The Beet Street Blog

Archive for the ‘harvest’ Category

How to Choose the Best “Call for Entry”

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A Call for Entry is a great way for artists to gain exposure and stay active in their creative works. It can include any form of request from an art studio, exhibit, gallery, or even a contest.

There are differences among these types of entry requests and depending on the type of “call” is how you should plan your application response.

Call for artist websites are filled with opportunities and it can be hard to narrow down which ones you should take the time to apply for. So, how should you decide?

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Backyard Chicks

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Is it spring yet? It sure felt like it a few weeks ago until it snowed. And spring makes you think of… wait for it… baby chicks.

Backyard chickens have become a popular pursuit in Fort Collins. The sustainable and local food movements as well as the desire for fresh eggs have inspired many people to include backyard chickens into their lives. Several of our neighbors have them and of course my 11-year-old fell in love and so now we are thinking of adding to our “brood” this spring.

The City Council of Fort Collins allows residents to have up to 6 hens (no roosters) in the backyard for egg laying purposes. This policy has been in effect since 2008. Now it is pretty common to see a coop while walking the streets of our Fort Collins neighborhood.

The following is an excerpt from the Fort Collins Municipal Code and Charter:

Sec. 4-117. Sale of chickens and ducklings; quantity restricted; keeping of chickens.

(a) Chickens or ducklings younger than eight (8) weeks of age may not be sold in quantities of less than six (6) to a single purchaser.

(b) Except in those zone districts where the keeping of farm animals (as the term is defined in Section 5.1.2 of the Land Use Code) is allowed, the keeping of chicken roosters or more than six (6) chicken hens is prohibited. However, up to six (6) chicken hens may be kept per parcel of property, subject to the following requirements and subject to all other applicable provisions of this Chapter:

(1) If a parcel has more than one (1) dwelling unit, all adult residents and the owner(s) of the parcel must consent in writing to allowing the chicken hens on the property;

(2) Any person keeping chicken hens pursuant to this provision must first have been issued a permit by the Larimer Humane Society and have received such information or training pertaining to the keeping of chicken hens as the director of said agency deems appropriate;

(3) The chicken hens must be provided with a covered, predator-resistant chicken house that is properly ventilated, designed to be easily accessed, cleaned and maintained, and at least two (2) square feet per chicken in size;

(4) During daylight hours, the chicken hens must have access to the chicken house and also have access to an outdoor enclosure that is adequately fenced to protect them from predators;

(5) The chicken hens must be further protected from predators by being closed in the chicken house from dusk to dawn;

(6) Neither the chicken house nor the outdoor enclosure may be located less than fifteen (15) feet from any abutting property line unless the owner or keeper of the chicken hens obtains the written consent of the owner(s) of all abutting properties to which the enclosure is proposed to be more closely located; in which event, the agreed-upon location shall then be deemed acceptable not-withstanding any subsequent change in ownership of such abutting property or properties;

(7) The chicken hens must be sheltered or confined in such fashion as to prevent them from coming into contact with wild ducks or geese or their excrement; and

(8) The chicken hens may not be killed by or at the direction of the owner or keeper thereof except pursuant to the lawful order of state or county health officials, or for the purpose of euthanasia when surrendered to a licensed veterinarian or the Humane Society for such purpose, or as otherwise expressly permitted by law.

(Ord. No. 160, 1986, § 1(35-24), 11-4-86; Ord. No. 73, 1990, § 1, 7-17-90; Ord. No. 072, 2008, § 2, 9-2-08)

Being an ex-city person and knowing NOTHING about raising chickens, we headed to the Jax store in Lafayette for an opportunity to get information about chickens, see some baby chicks, and of course, purchase supplies. We got lots of advice, handouts, and information and now we are making our list of things to do and buy prior to the chicks arrival. We are planning for closer to Mother’s Day when the nights will be above freezing. Our baby chicks will need to be kept quite warm and watched closely to make sure that they are drinking and eating for the first two weeks. Then we will be able to put them into their coop.

We have settled on Australorps, which we are told are docile and good for backyards. They are also black (which I think is cool). We are debating between two or four chicks. My 11-year-old has already picked out names, Izzie or Cricket while the 6-year-old is going to call his chick “Crazy Woman” or “Dark Rise”.

Names aside, we will be taking this new endeavor very seriously. We are hoping for some nice pets as well as some nice eggs is a few months. And we are looking forward to joining this new backyard chicken community.

Chicks

Written by Elisabeth Aron

February 28th, 2011 at 6:33 am

Fun grows at The Gardens this Saturday

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The mission of The Gardens on Spring Creek is to enrich the lives of people and foster environmental stewardship through horticulture.

The vision for The Gardens was first imagined in 1986, but the idea didn’t start taking shape until 1995. That’s when a non-profit group convinced the City of Fort Collins to initiate a city-funded community horticulture program. The result was three million dollars in city funding to build The Gardens on Spring Creek.

In 2004, ground broke on The Gardens’ Visitors Center on the 18-acre site that is home to multiple display gardens, a gift shop and a 1400 sq. ft. food production greenhouse with a classroom. The vision was realized.

Saturday, September 25, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., The Gardens will host the annual Harvest Festival. For a donation of just $4 (children 12 and under are free), you can browse the marketplace where local vendors will display their wares. You’ll find everything from farm fresh produce to artwork.

Attendees will have the opportunity to take part in multiple workshops, including Salsa Cooking, Storing Produce at Home, Food Preservation, Garlic Braiding, and Herbal Blends. Festivalgoers can participate in fresh produce tasting, old-fashioned cider making, square dance demonstration and much more. Local bands, Blue Grama Bluegrass and Storm Mountain, will keep the ambiance festive.

Goats and yaks will be on hand for a fiber spinning demonstration. An hourly storytelling session is on the docket for the kids, as well as other kid-friendly activities. Numerous contests occur throughout the day, including a hot pepper eating contest and various veggie-related competitions. For a list of contests you can enter, go to fcgov.com.

The Gardens on Spring Creek are located 2145 Centre Avenue in Fort Collins. Contact The Gardens by phone at (970) 416-2486 or email gardens@fcgov.com.

Written by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

September 23rd, 2010 at 8:00 am

Old Town Farmer’s Market

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It’s Saturday morning in late summer.  For our family, that means a trip to the Old Town Farmer’s Market.  It is a beautiful cool and sunny morning, perfect for biking to the market.  With recyclable bags in hand (and helmets on heads) we head off.

The market is really at it’s best right now with too many vegetables available to mention them all. Most notable are the ripe plump tomatoes, peaches, apples, pears, mushrooms, corn, squash, chard, and eggplants.

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Some of the more unique items we found on this trip included corn truffles and micro greens. Corn truffle, aka Huitlacoche (aka corn smut), is a fungus that grows naturally on ears of corn. The fungus is considered as a pest to some and gourmet to others. It has an earthy flavor and is commonly used to flavor quesadillas, tamales, soups and other specialty dishes. Micro greens are the young seedlings of familiar mustards, cabbages, radishes, beets, and other greens that are harvested shortly after they sprout. They add a crunchy texture and a spicy burst of flavor to sandwiches, pizzas, salads, or anything else you can imagine putting them on.

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Other items for sale at the market included poultry, beef, yogurt, wine, soap, jewelry, bread, salsa, sweet pickles, flowers, and homemade tamales. I have seen tied dyed T-shirts, plants, aprons, dog treats, honey, and locally made cheese on prior trips.

During our stroll through the market we also experienced a smattering of live music, information about BEET Street events, and information about gardening from expert gardeners. There were some free crafty activities for the kids. We even ran into a few neighbors and were able to compare purchases and chat awhile. For us, it is a weekly community.

After all our cash was gone, we loaded up our sacs and headed back to our bikes already planning the next few meals in our minds. Our menu items this week will include ripe tomatoes with grilled corn and basil infused olive oil, peach cobbler, and home made pizza with sautéed mushrooms, goat cheese, and micro greens.

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If you haven’t yet been to this Farmer’s Market, don’t worry; you have until October 16 to make the trip. I promise, it is worth it.

The Old Town Farmer’s market takes place on Saturday mornings from 8am to 12noon at the Larimer County Courthouse Parking Lot
(200 W. Oak Street). The market is open from June 26 through October 16, 2010.

Written by Elisabeth Aron

September 10th, 2010 at 7:58 am

Harvestival, celebrating the bounty of Northern Colorado

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Photo from Grant Farms on Facebook.

Photo from Grant Farms on Facebook.

Harvest time has been celebrated for centuries in every culture and region around the world. Festivals typically include feasting and merriment. With fall just around the corner it’s time to harvest the crops and celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado.

This weekend, Grant Farms will be hosting their 3rd Annual Harvestival with food, music and workshops. Grant Family Farms, located in Wellington, has been a part of the Northern Colorado community for thirty years. The farm is a designated CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) growing healthy, organic produce.

This two-day event is comprised of three stages: Main Stage, Tweener and Southside. Music is a large part of this celebration and the Main Stage will host the eight piece Latin dance band ONDA, the lyrical stylings of Gregory Alan Isakov, the Boulder Acoustic Society, legendary songstress Judy Collins and more.

Harvestival’s feature speaker is Joel Salatin of Polyface, Inc., a family owned, multi-generational, pasture-based, beyond organic, local-market farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley. Salatin is a farmer, lecturer and author whose books include “You Can Farm” and “Salad Bar Beef.”

Also speaking during the event is Robyn O’Brien, founder of AllergyKids, formed to protect American families from chemicals found in our food supply. O’Brien has written several books, including “The Unhealthy Truth: How Our Food Is Making Us Sick and What We Can Do About It” (Random House, May 2009).  She also serves on the board of the Environmental Working Group, writes a column about Women and Food for Martha Stewart’s Whole Living and serves as a contributing editor to SHAPE magazine.

Harvestival is a family-friendly event that includes a Kid’s Zone with face painters, hula hoops, a straw maze, animals and more. Greg the Magician will be performing two daily shows. Kids will enjoy feeding the farm animals and watching the antics of the many happy free-range chickens.

There will be a variety of local vendors selling their goods, as well as lots of delicious and healthy food items. Bring a chair or blanket and settle in for a day full of education, entertainment and relaxation.

Grant Farms is located just 12 miles north of Fort Collins off of West County Road 72 in Wellington. For directions and a full schedule visit www.Harvestival.com. The event runs Saturday and Sunday, September 11-12, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Written by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

September 8th, 2010 at 7:52 am

‘Hot Mulled Cider’ by Beth MacKenzie

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A few weeks ago the folks here asked me to write a guest post on what “harvest” means to me. “Harvest” and the Fall season have taken on very different meanings for me each time I’ve moved to a different place.

I went to college in New England, where people looked forward to the leaves turning colors almost as much as the forthcoming holiday season. On the evening news, the weather report would include information about peak “leaf-peeping” times for towns all along the Eastern Seaboard. I spent weekends taking walks through the changing foliage, picking apples in orchards and drinking hot mulled cider during the cold evenings.

After college, I lived in DC, where fall is also anticipated, but mostly as a relief from the oppressively hot summer. After a few months of darting from air-conditioned building to air-conditioned building and trying to keep my clothes from sticking to me, I finally started to enjoy being outside, when the cooler weather of September rolled around. I also managed to make a couple of wine tasting trips to the local vineyards.

I’ve only been living in Colorado for a year or so, so I’m still learning about fall here. However, one thing I’ve noticed is that the weather seems much less predictable then on the East Coast. Sometimes I think the daily temperature is determined via a roulette wheel.

There is one thing that I always think of when I think of “Harvest”, however, regardless of where I am, and that is apples, or more specifically, apple cider. When I was growing up, we knew it was fall when my mom would pick up apple cider from local farms. The robust flavor of apple cider just says ‘fall’. Even better than apple cider is hot mulled cider. Hot mulled cider is the drink my mom would make for the holidays and other special occasions. Not only did this drink satisfy a crowd, the aroma would infuse the entire house with its luscious scent. This is a recipe I know we will be repeating as the weather gets colder!

Hot Mulled Cider

First, you will need a crock pot. Fill it with apple cider – preferably unpasturized. Then, and this is important, add 1 to 2 cinnamon sticks and an orange cut into wide slices and studded with cloves(add the cloves before you cut the orange, it’s much easier that way). Turn the crock pot on high at first, and then reduce to Low to keep warm as guests help themselves. It’s not a scientific recipe, but it is definitely satisfying! Happy Harvest!

Beth MacKenzie is MackAttack on her healthy living food blog http://www.fatbustermack.com. She and her husband of (almost!) one year have recently moved to Colorado and are exploring the state through the restaurants and local grocery stores.

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our Homegrown Fort Collins program, we have been featuring the Homegrown Blog over the last couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

The Meaning of Food by Christine Driscoll

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The Meaning of Food My life experience with food has been a roundabout passage, leading me full-circle through different phases. I was raised by parents who, aside from being wonderful cooks, firmly believed in the importance of feeding their children healthy meals made completely from scratch. Having grown up on an island, where healthy food was not prevalent, I realize my brother and I ate better than most, if not all, of our friends. Nevertheless, I did not appreciate it at the time and cooking was certainly not something I enjoyed.

I came to the States for college and with my newfound freedom, quickly took to a much different style of eating. Cafeteria food, frozen dinners, and chain restaurants took the thinking out of eating and became my way. Needless to say, I gained the freshman-fifteen in a matter of no time! During these years, I worked as a waitress in a Sysco-supplied restaurant and then a French bistro. I also surrounded myself with friends who were strictly meat and potatoes people. This period allowed me to enjoy a variety of new and different foods, although my awareness was not focused on what happened to each bite after I swallowed.

It is said our taste buds develop when we are young and eventually, we return to the foods we were fed as children. This certainly turned out to be true in my case. For me, all it took was a little self-exploration, combined with being conscious of the true needs of the human body (I am a CMT with a BA in Kinesiology). It became apparent to me that the foods I ate had had a direct influence on my sense of wellbeing. As I became more body-aware, I found it was not just organic or natural labeled foods that made the difference, but whole foods prepared in a way that preserved the integrity of each ingredient.

I am now continually told I am a picky eater, as people can’t understand why I politely decline food they normally wouldn’t think twice about eating. My response is simple: I choose to eat that which comes from the earth and retains its essence, as nature intended. Like all other living organisms, we must consume to function, so why not eat foods our bodies were originally designed to process? Eating a bag of Doritos may provide me with energy, but it’s not a quality of energy conducive to real nutrition. I live by the Mantra: “I give to the Earth and the Earth gives back to me.” This exemplifies my style of cooking, as I simply want to get as much out of my food as I can. One’s body is truly a vehicle, designed to take one where he or she desires to go. My advice then, is to explore the way one feels after eating different foods. Track common ailments and see if there are any patterns or missing links to be found. I used to get headaches almost daily, but once I started to cut down on wheat, they declined rapidly! My digestion also improved dramatically by eliminating processed foods. Optimal health begins in the intestines, which rely on the foods we put through them.

It’s funny to reflect on the past and where our experiences have taken us. At 26, I have come a long way in discovering what is “food” and how it affects me physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I now live to eat and eat to live, but in a whole new way. I have been living in Colorado for just under 2 years and every morning I wake up thankful. I can honestly say my beauty radiates from the inside out. These feelings are very satisfying and are much due to my explorations with food. I hope I have inspired you to look for the deeper message and to consider what is your meaning of food?

-Christine Driscoll http://shteyndl.wordpress.com/

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Milehigheater.com Guest Blog- Harvest

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Hi all,
 
My name is Jonathan, and my wife Barbara and I write the milehigheater.com blog and we were asked by Beetstreet to write about what harvest time means to us. If you had asked me a few years ago I would have said not much really except that cooler temperatures are going to be here and soon and the end of hot summer days. But over the last few years my perspective has changed through interactions with chefs, and food.

He says:

For several years prior to starting up the blog we had been closet foodies, watching the shows like Top Chef and Iron Chef, but never really going to restaurants of the caliber that would serve the kind of food we saw on those programs or daring to try to make it ourselves. Then came a trip to New York and we finally went to a great restaurant that used fresh ingredients and our world opened up.

We started to try some of the restaurants here in Colorado and fairly often the meal item we remembered the most was something that was locally harvested and in season, such as fried squash blossoms stuffed with locally made goat cheese at Frasca that had come from the farmers market that day. Or a mushroom soup at the Black Cat made with mushrooms that had been harvested that week from a local farmer, among many examples. 

Another major turning point was when chef Skokan of the Black Cat in Boulder took the time to walk me around his garden, sampling this and that and speaking of how different things are harvested at different times of years and how he incorporates that into his cooking (in fact, during the summer 70-80 percent of the produce used in his restaurant comes from the chefs own garden and farm). Harvest changed from the fall for me to a ever changing day where things became ready to eat at their best. Be it the first strawberries early on in the year to the  lettuce, squash, beets, peaches, corn and the rest of the huge variety of items we have here in Colorado to look forward to.

I guess to sum it up Harvest to me is a day by day celebration of food at its best and a reminder that we here in Colorado are so very lucky to live in a place with such a huge variety of great food that we can get fresh and at the peak of its flavor at a local farm or farmers market right down the road from any of us.

She says:

Hi, Barb here, the other writer of the milehigheater.com.  If you would have asked me this question 2 years ago, I wouldn’t have had an answer for you. Jonathan and I have only started to enjoy and understand fine cooking since we started our blog, which originated from that trip to New York and our dining at Daniel’s, Le Bernardin and Per Se. Ever since we’ve started going to these kind of restaurants, my knowledge of harvest has been awakened. For our servers to let us know exactly where our food has come from is very interesting now to me. And their knowledge of the farms and famers is outstanding.          

Learning the names of the local farmers and how prolific they are and how cohesive the chefs work together with the farmers around the area, I have a new appreciation of the whole process from garden to table. I know Jonathan had a great time with Chef Eric Skokan of the Black Cat in Boulder at his house and garden. Even visiting the Black Cat and having Eric come out and talk about all the things he’s planting and how excited he gets telling you about his plans makes the meal that much more enjoyable.

I guess the biggest thing about harvest for me is the collaboration between farmer and chef and how developing that relationship and nurturing and growing it makes the food special in a way that is hard to describe. The relationship is special and it shows on the plate.

 http://www.milehigheater.com

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

Connecting to the Past by Kerrie Flanagan

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This is my favorite time of year when the cooler temperatures nudge out the heat and the lush green foliage prepares to dazzle us with red, gold and orange colors. The garden is in full bloom, bursting with ripe vegetables and fruit.

Tomato plants bend from the weight of the plump red vegetable, green jalapenos dangle from tiny plant limbs, onions burst from the ground, ripe raspberries dangle from branches of the bush and cucumber and zucchini vines creep around the garden, hiding their green vegetables under big leaves.
 
As I harvest all the fruits and vegetables of my labor, I feel connected to women before me—my mom, my grandma, her grandma and so on. Preparing my crop for the winter has a different meaning to me then it did to them. For some of them it was a matter of survival, for me it is a way to slow down and enjoy the results of my hard work. It is also a way for me to provide food to my family that I know is void of chemicals and pesticides.

In this fast paced world, it relaxes me to wash and cut tomatoes, onions and jalapenos for salsa or to mix together chopped raspberries, green peppers and jalapenos with sugar to create a sweet and spicy raspberry, jalapeno jelly.

I have learned about the canning process by talking with other women of my mom’s generation. They share tips and insight with me many of it passed down from their mothers. Like only use small jars for jelly and make sure to take the seed out of the tomatoes for spaghetti sauce.

I love filling the warm mason jars with the jelly, salsa or pickles and then submerging them in a boiling water bath. When the time is right, I lift the steaming jars out and line them up on the counter. With great anticipation I wait for the popping sound, signaling to me that the jars are properly sealed and ready to put away.

As I think about it, I know I have it easier than my great-great grandma with my Pampered Chef chopper and my food processor, but in the end result is exactly the same. I have food from my garden that I tended, nurtured and preserved which provides me with food I can feed to my family in the coming months.

———————————
Raspberry Jalapeno Jelly

½  cup chopped Green bell pepper
1 cup raspberries (fresh or frozen)
½ cup chopped Jalapenos (no seeds)
3 cups of sugar
¾ cup cider vinegar
3 ounces pectin

  1. Combine first five ingredients in a large saucepan
  2. Bring to a boil
  3. Boil for one minute
  4. Remove from heat; let cook 5 minutes
  5. Stir in pectin
  6. Strain mixture through a fine strainer to remove pepper chunks
  7. Pour liquid into sterilized jars.
  8. Cover tightly and store in cool place for up to 6 months.
    **Tastes great on crackers with cream cheese.

Kerrie Flanagan is a freelance writer and director of Northern Colorado Writers, a group that supports and encourages writers of all levels and genres. Learn more about NCW at www.NorthernColoradoWriters.com. Visit Kerrie’s blog at www.the-writing-bug.blogspot.com.

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!

‘Harvest Vegetable Pizza’ by Jennifer Fochek

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This harvest season marks the first anniversary of my return to Colorado.  After several years’ absence, I longed to feel a connection to my city and the people around me.  One of the first things I did to begin the process of making the place I had chosen to live feel like “home” was to go out to the local farmers’ market.  As a person whose life tends to revolve around food, I could think of no better way to ground myself in a new community, support the local economy, and meet some fantastic people.  Bringing home gorgeous produce was icing on the cake.

To celebrate the arrival of this year’s harvest season, I thought it would be fun to prepare something that incorporated Colorado’s fall bounty.  I settled on a harvest vegetable pizza, something that would be warm and comforting as the days grow shorter and the nights become crisp.  Never one to pass up a good opportunity for a “foodie” field trip, I put my ingredient list together and headed out to 

Berry Patch Farms in Brighton to experience some of the best produce Colorado has to offer.  I wasn’t disappointed!  I walked around their produce barn in gape-mouthed amazement, admiring the incredible colors and unique varieties.  Blue potatoes, yellow carrots, and purple beans are certainly new to me, as are Delicato squash, cipollini onions, and kohlrabi.  Talk about food heaven.

Berry Patch Farm visitors have the opportunity to pick certain fruits and vegetables straight from the fields depending on the season, so I ventured out for raspberries and strawberries.  Once I had a full flat of fruit, I gathered up the ingredients I needed for the harvest vegetable pizza (and everything else I couldn’t resist in the produce barn) and headed home.  After a bit of chopping, roasting, kneading, and baking (see recipes below), I had a perfect fall meal.  The carrots, onions, and squash were delicately sweet, and I loved the hint of smokiness from the charred tips of the vegetables.  For as wonderful as the pizza tasted, the texture was out of this world; the crust was tender, the vegetables were perfectly roasted, and I really enjoyed the mix of creamy ricotta with more traditional mozzarella.  Knowing that all of the delicious produce incorporated into the meal came straight from Colorado fields made the experience even more satisfying.  Happy harvest, everyone!

Harvest Vegetable Pizza (adapted from Martha Stewart) 

Ingredients:

  • Olive oil (for drizzling)
  • Flour (for dusting surface)
  • 1 recipe Basic Pizza Dough (below) or 1 pound store-bought pizza dough (fresh, or thawed if frozen)
  • 8 ounces part-skim mozzarella cheese, shredded (about 2 cups)
  • 1 recipe Roasted Fall Vegetables (below)
  • 1 cup part-skim mozzarella cheese, whisked to loosen
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 475 degrees F.  Brush a large, rimless baking sheet with oil or line it with parchment.  (A pizza stone can be used instead of a baking sheet, if desired.)

On a lightly floured surface, roll and stretch the dough to fit the baking sheet or pizza stone.  Transfer the dough to the baking sheet or pizza stone.

Sprinkle the dough with half the mozzarella.  Scatter the vegetables on the dough and dollop with ricotta; top with the remaining mozzarella.  Drizzle with olive oil; season with salt and pepper.  Bake until bubbling and golden, 20 – 25 minutes.  Cut to serve.

Roasted Harvest Vegetables (adapted from Martha Stewart)

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound butternut squash, peeled, seeded and cut into 1 ½-inch pieces
  • ½ pound red new potatoes, well scrubbed and quartered
  • ½ pound medium red onions, peeled, quartered, and layers separated
  • ½ pound carrots, halved lengthwise (if thick) and cut into 1 ½-inch lengths
  • 2 – 3 garlic cloves, peeled and smashed
  • 1 ½ tablespoons olive oil
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper

Directions:

Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.  Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place vegetables and garlic on the baking sheet.  Toss with oil, 1 teaspoon of coarse salt, and 1/8 teaspoon ground pepper.

Roast until vegetables are tender and beginning to brown, 40 to 50 minutes, tossing them halfway through.  (Vegetables can be roasted up to 3 days ahead and refrigerated.  Drain any accumulated liquid before using.)

Basic Pizza Dough (adapted from Emeril Lagasse)

Ingredients:

  • ¾ cup of warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
  • ¼ cup of light-bodied white wine
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon of honey
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon of flour

Directions:

In a large bowl, combine the water, wine, yeast, honey and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, stirring until combined.  Let stand until the mixture is foamy, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 ½ cups of the flour and the salt, mixing by hand until everything is incorporated and the mixture is smooth.  Continue adding the flour, ¼ cup at a time, working the dough after each addition, until the dough is smooth but still slightly sticky.  You may not need all of the flour.  Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until the dough is smooth but still slightly tacky, 3 to 5 minutes.

Oil the mixing bowl with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.  Place the dough in the bowl, turning to coat with the oil.  Cover with plastic wrap and set in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 ½ hours.  Punch down the dough before rolling out the crust.

Blog written by Jennifer Fochek, author of Sweet and Saucy, http://sweetandsaucy.wordpress.com

Beet Street’s Homegrown Blog

Inspired by the Harvest Season, and our upcoming Homegrown Fort Collins program, we will be featuring the Homegrown Blog for the next couple of weeks.  Look for daily stories, comments and recipies about community harvest, and cooking with local food.  We are opening this special edition of the Beet Street Blog to our community, and will feature a different guest blogger everyday.  Let’s celebrate the bounty of Northern Colorado!

Homegrown Fort Collins celebrates the harvest season and its contribution to community and local culture. The goal is to educate, celebrate, and enjoy food with a focus on local. The old adage, ‘you are what you eat,’ resonates stronger than a parent’s stern warning to their children. The harvest of a community in many ways reflects the essence of the community, and has been at the center of festivals throughout history. Beet Street’s Homegrown Fort Collins will help us take a closer look at what’s around and develop a stronger sense of place and appreciation for our local harvest.

For a full schedule of events, please visit Homegrown Fort Collins!