We Have Coffee! July 9th Update

Hi garage dwellers,

We have fresh roasted coffee available in the garage! Black Mane coffee, a local Longmont coffee roaster (the man behind the roasts is Andy McNeil, who roasts his beans in his Longmont garage) will fresh roast and drop off coffee weekly.

We had his coffee last weekend – incredibly fresh and I love the fact that he doesn’t over-roast some of the varietals. We shared the coffee with several members, and we had two of them on our doorstep the next morning looking for more! I guess that means it’s a hit.

Ideally, try to pick it up the day it’s roasted, a rare treat. If not, I’ll make sure we have a couple of extra pounds of coffee available in the garage just in case. Email me by Wednesday each week if you want coffee and we’ll make sure it’s fresh roasted on Friday or Saturday.

Andy charges $11 per pound – for the quality, there is no better!

See you in the garage,


Salmon Update – July 1

Hi all -

The Salmon aren’t running! We have learned that Rob (our fisherman who lives in Alaska) hasn’t even been able to get on the water yet. The low numbers of fish resulted in Alaska Game and Fish keeping the waters closed. Even local sustenance fish limits are being carefully managed. We hope to still have fish later this month, and I will keep everyone informed as things change.



The Distribution Challenge – June 13, 2012

Hi all -

I had the chance to catch up with several of our producers over the weekend at the Longmont Farmers Market. Aside from the usual production challenges (chicken coops getting too hot, colony collapse concerns, etc.) the whole “distribution” challenge came up again.

Local producers, like Aaron Rice from Jodar Farms, spend equal or greater amounts of time dealing with transportation and distribution logistics than they do on the farm. While it’s getting somewhat easier to produce local foods (check out the Colorado Cottage Foods Act), getting their products to customers is suprisingly difficult.

Unless the producers sell on premises (a limitation for many potential customers who can’t – or don’t make the effort – to get to the farm), they sell at local markets or go through retailers. This raises reseller challenges, paperwork, stiff regulation, and often “…defeats the point” of efforts by producers to keep things local.

The new concept of micro-distribution centers has generated a spate of calls and emails to us, mainly from producers who want to learn the ropes on how to get others set up. Why? It gives them a channel to buyers, even if they can’t get to the farm. Similar to co-ops but even more local, micro-distribution centers meet the requirements in the Cottage Foods Act for an approved venue that producers may use for sales: “ON THE PRODUCER’S PREMISES, AT THE PRODUCER’S ROADSIDE STAND, OR AT A FARMERS’ MARKET, COMMUNITY-SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE ORGANIZATION, OR SIMILAR VENUE WHERE THE PRODUCT IS SOLD DIRECTLY TO CONSUMERS.”

Establishing neighborhood micro-distribution centers helps both parties – consumers and producers. Plus, we’ve found that there is no better way for neighbors to get to know one another. Since we’ve opened up our garage, we’ve met more than 15 families – and we’ve had the same feedback from the folks who come by the garage. It’s an added benefit – or perhaps that is the primary benefit?

See you in the garage,


New in the Garage: June 7, 2012

We have a new arrival in the Garage this week!

Rosita Mary’s handcrafted lotions are available in several sizes and fragrances. These are hand-made lotions that Mary makes in Rosita, Colorado (above Westcliffe, Colorado) using beeswax from her own hives.

Mary’s lotions are one of the few we have found that don’t bother sensitive skin – great for our kids (and us too). She often uses herbs and plants she grows herself, and the wax she gathers from high-altitiude beehives in the Canon City and Westcliffe areas.

We have a number of garage members that almost refuse to use any other lotions - and since they aren’t available in the Boulder/longmont area at any retailers, it’s a privilege for us to have them. We have a tester in the garage, and try her lotions out the next time you stop in.

See you in the garage,


Music Meadows Ranch and Range-Raised Beef

Sangre de Cristo Mountains

9,000 feet up in the Sangres

I’ve just returned from Westcliffe, Colorado where I picked up another load of range-raised beef from Music Meadows Ranch. Elin Rusher, the ranch owner, trail boss, and wonderful host, is one of the most committed and passionate people I’ve met along our local foods journey.

She raises her cattle in some of the most spectacular and demanding environments in the world – between 9,000 and 10,000 feet high in the Sangre De Cristo Mountains. Elin raises her cattle the way they should be - range-raised, naturally managed herd – and the results show in every bite.

We’ll be doing a profile on her later this summer, but for now, you can stop by the garage to select from a range of beef cuts – roasts, steaks, ground beef, etc. One of our favorites is the stewing beef, which is a humbling name given how it transformed in our latest batch of New Mexico-style green chili stew. It was so tender it practically melted in the pot. We used the first tiny new potatoes (volunteers from last years’ crop) with fresh-roasted anaheim chiles. I’ll post our recipe in the next few days.

You can learn more about Elin, her Sangres Best beef, and Music Meadows Ranch at http://musicmeadows.com.

May 24, 2012 Update

We’ve got more maple syrup on the way! We get small-batch pure maple syrup from friends in Wisconsin. They have roughly 10 acres of maple trees, and this year the fast spring thaw and the abnormally warm weather risked the entire season. Luckily, they were able to get enough sap to produce six cases in total – we’re the lucky recipients of two.

We should have the syrup available next week - the conditions this season led to an extra sweetness and depth, so we are excited to have our first sampling! This year the bottles will be $18, an amazing bargain considering the quality. (Check out the prices for a quart of high quality maple syup in the stores and you’ll see…)

We still have a few bottles in the garage from last year – snag them for this weekend’s holiday brunch.

Have a great weekend

What’s Available Now? May 21st

What’s in the Garage Today? We’ve got a LOT of fresh eggs from Karen’s farm – her hens are clearly enjoying the sunshine! The eggs are very rich with deep, dark orange yolks from their new spring diet (weeds, grasses and insects hold a whole different appeal to chickens.)

We also have ground beef from Music Meadows ranch (only $5/lb for high altitude, range-raised (100% grass) beef). We’ll be picking up more beef at the end of May, so let me know of any special requests in the next 10 days.

New arrival – wheat flour! We have a scale in the garage, so now you can weigh out your own flour. We have both organic Colorado bread flour (perfect for hard rolls, crusty breads, and pizza dough) and an organic Colorado “all purpose” flour that is ideal for soft breads, rolls, etc. If you have your own bags, bring them along, otherwise we have paper bags available that hold about 2 pounds.

We also have whole chickens in the freezer. I’ll let you know when we’re able to get cuts – many of you have asked about this option rather than the whole bird. Should be next month.

Starting Thursday, we will have Honey from the Bukor’s bees. If you aren’t familiar with them, they are 2 blocks form the garage and have hives throughout the area. Great neighborhood honey.

We only have about 8 quarts left of the maple syrup, so snag it while you can.

Good eating,

-Nels and Teresa