Thursday, January 7, 2021

Let it Snow!

Let It Snow!

Authored by Seth Armentrout, 7 Jan 2021

What comes to mind when you think of snow? Some see sledding and snowball fights. Some see skiing. Some see hot cocoa indoors as they await summer. But for growers in the San Luis Valley, snow means water, and water means life. 

Alamosa sees, on average, just over 7 inches of precipitation per year. For perspective, Denver and Sante Fe each see twice that much, and the United States average is over five times that amount! So how do farmers find water in such a dry place? Much of the answer comes down to snow in the mountains! 

Before it was called Mt. Blanca, the Dine called the Sacred Mountain of the East “Tsisnaasjini',” which translates roughly to “White Shell Mountain.” A white shell of snow melts throughout spring and summer in mountains surrounding the San Luis Valley, trickling into rivers, lakes, and wetlands on the Valley floor. A large amount also seeps beneath the surface, replenishing underground aquifers. A vast aquifer system drives agriculture in the San Luis Valley.The Rio Grande Basin is not unique: 60 million people in the West rely on snowmelt for water. 

Snowpack in the Upper Rio Grande Basin is slightly higher than average so far this year. Last year followed a similar trajectory, but the snowpack almost completely melted by the end of May. That was sooner than normal by over a full month! This contributed to drought conditions late in the 2020 growing season. In many areas of the West, less snow is falling, and the precipitation that does fall is coming more often as rain instead of snow. While snow can remain frozen until later in the season, rain trickles down the mountains immediately. These precipitation trends remind growers and residents of snow’s great value as a water source later in the growing season. 

The Rio Grande Farm Park’s vision includes preserving the Valley’s precious water resource, which means appreciating the snow falling up in the mountains this time of year. As we look eagerly toward kicking off the local foods season this spring, we say let it snow! 


Photo Credits: Travis Stoker near Creede, CO 

1. Based on Climate data from NOAA.
2. Lapahie, Harrison. 2006.
3. Barnett, T.P., J.C. Adam, and D.P. Lettenmaier. 2005. Potential impacts of a warming climate on water availability in snow-dominated regions. Nature 438:303–309.
5. EPA Climate Change Indicators

Monday, November 23, 2020

How to Eat Local in the Winter

How to Eat Local in the Winter / Cómo Comer Local Durante el Invierno 

By Lois Harvie, SLV Cooking Matters Coordinator
All Photos Free Courtesy of UnSplash 

Despite the lower availability of fresh produce in winter, you can still round out your diet with locally sourced foods like those listed in the infographic below. You might have to do a little research to find items in your area but we recommend you check out the Valley Roots Food Hub if you live in the SLV! With the Holidays upon us it’s a perfect place to start! 

 Eating locally is one of the best ways to support your local economy. Your food dollars are put towards supporting the farmers in your area and less money is wasted on the fuel and transportation costs Do you love to eat naturally and support your local economy? Here’s how to eat local in the winter- when fresh produce can be scarce! 
A pesar de la menor disponibilidad de productos frescos en invierno, aún puede completar su dieta con alimentos de origen local como los que se enumeran en la siguiente infografía. Es posible que deba investigar un poco para encontrar artículos en su área, pero le recomendamos que visite el Valley Roots Food Hub si vive en el SLV. Con el Dia de Gracias y la Navidad, es un lugar perfecto para comenzar. 

Comer localmente es una de las mejores formas de apoyar su economía local. Su dinero para alimentos se destina a apoyar a los agricultores de su área y se desperdicia menos dinero en combustible y costos de transporte. ¿Le encanta comer de forma natural y apoyar su economía local? A continuación, le indicamos cómo comer productos locales en invierno, cuando los productos frescos pueden escasear. 

5 TIPS TO HELP YOU TO EAT LOCAL DURING THE WINTER // 5 Consejos para Comer Local Durante el Invierno 

  1) Join a Winter CSA // Únase a un CSA de Invierno

Farms that offer a community supported agriculture program in the summer may also run one in the winter, too. (I think Local Food Hub may have a CSA) Winter shares may not be as robust as summer shares, but they are priced accordingly. These shares may include vegetables that store well, plus other products like eggs or meat. This is a great way to support farmers by giving them some income during a slower time of year. /// Las granjas que ofrecen un programa agrícola apoyado por la comunidad en el verano también pueden ejecutar uno en el invierno. (Creo que Local Food Hub puede tener una CSA) Las acciones de invierno pueden no ser tan sólidas como las de verano, pero tienen un precio acorde. Estas cuotas pueden incluir verduras que se almacenan bien, además de otros productos como huevos o carne. Esta es una excelente manera de ayudar a los agricultores proporcionándoles algunos ingresos durante una época del año más lenta. 

2) Enjoy Pickles & Preserved Food // Disfrute de encurtidos y conservas

One of the best ways to extend the season is to preserve it. If you like to DIY, plan ahead and can, pickle, or freeze food during summer's bounty. Take a Cooking Matters class on how to store fresh foods. If you have the space, invest in a second refrigerator or freezer for more long-term storage space. Search for local vendors of pickles, jams, jellies, or sauces. Look for locally made soaps and lotions and skin products. Many farm businesses looking to maximize their income now offer these kinds of value-added products. Check local farmers markets and specialty food stores. 

Una de las mejores formas de alargar la temporada es conservarla. Si le gusta hacer bricolaje, planifique con anticipación y lata, encurtir o congelar alimentos durante la generosidad del verano. Tome una clase de Cooking Matters sobre cómo almacenar alimentos frescos. Si tiene espacio, invierta en un segundo refrigerador o congelador para obtener más espacio de almacenamiento a largo plazo. Busque proveedores locales de encurtidos, mermeladas, jaleas o salsas. Busque jabones, lociones y productos para la piel de fabricación local. Muchas empresas agrícolas que buscan maximizar sus ingresos ahora ofrecen este tipo de productos de valor agregado. Consulte los mercados de agricultores locales y las tiendas de alimentos especializados. 

3) Get Fermented // Hacer Alimentos Fermentados

Before there was refrigeration, there was fermentation; A way of preserving the summer harvest long into the cold winter months. A humble staple in many cultures, these types of foods are making a comeback in recent years, thanks to a deeper understanding of their rich health benefits (probiotics anyone?!). While it may sound complicated, fermenting vegetables requires little more than salt, herbs/spices, and a clean mason jar. (If you’re looking to try it next harvest, we recommend starting with this book). 

Antes de que hubiera refrigeración, había fermentación; Una forma de conservar la cosecha de verano durante los fríos meses de invierno. Un básico humilde en muchas culturas, este tipo de alimentos están regresando en los últimos años, gracias a una comprensión más profunda de sus ricos beneficios para la salud (¿alguien probióticos?). Si bien puede parecer complicado, la fermentación de vegetales requiere poco más que sal, hierbas / especias y un frasco de vidrio limpio. (Si desea probarlo en la próxima cosecha, le recomendamos que comience con este libro). 

4) Eggs, Meat, and Dairy // Huevos, Carne, y Lácteos

Eggs, meat, and dairy are available year-round locally. In the winter consider upping your intake of these high proteins- they will keep you full and warm in the cold months! Search out CSA options for your meat and eggs. You can get a box filled with locally raised meat/eggs to use in your winter meals. Consider raising your own chickens for a fresh supply of eggs. 

Los huevos, la carne y los productos lácteos están disponibles durante todo el año a nivel local. En el invierno, considere aumentar su ingesta de estas proteínas altas, ¡lo mantendrán lleno y caliente en los meses fríos! Busque opciones de CSA para su carne y huevos. Puede obtener una caja llena de carne / huevos criados localmente para usar en sus comidas de invierno. Considere la posibilidad de criar sus propias gallinas para obtener huevos frescos. 

5) Eat Your Roots and Greens // Come tus raíces y verduras

Roots such as potatoes, turnips, carrots, and radishes can grow well in very cold temperatures. The same goes for many greens, such as collards,kale, and spinach. If you don’t grow your own, search out a local farm that grows these crops throughout the winter. Add these to your stored potatoes and squash, or your local meat, eggs, and cheese and you will have a feast! 

Las raíces como las patatas, los nabos, las zanahorias y los rábanos pueden crecer bien en temperaturas muy frías. Lo mismo ocurre con muchas verduras, como la col, la col rizada y la espinaca. Si no cultiva el suyo propio, busque una granja local que cultive estos cultivos durante el invierno. ¡Agregue estos a sus papas y calabazas almacenadas, o su carne, huevos y queso local y tendrá un festín!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Visit Valley Roots Food Hub CSA ➙ Valley Roots Food Hub CSA “Local Food, Local People” Building the Local Food Economy is here and now. The CSA Online Market is NOW OPEN! Greetings Fellow Eaters of South Central Colorado, The Valley Roots Food Hub is a regional aggregator and distributor of local foods. We build relationships in our communities by serving producers, grocers, restaurants, and institutions with the most fresh, and highest quality local foods from your friends and neighbors. Now we are excited to be offering our 1st Winter Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) Fresh Box and CSA Online Market to you! The Winter CSA Fresh Box is both a membership into the CSA Program, and TWO winter distributions of Colorado storage crops and greenhouse production. The online CSA Market is a cutting-edge, informative, and effective way to shop for the freshest and best local foods right from the source. Here's how it works: Sign Up: Interested folks can register for an account here: Become a Member: Select the 2015/16 Winter CSA for $100 under Memberships (near the end of the catalog). This is the Winter CSA Distribution Box which includes the Shareholder Dues which will allows you to use the CSA Market. The Winter CSA Share includes all the local, FRESH foods from our region that can be procured at this time of year. You can look forward to: Squash (1+ varieties) Onions (1+ varieties) Garlic (1+ varieties) Potatoes (3+ varieties) Carrots Mushrooms (2+ varieties) Quinoa Honey Greenhouse head lettuce (1+ varieties) Basil Kale This list is an example only, the final list may change depending availability and market conditions, but will come out to the $100 value. Like the spirit of a traditional CSA, half the excitment is in the element of surprise. Shop: Once you have selected the Winter CSA, you can shop for all the other items in the Market, such as meats, grocery items, eggs, and dairy. These items are charged separately from the Winter CSA Box of FRESH items. Just click on each item to add them to your shopping cart. Meats are on a per pound basis and are all unique so just make your selections and we will adjust the poundage and pricing before we send it out. Payment: Payments are made via credit card at checkout. Your card won't be charged until about a week after placing the order. SNAP EBT payments will be available soon. Delivery: The 2015/16 Winter Fresh Box will be composed of TWO Boxes on TWO different delivery days. One on December 18, 2015 and the other on January 16th, 2016. The other items you purchase from the CSA Market will also come on those days. If there is enough demand we will likely contiunue CSA Market deliveries every month. The pick up locations will be the same as for the summer CSA: Alamosa, Local Food Coalition Office by 12 pm Crestone, Chokecherry Farm by 2pm Saguache, 4th St Food Store, by 3pm Salida, 5th and D St by 5 pm. Deadlines: Your Winter CSA is due as soon as possible (so we can plan) and the CSA Market items will be due the Tuesday 4 pm before that Friday's delivery. Questions? or 719-588-8245 In blue skies, cold temps, and local food! Nick and the Valley Roots Food Hub Crew CSA Harvest Blog: CSA Online Market Registration: For customer service please reply to this email or call 719-588-8245 Local Orbit Logo Powered by Local Orbit Copyright 2015. All Rights Reserved Click here to Unsubscribe

Wednesday, October 14, 2015


Join us at the Valley Roots Food Hub in Mosca on Saturday October 24th 9am to 11am. Delicious Local Foods Breakfast Panel Discussion Featuring Sherry Haugen Trudi Kretsinger Kyle Grote What a powerhouse! Only $10 and $5 for children with childcare on site! Sign up at

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Valley Roots Food Hub is hiring in warehousing, driving, commercial kitchen operations, and construction. An ideal candidate will have three or more of these skills alongside humor, optimism, detail oriented, and hard work. High reward, low pay, excellent food. 20-30 hrs/week to start. Food production entrepreneurs also welcomed to apply. Send "Send a resume and cover letter to by midnight September 9th.

Thursday, August 6, 2015

Release Date: August 6, 2015 Contact: Liza Marron 719-539-5606 U.S. SBA: Miguel Ayala (202) 450-0148 SBA Boosts Economic Impact of Accelerators with $4.4 Million in Prizes San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition Brings SBA Accelerator Prize Home WASHINGTON/ALAMOSA – The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) today announced the 80 winners of the second annual Growth Accelerator Fund Competition. The San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition based in Alamosa Colorado is among the winners. The recipients represent 39 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. Accelerators serve entrepreneurs in a broad set of industries and sectors – from manufacturing and tech start-ups, to farming and biotech – with many focused on creating a diverse and inclusive small business community. “SBA is continuing to make advances in supporting unique organizations that help the start-up community grow, become commercially viable, and have a real and sustained economic impact,” said SBA Administrator Maria Contreras-Sweet. “Through the wide-spread outreach of this competition, we are able to reach entrepreneurial ecosystems across the country. My commitment is to make our resources available to 21st century entrepreneurs where they are, and these accelerators, also known as incubators and innovation hubs, are the gathering place for today’s innovators and disruptors.” The San Luis Valley Local Foods Coalition (LFC) entered the national contest based on its work to foster an equitable local food system that restores the health of the people, community, economy and ecosystem. Two important business incubator projects were featured. The Valley Roots Food Hub local foods aggregation and distribution enterprise complete with a warehouse and large-scale commercial kitchen for value-added production in Mosca; And the 38-acres of amazing soil at the bend of the Rio that comprises the Rio Grande Healthy Living Park - recently obtained to nurture beginning farmers and to attract visitors for a back-to-the-land experience. “The LFC is proud to say that it has created five full-time and four part-time well-paying jobs and is slated for five more in the coming years as well as incubating business entrepreneurs in the agricultural sector,” stated LFC Director Liza Marron. “We are thrilled to be chosen for this prestigious National Award that recognizes the LFC as a business incubator in the San Luis Valley.” Applications were judged by more than 40 experts with entrepreneurial, investment, startup, economic development, capital formation and academic backgrounds from both the public and private sector. The first panel of judges reviewed over 400 applications and presentations and established a pool of 180 highly qualified finalists. The second panel evaluated the finalists’ presentations and pitch videos and selected the 80 winners. Each organization will receive a cash prize of $50,000 from the SBA. In accepting these funds, the accelerators will also be committing to quarterly reporting for one year. They will be required to report metrics such as jobs created, funds raised, startups launched and corporate sponsors obtained. This will allow the SBA to continue building upon its database of accelerators and their impact, and to develop long-term relationships with the startups and constituents in these innovative and entrepreneurial communities. The purpose of the competition was to draw attention and funding to parts of the country where there are gaps in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. While there are entrepreneurial activities occurring nationwide, some are better supported by private sector ecosystems than others. SBA has created connective tissue amongst the nearly 130 winning entrepreneurial ecosystems now part of the Growth Accelerator Fund. We will continue to explore ways to creatively harness this powerful network and connect startups to each other and Federal government resources. We reported to Congress a baseline of 2014’s fifty winners – made up of about 1,500 companies that have raised $600 million and employ nearly 5,000 people – and with the Class of 2015 the number of entrepreneurs we touch grows significantly. Additionally, SBA’s Office of Native American Affairs (ONAA) used the Growth Accelerator Fund Competition’s framework to award an additional $400,000 to ecosystems primarily dedicated to Native American entrepreneurs and small businesses. Criteria used for these eight $50,000 prizes were determined by the ONAA, which also managed and judged these eight selections. The SBA discussed the Growth Accelerator program and other SBA programs at the White House Demo Day on Tuesday. Watch and check out for more details. #SBA Accelerates on Twitter.