Thursday, 23 August 2018

Summer on the Ranch

Overlooking the Everson Ranch Overlooking the Everson Ranch John Lorenz

Food is not just fuel. 
Food is about family, 
Food is about community, 
Food is about identity. 
And we nourish all those things when we eat well. 

-- Michael Pollan

There's something magical about watching food grow. What starts as a tiny seed in the spring first emerges from the soil as a seedling and, by summertime, blossoms into a full, thriving plant. What appeared to be a barren field of dirt in March is now a thriving garden. Walking out to the garden to pick your next meal is a ritual nearly lost in our modern world of convenience.

The Everson Ranch garden continues to provide the opportunity for guests, visitors and volunteers to learn about sustainable food growth. Our garden is thriving under the watchful eye of garden manager Brian Ross. Brian has filled the hoop houses and the garden space continues to grow with the completion of several new trellises. With a passion for learning and seed saving, there are several varieties of well loved favorites planted so he can determine which will grow best in our high valley desert. Tasting the different types of basil was a learning experience for all of us. We had no idea they could each taste so different! We're waiting in anticipation for tomato season to see which of the heirloom varieties will win the taste test.

The garden also provides much needed nourishment for our volunteers. We couldn't be more grateful for all of the hard work provided by the folks we've had the honor of hosting. There's always so much to be done and having the summer help makes so much more possible. Thank you volunteers!!

One of our volunteers, Dorothy Lessem, wrote this about her day at the Everson Ranch:

 

Volunteering at the Everson Ranch (also known as playing in the dirt)

Who says you have to be on "FarmersOnly.com" to have fun? Instead try volunteering for a half day at the Everson Ranch. Recently Mark Allen and I volunteered to "weed and seed" at the Ranch. It may be a bit hard on your knees, but playing in the dirt (aka pulling weeds and planting seeds) is very therapeutic, and a throwback to the mudpies some of us made as children. When we finished planting a variety of beets, I helped prepare lunch for the volunteers, students, staff and others who also work there through a variety of programs. Picking the fresh vegetables for the salad was a real treat since I used to do that myself when I had a home garden. Other benefits include feeding the weed scraps to the chickens and visiting the other animals that live there. And .. next time I'm there I can check on the growth of the beets we planted. So, try volunteering, either at the ranch or the hot springs. Besides the intrinsic rewards of working in such a beautiful, peaceful environment, you will also get a pass for the hot springs. The staff's accomplishments rejuvenating the ranch are amazing and the environmental friendly approach is what this land is all about.

Over our members appreciation weekend, the ranch crew set up the first farmers market stand near the pavillion for Valley View guests. With fresh produce and a variety of goods created using food grown both on the ranch and throughout the valley, we hope to build our stand into a lasting part of the Valley View experience. We strive to provide fresh, organically grown food to our guests and community. The market stand also allows us another outlet to share with our guests the ideals that drive us; protecting the land and water, responsibly raising animals, improving the soil, and encouraging a culture of sustainability. Be sure to stop by the market stand for local produce, meat, eggs, ranch products, and to set up a tour to visit the ranch.

Our community Field to Fork meals are still being offered throughout the harvest season. Join us on Saturday for the "Market Stand & Grill from 10am to 2pm or on Sunday for brunch at 10am. Take a tour, visit the reservoir and stroll through the gardens. Our community of animals grew larger this June with the birth of piglets! Watching the baby pigs play is sure to brighten your day, but they won't stay little for long so be sure to stop by soon!

Last modified on Friday, 24 August 2018 06:53
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Orient Land Trust is a nonprofit land trust
dedicated to the preservation of Valley View Hot Springs (VVHS) and its viewshed—
including natural and biologic resources, agricultural lands, wildlife habitat,
open space, and historic and geologic features of the northern San Luis Valley—
for the education and enjoyment of current and future generations.