Beekeeping is growing in popularity, and many beekeepers sell honey at farmers markets and other local businesses. If you’re interested in producing and selling honey, see the publication Colorado Cottage Foods Product Information: Honey. Here you can learn about product safety and the State of Colorado’s rules for selling home-produced honey. You can find more information about selling “cottage foods” in Colorado at the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s Cottage Foods Act webpage.
This is the time of year for fresh produce, and Colorado has many local farmers markets that sell quality, organic fruits and vegetables, along with a variety of other homemade items such as honey. To find a farmers market near you, check out the 2018 Colorado Farm Fresh Directory from the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Never been to a farmer’s market? See the Colorado State University Extension’s publication Shopping at Colorado Farmers’ Markets to learn what to expect.
This Valentine’s Day you may find yourself the recipient of candies or cupcakes, or might be planning a special dessert to go with a romantic dinner. Today is also “Fat Tuesday.” Desserts and sweets have long been a part of American culture. But how has our sweet tooth changed over the last century? The following publications from the Colorado State University (formerly Colorado Agricultural College) Extension offer a look at desserts through the years. Which of these do we still make today, and which have fallen out of favor? (hint: do you even know what a junket is? I had to look it up. It’s a custard made from curdled milk).
- Principles of Making Fruit-Jellies (1925)
- Cooking for a big crowd? Dessert (and other) recipes for 50 or more people, Roaring 20’s-style: Serving in Large Quantities (1925)
- The Influence of Various Factors, Including Altitude, in the Production of an Angel Food Cake (1930)
- Simple Desserts (1930)
- Baking Quick Breads and Cakes at High Altitudes (1932)
- Baking Angel Food Cake at Any Altitude (1935)
- Preparing and Baking Yellow Sponge Cake at Different Altitudes (1940)
- Mile-High Cakes (1954; available for checkout in print)
- Cookie Recipes from a Basic Mix for High Altitudes (1975)
- Making Jellies at Home (1990)
- Quick Mixes for High Altitude Baking (1992)
- Fruits of Your Labor: A Cookbook for Windbreak Fruits (1998)
- Candy Making at High Altitude (2012)
Many Colorado children are in free and reduced lunch programs at their school. But what happens when school’s out? The Colorado Department of Education and other partners have launched a new website, Kids Food Finder, which parents/guardians can use to locate community-based sites such as churches and rec centers which have agreed to provide free meals to qualifying children all summer long. Use the Kids Food Finder’s map feature to locate participating sites.
February is National Potato Lover’s Month. Did you know that more than 70 kinds of potatoes are grown in Colorado? You can learn more about Colorado’s potato industry in numerous publications from the Colorado State University Extension and the Colorado Department of Agriculture.
Potato producers can find growing tips and resources on pest control, marketing, varieties, fertilizers, and more by visiting our library catalog.
A helpful publication for consumers is the Extension’s Potato Facts, which gives a brief overview of how to select potatoes in the grocery store; storing and cooking with potatoes; nutrition information; and food safety tips.
Finally, just for fun, the Colorado Department of Agriculture is celebrating National Potato Lover’s Month with a new recipe for Smoky Gnocchi. Potatoes + bacon + mushrooms + Gouda = yum!
Don’t let food poisoning spoil your holidays! Check out these resources from the Colorado State University Extension that offer tips on staying safe while enjoying some of our favorite holiday treats.
Do you make your own eggnog? The raw eggs used to prepare eggnog can be contaminated with Salmonella. Follow the tips in Holiday Food Safety: Safe Handling and Preparation with Eggs to avoid a health hazard.
The holidays can be so busy, that sometimes it is easiest to throw a meal in the crock pot and forget about it. As convenient as slow cookers can be, the food — especially meat — still needs to reach a certain temperature before consuming. Learn about the minimum safe temperatures and how to avoid heat loss in Crock Pot and Slow Cooker Food Safety.
If you’re expecting a guest who is expecting, or if you yourself are pregnant, be sure to read Food Safety During Pregnancy to learn what foods to avoid. Also, if you’ll have little ones at the kiddie table, see Serving Children Safe Foods.
Many families enjoy making candy together during the holiday season. Candy requires temperature adjustments for Colorado’s altitude, so to make sure your candy turns out right, see Candy Making at High Altitude.
Plan on having your buddies over for the New Years’ bowl games? Check out Game Day Food Safety: Ensure a Safe, Tasty, and Winning Combination When Gathering with Friends and Family.
Got leftovers? See Food Storage for Safety and Quality to find out how to keep your food fresh, and when to throw it out.
While we humans certainly don’t consider poinsettias as food, your pet might. While there has been some debate over whether the red holiday flowers are poisonous, the Extension still recommends that poinsettias be placed out of reach of dogs and cats. See their Poinsettias fact sheet for more.
Finally, the following publications offer useful tips on specific food hazards and how to avoid them:
The State Publications Library wishes you a safe and happy Holiday Season!
American Cheese Month.
Learn how to make your own with Making Soft Cheeses from the Colorado State University Extension.
If you have apple trees, you can find out how to protect them from insects and diseases by reading Apple and Pear Insects, also from the CSU Extension. Want to grow apple trees? Check out Backyard Orchard: Apples and Pears and Hardy Varieties of Apples for Northeastern Colorado. Need information on Colorado’s apple orchard industry? Some publications that tell the story of Colorado’s orchards include Appraisal of the Apple Industry in the Four Corners Region (1972), Colorado Fruit Tree Survey (1989), and How Do Consumers View Apples? (2011)
Best Management Practices for Colorado Corn gives you everything you need to know about growing corn in Colorado. Also, search the keyword “corn performance trials” in our library catalog for the Colorado Agricultural Experiment Station’s yearly reports on the best corn varieties.
National Chili Month. Whip up some corn bread, sprinkle some cheese in your chili, and you’ve got three of this month’s featured foods covered. Basic Instructions for Cooking Beans and Recipes for Dry Beans and Peas from the Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment’s (CDPHE) can be checked out from our library.
National Seafood Month. Okay, so since Colorado isn’t by the sea, we don’t produce seafood…unless you count the yummy trout and other fishes available in our mountain waters. Smoking and Other Delightful Ways to Enjoy Game and Fish and the Colorado Catch Cookbook, both from the Division of Wildlife, offer many recipes and preparations. To learn about eating fish safely, see the CDPHE’s Fish Consumption webpage.
Pizza Month. Find out how to use pizza to teach your kids math in Pizzas, Pennies, and Pumpkin Seeds: Mathematical Activities for Parents and Children from the Colorado Department of Education. (By the way, October is also Family and School Partnership in Education Month.)
Sausage Month. Back in 1942, wartime shortages called for preserving and rationing foods. Preservation of Meats by Curing, published that year by the CSU Farm Victory Program, discusses how to make smoked sausage, among other cured and smoked meats.
Spinach Lovers’ Month. So you’ve enjoyed all that pizza and now you’re looking for something healthier. Learn how to grow and use spinach and other salad greens in the CSU Extension’s Salad Greens: Health Benefits and Safe Handling and Growing Container Salad Greens.
October is also national cookbook month. Search our library’s online catalog for some cookbooks that highlight local Colorado foods, or can provide hints for high altitude baking.
The way we eat has certainly changed in the last three quarters of a century, as can be seen in the 1945 Colorado Experiment Station publication Venison on the Menu. This guide was published to offer ideas on how to cook the meat brought home from a hunt. “It will prove of unlimited value to the hunter and his wife, who will welcome tested recipes for the good cooking of good game,” the Colorado Game & Fish director wrote in the introduction. It is interesting to contrast these recipes with the way we would cook today. For instance, many of the recipes use lard, and there are no grilling recipes — everything is cooked in the stove or in the oven. The publication was reissued in 1984, and although it contains many of the same recipes, they have been adapted, for instance, to use butter or oil instead of lard. The 1945 booklet, and its contrast with the 1984 edition, provides an interesting look at cooking in a past era.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture encourages Coloradans to buy local this holiday entertaining season. Their website includes resources such as a winter farmer’s market list, a Colorado Food and Agriculture Gift Guide, and Colorado Market Maker, an online database for locating Colorado food products.
Farmer’s markets aren’t just for summer. The Colorado Winter Farmer’s Market List is a directory, divided by county, that lets consumers know where they can buy farm fresh products all year long. Items for sale at these locations include not only food products, but great gift items like homemade soaps and lotions, wine, and arts and crafts.
The Colorado Food and Agriculture Gift Guide is a similar list but includes additional products such as mail-order gift baskets. It is divided by type of gift rather than by location.
Colorado Market Maker, www.comarketmaker.com, is a database where you can find restaurants using locally produced food products; food banks; food retailers; production plants; tourism resources; wineries; and more. You can also search for farmers and ranchers if you are looking to buy specific products. This resource is primarily aimed at producers to find places to market their products, but consumers can also use the site to get ideas of where to buy these products.
This week, October 12-16, is National School Lunch Week, which has been celebrated each year since declared by President Kennedy in 1962. NSLW is about recognizing the importance of healthy school lunches and their effect on student learning. Here in Colorado, the state’s Department of Education (CDE) includes an Office of School Nutrition. Their website includes information on Colorado’s recognition of NSLW as well as information on programs such as Colorado Proud School Meal Day, Smart Snacks and Competitive Foods, school wellness, and more. In our library collection you can find numerous resources on school lunch and nutrition, including:
- Colorado Wellness Implementation Report 2006-2007
- Food for Fitness and Health: Teacher Resources
- Nutrition Among Colorado’s Youth
- Nutritious School Vending
- School Site Resource Kit
- Understanding the Effectiveness of Farm-to-School Programs Through Food Service Professionals
Farmer’s market season has arrived, and if you’re hunting for the nearest market or looking for a specific type of food for sale, download the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA)’s Farm Fresh Mobile App. This link will take you to CDA’s Markets webpage, where you can select from an Apple or Android app. If you’re not an app user, the department has also published a paper and PDF Colorado Farm Fresh Directory. You can check out a paper copy of the directory from our library, as well as view past years’ versions. CDA also has a 2015 Farmers’ Market Locations quick list with the basic information.
High altitude baking can be a challenge for newcomers to Colorado and other mountainous states, and bread can be one of the more tricky items to bake at high altitude. Altitude affects baking because of a change in barometric pressure. Since some adjustments need to be made at these altitudes, including adjustments in temperature and amounts of flour, the Colorado State University Extension has released a number of publications over the years to help bakers achieve the lightest, fluffiest, tastiest bread possible. The publications listed below, available from our library, include some historical publications that are not only fun to read, but contain some time-tested tips that can still be helpful today. They also shed a light on the cultural importance of baking that has waned over the years as food staples are easily available in grocery stores. Be sure to check out:
- High Altitude Food Preparation Guide (2009)
- Making Yeast Breads at High Altitudes (1996)
- High Altitude Baking (1992)
- Today’s Sourdough at High Altitude (1977)
- Baking Quick Breads and Cakes at High Altitudes: A Guide to Housewives (1932)
- Bread–Baking (1927)
And, for more nostalgia, check out this 1924 publication:
Cleaning the Cupboard and Bread Box
Several brands of candy apples are being recalled due to possible listeria contamination. At least four people have died from eating the contaminated candy apples. For specific information on which brands are being recalled, see the Colorado Dept. of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE)’s recalls page.
Everyone should be aware of basic food safety guidelines. Several publications available from our library contain important food safety information. Be sure to check out Bacterial Foodborne Illness from the Colorado State University Extension and CDPHE’s Listeria webpage for helpful information. Search the term “food safety” in our web catalog for more publications, including information on other conditions such as botulism; how to keep your food safe during warm weather or a power outage; farmers’ market food safety guidelines; and serving safe foods to children.
It is becoming increasingly popular to produce one’s own food or buy products directly from farmers and other producers. Many cities such as Denver now allow residents to keep chickens, goats, and bees, to produce fresh eggs, milk and cheese, and honey. Others have signed up for cooperatives where they can buy fresh milk direct from the farm. There are health concerns to be aware of when buying or producing such items, however; for example, the milk is unpasteurized.
To address the safety concerns stemming from the increasing popularity of home-produced foods, the Colorado legislature passed the Colorado Cottage Foods Act in 2013. If you’re interested in either buying or selling these types of products, it’s important to become familiar with the rules set forth by this law. The Colorado Department of Public Health & Environment (CDPHE) has produced a Fact Sheet on the Colorado Cottage Foods Act that contains answers to many common questions, such as labeling, and lists what foods can be legally bought and sold under the Act. The CDPHE has also issued a producer brochure and an eligibility checklist.
One of the questions on this year’s ballot concerns whether or not food should be labeled to state whether it contains genetically modified organisms (GMOs). For the pros and cons of Proposition 105, see this year’s Ballot Information Booklet (Blue Book). Two fact sheets from Colorado State University offer background on the issue. See Labeling of Genetically Engineered Foods from the CSU Extension, and A Risk Perception Analysis of Genetically Modified Foods Based on Stated Preferences from CSU’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics.
Colorado’s many agricultural products have made our state a great place for eating local. The Colorado Department of Agriculture, with its Colorado Proud program, has highlighted Colorado’s culinary contributions for years. Recently, however, the locally-grown food movement has gained in popularity, and the new buzzword is agritourism. This fall, the Colorado Tourism Office is helping to promote agritourism and local food products in Colorado with the Colorado Roots Restaurant Challenge. In this contest, locally-owned restaurants can enter to win prizes for the best menu, website, advertising, decor, and design that promotes Colorado agritourism. If you operate a locally-owned restaurant, enter today! Contest ends October 1. For a directory of Colorado restaurants that use local ingredients, check out the Colorado Proud Restaurant Guide.
The Colorado Department of Agriculture has put together a helpful webpage of Agritourism Resources. Be sure to also visit the Colorado Proud webpage for additional resources on local food products. A fun feature of this webpage is that each month it highlights one Colorado-grown ingredient with a special recipe.
The Colorado State University’s Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics has also produced a number of reports on the local food movement, available from our library, including:
- Selling Local: Campaigns to Encourage Local Consumerism
- Buy Local, Buy Fresh?: Exploring Local Fresh Produce Consumer Motivations and Interests
- Colorado Wine Consumers: Tapping Interest in Local Wines
- Agritourism in Colorado: A Closer Look at Regional Trends
- Exploring the Increased Interest in Fresh Produce
- Who Are the Locavores and Where Do They Shop?
Looking for a delicious way to travel through Colorado? The Colorado Tourism Office has developed a new Tasting Tour website to help you plan a trip to visit Colorado’s wineries, breweries, farmers’ markets, and restaurants.
Other great agritourism resources include the food and gift directories published by the Markets Division of the Colorado Department of Agriculture. Directories include the Colorado Farm Fresh Directory, listing where to find Colorado-grown produce; a Colorado Farmers’ Market Locations list; the Colorado Food and Agriculture Gift Guide, for where to buy items from gift baskets to condiments to skin care products, all made in Colorado; Taste Colorado: The Colorado Proud Restaurant Guide, for a listing of restaurants that use ingredients grown or raised in Colorado; and the Colorado Wine Country brochure.
Are you a cupcake connoisseur? A salsa specialist? Pizza pro? Green chili champion? If you have a food or craft specialty, there just might be a contest for you to enter at the Colorado State Fair, brought to you by the Colorado Dept. of Agriculture. Some of the contests include baking, homebrew and craft beers, quilting, amateur art, and more. Some of the interesting contests this year include Pet Rock Olympics, gingerbread house decorating, baking with Girl Scout Cookies, and even a dress-your-doll contest. For a list of contests and the entry deadlines, click here. And if you’d rather judge those cupcake and beer contests, you can sign up here to volunteer.
The State Fair starts August 23 — visit their website for a complete schedule of events.
Many farmers’ markets will be opening this weekend. The Colorado Dept. of Agriculture has posted an updated list of farmers’ market locations and schedules. See also their Colorado Farm Fresh Directory. Our library has many resources for both visitors and vendors. Some helpful resources include:
- Shopping at Colorado Farmers’ Markets, Colorado State University Extension, 2010.
- Farmers’ Markets and Direct Marketing for Colorado Producers, Colorado State University Extension, 2009.
- Tips for Farmers’ Market Vendors, Colorado Dept. of Agriculture, 2009.
Vendors should also visit Colorado Farm to Market, a Colorado Dept. of Agriculture-sponsored website that guides producers and vendors through the regulations involved with selling and manufacturing food products in Colorado.
Are you looking for a gift that says “Colorado”? Are you shopping for someone who doesn’t want more “stuff”? Is there a gourmet food lover on your gift list? Looking for a unique corporate gift? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, then be sure to check out the Colorado Dept. of Agriculture’s Colorado Food and Agriculture Gift Guide. Here you will find listings, descriptions, and purchasing locations/websites for Colorado-made specialty food products and gift baskets. Homemade jams and jellies, sauces and salsas, desserts and confections, honey, cider, chocolate, tea, sausage, spices, popcorn, cheese, and jerky, are just a few of the products made right here in Colorado that you can find by using the gift guide. So give a unique gift this holiday and support Colorado agriculture and small business at the same time.