What Can U-Pick?
The U-Pick season is upon us and many local orchards have sweet cherries just waiting to be plucked from the tree with pie cherries and apricots set follow shortly. With the early spring weather and a near miss on one or two late frosts, reports are that there’s a great cherry crop in the valley this year.
While the North Fork is known for its cherries at this time of year, don’t forget the great strawberries and raspberries that can also be found in many local gardens.
New Cookbook Coming!
Spirit Wind Horse Rescue is planning to publish a cookbook by this fall. They are asking people to submit their favorite recipes along with a picture of them and their pet. So as the growing season progresses and folks prepare to cook and preserve their harvests, plan on sharing some of your more popular recipes with your friends and neighbors and help a great cause at the same time. All proceeds will go to fund the important work carried out by Spirit Wind Horse Rescue. Contact Vee Stockdale for more information.
Flower CSA’s Available Too
While the North Fork Valley is well known for everything from fruits to vegetables and wines to healthy meats, it’s also home to some spectacular flower farming operations. The diversity of flowers grown in the valley makes for wonderful baskets, bouquets and table arrangements and Zephyros Farm and Garden is offering several unique “Flower Shares” as part of their CSA program. You can pick up or have them delivered on a weekly basis and enjoy the gorgeous combinations of seasonal blooms for your home or business. Check it out at www.zephyrosfarmandgarden.com
Lavender Festival Farm Tour
Come to Lamborn Mountain Farmstead and tour the lavender field, see how lavender is grown, you-pick bouquets, and see how the distiller works, depending on whether the lavender is ready. Sample lavender goat milk ice cream, watch a cooking demonstration using goat cheese and culinary lavender, check out the farmstead animals: goats, highland cattle and chickens. Goat milk soap, lavender plants and lavender products will be available for purchase. Sunday, July 8 at Lamborn Mountain Farmstead, 42229 Lamborn Mesa Road, 10:30am – 5pm.
Irrigation Season Will be a Shorter One
Most of the irrigation companies in the Valley are predicting an earlier than usual end to the stored water irrigation season. Overland Reservoir and Ditch Company, serving Redlands Mesa, expects stored water to be gone by the second week in July and even the venerable Fire Mountain Canal Company is saying early August will probably be the latest water date. Heavy rains could possible stretch the season a little longer. Flows in the Colorado and Gunnison rivers including the North Fork are about 20% of the average and our area was officially categorized as an extreme drought area as of mid-to-late June.
Winery Celebrates the 100th Birthday of Paonia’s Black Bridge
Black Bridge Winery is hosting a 100th Birthday party for the historical Black Bridge on July 5th. They have invited people with vintage cars, relics, clothing, photos, articles, or anything cool that comes from around 1912 to put them on display that day. They will have a toast on the bridge around 1pm, followed by a mini-presentation or two by a local historian, live music and lunch. Contributions to have your photo taken on the bridge and for lunch will be donated to the North Fork Historical Society.
All are encouraged to dress in your vintage best (those who do get to enter a drawing for Black Bridge wine signed by the winemaker!) and to bring a picnic blanket to relax on the Black Bridge Winery lawn or down by the river. So, If you have any vintage goodies you would like to share that day please contact Ashley at the winery.
Annual Slow Foods Food, Wine, Farm and Film Festival August 10-12
On August 10 through the 12th the annual Western Slope Slow Food – Food, Wine, Farm and Film Festival will return to the Valley. On the evening of August 10 local chefs pair with local farms to create tastings followed by a movie. On Saturday there are farm and winery tours followed by dinner at Fresh and Wyld Farmhouse Inn followed by another movie. Sunday will feature a movie and a brunch at Orchard Valley Farms.
The three food/farm movie showings include: Bitter Seeds (about genetically engineered food) on Friday, The Greenhorns on Saturday and a Sunday August 12th showing of the award winning, local foods related film, Ingredients, at the Paradise. Proceeds of the event benefit Teens on Farms. Ticket information on the whole event is available on line at www.slowfoodwesternslope.com
Trading Post Tries New CSA Model
The Old River Road Trading Post just north of Paonia is doing a different kind of CSA model. The model mixes the idea of local currency with farm shares by issuing 8 expirable coupons per weekly full “share” with each coupon tagged to a particular produce item. People can then trade coupons for one item for coupons for another item they like better (more salad, fewer beets), use them as store discount coupons or gift them to other people. The program is available to CSA/Wholesale members at the Trading Post.
West Nile Positive Mosquitoes Pose Ag/ Gardening Risk
In Mid- June it was announced by the North Fork Mosquito Abatement District (NFMAD) the large number of culex mosquitoes were present in the Valley about a month sooner than usual. Then 2 pools of West Nile positive mosquitoes were discovered. NFMAD recommends that anyone (like gardeners) who plans to be outside in the cooler morning the evening hours wear covering clothing and a repellent containing DEET.
Permaculture Course Pairs the North Fork With Telluride
The 3rd Annual Permaculture Design Certification Course will be held on July 29 – Aug 11Join local instructors Wind Clearwater and Pat Frazier, as they partner with their compadres in Telluride – Kris Holstrom and Daniel Aragon of Tomten Farm, and Robyn Wilson of University Centers of San Miguel, for a 2 week in-residence permaculture design course. Students will receive a certificate in Permaculture Design accredited through Colorado Mesa University.
The course will emphasize Permaculture Design specific to our bioregion and microclimates of high altitude to high desert habitats. The emerging marriage of Biodynamics and Permaculture will be explored as a paradigm of earth stewardship. Details linked through www.vogaco.org