustainability movement.

“Every single choice we make matters. Simple ripples move the world. What we appreciate appreciates.” — Trathan Heckman, founder of Daily Acts, CLICK HERE

To find great food, farm and nature activities around the region, visit the Peak to Plains Alliance online calendar, CLICK HERE.

Supplier Profile
Living the sweet life

Last month the Denver Post profiled the Austin Family Honey business of Paonia, and the Associated Press later picked up the story. CLICK HERE to read the article. In addition to supplying Ranch Foods Direct with honey, the Austin family provides a wonderful variety of high quality fruit from the Western Slope.

Food for thought —
How animals can make us more humane

In her latest book Animals Make Us Human, acclaimed animal expert and autism advocate Dr. Temple Grandin devotes a chapter to the egregious welfare standards in the modern poultry industry. If you need a reason to be selective about where you buy your chicken or eggs, this chapter will give you all the insight you need and more. Ditto that for your hams and bacon, and even your beef.

A professor in Colorado State University’s animal science department, Grandin is not an animal welfare extremist: she takes practical business concerns into consideration and works with a wide range of companies, large and small, to improve their practices. In the past, she has consulted Ranch Foods Direct founder Mike Callicrate on his cattle operation and has advised countless others involved in all aspects of the livestock industries worldwide.

Grandin’s book is fascinating because of her remarkable gift for understanding animals. “Autism made school and social life hard, but it made animals easy,” she has said. In her newest book, she explores the challenge of how to make an animal “happy” and improve its quality of life by tapping into the core emotions that have been proven by neuroscience.

For more, CLICK HERE.

... 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 (www.peaktoplains.com)

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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