Organic Is a Growing Concern at Boulder’s Cure Farm

by John Lehndorff

Hundreds of braided garlic bulbs lie drying in the shade as oinks, quacks, and a honeybee buzzsaw fill the air at Cure Organic Farm. A rebel rooster sounds off, unwilling to limit his crowing to dawn at the acreage east of Boulder.

On a warm, late summer morning, full-time farm manager and mom Anne Cure  simultaneously directs work in the field while getting paperwork ready for the regular “broccoli audit” from the folks who certify the farm as an organic operation. They track a crop from seed to purchase. She is not concerned about retaining the certification.

Cure has been an organic endeavor almost from the moment Anne and her husband Paul started farming in 2005. “We were able to get organic certification for our land the first year,” she said, because the land had been so well-treated by earlier farmers including a local legend, John Ellis. “They used to farm organically before it was ever labeled that way,’” she said.

The farm’s customers care whether the food is grown locally as much as they do about organic certification. “They want to know where and how the food was grown,” she said. For CSA (community supported agriculture), the link is strengthened because they must come to the farm to pick up their share of the produce.

“At our booth at the farmers’ market I’ll hear our members point to us and say ‘This is my farm.’ That’s great to hear,” Anne said.

Cure currently grows about 100 varieties of organic vegetables and flowers on 12 leased acres. Greens including chard and kale, roots from beets to shallots, as well as haricot vert and eggplant are still coming in from the fields. “But September is all about tomatoes around here,” she said. Anne makes a panzanella (bread) salad almost every day for the farm family using the ripest, sweetest tomatoes and is planning on freezing, canning, and drying more.

A few precious pounds of honey will also be harvested soon from the farm’s vital beehives and available at the farm store along with their farm-raised chicken, duck eggs, Berkshire pork, and Rambouillet lamb.

When Anne and Paul say they focus on being local, they really mean it. Besides selling in season at their farm store and the Boulder County Farmers’ Market, the farm supplies 190 families who are part of the CSA (Community Supported Agriculture). You’ll also find the greens and vegetables mentioned by name on the menus of notable eateries like the Flagstaff House, Frasca, and The Kitchen. Everything produced by the farm is used within 50 miles of the farm, and the only grocery store that sells Cure organic produce is Alfalfa’s Market.

Anne Cure and Alfalfa’s go back a long ways. “I shopped at the original Alfalfa’s when I was a student at Naropa,” Anne says.

“Before the new store even opened they reached out to the organic growers in Boulder and we talked to the produce buyer about our farm.” That close relationship with the community of local organic farmers, ranchers and food producers has only grown, she said.

‘What inspires me to grow organic is that it’s the closest to mimicking nature. It focuses on diversity in the field which is healthier for the farm and the consumer.”

The future is always now when you work on a farm. “Farmers are always thinking three to five years ahead, planning what they will grow,” she said. In order to spread the word about organics, sustainability and to entice a younger generation of growers, the Cures give tours, offer classes and dinners, host farm interns and stage a kids’ farm camp every summer.

On this particular day, the future of organic looks bright at the Cure’s home on the farm. Georgia, the Cure’s always smiling older daughter, already gets it.

“She heads to the kids’ vegetable patch and tells me ‘I’m going to harvest from my garden,’ Anne said with a wide smile.

 

FOR MORE INFORMATION

The Cure Organic Farm Store (southwest corner of 75th and Valmont in Boulder) is open through December 15. Upcoming classes at the farm include Jam Making (Sept. 14). For information on the CSA, volunteering opportunities, farm tours, and summer farm camps, visit cureorganicfarm.com

 

A TOMATO TIP FROM CURE ORGANIC FARM

How to freeze whole fresh tomatoes:

Wash tomatoes. Cut away the stem scar. Place the tomatoes on cookie sheets and freeze. Tomatoes do not need to be blanched before freezing. Once frozen, transfer the tomatoes from the cookie sheets into freezer bags or other containers. Seal tightly. To use the frozen tomatoes, remove them from the freezer a few at a time as needed. To peel, just run a frozen tomato under warm water in the kitchen sink. Its skin will slip off easily.

 

 

 

WHAT DOES CERTIFIED ORGANIC MEAN? 

“Organic is a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.”

– Source: www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/nop

 

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