September 2023 Farmer Updates from Rock Bottom Ranch

ACES Staff

September 29, 2023

September 2023 Farmer Updates from Rock Bottom Ranch

September 6, 2023

It may feel like summer is in the rear view, be that the school year has begun, the days are becoming increasingly shorter, and labor day has come and gone. All that said, at the ranch, production screams summer and this week’s CSA offerings prove it. Our greenhouses are producing more tomatoes, peppers, and cucumbers than ever; our summer squash crop is still going strong;  and the days, though shorter, are filled with hot summer sun.

This past week, there have been a few moments that mark the waning of peak summer chaos. Last Wednesday, the livestock team processed our final batch of broiler chickens. This week our ram, Hamlet, will reunite with our flock of ewes to innate the breeding season. Meanwhile, the vegetable crew celebrated bulk allium harvests– all our onions and garlic are just about ready for fall sales/ storage. We’re beginning to transition our beds to fall crops, trading wilty cucumbers and eggplant for beets and carrot seedlings.

Reflecting on these moments, I suppose that us farmers are in fact preparing for and reckoning with the seasonal shift ahead. Maybe I feel  reluctant to embrace autumn when I can continue to bask in the summer’s bounty. There are still five weeks left in your CSA share, so you, too, can relish in the abundance of summer crops for a while longer.


— Molly Farrell, Vegetable Apprentice


September tomato. Photo by Cameron MacKenzie.

September 13, 2023

Every year after Labor Day, it seems to mark the change of seasons from summer to fall, and this year was no different. If you’re a first timer in Colorado like I am, cooler mornings where multiple layers are appropriate, leading to scorching hot afternoons can be a cause for some confusion, yet I’m grateful for the lack of mosquitoes and the leaves on some trees slowly starting to change their colors.

Luckily even with the cooling temperatures, we still have great pastures for our animals to forage and graze. Some areas of our land are still abundant in red clovers, a favorite of our cattle and sheep, and every time the cattle watch over me creating a new paddock for them, I can almost feel their excitement and anticipation of their move and delicious feast. Or were they simply awestruck at my vocal prowess as I belted out The Carpenters Top of the World in their midst last Tuesday? I’d like to think the latter.

— Mai Kokubo, Livestock Apprentice


Cattle in the back pasture. Photo by Cameron MacKenzie.

September 20, 2023

Gone are the days of balmy mornings and farming in crocs. This past weekend we saw major frost on the ranch. A sharp nip in the air woke me and I resisted the temptation to fold back into my toasty comforter. As I rolled out of bed to pour myself a cup of coffee, steam rose off the frosty pasture and filled the ranch with the damp feeling of fall. By the time I bundled into layers, slipped on rubber boots and made my way to the office, the early morning sun had captured most of the frost, turning the white grass to dew.


As low temps and frosty mornings become the new normal, vegetable production is rapidly transitioning. Many of our warm season crops, like summer squash, green beans and sunflowers are dying back due to the cold. We’ve spent the past week removing these crops from the field and putting their beds into rest for the long winter ahead. Meanwhile, we’re busy flipping the greenhouses from cucumbers, tomatoes and peppers, to fall crops such as carrots, beets, leeks, and celery. These veggies are cold-hardy and can withstand colder temperatures when protected from direct frost by the greenhouse. The greenhouse structures provide insulation from the harsh nighttime lows, allowing us to extend our growing season well into October.


I feel bittersweet pulling up plants we sowed in the spring. There’s some nostalgia in unfastening trellis clips and allowing the tired plants to fall to the ground. I suppose these feelings stem from gratitude for the harvest and relief from the harvest. Today, I can feel the season in my bones and feel grateful for this morning’s frost.

— Molly Farrell, Vegetable Apprentice



Fall at Rock Bottom Ranch. Photo by Greta Brown.


September 27, 2023

Happy Autumn! The farm crew recently indulged in the abundance of the farm with a celebration of the autumn equinox! Firstly, I must say there is nothing quite like a farmer potluck- the food is amazing, in all its simplicity and seasonality. The beginning of fall is a pivotal moment in the season, as we prepare for the first frost. The crops are slowing in production, leaves are turning yellow, and days are growing increasingly shorter. We’ve spent time covering crops in the field with row cover (think of them as vegetable blankets) to keep the vegetables warmer in the cooling nights. Additionally, we have patched up any holes in our greenhouses and further secure their ability to hold onto warmth. Though we are still harvesting for both CSA and market, production is slowing. Rest is on the horizon. I personally feel the need for rest and slowing down. My body has decided to make that very apparent by the onset of a cold… The body knows.


Luckily, we are still able to indulge in many nutritious foods and I find myself making medicinal recipes. Bok choy with lots of garlic and onion in broth, steamed hearty greens, nourishing potatoes roasted with herbs. I hope you are all leaning into this seasonal change, enjoying the daylight while we can and beginning to slow down and reflect inward. Thank you for all your support this season and I hope you all enjoy these final 2 weeks of CSA! It has been such a pleasure to grow food for you all and I feel incredibly grateful for such an abundant and successful season.


— Ariel Rittenohuse, Vegetable Lead

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