~ MAY 2009 ~

CLICK HERE to visit the Peak to Plains Alliance calendar of events and learn about area food and agriculture-related activities.

New in store:

Shawn’s Bakery now offers a larger variety of fresh pastries and sweet breads. Also, look for Two Leaves and a Bud fair trade organic teas in biodegradable sachets, from an Aspen-based company, CLICK HERE Ready-to-plant fresh herbs (roots attached) from CSS Farms at Pueblo. Shop Ranch Foods Direct for great gifts for Mom!

The Recipe Box:

No one ever judged a backyard barbecue on the quality of its coleslaw. CLICK HERE for a handy grilling guide.

CLICK HERE for grill worthy recipes.


Marcy Nameth and sons

Sharing the local dirt

Pick up your produce from Greenhorn Acres — and learn about the
seasonal cycle of local food production — at Ranch Foods Direct

In the early morning hours, Marcy Nameth and her four sons invited friends to help rebuild their greenhouse. After pulling new plastic over the frame, one of them commented, “Not bad for a bunch of greenhorns.” With the dramatic backdrop of the Greenhorn Peaks glinting in the distance, the name stuck.

Today Greenhorn Acres is a 160-acre farm growing all kinds of fresh produce along with chickens, eggs and other livestock near Fowler, in the Arkansas Valley, and selling baskets of fresh produce through an annual CSA. Ranch Foods Direct is a drop-off point where Colorado Springs customers can pick up a weekly bounty from Greenhorn Acres at their convenience.

Despite what seems like frequent media publicity about CSAs (the acronym stands for Community Supported Agriculture) many people are learning about the concept for the first time, says Marcy, who has spent several days at Ranch Foods Direct talking with potential customers about her venture. A CSA is a way to buy a share of the
farm’s season-long production. Instead of picking out each item individually, the shopper gets a cross-section of everything produced on the farm. By paying in full upfront, customers help fund the costs of growing the food throughout the season. A full share from Greenhorn Acres is $485 and includes about 20 weeks of fresh locally grown fruit and vegetables. Marcy thinks of it as a “win-win” arrangement for herself and her customers.

“The thing I really like about the CSA market is we don’t have to focus on just one or two crops. We can experiment with a lot of different varieties,” she says.

Their harvest this year will include many treasures, including several varieties of Asian greens, English hot house cucumbers (the longer seedless ones that don’t get as bitter, she explains) the long noodle, or asparagus, beans (sweet, real crunchy and smaller around), a rainbow of different colored carrots, lemon cucumbers, Jerusalem artichokes, sweet potatoes, peanuts, melons and finally pumpkins and squash at season’s end. “I like to try different colors and shapes of things,” she says.

But for Marcy, it’s about more than raising food. She’s also a single mom raising four sons with the goal of helping the next generation understand and appreciate where their food comes from.

“I had worked at a corporate job for 20 years and I hated leaving them in day care and had always wanted to home school them as well, Marcy reflects. “I wanted to do something they could be involved in. I had farming in my blood and wanted to get back into it. I think it’s really important to raise another generation of people who know where their food comes from. I think between computer games and videos kids lose a lot of their creativity and the ability to entertain themselves.”

CLICK HERE for more about Greenhorn Acres.

Kids: Get ready to get muddy!

Venetucci Farm, a member of the Arkansas Valley Organic Growers and a Ranch Foods Direct supplier, is offering a junior farmhand educational program this summer for the kids.

"Our program is a fun filled week of new experiences and adventures. Farmhands dive into the life of the farm by working in the gardens, caring for our animals and exploring the diversity of life woven into the fabric of the farm," says coordinator David Rudin.

Activities range from collecting eggs, feeding chickens, grooming a horse to slopping the pigs, watering and weeding the gardens and planting seeds; maybe even helping harvest tasty snacks from the garden!

For more information, CLICK HERE.

Food for thought
Food Inc. — Coming to a theatre near you

The movie Food Inc. officially opens in mid-June but in April Mike Callicrate and other local food enthusiasts attended an early screening of the film, hosted by Slow Food Denver. Mike was also invited to participate in a panel discussion following the screening.

Reviewers have deemed the film “a civilized horror movie for the socially conscious” and one that “nourishes your knowledge of how the world works.”

Mike simply calls it “a gift to humanity.”

“It was revealing,” he said after viewing it. “It shows how Monsanto’s in control of the food supply. It shows just how unjust the food system is. It exposes how trade policy and government subsidies have driven people off of the land in Mexico.”

He adds, “A better farming and food system is possible. We can choose to buy from farmers and ranchers in our communities and regions. We can choose to eat better and regain our health. I believe Food Inc. will awaken and motivate us like never before. What we feed grows, what we support prospers. Your fork is a powerful thing!” CLICK HERE to read Mike's blog.

A 300-plus page “participant guide” in soft cover book form, available from Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and other bookstores, includes an essay by award-winning documentary filmmaker Rob Kenner describing why and how the film was made. While the project started out with plans to represent “the multiple voices and points of view of the people who bring food to our tables,” it turned out being about “unchecked corporate power,” Kenner writes. Kenner, who has a special talent for making films about social issues through the lens of personal experience, got a cool reception from many of the farmers and food industry people he’d hoped to interview, changing the nature of the story he started out to tell.

He and Fast Food Nation author Eric Schlosser collaborated closely on the film. The two were in Colorado Springs a couple of years ago when Ranch Foods Direct and other members of the community hosted Schlosser to talk about his book and the food system in general. Much of the Fast Food Nation book was based in Colorado and parts of the fictionalized film version were shot locally.

“Before I began the research process, I was probably a lot like the average person who will watch Food, Inc.,” Kenner writes. “And I hope that means that the facts I learned about our food system — some of them amazing, some disturbing, and many simply fascinating — will interest moviegoers as much as they interested me.”

The Food Inc. companion guide, CLICK HERE edited by Karl Weber, also includes essays by Schlosser, bestselling author Michael Pollan, food expert Marion Nestle and sustainable farmer Joel Salatin among others. It is filled with suggestions about what any concerned citizen can do — create a community garden, opt out of the industrial food system, advocate for responsible food marketing to children, start a farmers market at a hospital — and offers steps on how to get there. Scanning through the pages is a good way to get the creative juices flowing.

To find additional resources on-line and to watch a preview of Food Inc., CLICK HERE.

To sign up for the Robert Kenner newsletter, purchase DVD’s when they are available, blog and the participant web site in the on-line version go to Robert Kenner Films website.

Did you know?... The world’s largest hog “farm” U.S.-based Smithfield Foods Inc. raises 14 million hogs a year in nine countries and processes 27 million animals through its own processing plants. One farm in rural Mexico alone produces 950,000 pigs in a single year.


“The past is our definition. We may strive, with good reason, to escape it, or to escape what is bad in it, but we will escape it only by adding something better to it.” — Poet, author and philosopher Wendell Berry, CLICK HERE

Get ready to grill!

Memorial Day Weekend is coming soon to a backyard near you.


“Every spring is the only spring — a perpetual astonishment.”  —Ellis Peters

... 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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