I had NO idea what the holidays had in store for us at Farmgirl. It was our first full year, our first Holiday season. And just let me say, it was overwhelming - at the very least.
Thank you to ALL our amazing customers. We had record-breaking sales, several great new products hit the shelves, and most importantly we had F-U-N!
This year we have SO many exciting things on the horizon. We've moved into our new space, rebranded as Farmgirl Foods Market & Cafe, and have been busy making it farmhouse-funky. I attended the Fancy Food Show in San Francisco earlier this month (picture DIA full of food vendors! ALL of DIA!), and then had my thyroid removed - ick! I have a great catering gig Friday night that I'm super excited about, we're talking to an awesome local farm about partnering with them for Farm Dinners this summer, and did I mention COFFEE? Yep, we're adding an espresso bar in the new location.
I've been busy interviewing foodie fans to work with me, sourcing new products (I may have gained a few pounds during the process), and gearing up for what I think is going to be a remarkable year.
New in 2019 will be a video series, Mondays with Mel, where I will do a quick video featuring a new product or recipe so that you can get a better understanding of just what the heck to do with something as unique as Truffle Butter or Miso paste. Also new this year, follow me and my partner as we Feast with the Farmgirl at local restaurants and try to figure out how to make what we're eating with products from the shop.
Down the line, we'll be adding a little breakfast and lunch to our shop, and who knows - I'll bet you'll be seeing some great stuff from us at the Sunday Brunches being planned at Ecclesia Market.
I'll update y'all as soon as our OFFICIAL grand re-opening date is set, but plan to see us mid-February. Until then, please feel free to email me with any questions, and you can still shop online during the transition. I can't wait to see y'all very very soon!!
Oooh girl! You boys too! This mama has been a prayin' these days...I've prayed for years. Prayed when things were dark. Prayed when I was grateful for bountiful blessings. Prayed when I was confused. Prayed when I was happy. Prayed when I didn't know what I was actually praying for.
These days I'm praying for clarity. Big decisions lie ahead. Choices I'm not sure I'm ready for. I have big dreams, folks, big dreams for sure. And sometimes those dreams seem as if they are fizzling out, and other times they are exploding at a rate I just don't think I can keep up with.
I feel asleep praying last night. I was asking for guidance, asking if the time was right for things on the horizon, asking if this was 'the' time for me, asking for a sign; then I woke up and went to the mall. Makes perfect sense, right? The thing is, answers to my prayers were all around me. I went into a store that a friend works at, really just to say hi and see her beautiful smiling face. What I found (in addition to her gorgeous happiness) were the signs I was looking for. Literally. I found signs.
The first one is a phrase I have as my profile picture on my personal Facebook page. It says, simply "She believed she could. So she did." Belief, people, is one of the most important things in this Farmgirl journey of mine. Believing that I can make my dreams come true. Believing that other people are as obsessed with food as I am. Believing that I'm where I need to be, doing what I need to do.
The second sign I found, was, again, an actual sign. Pretty odd for a clothing store, but I'm just going with the flow here and believing that He is giving me what I was asking for. This one said "God is within her. She will not fail. (Psalms 46.5)." How freakin' powerful is THAT?! To know that God is in ME, little old me?! That because of it I cannot fail? What would YOU do if you knew you couldn't fail? That's a pretty powerful thought, right?
As the full impact of that hit me, standing in the middle of a clothing store in the mall, I started to cry. I cried because I am so blessed to be doing this and to share my passion with all of you peeps. I am thankful for each of you who are sharing this journey with me, and I humbly ask that y'all pray for me too. I don't care who you pray to, I'm no judge or jury, but I do believe in the power of prayer. So please pray that I continue to find success doing what I love, that I can grow my business to the next phase, and that I continue to find these little signs that bring me such happiness.
For those wondering, yes, I bought the signs and they are on the kitchen counter as a reminder to me that He is listening. I appreciate you listening too.
Having grown up in Southern California we didn't get much of a "Fall". I remember September and October were just hot and windy. As an elementary school student I can vividly remember trying to walk to the bus stop and those Santa Ana winds would literally cause me to walk almost bent in half so that they wouldn't knock this little gal on her butt.
The year I lived on the East Coast was the first true Fall that I experienced and it changed me. I learned to appreciate the ebb and flow of the seasons, to marvel at how God puts the trees into a deep sleep so that they can build up the energy needed to bloom again in the spring, and how to try and do the same for myself; I need to rest as well so that I have the energy to bloom. I fell in love with everything apple, embraced the changing colors around me, found myself curling up more with a blanket and a good book, stopping to breathe the crisp air, and remembering just why I love bubble baths so much!
Fall in Colorado may not be all that it is in New England, but damn, it is beautiful here! I love the colors of the Aspens, and even seeing the scrub oak change colors brings a smile to my face. I leave the crockpot out now, I start baking again, and this year I've been busy canning - 46 pounds of grapes are being turned into jelly and jam right this very minute!
The handsome, handy hubby has been out archery hunting for the first time. Football is on our TV again (go Broncos!), Baseball playoff's are exploding, the boys are busy with work and school, we just had Homecoming, and I'm trying to start winterizing the yard. It's busy around here and I'm trying to remember to take a few minutes each day to rest so that I can have the energy to bloom tomorrow.
We've been busy at the Farmer's Market at Douglas County High School this summer and it's been fantastic! This weekend is the last market of the season and while I'll enjoy sleeping in on Saturdays, I'll miss the friendly faces I've come to know. The shop is doing well and is loaded up with new fun Fall products (have you tried the Pumpkin Lemonade yet?!), and I'm working away finding new Holiday products and trying to get some Keto-friendly items as well. Most exciting, however, is that our online store is now LIVE!!! It's been months of hard work, experimentation, and education, but it's official, it's live and I can't wait for you to check it out.
I have about 100 jelly jars calling me so I must attend to them, but I hope that you are all enjoying Fall as much as I am, and remember, you need to rest a bit so that you can bloom as well. Take care, and enjoy this beautiful season!
Farmgirl Foods has officially been open for 5 months and the progress we've made is wonderful! Sales continue to grow, our product line is expanding like crazy, and repeat customers are visiting us more often.
Most exciting is that we've started having some of our vendors come into the store and talk to customers about the products they make so that you can hear first hand about their inspiration, the process, and ask any questions you may have. I've started doing cooking demo's in the store a couple of times a month, so that you can see how easy it is to make the delicious recipes that I post on my RECIPES page.
New products include Burnt Out BBQ, a new line of regionally-flavored BBQ sauces, rubs and glazes that are from right here in Castle Rock. Prohibited Provisions Garlic is now available, great for anything you'd use garlic for (toss it in your burgers or meatloaf, or marinade your favorite meat with it). Pikes Peak Lemonade will be on the shelves this weekend, with a unique array of naturally flavored lemonade concentrates made in Colorado Springs. Blood Orange juice from Italy is now in the refrigerator, and Picnic Boxes are available to grab & go for a quick meal at the park.
Our online store is in progress, so please stay tuned for the launch of that site later in July, and stay tuned for a calendar of tastings, demo's and new product release dates.
Again, thanks for your support and please continue to let us know if there is anything in particular you'd like us to carry. Happy Summer! Happy Eating!
So much has happened since my last blog! It's hard to believe how much growth has happened, all the new products that have come in, and the number of repeat customers is so exciting!! I have been busy finding (read - eating!) new products to share with you, refilling my shelves with my best sellers, and researching new ways to grow the business. Where to start first?
Charcuterie is probably one of my favorite words (next to Paella and Champagne). One of my goals with Farmgirl is to have a robust Charcuterie offering so that you can not only WOW your guests with beautiful meat & cheese platters, but also so that you can come in and grab a simple picnic or snack for the beautiful summer nights quickly approaching. One of the challenges is that we don't have refrigeration just yet, so I've been looking for shelf-stable products to make this dream a reality. Enter - ElevatioN (right here in Denver)! They have a wide array of salami that doesn't need to be refrigerated until AFTER you open it - so it can sit on the shelf due to the curing process. I've selected a few flavors to start, but am looking forward to adding to that line very soon.
What Charcuterie is complete without preserves and mustards? NONE! Which is why I've been busy finding some righteous mustards (Shiso Fine Umami Mustard and Beer Mustard from Anarchy in a Jar, and Trois Petits Cochons Mustard from France), and last, but certainly not least, some super creative and ridiculously good preserves from Anarchy in a Jar (Hudson Valley, NY) and Red Camper (Denver, CO).
Yes, cookbooks! I know many of us live in the world of Pinterest for recipes these days, but I love to spend a quiet afternoon curled up with a glass of wine, pouring over new cookbooks. When I chose the ones I'm carrying, I wanted to be sure to stay true to my principals of eating clean and delicious food with my family. I think I've found several that hit all those hot points. The Dude Diet is all about making "dirty" food "clean"; fully of great pictures, simple and easy to follow recipes, this one has already been quite a hit! Dishing Up The Dirt has amazing farm fresh recipes that really show off the beauty of fresh produce. Always good for a bit of fun is Anthony Bourdain, and his latest cookbook, Appetites, does not disappoint! Eating together as a family is key in The Family Table, where you will find family and schedule friendly recipes that make dinnertime a breeze! Finally, A Girl and Her Pig is for all you carnivores out there; restaurant-quality food that is so unpretentious, even the worst cook can create a feast with this one!
NEW LOOK / NEW IDEAS
We got our new logo and it looks amazing! I'm so happy with the results. I really wanted something simple, clean and rustic - the way I like my food! Additionally, I'm launching some local marketing efforts for local businesses with a 20% discount off their first purchase, and as always, military and first responders receive 10% off every item every day.
I can't wait to see where the next 3 months takes us and hope that you'll all join me for this amazing ride!
The handsome handy hubby took our Princess Remington for her first bird hunt this weekend. While she was quite focused on playing with the other Pointer on this jaunt, she did a great job and they brought home a bird. A pheasant. What the heck do I do with a pheasant?! People, I’m an Orange County girl living in in the Mid-West world. I never ate game meat until than 1 bite of venison in 1991. This whole hunting thing is still a new adventure for me; however, it's one that I’m L-O-V-I-N-G!
The first time he brought me bison that had been given to him by a friend, I just looked at it on the counter. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t an entire bison, it was just a roast. One stinkin’ roast! But I was shocked, stymied, and honestly, scared. So I Google’d the crap out of it and came up with something that was apparently good enough that the boys decided they loved bison. Just remember….I didn’t tell them what it was until after they ate it – lol!
Next, he started hunting himself. I didn’t grow up around this stuff. I was clueless. And still scared. I told him when he came to me and asked what I thought about hunting that as long as it came home wrapped in plastic, like from the grocery store, we’d be fine. I’d figure out how to cook it. The first elk came home 2 years ago. The processor got most of it and, per my request, it came back to me looking like I’d picked it up at King Sooper’s. The rest, um, not so much! Her backstraps and tenderloins were in canvas bags chillin' in coolers on my kitchen floor. I thought to myself, “I’ve fabricated chickens in cooking school, how hard can this be?”. Can I just tell you - I wasn’t prepared!
She still had some hair on her, there was some blood on the bags, and there was dirt! Hair, and blood, and dirt?! What had I gotten myself into? I once again turned to my new BFF, Google, to figure out what to do next. It took the 2 of us about 4 hours in the kitchen to wash the meat, get rid of the silver skin, portion her out and vacuum-seal our bounty. Then things got FUN! We used the scraps to make Italian Sausage with the most delicious seasonings from Carmine Lonardo’s Meat Market in Lakewood, CO, I made a tenderloin stuffed with duxelle mushrooms and converted my non-mushroom-eating brother-in-law, and the fun has only continued with each elk he brings home.
Now he’s trying his hand with the birds. I’ve seen a pheasant - once. It was in my yard when I lived in Amherst, MA. I remember taking a picture of it and then calling my neighbor; I'm pretty sure I was screaming because I was SO excited about this darn bird. She replied, “you really aren’t from around here”. We still chuckle about it to this day. My chuckling stopped this morning when he brought this gorgeous, colorful pheasant into the house and proceeded to chop off it’s head and feet, pull out the organs and skin it – on my kitchen counter!
A couple of hours later, after I’d scoured the internet trying to figure out what to do with our new bird (I named him Roscoe), he'd vacuumed up the rogue feathers, and my handsome handy hubby and the kitchen were both scrubbed with bleach, I deconstructed the bird, and threw it into the pressure cooker to make stock which will turn into Pheasant and Wild Rice Soup. I’ll post the recipe and let you know how it turns out. So far, it smells amazing and I can’t wait to share how this story ends…
I'm trying to clear out some space in the fridge tonight, so I concocted a new recipe! Give 'er a try:
Mediterranean Roasted Chicken
3 boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 green olives, chopped (seriously, I used 3, it was all I had!)
1 roasted red pepper, chopped (yep, 1 slice out of the jar)
2 cloves of garlic, minced or 2t garlic paste
1/2 C sliced fennel
1 sliced shallot
Roaring Fork C'est Tout Bon seasoning (or anything close that has: Garlic, Thyme, Parsley, Rainbow Peppercorns, Himalayan Sea Salt, Lavender, Rosemary, Onion Powder, Lemon Pepper, Lemon Rind)
1/2 Lemon sliced into rings
Salt & Pepper to taste
Serve with side dishes of your choice - I tossed some asparagus w/olive oil and the same C'est Tout Bon seasoning and popped it into the oven at the 15 minute mark and am adding a sweet potato I roasted on Monday during my Monday Meal Prep 🤗
Enjoy and let me know how you like it!!
We opened yesterday and had an amazing turn-out! I can't thank everyone enough who showed their support. I'm looking forward to hearing what yummy dishes you all make with the products that you took home.
Today, we got our first GOOD snow of the year. Me, I have a cold. A nasty, awful, crappy cold :( After being a total bum and laying on the couch all day, I figured I should get up and make some dinner - and what is better than Chipotle Elk Chili for dinner on a snowy day when you have a head cold? Nothing! Had a little fun trying out a new recipe and cleaning out the sinuses with some spicy goodness - let me know what you think:
Chipotle Elk Chili
2 lbs ground meat (your choice - I used elk)
4 slices bacon, diced
1 large onion, diced
3T tomato paste
2T Roaring Fork Ahumado spice mix
2T Chipotle Pepper powder
1/2-3/4 jar JoJo's Sriracha Red Chili sauce
8 oz crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 C liquid of your choice (broth, water, beer!) - just enough to barely cover the meat mixture
salt & pepper to taste
1-2t cooking oil
To cook: set your Instant Pot to stew (35 minutes), or put in Slow Cooker and cook on low 4-5 hours, or let simmer gently on the stove-top, uncovered, for at least 30 minutes for flavors to get happy with each other.
Serve with shredded cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips or whatever floats your chili-boat and ENJOY!
I lost my job the Friday before Thanksgiving this year. It was quite a surprise and, of course, I went through all the stages of grief. I was sad, angry, confused, blah, blah, blah. Now I'm thrilled! Not only was I able to enjoy the Thanksgiving holiday with all my boys at home, I was able to nurse a wicked toothache without worrying about taking time off of work, clean and organize my house, and get all the Christmas decorations up and ready while everyone was off at school and work and no one was around to bother me! Doesn't sound very festive? Maybe not for some, but this year, right here and now, it was exactly what I needed.
I needed time to heal from losing a job I really did love for a very long time. To make peace with the fact that people I trusted and liked let me down in a massive way. I needed to figure out what to do with the rest of my life. Was this it? Was I done working? Was I too old to get back into the workforce? Or maybe, just maybe, this was God giving me the push I so desperately needed and prayed for to go out into the big bad world and start something of my very own. And then the reality hit! The reality of not having money to buy Christmas presents, of not having health insurance, of feeling like I let my family and friends down. Just like that all my cheers of Ho Ho Ho changed to choruses of Ho Hum!
How was I supposed to do this? Christmas on a budget is one thing. Christmas with no budget is another. So I did what I do best, research!! And all that research let me to one word people, one word....Pinterest Now I'm not talking about the hilarious "Pinterest Fails" that we've all seen - they are great, aren't they?! No, I'm talking more about "Pinterest for Dummies". I don't know how we all survived these years without Pinterest. It has saved me in the kitchen more times than I can count, given me inspiration for fun nail designs that my poor manicurist has had to figure out how to do, and now, it has saved Christmas!
*Spoiler alert here - STOP reading if you're family, friends, or neighbors*
A few hours on Pinterest, a couple of trips to the craft store and the next thing you know the house is covered in glitter and wax and lemon peels as I'm making candles, etched glasses and mugs, holiday signs, wooden ornaments with our family pictures on them, and booze! Yes, booze! Limoncello is in the pantry fermenting away. Of course I bought stuff for the boys, they are a little too young for the beer mugs and booze and, hopefully not in need of mood-setting candles just yet, but for everyone else I am so happy to give them something that I made with my own hands, that says how much I love them, and I'm ok if they are a little crooked, or if the picture popped up on the corner. I'm ok because I am giving my heart to those who mean the most to me. And that, my friends, is what Christmas is all about. And lights, lots and lots of sparkling lights - just as the handy hubby ;)
Merry Christmas, everyone!