2016 Denver and Colorado Springs CSA SHARES AVAILABLE

E-mail Ahavahfarm@yahoo.com or call 719-233-7828 to sign up or for more information.

Colorado Springs and Denver CSA Shares Available NOW!

20 week CSA, June to October

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

A Note About Our Eggs

What makes orange yolks that are the trade-mark of free-range hens?

The dark color of the yolk is due to the chickens' diet of bugs and greens - specifically carotenoids. In the summer our egg yolks turn dark orange and are beautiful. However, because it is winter, the chickens have very few bugs and virtually no greens (except what we give them in addition to their feed). Thus, our egg yolks are paler than usual. This doesn't mean they are lacking any nutritional content. In fact, companies like Egglands Best (yuck!) supplement their chicken feed with artificial ingredients to promote the darker color and thus fool their customers.

Let us be very clear: Our chickens roam our land all day long. They scratch and peck and have a fully 100% organic diet. We supplement with only 100% certified organic grain and they are as healthy as any birds you will ever see. Our chickens are beyond organic, well-loved, well-cared for and completely free-range with 40 acres+ to roam.

If you have any doubts about our chickens, we invite you to please come to our farm, pet and hold one of ours and most importantly see how well they are cared for.

Monday, February 22, 2016

CSA - It's About More Than Just the Food.

Why CSA?  Community Supported Agriculture is a way to support local, build community and eat healthier.  Community Supported Agriculture is a program that is both beneficial for the farmer, and for those who are enjoying the fresh produce and eggs.  Many people want the fresh, organic produce that comes from local farms.   They get excited about the idea of reducing their carbon footprint, supporting local agriculture and feeling healthier.  However, in order for this food to be available, in order for the farmer to return year after year to the market, the farmers need YOU!  Like any business, without loyal support, the business will fail. 

CSA programs help the small farmer in many ways including guaranteeing that they will be around from year to year and it allows the farmer to gain some front-loaded funds in order to purchase seed, tools and other supplies for the upcoming season.  During good seasons, the members receive a huge bountiful harvest, much more than what they paid for (our CSA members received 17-24% more produce last year!  And that was “one of the worst years in Colorado’s History”), and during down years, the farmer is supported through these tough times and the member can be assured that their produce was grown in a sustainable way and that other years will more than make up for this season. 

It is estimated that out of ten years there may be one down year, four average years and five bountiful years.  Of course, much of this depends on weather patterns etc., but the majority of it falls to the responsibility of the farmer.  Does the farmer plant extra “just in case?”  Does the farmer utilize hoop-houses and row-cover to protect from frosts, hail and wind?  Does the farmer utilize dry-land agriculture techniques to prepare for drought?  We do all of those things, so our potential for great seasons is much higher than many of the expectations. 

There are some greater reasons, to us, however, to be a part of a CSA.  Sure, you get to eat in season, learn new recipes and be healthier.  Sure you get to support the local food movement and feel good doing it, but there is something else about a CSA membership that goes beyond just the food.  To us, the most important aspect to joining a CSA is the people you meet and the community you develop as a member.  There are not many opportunities to meet like-minded individuals in such a neutral atmosphere as you do with a CSA program.  During the pick-up times most members hang around and chat. This time is spent meeting with the farmer and the other families that have the same values.  Volunteer days, discounts, eating in-season, experiencing new foods and recipes, classes and more are all perks of being a member of a CSA and worth every penny.  In addition, when CSA members volunteer, they get extra produce and more importantly, they get the feeling and satisfaction that comes with contributing to their food and to the local community in a very tangible way that is larger than themselves. 


In short, being a member of a CSA is an experience that the majority of people in this world will never experience, and it is something that can be exhilarating, rewarding and life-changing.  In the end, however, it's about what you make of it.  Can you get a CSA from a farm out in California?  Sure.  Can you get one from one far out on the other side of Colorado?  Sure.  But what do you gain if you don't get involved, learn the farm, share the dream, meet some great friends?  

Will you be joining a local CSA this year?  Will you support  our local agriculture?  Will you help the small farmer?  Will you meet other like-minded people and develop relationships and build an incredible community around yourself, all while eating and feeling better and being a part of something bigger than you?  

We hope so.  We know you will be happy you did!

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

The REAL Cost of Free-Range, Soy-Free, Organic Chicken Eggs

When you don't get government handouts, don't force-molt your hens, don't keep your hens in battery cages, don't mess with the hen's natural laying cycle by not using lights in the winter etc., but feed the  hens pure, organic feed while allowing them to roam the land free as a bird (pun intended), the real cost for eggs is much higher than you would expect.  According to David Robinson Simon, author of "Meatonomics" (2013), the real cost of organic eggs should be $13.00!  Our eggs? They are $7.00 per dozen, here's why...

Here's our own personal math for the cost of our eggs:


  • Cost of feed per week per hen...........$0.86 (2.1 lb per week X $0.41)
  • Eggs laid per week per hen..................2.96 (% productivity X 52 Weeks)
  • Number of hens to make a dozen...... 4.054
  • Cost of feed per dozen eggs...............$3.48 
  • Cost of egg carton..............................$0.33
  • Cost of Labels (2)...............................$0.30
  • Cost of utilities per dozen...................$0.16 ($350.00 per year / 52 weeks / 175 hens X 4.054)
  • Cost of hen houses per dozen.............$0.16 ($3500.00 / 10 years / 175 hens / 52 weeks X 4.054) 
  • Cost of hens per dozen........................$0.06 ($3.50 / 5 years / 52 weeks X 4.054) 
Total expenses per dozen eggs:  $5.32

Labor:  Each dozen takes about 17.5 minutes of labor.  If we sell our eggs for $6.00 per dozen, as some other farms do, we would be making $0.68 for those 17.5 minutes, or $2.33 per hour in labor! 

Keep in mind that there are a number of additional costs that did not go into the calculation here:   Things like rent / mortgage costs, miscellaneous costs like wood shavings, tools, loss of birds due to either sickness or predators, gas to deliver the eggs and pick up supplies, advertising costs etc.  The reality?  If we sell our eggs for $6.00 per dozen, we lose money.  

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

No-till is the ONLY Way to Go!

I read an incredible peer reviewed white paper the other  day.  It was on the impacts of no-till farming under arid conditions and the benefits to watershed hydrology.  The title of the article is "Conservation Tillage in Dryland Agriculture Impacts Watershed Hydrology" by Van Wie et. al. 2013 (Full reference below).  

What was particularly interesting to me about the article was the emphasis not just on no-till, but on the importance of this in arid conditions and locations.  Although the study was primarily in the Palouse region of Washington, the study related to myself as a farmer in the high-desert of Colorado; Colorado being one of the driest states in the country with abnormally high rates of evapotranspiration (evaporation from soil and transpiration from plants).  The article discusses that the utilization of no-till methods is a BMP (Best Management Practice) for soil management (Van Wie, et. al. 2013).  The benefits to the watershed, as found by the authors of the article were many.  

In addition to enhancing soil structure and biological activity in the soil, the authors found that less fertilization was required, there was less water runoff and therefore less pollution to watersheds and there was less need for irrigation, since the soil was now able to maintain a greater amount of water in the root zone - thus less pumping of water from the watershed was needed (Van Wie, et. al. 2013).  
By utilizing no-till there is less run-off of water, specifically in the winter months when rain falls on frozen soil and snow (Van Wie, et. al. 2013).  When this occurs, the water runs off and contributes to streamflow instead of infiltrating the soil.  This is due to lower soil temperatures in tilled soil vs. no-tilled soil (Van Wie, et. al. 2013).  By using the Water Erosion Prediction Project (WEPP) model, the team was able to determine an absolutely astonishing difference between the tilled and no-tilled fields when it came to soil infiltration vs. run-off.  The tilled soil generated a 66.0 mm of run-off during a 5 month period while the no-till soil generated a run-off of only .3 mm!  In other words, the soil that was not tilled held 220 times more water than tilled soil!  In addition to this staggering result, during run-off events such as high amounts of precipitation or snowmelt, while there were numerous events with tilled fields, there were zero observed events with the no-till fields (Van Wie, et. al. 2013)! 

Not only is there reduced to virtually zero amounts of run-off from the fields utilizing this BMP of not tilling their fields, but the moisture that is held in the soil is also dramatically increased and the amount of evaporation decreased to a an almost astonishing extent.  The results from the study were that the fields that were conventionally tilled had an average evaporation loss of 3 mm/day while the no-till fields had an average evaporation loss of .001 mm/day!  The tilled fields lost water at a rate of 3,000 times those that were not tilled (Van Wie, et. al. 2013)! 

Finally, in addition to the obvious benefits to the watershed and the environmental benefits to not tilling our soil, the increase in yields were also discussed by the authors:  21-26% increase in crop yields with no-tilled BMPs vs conventional tilling methods were found (Van Wie, et. al. 2013)!  

So here are the benefits to not tilling your soil in a nutshell:

  • Increased moisture held in the soil - reduced evaporation.
  • Decreased run-off and pollution, 
  • Increased infiltration of moisture particularly in the winter  months.
  • Decreased need for fertilization.
  • Decreased need to pump water and use precious resources.
  • Keeps the soil structure intact which reduces erosion.
  • Increased microbial activity in soil.
  • Greater amount of carbon sequestration.    
  • Increased crop yields of 21-26%!                                                                                                              Photo Credit: pnl.gov

The results of this study were astonishing to say the least.  At our farm we don't till our ground.  We have been aware of many of the benefits to not tilling our soil, but we had no idea of the extent to which these benefits were.  To learn that tilled soil evaporates water at a rate of 3,000 times that of soil that has not been tilled and to learn that no-till soil held 220 times more water than tilled soil are results that blew me away! 

Clearly, the science is obvious and the results are clear.  Tilling our soil is ruining our environment, creating smaller yields, and is contributing to over pumping of our precious water resources!  

Source:

Van Wie, J. B., Adam, J. C., & Ullman, J. L. (2013). Conservation tillage in dryland agriculture impacts watershed hydrology. Journal of Hydrology, 483, 26. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.12.030

Thursday, November 12, 2015

NEW WEBSITE IS LIVE!!!

We are excited to announce that our new website is live.  Go check it out!

www.ahavahfarm.com

Friday, October 16, 2015

Read About Our Farm on AGJournalonline.com!

  • Peyton produce a labor of love

  • With fall’s arrival, produce farmers like Yosef Camire are in the final stretch of an intense and seemingly relentless growing season.

  • Customers of Ahavah Farm in Peyton are invited to 'pay as you can' for an array of fresh heirloom produce grown using sustainable farming practices.Photo by Candace KrebsCustomers of Ahavah Farm in Peyton are invited to 'pay as you can' for an array of fresh heirloom produce grown using sustainable farming practices. The farm sells its produce at the Colorado Farm and Art Market, which closes for the season on Oct. 10.
  • Customers of Ahavah Farm in Peyton are invited to 'pay as you can' for an array of fresh heirloom produce grown using sustainable farming practices.Yosef Camire was a fresh face at this season's Colorado Farm and Art Market in Colorado Springs.

    • By Candace Krebs
      Contributing Writer

      Posted Oct. 9, 2015 at 6:45 AM 

      With fall’s arrival, produce farmers like Yosef Camire are in the final stretch of an intense and seemingly relentless growing season.
      Camire was one of the fresh faces at this year’s Colorado Farm and Art Market in Colorado Springs, which closes for the season on Oct. 10.
      A former Denver resident, he and his wife, Hava, escaped the city with their four young children and moved to a dilapidated 40-acre property near Peyton that they have since restored to life.
      “The house didn’t even have a kitchen. We renovated it all,” he said in between greeting customers at his farmers market stand recently.
      From a mere half-acre of land, their Ahavah Farm (the term is Hebrew for love) produces a bounty of fresh produce including several varieties of greens, heirloom tomatoes, purple and white turnips, bright carrots and sugar snap peas, along with farm fresh eggs.
      Camire represents the latest generation of back-to-the-landers who are drawn to the rural lifestyle in large part because it is ideal for raising kids. Camire’s son Asher, for example, was in charge of selling duck eggs at the market, collected from a flock he tends himself.
      “It’s always been a dream of ours to live sustainably, to live off our land and to grow pure food,” Camire said.
      They raise produce that comes strictly from heirloom varieties and is grown in a manner Camire calls “beyond organic.” They use two hoop houses to help extend the growing season.
      “We do sustainable farming, which means we do everything we can to reduce water consumption and resource use,” he said. “We’re actually carbon negative. We compost. We use our own fertilizer. We also don’t use any tractors.”
      Camire practices no-till because it minimizes soil disruption and leaves the soil structure intact.
      “We use deep mulch methods,” he explained. “In the winter, we’ll cover everything with a thick, thick layer of mulch. What that does is the mulch will break down and create a humus, which goes into the soil. It also keeps it nice and moist and keeps the worms very healthy and happy.”
      “In spring, we’ll rake back the mulch and soften up the top part of the soil, and then we’ll seed or plant,” he added.
      Camire refuses to use commercial pesticides or herbicides. “Healthy plants emit defensive mechanisms,” he said. “We take care of the soil, that’s it. I hoe by hand. I weed. I just love my plants.”
      “I read my plants,” he added. “I know that sounds really weird, and my wife laughs at me for saying that. But I go out and look at them and read what they need every day.”
      Read More HERE 

    Monday, August 31, 2015

    Our First Home-School Day!

    Today was our first "Home-School Day."  What fun it was too, and it seemed that everyone really enjoyed themselves. I know we did!  Everyone got to feed the alpacas, play with the chickens and learn about the farm and about different vegetables.  We ate cherry tomatoes, picked a carrot and a beet and got to collect some duck and chicken eggs.  Then we cooked it all up and ate all of our harvest.

    We can't wait for our next Home-School Day!

    See some of the pictures below:









    Sunday, August 30, 2015

    Documentary On Our Farm! - "A Labor of Love."

    Check out the documentary featuring our farm:  A Labor of Love by Albergo Twin Productions:


    Your Produce Is So Expensive!

    "Your produce is so expensive!"

    Is it?  Yes.  We admit, our produce IS a little more expensive than most.  However, there are a couple of reasons for this beyond our sustainable methods, our all-heirloom produce and beyond organic nutritional value, which I will discuss here.

    First, it is important to take note of the market that we are dealing with here.  For instance, are we talking about expensive for Colorado?  For Denver?  For a CSA?  For Colorado Springs?  Compared to the Grocery Store?  For the first three, Colorado, Denver or CSA the reality is that our produce is not priced high at all - especially for Denver and especially for a CSA (who receive up to a 35% discount).  We could, therefore, sell our produce exclusively to Denver and by doing so raise our prices an additional 25% or more.  Believe me, the price for Farmer's Market produce in Denver, even for NON-ORGANIC produce, is exorbitant.  We could also get out of the CSA business all together and only sell at Farmer's Markets.  But that's not why we are in this business.  We love what we do.  We have a passion for growing (and feeding people) pure, sustainable food, and beautiful food. We also love you, our customers.  We love the community.  We love being a part of something bigger than us and we love doing something that matters.

    So what matters?  Well, for starters, getting pure, local, fresh food into the bellies of those that either can't afford it, or don't have access to it.  Colorado Springs, and especially the surrounding area of El Paso County is a food desert.  The definition of a "Food Desert" according to the USDA is as follows:

    "1. They qualify as "low-income communities", based on having: a) a poverty rate of 20 percent or greater, OR b) a median family income at or below 80 percent of the area median family income; AND
    2. They qualify as "low-access communities", based on the determination that at least 500 persons and/or at least 33% of the census tract's population live more than one mile from a supermarket or large grocery store (10 miles, in the case of non-metropolitan census tracts)." (http://apps.ams.usda.gov/fooddeserts/foodDeserts.aspx)

    Below is a map of El Paso County.  All the areas shaded in Pink are Low-Access Areas


















    Below is a similar map of El Paso County reflecting Low-Income Areas.

















    Below is a combined image:  Both Low-Income and Low-Access.

















    Now, one must keep all of this in perspective.  Unfortunately, when placed in context and kept in perspective, it gets much worse.  These definitions by the USDA do not include "Local Food."  They also do not include "Organic" or "Pure," "Fresh" food.  Simply stated, the USDA defines these deserts as access to a "Supermarket or Large Grocery Store."  The truth is that only 1-2% of the food in El Paso County is local.  Of that 1-2%, a much smaller portion is considered "Organic" and an even much lesser portion is considered "Pure."

    So what am I getting at?  I am trying to explain the things that matter.  The reason for our existence as a small, local, "pure-food" farm in El Paso County is so that we can make a difference in people's lives.  For those that can afford the food and have access to it, does it make a difference? Well, according to our many customers and the feedback we receive, yes it does make a difference.  But what about all those people that are on SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits that, simply-put, cannot afford access to healthy food?  We aren't talking about lazy bums and deadbeat dads that are so often the stereotypical SNAP recipient.  Do those exist?  Sure.  Will we help them too?  Of course.  But for those of you who struggle with this idea, we are talking about the working poor.  Say what you want about those on SNAP benefits, but the truth is, many of them are the hardest working individuals in this country!  Often, they are blue-collar workers who wake up at the break of dawn and end their day just in time to kiss their children to bed at night.  These are people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families the basics, never mind actually healthy food, in an economy where you have individuals with MBA degrees working two minimum-wage jobs (read the book "The Working Poor", by David Shippler), with two or more children at home, and are barely making ends meet.  Want more?  Watch the movie "A Place at the Table" to learn about these hard working individuals who are doing everything they can to feed their children, but are living in a food desert just like ours.

    I digress.  Here's my point...

    We, Ahavah Farm, double all SNAP benefits.  We also give away literally hundreds of dollars of food per week.  We do have "Suggested" prices that may be higher than the grocery store or even some other farms, but we also allow those who are struggling to pay what they can and take what they want and need.  When you purchase food from Ahavah Farm you are doing more than paying for Sustainable agriculture, no-till farming that cares for our soil and our environment, beyond organic growing methods, 100% heirloom produce which means a better taste and higher nutritional content and supporting a small, local farm.  When you purchase food from Ahavah Farm you are also making a difference.  Yes, our prices are a little higher for those that can afford it, but by your purchases we are able to provide pure food to those that need it the most.  It might not be much, and we may sound a little idealistic, but it is something.  By the end of the season we will have given away hundreds of pounds of food and thousands of dollars of irreplaceable nutrition because of you!

    So next time you think "Boy, your food is really expensive," keep in mind what you are really paying for and also who you are feeding through your support.


    Support Our Local Food Desert and Those Who Are Trying To Do Something About It

    Colorado Springs is a Food Desert, where only 1-2% of the food is local. One of the reasons we are in existence is so we can do the right thing and bring Beyond Organic, Pure food to the area and to those who don't have access or can't afford it. Seeds Community Cafe is an organization that helps us obtain this goal through our food donations. Seeds offers a "Pay What You Can" option using food mostly donated from local area farms like ours. We love Seeds and we love Lyn (Founder). We ask you to help Seeds Community Cafe have a greater reach in feeding people fresh, local, pure food. By doing so, you will also be helping Ahavah Farm have a greater mission by extending our food to those who need it the most.


    Thursday, August 27, 2015

    Nutritional Value is NOT the Only Reason to Purchase Pasture-Raised Eggs

    Nutritional Value of Pasture-Raised, organic fed eggs are not the only reason to by them. Knowing your farmer. Knowing how your animals are treated. Knowing what your animals are fed is just as important as the added nutritional value of the product. Watch the disturbing video below and then support your local farmer who treats their animals with love and care.

    Beware of very disturbing images.





    Oh, and in case you were interested...the nutritional value is MUCH better!


    Sunday, August 23, 2015

    It Was Bound To Happen...

    We are officially on Facebook.  Can't say I am happy about that. However, that's the way of the world for now, and if we want to reach the masses, it's the way to go.  Please check us out and like us!

    Tuesday, August 18, 2015

    Wow it's been busy around here...

    It's been awhile since we have posted on this blog...

    It's just been so insanely busy around here to say the least, the last thing I have time to do is post on the blog.  Let's see, we are prepping and planting for all the fall and winter produce, we finished our 80 foot greenhouse, we are expanding our 1/2 acre garden, we are expanding our egg business and we just got 10 Alpacas!  All this, in the absolute height of the season...yeah, I'd say we are busy.  This is how our days go:

    Our typical day lately goes from somewhere around 4 or 5am to about 8 or 9pm.  We start the day by opening the greenhouse and rotating the irrigation for both the greenhouse and the garden (all 4 zones).  We then go let the chickens out, fill their feed and water them.  Then we do the same with half of the ducks (long story) and we do the same with the other chicken coop.  We rinse out the duck pools and fill them while we are at it.  Then we go back into the greenhouse and hand-pollinate every single squash flower.  Then we let the other ducks out.  Then our real work begins and the rush doesn't end until lunch time (if we are lucky) and then dinner and then on to about 8 or 9pm.  The rush is a mixture of harvesting and washing produce, weeding, thinning, collecting eggs, tearing out old plants, prepping beds, re-seeding, re-planting, rotating irrigation, spreading compost etc., etc.  Then we mix in the projects:  picking up supplies at the store, expanding our garden, checking on the bees, repairing and putting up fencing in all the paddocks, building the greenhouse, walking the fence, performing repairs, assembling and delivering shares, talking to customers and on and on it goes until almost bed time.  Oh, I forgot to throw in here the other "daily" stuff we have to do - like homeschooling our four children and taking care of their needs throughout the day.  Thankfully though, a few of them are a big help!  I also forgot to mention my real job.  All day long I am interrupted with phone calls, e-mails and texts...that's when I am not at work and in the garden.  Otherwise, I am spending the rest of my time at work, so we have to do all the above mentioned things in my "spare time."  We make a TO-DO list every night, and every night the list just seems to get longer and longer.  Add in the farmer's market, the responsibilities for our new Alpacas, marketing and other "business stuff," prepping and building new shelters and coops and you can see why we haven't posted in a while.

    I think we need a vacation!

    Wednesday, July 29, 2015

    Must Read! The Fraud of Organic Agriculture

    The article below is EXACTLY why we must support local farmers and know who our farmer is and how they are growing.  "Organic" is next to meaningless today when you consider that "Organic" is a very profitable niche based solely on trust.  Is your agricultural conglomerate "farmer" that provides "fresh," "Organic" produce, shipped on average of 1500 miles, growing their food "organically" because they believe it is healthier for the consumer and the environment?  Or are they doing it simply because it's a niche that can keep them in business.  If it is the latter, than what is keeping them from compromising?  It certainly isn't the certification of "Organic" because they can get around that (ridiculous and flimsy that the standards actually are).  In many cases it's the mighty dollar that motivates them and compromising is exactly what they end up doing!
    Read the article below, then read The Omnivores Dilemma by Michael Pollard and learn about the "Organic" farmers that admittedly don't believe in what they are doing and are motivated simply by profits.
    Knowing your farmer and eating locally and seasonally is the only way to ensure that you are getting pure food.

    Sunday, July 26, 2015

    Reflections of a Hungry Farmer

    Today is Tisha B'av (Literally the 9th of the month of Av), a day of fasting, mourning and reflection for the Jewish people.  Being Jewish, our family is also fasting this day.  Like a few other occupations though, like those who are in medicine, there are truly no days off for a farmer.  Even days like Shabbat, when the Jewish people are to rest from ALL work, a day full of restrictions, there are still many things that absolutely must be done on the farm.  Things like feeding and watering the animals never takes a day off.  So, therefore, even on a day like Tisha B'Av, when we are fasting from any food or water for more than 24 hours, we do not have the luxury to at least take the day off and rest.  Further more, there are deadlines that need to be made.  Plants need to be watered, product needs to be harvested, and food needs to be delivered.  So what did I do this morning while fasting?  As soon as I was done praying, I worked in the field. I harvested the shares for tomorrow, I irrigated the vegetables, watered and fed the animals.  Was I tired?  A little bit.  Hungry?  A little bit.  Reflective?  Even more so...

    I thought about the meaning of Tisha B'Av: The remembrance and mourning of the destruction of the Holy Temples (both the first and the second temple were destroyed, as it were, on the same calendar day), the crushing defeat of the Jews in 132 C.E. during the Bar Kochba revolt, the first crusade against the Jews in 1095, the expelling of the Jews from Spain in 1492 and the declaration of WW1 all occurred on Tisha B'Av along with a host of other destructive events.  In short, Tisha B'Av is a sad day.  For me as a farmer, I have an opportunity on this day, however.

    As I am fasting and mourning and reflecting on the atrocities that have occurred to the Jewish people, to our people, over the centuries and I am feeling weak and hungry while working in the field, I could feel sorry for myself.  But I don't.  I realize instead what a privilege it is to live as free as I do and to be able to feed people with such pure and whole foods that bring healing to their bodies and to our land.  While working I think of how grateful I am to be able to practice my faith openly and without apology in such a free country and during such a time as this. Sure there is anti-semitism, and I am not immune from it believe me, but comparatively, we are living in a time of immense peace and prosperity.  Yet, there are so many around the world who are not.

    I think of those in parts of China, India and parts of Africa that are suffering from malnutrition and hunger.  I think mostly, however, of those even here in America, the most prosperous nation the world has ever seen, that are suffering from unseen starvation. Today  there are 50 million Americans who are literally starving to death (Watch "A Place at the Table).  These American's who can barely afford to purchase food are not all aching for food, some are, but they are starving (Read Stuffed and Starved).  Stuffing themselves on foods laden with refined carbohydrates like high fructose corn syrup, added refined sugars, stripped of all nutrients like white bread and white rice, these people are literally starving of nutritional deficiency to death. Some of them don't even realize that they are starving, as they make the choices to eat this way while suffering ailments that doctors tell them are "hereditary," while giving them a prescription for statins to lower their cholesterol.  Others, however, wish they could eat healthier.  They long for pure, clean, fresh food, but cannot afford it, or it's simply not accessible to them (See Food Desert).

    This is where we come in.  Colorado Springs and El Paso county as well as other areas in southern and eastern Colorado are some of the areas that many people are suffering.  Only 1-2% of the food in El Paso county is considered local and a huge percentage of the area including much of the rest of Colorado outside of Denver and a few exceptions are considered to have low availability to fresh food (see USDA Map Here).  Even if they do have access to fresh food the question then is first, can they afford it, and second, is it really pure, healthy food that is going to bring healing, or is it conventional food that will further damage their bodies because it is laden with chemicals and modified organisms that are not recognizable or digestible by the human body (see a great video about this HERE)?  The reality is, however, that even with an additional 100,000 acres of pure food, it still wouldn't meet the local demand.  But we can make a small difference.  Our little farm is responsible for feeding about 30 families per week pure food.  We bring healing to a small amount of additional people with those that purchase our food from the farmers market as well.  It's not much, but it's a start.  We have been told by so many, how the food makes them feel, how much they enjoy it and even more so, how thankful they are that we are here to provide it for them.  What a blessing!

    With so many people that are starving each and every day, I choose to be hungry for one day with them.  I am hungry and I am tired and I am sad because of Tisha B'Av, but I am also thankful.  I am thankful that my family is so healthy.  I am thankful that my family is safe and does not have to worry about being expelled, murdered, or persecuted to such an extent as those who have gone before us have been.  I am also thankful for the opportunity to provide food and bring healing to people who otherwise do not have access to it.

    Fasting brings a reflection that encourages appreciation for the things that we have.  To go without food for one day is no problem, even if I am working hard for much of that day.  For, there are almost a billion people around the world right now who do not have food (see HERE).  I am making a choice not to eat.  They don't have one. How dare I complain, whine, snivel or pout about not eating for one day, for running after children or working hard in the field?  I can't.  I must, therefore be grateful for the opportunities that I have.  For the opportunity to have a choice not to eat for a day, for the opportunity to provide health and financial well-being for my family and for the opportunity to bring health to others through the food that I grow.

    Tzom Kal

    Sunday, July 19, 2015

    What Goes Into a Typical June-July Share?


    Two Heads of Buttercrunch Lettuce
    1 Head of Broadleaf Batavian Endive
    1 Head of Bronze Mignonette 
    1 Large bunch of Ruby Red Swiss Chard
    1 Bunch of Detroit Dark Red Beets
    1 Bunch of Danvers Carrots
    1 Bunch of Calabrese Broccoli Greens
    1 Bunch of Snow White Cauliflower Greens
    1 Bunch of Southern Giant Mustard
    1 Straight Eight Cucumber
    1 Large Boston Pickling Cucumber
    4 Black Beauty Zucchini's
    2 Yellow Crooked Neck Zucchini

    Total Market Price:  $38.25
    Total Share Cost:  $29.09 per week

    Tuesday, July 14, 2015

    Danielle Zitoun Photography






    Danielle Zitoun, now a local, came out to our farm to do a photo shoot with our family.  Danielle is currently doing a photo series on "Individuals and businesses contributing positively to an ethical and sustainable world."  Danielle heard about our humble family farm and thought that we modeled this and wanted to do a shoot on us.  What a blessing it was to meet Danielle, a passionate individual trying to make the world a better place.  The photos are absolutely amazing as well!  Danielle is fantastically skilled, and she does family portraits and other freelance work as well.  Check out Danielle's website here:  http://www.daniellezitoun.com/

    You can check out the rest of the farm photos here:  http://daniellezitounphotography.dphoto.com/#/album/b113ft

    Sunday, July 5, 2015

    Local. Sustainable. Pure.

    Local.  Sustainable.  Pure.

    This is our trademark and our mission.  But what does it mean, and why does it matter?  Many business' clout themselves as SRC's (Socially Responsible Corporations), but when it comes down to it, many times it can be a mere marketing campaign and a way to advertise.  With Social Responsibility being as important as it is, many people are waking up to the things that their money supports and therefore many companies are falling in line and becoming socially responsible themselves, or at least acting like they are.  Ideas such as "Environmentally Friendly," "Organic," "Sustainable" etc. get thrown around regularly and many times they are simply meaningless phrases that catch the eye's of the consumer, luring them into supporting their business.

    The term "Organic" is one such term that really get's under our skin.  It's also a word that we refuse to use to refer to ourselves and it is something that we refuse to get certified as.  Let me explain why.

    With "Organic" pushing the envelope and walking a fine line between pure food and your typical CAFO (Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation, or Commercial Agriculture Farming Operation), the range of "Organic" farmers is very wide.  From your small-town and family-owned, truly "organic" farmers, to your large and thousands-of-acres, corporate-owned and operated giant multi-national corporations, the term "Organic" has lost much of it's meaning.  In many cases, it has been corrupted by those very multi-national corporations and the government certifying agency that they, essentially, run.  For instance, did you know that "Organic" certification allows for 38 synthetic chemicals to be used on your food?  Did you know that a percentage of GMO's (Genetically Modified Organism's) can still be considered "Organic?" http://gmo-awareness.com/2011/05/05/is-organic-always-gmo-free/.  Did you know, that sewer sludge (aka, human waste) and irradiated food can still be considered "Organic?" (http://evergreenfarm.typepad.com/evergreenfarm/2007/06/why-we-choose-n.html).  Did you also know that the Organic Certification could care less how the soil is treated, how our environment is impacted, how much water is wasted, how much emissions and petroleum products are consumed and emitted and how the animals are treated? (http://www.peta.org/issues/animals-used-for-food/free-range-organic-meat-myth/)

    Certainly, purchasing organic food is MUCH better for you than purchasing non-organic food and I am not saying that there aren't amazing Certified Organic growers.  My "beef" is not with those that call themselves "Organic" because many are wonderful, but with the Certification itself.  It's a sham. Does Organic mean that it is sustainable?  Is it as fresh as local or as economically responsible?  Is it really considered pure?  Are the animals really that much healthier, happier and humanely treated?  The answer, sadly may be a resounding "NO!" with a few exceptions, including us.  We claim to be "Better Than Organic" and this is why...

    Local.  By being a "Local" farm, not only do you the consumer have the opportunity to "Meet the Farmer" and visit the farm and see first-hand what and how we are growing and producing our food, but you also get to support the local economy and support the "little guy."  In addition, by being local, the food you get is usually picked either the same day, or pretty close to it.  Ripe, fresh and not shipped in from Mexico, California or worse, China.  You know where your food is coming from.  You know that it is fresh.  You know how it is produced.  You know who you are supporting.

    Sustainable.  Sustainable goes hand in hand with "pure."  In order to be sustainable, you have to be "organic" but being "organic" doesn't make you automatically "sustainable."  In fact, Organic farming can use many of the same farming methods as non-organic like having an enormous carbon footprint, the destruction of the soil by over-tilling and the extreme waste of other resources like water and fossil-fuels (most synthetic fertilizers are oil-based, even "Organic" ones).  Sustainable agriculture takes care of the soil, uses compost, no-till methods and preserves water.  There is minimal water waste, fossil fuel waste and other un-natural methods of farming are not used.

    Pure.  Pure ties this all together.  As mentioned above, because we use sustainable farming practices, your food is pure.  It's not "organic" it's better-than-organic.  No synthetic chemicals, fertilizers, sprays or genetically engineered seeds etc. are used.  In fact, every vegetable that we sell is heirloom.  This means that it hasn't been altered in any way.  In addition, we use row-covers, hand-tools and old-fashioned pure and natural farming methods to avoid pests and to control weeds.  Your food is picked fresh and ripened on the plant and not on a truck.  The same goes for our animals.  Our chickens and ducks get to roam the land eating bugs and grasses as well as our kitchen scraps and our left-over produce.  All supplemented feed is "organic" and soy and corn free and the animals are loved, well-cared for and simply the cleanest birds you have ever seen!  In short, there is no possible way to get fresher, healthier and more pure produce than you can from our farm or from your own garden.


    Wednesday, July 1, 2015

    Baruch Hashem!

    That means "Praise God!"  It looks like the harvest is on!  Come by the market tonight to get some of the following and more....

    Monday, June 29, 2015

    This is what happens when chickens are allowed to free range.

    You'll be eating your breakfast and all of a sudden you hear a "buck-buck," and there is a chicken in the kitchen!!  Thank goodness they are the cleanest chickens in the world!

    Friday, June 26, 2015

    Peppers, Squash, Zucchini and Peas...oh my!!!

    I don't know about you, but I don't know of many other CSA's that are giving peppers and squash and zucchini in their shares this week..Or really any other week before mid to late July!  How awesome is that?

    Thursday, June 25, 2015

    UNBELIEVABLE!

    You absolutely MUST watch this video below.  Can you believe that a 6 year old doesn't know what a tomato is?  Or a Potato?  Or an eggplant, beet or cauliflower?  Shocking, yes?  Well the truth is, that we live in a world that is absolutely manufactured.  From entertainment to our politics to even our food, we are living manufactured lives.  People wonder why we are doing what we are doing.  How can we not, when kids are starving, literally starving!  Sure, they are getting calories, but nutrients?  Vitamins, minerals, enzymes, amino acids, fatty acids?  No, you get that from fresh food. Kids these days have no idea what food is..,heck, neither do adults for that matter, and that is scary!



    Someone told me the other day that people get grossed out over free-range eggs because the chickens eat bugs.  Really?  Are you kidding me?  That's what they are supposed to eat!  Someone told me just yesterday at the Farmers Market that someone, regarding organic food, said "I would rather eat chemicals than something that a bug crawled on!"  Joel Salatin, in this book "Folks, This Ain't Normal" tells the story of how many people have no clue how to break down a chicken.  I thought he may be exaggerating until I actually spoke to someone recently about this very thing recently.  Chemicals over natural food?  A GMO shiny red tomato laden with pesticides over a pure tomato that may be a little misshapen?  An egg that has been raised in a commercial agricultural facility that treats their chicken in-humanely while causing them to live in disease infested warehouses where they are so close together that they go stir crazy and try to peck each-other to death, rather than an egg from a chicken that runs free on the land?  What is wrong with our world today?  How could I not provide local, pure, wholesome food to the local community?



    I don't want to make this long, but the very sad reality is that the majority of people in this world no longer know where their food comes from besides "the grocery store."  Watch the clip below...



    Precious!

    Tuesday, June 23, 2015

    Come By the Stand Tomorrow!

    Colorado Farm and Art Market at Ivywild School in Colorado Springs.
    Come get some Mesclun Mix, Zucchini, Squash, Turnip Greens, Kale, Eggs and a host of other things tomorrow afternoon!

    Wednesday, June 17, 2015

    Reflections on the Rain - RE: Jason Plotkin

    This has most certainly been the most trying and most difficult year of farming I have ever encountered...ok, ok, it's the FIRST farming season I have ever encountered!  Seriously though, this has been a very difficult season so far.  Rain is good, sometimes.  This year, it's ridiculous!  Not only does excessive rain cause root rot, seed rot etc., but it causes low soil temperatures, breeds diseases and fungus and can cause a whole host of other related issues including the encouragement of certain pests.

    I am linking to an article by Jason Plotkin of Ekar Farm and Golden Acre Farms. It is important that you read this article:  HERE  

    Jay talks about the struggles with the weather - struggles that we (local farmers) are all facing right now. In the article, he mentions that Denver's YTD rainfall is 14 inches, and yet Denver has already received 11 inches!  With Jay, a 16 year veteran of farming all over the country he states:  "I have been growing food now for 16 seasons across Connecticut, Vermont, New York, and Colorado and this season is by far the most challenging and the worst season I’ve seen."  

    As bad as that is, I want you to get a glimpse of what is happening in Peyton, where Ahavah Farm is located:  The average YEARLY rainfall for Peyton:  16.2 inches.  The YTD rainfall for Peyton:  15.72!!!!  Yes, that's correct, we have gotten almost two inches more rain than Denver, in their "most challenging and worst season" and less than a half an inch will complete our total yearly average.  We have even gotten over three inches more rain than nearby Colorado Springs!  Yikes!

    In short, if we did not have our hoophouse, we would have virtually nothing, and that's what a lot of farms have right now:  nothing! How does this translate to our customers: It translates into higher prices, less selection and a shorter season.  It means we need your support, financially and emotionally.  This is tough.  To come home from the farmers market to see the garden over-saturated. To plant new beds and see no new growth.  To see your tomato plants turning yellow because they can't handle all the water...it's frustrating to say the least!

    It's not all bad news, however.  For what we are going for, even regardless of the conditions, we are doing alright.  From what we know, we are the first farm with carrots and we are the first farm with squash and zucchini. That's something to celebrate!  We also have peppers that are almost at maturity, and green beans as well as a host of other items.  Below is a list of our current crops:

    Ready for harvest / being harvested:

    Zucchini
    Crooked Neck Squash
    Mesclun Mix
    Black Seed Lettuce
    Buttercrunch Lettuce
    Carrots
    Viroflay Spinach
    Noble Giant Spinach
    Lucinato Kale
    Premium Kale
    Purple Top Turnips
    Purple Top Turnip Greens
    Radishes

    Almost Ready For Harvest (2-4 Weeks):

    Sugar Snap Peas
    Peppers
    Green Beans
    Swiss Chard
    Beets
    Beet Greens
    Broccoli
    Cabbage

    The bottom line is that to some this list sounds great. However, what you aren't seeing is the quantities.  We have an entire garden growing at a pace of what seems like a negative rate.  Plants need water, yes, but they also need sun and warmth and drainage.  If we do not get those things, this is going to be one tough season!

    Please continue to support us.  We are working an extreme number of hours trying to produce as much of the best, purest and healthiest food available.  Yes, your financial support is important, otherwise we cannot provide clean, sustainable food to the local area.  However, your words of encouragement, your patience and understanding when your CSA share doesn't have what you were hoping for, these are the things we need the most from you.  Emotional support.


    Thursday, May 28, 2015

    Colorado Art and Farm Market - Starting June 10th!



    Come check out our booth at the Colorado Farm and Art Market!

    Every Wednesday evening starting June 10th at Ivywild School in Colorado Springs from 3-7pm.

    Here's the info:

    Ivywild School
    1604 S. Cascade Ave.
    Colorado Springs, CO

    www.farmandartmarket.com