July 8, 2016     

The New Header
"Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where nature can heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike."  - Naturalist John Muir  
It's Friday... and that means it's time for the weekly farm stand...
Meet local vendors from 2-5 p.m. 

Visit the Facebook page, CLICK HERE, and get the latest details on who will be participating from week to week.  
Home gardeners, you are encouraged to bring your excess produce to sell! If you want to be part of Farm Stand Friday, contact Nichole at nlewis925@gmail.com.
Returning this week is Arlene Hinton, of Monument, owner of Blue Skies Organics, with organic produce, unique and zesty pickles, and deliciously flavorful jams and jellies!
Today's event will also feature Judy Purcell, author of the Serve and Savor Cookbook as well as the gorgeous cooking blog, Savoring Today.

Judy will be grilling chuck roasts, which are today's feature item at Ranch Foods Direct. You'll also have a chance to sample and purchase Judy's Smoked Chile Steak Rub, which is great on any cut of beef or pork. You can also talk to her about signing up for one of her future cooking classes.

Limited space remains for her July 16 grilling class (titled Summer Parties around the Grill) coming up a week from Saturday at Ranch Foods Direct! It runs from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. 
CLICK HERE if you want to know more or to sign up.
You'll love Judy's fun, engaging style and her endless stream of great tips, all during a two-hour class that gives you the chance to sample a wide array of different dishes and take home the recipes to make yourself!
  Here's one fun idea that Judy suggested during her June grilling class:
Try grilling whole strawberries! Drizzle them with honey, Balsamic vinegar and a touch of Grand Marnier and put them on high heat until they start to get grill marks, roughly 5 to 8 minutes. Remove them and coarsely chop. They'll be juicy and thick, the consistency of a great summer topping. She served them over a strawberry semi-freddo, a frozen custard that is traditionally served by the slice. CLICK HERE, to get the complete recipe from Judy's blog! 

Did you know? ... Ranch Foods Direct now carries olive oil and aged Balsamic vinegar sourced directly from Sepay Groves, the oldest operating olive producer in the Suisun Valley, which is near Napa Valley. This is not a product you can find in other grocery stores. Give it a try and see what you think.
Check out the latest offerings... in store now!
Ranch Foods Direct Callicrate Beef chuck roasts, only $7.39 per pound. Juicy, tender and affordable! One roast is enough to feed a crowd!
Local organic produce:  Beets from DiSanti Farms of Pueblo, $2.49 a bunch;
fresh fruit from over the mountain at Austin Farms (a Colorado favorite)
apricots, $4.99 per lb, and sweet Bing cherries, $3.75 per bag;
Colorado grown zucchini, $2.99 per pound.

Callicrate eggs, available for individual purchase, 75 cents each;
or by the dozen, now at a great low summer price of $5.25. 
From Mountain Pie Co., several flavors of savory meat pies, including their latest, Cider Pork and Apple. Yum! Plus much more!    
Customer Snapshot  
 Meet Angela Carron and Scott Mayeux, executives with the Fostering Hope Foundation       

Officials from Fostering Hope, a local nonprofit foundation, are loyal Ranch Foods Direct customers. Co-founder and Executive Director Angela Carron and Regional Development Director Scott Mayeux (above) each bring their distinctive food heritage to bear when talking about their favorite Ranch Foods Direct products.
But first, here's a little bit more about the Fostering Hope Foundation. Angela was a child abuse pediatrician in Wisconsin for 17 years and was involved in a clinic at a children's hospital, which provided foster children with access to medical and psychological services. "Over the years, I got to know many of the foster parents, and I noticed over time they looked more haggard. They told me the kids were coming to them with greater needs, the resources were becoming less, and they were exhausted. Meanwhile, I was reading about these kids and the impacts trauma had on their development. These foster parents wanted to meet their needs, but they were quitting because it was just too hard."
ANSWERING THE CALL Eventually a seed of an idea began to take shape. Angela's parents, Nick and Margaret Colarelli, who live in the Springs, had started a small foundation, seeded with an inheritance from Angela's grandparents, who were farmers. Capitalizing on Nick's background in organizational management, they decided to devote the foundation to "hoeing the ground for foster parents," as Angela describes it, in order to cultivate the conditions that would help foster kids grow and flourish.

Since then the foundation has started several trailblazing initiatives all designed to "stabilize, enrich and connect foster families," as Scott says. Their latest program was created to assist foster kids who will soon be "aging out" of the foster care system in achieving a healthy, productive adulthood.

To explain the need, the two site truly dire statistics: 50 percent of foster kids wind up homeless within two years and account for roughly one-third of the existing prison population.

"That's a curve we're trying to change," Scott says. "And we are doing it by having them cook together once a month with group of volunteers who are helping guide them. They are forming relationships as they cook together and eat together."

Not everyone is called to be a foster parent or a program volunteer, but everyone can pitch in to help, he adds. "We are asking Ranch Foods Direct customers to donate a pound or a half-pound of meat to these monthly dinners," Scott explains. "We need lots of ground beef or pork every month to make this happen." Simply indicate your donation at the register when you check out and Fostering Hope will come by to pick up the donated meat. In addition, Ranch Foods Direct provides a "Pay-It-Forward Card," which can be used for those who want to automatically contribute 5 percent from every purchase they make to the Fostering Hope charity.

"That's crucial to us. We run on a really tight budget," Scott said. "Our overhead is pretty much all donated, and our executive director and our president do not take a salary, so it all goes back to helping these kids."
INGREDIENTS THAT PROVOKE MEMORIES OF HOME Angela and Scott both shop Ranch Foods Direct for products they say they can't get anywhere else.

"I'm half Italian and half Irish," Angela says. "My Irish grandmother was born and raised on farm and was famous for her home-raised food. She's the one who taught me how to take a full chicken and cut it at the joints, the way butchers do, and to make really good Iowa fried chicken, pot roast and all those kinds of things."

"My Italian grandmother was from the mountain region of Italy, and she was a scratch-cook as well. She also had a farm and an orchard. Sunday night was always homemade pasta night, with a sauce based on what was fresh for the season. My very favorite pasta dish is gnocchi, which is a potato pasta that usually has a pork-based sauce with it. I love the Ranch Foods Direct pork shoulder for that. You take your spices and put them into the fatty spots of the shoulder and as it congeals, the flavors ooze out into the sauce. It cooks all day, and when it's done the pork just falls apart and makes the sauce thicker. Of course, I make meatballs as well. I always use a combination of Ranch Foods Direct ground veal, ground pork and ground beef to make my meatballs, because that's how my grandma did it."

She credits the store with making it possible for her get the perfect Osso Buco veal shank.

"A lot of places don't know how the cut it right, so you get a cut that's really thick, but it's too thick and it doesn't cook well. You want to get it bone-on, marrow-in and you want it about two inches thick. At Ranch Foods Direct, they know."

Scott is from New Orleans. "After Hurricane Katrina, my whole family got wiped up here by the flood. We lost 19 out of 20 houses in our extended family, and all of us moved out here." Are they suffering from culture shock? Not really. "We still fish for crawfish. We just had to find them, but they are here. We catch them out of Eleven-Mile Reservoir," he says.

"My favorite thing at Ranch Foods Direct is the Andouille sausage. It's hard to get Andouille sausage that's real and has just the right kick to it. If I had to pick just one product that tops my list, that would be it, because you just can't get it anywhere else."

Scott also revealed a few of the key secrets to true Louisiana style Southern food.

"For us, everything starts with the trinity and a stick of butter," he said. "Our trinity is onion, celery and bell pepper. You let them stew down in butter until they become translucent. It's best to start frying down whatever meat you are using first, then pull it out before it's completely done, and use that to cook your trinity in. To make our gumbo, we add whatever meat we want and okra and that's it. It's almost a sin to add anything else." 
A combination of duck and Andouille sausage makes the best gumbo, in his view.

"We cook and stew everything for a long time. You want to cook while you're watching the Saints or LSU football," he says with a smile. (He's an LSU alum). "Start your dish before the game and at half time you're ready to eat, so that usually means giving it a couple hours to cook. Another secret we have is that almost everything we make we put in the fridge for about four hours or so, just to let it cool down. When you re-heat it, that just adds another depth of flavor."
Thanks, Ranch Foods Direct customers, for sharing your stories! Ranch Foods Direct appreciates the loyalty and diversity of our many great fans. 
Greenhorn Acres deliveries continue thoughout the summer 
 CSA connects customers to the farm  
  By running a Community Supported Agriculture program, Marcy Nameth and her four sons are able to share the vagaries of farm life with several volunteers who help on the farm and also with their customers who get weekly CSA deliveries, recipes and updates.
Martha Rosenau, shown at right, a dietitian and owner of Peak Nutrition LLC, is a long-time customer of Marcy's Greenhorn Acres CSA, which drops off weekly deliveries at Ranch Foods Direct. "The produce is exquisite, and that matters a lot. I use every bit of what I get," she says. "Some years there's just not a lot of produce but you still have to pay the farm, that's just part of the deal. But it's important to me to know that nothing is sprayed with chemicals." She also loves having a personal connection with the farm family she supports with her subscription. "That's something I can do to make a difference," she says.

Martha fortifies her produce deliveries with meat from Ranch Foods Direct, which she uses mostly as a flavoring agent for produce-driven dishes. "Since 1989, I have never purchased meat that did not come from a clean source," she says. Her favorite meat dish is a flank or skirt steak finished with fresh herbs on top, sliced and served over a fresh salad with goat cheese and more fresh herbs.

Kari Anne Kunau, shown at right, is another happy CSA member. "I didn't even know I liked salad," she exclaims. "It makes such a difference when everything is so fresh." The CSA has given her a chance to try some new items, like mustard greens and dill, in salads and on sandwiches. "One day I took my bag of greens to the office and shared them around with everyone at lunch," she said. "I didn't even know what it all was! But it was neat. Everyone loved it."

Contact Marcy if you want to subscribe; there's still time to sign-up on a pro-rated basis and get fresh fruit and produce for the rest of the season!

New Summer Hours:
Now open til 6 p.m. on Saturday!

Attention Wholesale Customers...

Please contact our Sister Company to learn about how you can procure
high quality Ranch Foods Direct products for your restaurant or store:

Peak to Plains
4635 Town Center Drive
Colorado Springs, CO 80916
Cell: (719) 314-9727
Office: (719) 574-0750
Email: tkemper@peaktoplains.com