(credit: Ashley Davis Photography)
Before the snow melts, Colorado farmers are nurturing the tender shoots that will show up in local farmers’ markets this summer. Lyle Davis is one of those farmers. Davis is the founder of Pastures of Plenty in Longmont, one the most beautiful settings around for both farming and events. Davis is also the owner of Big Bang Catering, which hosts events, parties and weddings at Pastures of Plenty. Davis gives readers a glimpse of what Coloradans can expect to see this summer at farmers’ markets.
Pastures Of Plenty
4039 Ogallala Road
Longmont, CO 80503
Q: What are you planning and planting at Pastures of Plenty?
A: We have a unique formula as compared to other farms. We grow a mix of cut flowers and vegetables. In the early season, shoppers will see peonies and flowering baskets, as well as spring salad greens, peas and early root vegetables.
Q: Is there anything you would love to grow here in Colorado that Mother Nature just won’t allow?
A: I would love to grow flowers year round, like you see at Union Square in San Francisco. I would also like to grow broccoli raab, escarole, radicchio and ethnic greens, but the soil, weather and market just won’t support them. I do grown an unusual bean. The Romano bean gets a lot of questions about what to do with it. It is the greatest bean and I insist on growing it year after year, even though most shoppers are looking for the traditional green bean.
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Q: What are the benefits of joining a Community Supported Agriculture share over open shopping at the farmers’ market?
A: The advantage is the personal relationship you develop with a farm family. For both the farmer and members, it’s a special bond. We offer opportunities for our members to take cooking classes on the farm, farm walks, farm lunches and parties, so our CSA is more than just picking up a box of food (Davis is also a farm-to-table caterer, see the website for details). For people who don’t have time to amble through the market each week, a CSA also offers an opportunity to stay connected to their food.
Q: If I had to choose between a CSA and shopping at a farmers’ market, which is best?
A: Both. A majority of our CSA clients pick up their produce at farmers’ markets. We encourage them to shop around because our farm can’t possibly grow everything they want or need. The soil in Colorado is so different from region to region that one farm can’t possibly grow everything. We also include a treat of the week in our CSA boxes, so our clients can try foods from other farms. It can be anything from corn, melons, goat cheese from Haystack Mountain or peaches from the western slope. Though we are all farmers at the farmers’ market, we are in this together and want to support each other.
Q: How will the weather affect this year’s crop?
A: It’s hard to say. We really need to snowpack for ditch water. Though it might look a little grim, with a couple of good snow dumps, that can all change. Last year, the problem was the intensity of the heat so early on. Luckily, things can change very quickly in Colorado.
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Kimberly Lord Stewart is a food author and journalist for CBS Denver local, Organic Food Reporter for Examiner.com, and the Food, Wine and Spirits editor for Denver Life magazine. Her book, “Eating Between the Lines” tells readers about the truth and myths of food labeling. Stewart is the recipient of two Association of Food Journalist awards for food news reporting and the Jessie Neal Business Journalism award. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.