As the Front Range continues modeling its March climate after East Lansing, MI, Eric has interred himself in the greenhouse, where he is exceedingly busy coaxing little seeds to sprout, spread and rise into proper branching plants. Soon, they will find new purchase on life in soil and under Colorado’s normally glorious sun.
One of Eric’s gloom-fighting strategies, planting bulbs in pots during winter, is now yielding happy-making results. The daffodils we have praised previously now are coming on strong. They broadcast joy in the long, glass-walled space, which today did not welcome a single scrap of sunlight. But those daffodils? They serve as sunny stand-ins.
If you seek to cheer up the kitchen, the living room, a bedroom windowsill — and soon, other flowers like tulips and amaryllis — then look no further than our Farm Store for pots of these botanical treasures. Also, Eric planted them all in compostable containers. After the blooms sag and the glory fades, clip back the blossoms, dig a hole, and plop the the entire pot in the cavity. Next year, plants will emerge from the spot, and flowers will unfurl.
In other greenhouse news, Eric the Tinkerer finally had enough with the disposable plastic trays that nearly all greenhouses use to grow seedlings. The plastic is not recyclable, and the waste is unacceptable.
Eric’s mission this winter was to come up with an efficient way of producing the farm’s estimated 600,000 seedlings without generating non-recyclable waste. Eric, like many gardeners and small farms, tried compressed soil blocks. These handmade soil cubes are effective at small scale, but Eric was doubtful that he could make more than 1,000 blocks each day.
He then looked toward his durable tomato harvest boxes.
“I had bought several hundred of these shallow, stackable boxes to facilitate tomato harvest and transport. We were crushing too many tomatoes in our regular deep boxes,” he said. “It occurred to me that I had them all available in the winter, and I could get a second use out of them by repurposing them as seedling trays. So far. they are working great.”
To create the individual plant cells, Eric became inspired by, of all things, dividers designed for sock drawers. Now, he is using the sock dividers to create rows of small pockets that hold enough soil to sprout seeds and support seedlings. Once the seedlings are transplanted into bigger (compostable paper) pots, both the trays and the dividers get washed. Eric will use them again (without the dividers) in the fall for the great tomato harvest and again next winter in the greenhouse. Eric estimates the trays and dividers will last 7-10 years of constant reuse. So long, plastic waste.
The Black Cat Organic Farm CSA
If you haven’t signed up for our 2023 CSA yet, spots still remain. Our CSA differs from most: Instead of us filling sacks or baskets with vegetables for you to pick up, for our CSA we invite you to visit the Farm Store 20 times between June and October and fill Black Cat CSA totes with produce. In addition, CSA members enjoy 5% discounts on all store items, plus a bonus U-Pick credit based on share size.
The link contains loads more information about how the CSA works, as well as a way to sign-up. Welcome to the Black Cat family.
Good news, friends — we’ve got eggs! We cannot wait for you to try the eggs from Boucher Family Farm in Firestone, which are now available at the Farm Store. We work hard to make the Farm Store as one-stop-shoppable as possible, and eggs stand as an important part of the strategy. But as you may have heard, egg supplies during the past year haven’t exactly been eggzelent.
Eggs from Boucher come from a range of different chicken breeds — Marans, Barred Rocks, Leg Horns, Ameraucanas and Brahmas. They’re colorful, fresh from the farm, and delicious.
What time is it? Omelet time, with Boucher eggs, sautéed Black Cat Organic Farm spinach and onion. Maybe a little bit of leftover shredded roast pork from one of our pork shoulders.
Please visit us this week and weekend at the Farm Store, located at 4975 Jay Road and open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for:
- Salad mix
- Tat soi
- Dried beans
Black Cat Grains and flours
- Flours from Black Cat Organic Farm grains
- Grama Grass & Livestock Beef
- Cuts of Black Cat heritage lamb
- Cuts of Black Cat heritage pork
Black Cat Farm Provisions
- Tomato sauce with basil and garlic
- Basque piperade
- Yellow Tomato Sauce with French thyme
- Tomato shallot fonduto
- Salsa amarilla con rajas
- Spicy harissa
- Frog Hollow Farmstead Crackers with Nettle Salt (New!)
- Frog Hollow Farmstead Apple Butter (New!)
- Plains & Prairie goods
- Humble Suds cleaning products
- Bee-Och Organics tooth powder, muscle pain rub, beard oil, deodorant
- Growing Organic probiotic soaps
- Purple Fence Farm lotions, soaps, bath salts, facial toners and salves
- Annie Bee’s Hand-Poured Beeswax Candles
- Bluecorn Beeswax Candles
- Havenly Baked Gluten-Free Bread
- Boulder Broth
- Bee Grateful Honey Caramels, in chocolate, espresso and salted flavors
- Bjorn’s Colorado Honey and doggie treats
- Boulder Valley Honey
- Bolder Chip salsa, corn chips and tortillas, and uncooked flour tortillas
- Green Tahini dips and dressings
- Heartbeets Veggie Burgers and doggie treats
- Spark + Honey Granola
- Mountain Girl Pickles
- Project Umami Tempeh
- Silver Canyon Coffee
- French mustard
- Gorgeous Italian balsamic vinegar
- Ambrosial Italian apple cider vinegar
- Vegan charcuterie from Greece
- Italian risotto rice
Bramble & Hare
The braised rabbit leg is back! With creamy polenta, shishito crème, Brussels sprouts and Hakurei turnips, it’s a can’t miss kind of entree. On the appetizer front, do consider a Bramble classic, the beet salad. Beets are one of many vegetables that thrive at Black Cat Organic Farm; we’ve been growing them since close to the beginning. For this salad, we roast whole beets in salt, which helps retain moisture and keep them simultaneously supple and firm. To the beets, we add almonds, Elkhorn asiago cheese and roasted farm onions. It all finds a splendid home distributed amongst greens that we raise year-round on the farm.
Finally, you can thank us later for the tip to try the vanilla bean cheesecake with poached apples, juniper-cinnamon Anglaise and walnut crust. This represents a kind of Platonic ideal of winter dessert. You’ll swoon all the way home.