While it feels like spring outside, we all know winter is not completely gone. Nonetheless, the warm weather puts in the mind of letting you know about our annual May farm tour on the weekend of May 5 and 6. We will have lots of things to look at this year for our open house tour. We are busily working on getting ground ready for a new planting of Zestar apples and have trees ready to graft to increase our production of Empire and Espopus Spitzenberg apples. We are planning to have our tomatoes planted in our high tunnels in mid-April, nearly three weeks earlier than in the past. Did we mention the regular spring work associated with bloom time?
We’ve put together a fun tour program for this year highlighted by our Sunday morning orchard walk. This year the program also includes a Saturday night dinner served here at the farm and cooked by award winning chef Josea Rosenberg. We’ve sold fruit to Josea for many years in his various restaurant positions. Now, he is running his own truck kitchen and catering business in Denver. He has been wanting to do a dinner with us on the farm for some time and this seemed like the time to take him up on the offer. He has put together a Cinco de Mayo feast that already has my mouth watering.
While we have to charge for the Saturday night meal and Sunday lunch, we also have lots of free tours planned. On Saturday we will visit Stone Cottage Winery in Paonia and Peak Spirits distillery in Hotchkiss. Peak Spirits uses our peaches, pears and apples to make eau de vies and gin. Then on Sunday morning we will take a walk around our farm and I will try to give you a glimpse of how we produce the fruit that you see at the markets. We will talk about pruning, frost protection, thinning, pollination, organic insect and disease control, and most of all harvesting our tree ripe fruit. I will do my best to answer all the questions you might have. We would love to have you here so that you can see what we do and why!
For a flyer and detailed information on the tour, email Jeni at firstname.lastname@example.org We wanted to have all this information attached to this email and on our website, but we are in the middle of a significant technology upgrade on both fronts. That means that we are still in the information transfer dark ages for a little while longer – bear with us and please contact Jeni for all the low down on the May 5 – 6 tour schedule. The full itinerary is at the bottom of this email. You can also see a poster for the tour on our Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pages/Ela-Family-Farms/126422900712760?v=wall The good news is that by summer you will see a brand new website with more pictures, videos and information than we’ve ever had before!
In other farm news, check out our old website at www.elafamilyfarms.com for this years’ CSA share information. We will once again have season fruit shares available at all our farmer’s market locations. We are also watching all this early warm weather and trying to keep our heads in the cool sand. The trees had been behaving themselves and were ignoring the warm cues, but now they are starting to move and buds are swelling. We know the warmth won’t last until June, so it is making us very nervous. We’re getting our wind machines primed and our temperature sensors calibrated, but even with all we do, we know that Ma Nature is still in control. Keep your fingers (and toes, if you can) crossed…
We hope to see you here at the farm on May 6 and, if you want to make a full weekend of it, on the 5th as well. Thank you most of all for your support last season. Without great customers, we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
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Ela Family Farms
Annual Orchard Tour Itinerary May 5-6, 2012
Saturday, May 5
1:30 pm Stone Cottage Cellars – free
Meet us for an intimate tour and wine tasting with proprietors Karen & ex-rocket scientist Brent Helleckson. The Stone Cottage wine cellar was built with stones sourced from their land. Their wines are a testament to the rising reputation of Colorado wines. Visit www.stonecottagecellars.com.
3:30 pm Peak Spirits & Jack Rabbit Hill – free
This unique estate is Colorado’s only organic distillery. They use Ela Family Farms’ peaches, pears and apples for their spirits. Proprietors Lance and Anna Hansen give us the grand tour of their copper still they imported from Germany and take great pride in being both USDA organic and Demeter-certified Biodynamic. Their Cap Rock Gin is infused with juniper berries wild crafted from their land. Yum! Visit www.jackrabbithill.com and www.peakspirits.com.
5:30 pm Ela Family Farms
Cinco de Mayo with Season 5 Top Chef Winner, Hosea Rosenberg – $65 adult/$25 child <12
Join us for our first orchard dinner! An amazing evening featuring a delicious meal of roast pork, homemade corn tortillas, fire roasted salsas, fresh papusas with mushrooms & huitlacoche, & more. Bring your favorite wine find of the day. See www.blackbellycatering.com and www.chefhosea.com. Dinner RSVP required, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org to reserve.
Lodging and Camping Options: See www.deltacountycolorado.com/lodging/hotchkiss.aspx.
Visit the link above for area lodging.
Sunday, May 6
10:00 am Ela Family Farms – free
Ela Family Farms’ Annual Orchard Tour
Bring your family and friends to walk the orchards with fourth generation grower, Steve Ela. Learn the fascinating details about how your fruit is grown, and gain a deeper appreciation for Ela Family Farms organic fruit.
Lunch on the Lawn at Ela Family Farms – $18
Join us for pulled pork sandwiches, zesty creole slaw, homemade pickles, chips and a cookie. Lunch RSVP required. Contact email@example.com to reserve.