The folksy sign you see for Cure Organic Farm before you pull into a dirt parking lot in the farmland east of Boulder proper, belies 12 acres of nothing short of Eden.
This commercial family farm, managed by Anne Cure and her husband Paul, grows 100 different varieties of organic vegetables and flowers, several honey bee hives, over 150 laying hens and ducks, and variety of adorable heritage pigs for distribution to its CSA program, its on-site farm store, and to area farm-to-table restaurants.
“People rave about the eggs, and we’re always running out because people love them,” says Kate Foley, who was working on-site at the Farm Store on a hot Thursday in July when I paid my visit—No wonder as those eggs come from a chicken coop located only minutes away from the store itself.
The store’s seasonal pickins for one of Colorado’s hottest summer months are impressive. They range from rainbow chard and arugula, to beets and radishes, to mouthwatering cartons of organic strawberries (these actually come from a distributor the Cures have a relationship with in California, according to Foley).
Given that it was Fourth of July that day, I was immediately drawn to the fridge full of pork sausage and bratwurst made from heritage Berkshire pigs. When it’s summer, any food for grilling seems like a smart purchase.
I was lucky enough to be given an impromptu tour of some more of the farm by fellow crew member Brenna Regan. She directed me to the nearby hoop houses where wildflowers like deep-purple Larkspur and delicate agrostemma are harvested, which Regan adds are popular among customers in the summer.
We walk past the part of the farm where the yurts for the seasonal interns reside. (Don’t worry, the interns are paid and seem to truly enjoy the work they do, even if it is from sunrise to sunset most days).
Regan shows me the chicken coop, and describes with a laugh the eccentric personalities of each hen. I learn that Regan is from Connecticut and recently arrived in Colorado. “I just moved here literally I think, 3 weeks ago,” she says with a sense of disbelief at how fast time has passed.
Working on the farm reminds her of family back home too. “My grandfather had a farm in Vermont when I was growing up, and he had chickens,” she says. “I was told how to tell between a hen and a rooster, but I can’t seem to do it here.”
Cure Organic is a community-oriented teaching farm, so Regan was able to come to her position with little farm experience. “I was afraid I would never be able to get a job on a farm because of my lack of experience,” she says. “But everyone teaches me, and all the interns are great as well as the other crew members.”
She walks me over to meet two of the farm’s interns who are preparing plants for sale at what Regan refers to as the hardening off station. She explains that this is where the plants go from the hoop houses to get used to the outside weather.
Here I meet interns Tory Hancock and Nellie Stephenson, who describe what they do in a typical day. It includes anything from planting and weeding to tractor-work, and irrigation, to harvesting, and feeding.
I ask them if there’s a crop that’s fared particularly well this summer, and Hancock points me to the fava beans. “We just harvested 1200 pounds of fava beans this week,” she says. “Those are all in the store, and they’ll be at farmers’ markets and restaurants. They just love the heat.”
Our tour ends with a visit to the muddy pen where the baby Berkshires are playfully wrestling one another for a spot at the trough. Apparently, the heat is too much for the parents, who Regan adds are a must-see at some point. “If you have the chance to see the 1000-pound Berkshire, I highly recommend it,” she says.