"We need to find crossroads, where rural and urban people can meet as they go about their business and feel a tangible connection to one another -- to understand at a gut level --  
that we are all engaged in this same basic human endeavor of growing and harvesting and cooking and eating." - Fred Iutzi, president of The Land Institute  

In store now: the best meat anywhere...and
everything else you need 
for a holiday filled with deliciousness and joy!   
Springside Cheese owner Keith Hintz holds one of his favorites, a hunk of classic Stilton Blue, inside his beautifully appointed shop at 517 W. 5th in Pueblo. (When in Pueblo, do make a point to stop by his store: the selection, service and decor rivals the offerings of much larger cities!)   
Share cheese, spread cheer  
THE HOLIDAYS ARE A GREAT TIME to experiment with new cheeses. So says Keith Hintz, owner of Springside Cheese in Pueblo, a certified cheesemaker and Ranch Foods Direct cheese supplier. He and his extended family members make and sell multi-generational Wisconsin-style cheeses that incorporate local ingredients like Ugly Dawg Salsa and Pueblo chiles.  
One of their most unique offerings is the blue cheese cheddar. Combining two familiar styles into a single cheese is one of the newest trends in creative cheesemaking, he says. "The problem with blue cheese is that it typically doesn't melt very well; this way you get the nice melt of the cheddar with some of that distinctive blue cheese flavor."  
Keith believes holiday celebrations call for big, bold flavors. "I like to get a sharp cheddar that's been aged two to five years. It's a little more of a splurge, especially with a nice cabernet." (Springside's own version won a silver at the World Cheese Awards in London in November and second place at the American Cheese Society Awards last July.) And a trick he learned from his English brother-in-law? "You take a wheel of Blue Stilton, hollow out the center, pour port inside and scoop it back out."  
Despite being a Wisconsin transplant (he knows his cheese curds) Keith is among the area's most passionate local food advocates. This past year he took over the reins of the Colorado Cheese Festival, shifting the focus to artisan cheese-makers and moving the event to Pueblo, where it sold out of all 800 tickets. He's also working to establish his own plant where he can turn local milk into cheese while educating the public on the art and craft behind milk's proverbial leap toward immortality. (CLICK HERE to see the latest updates from Springside Cheese.)

Browse the wide selection of Springside Cheeses at the Ranch Foods Direct store: Check in the dairy case for Wisconsin-style cheese curds and much more! 
Pick out your favorites; make your own meat-and-cheese tray. 

Tastier tubers... come from healthier soil   
Colorado brothers change, innovate, collaborate  
for better potatoes 
Sheldon and Brendon Rockey (right) still vividly recall the day in the mid-1990s when a neighboring farmer came to their farm excited about the possibility of growing a new kind of potato.  
That neighbor was the San Luis Valley's oldest and best-known organic farmer, Paul New, and the potato was the long slender fingerlings that were already popular in Europe. The Rockeys were persuaded to try it, although there were challenges. "There was no equipment designed to pick them up, so we had to pick them all by hand," Sheldon recalls. "Back then our father and uncle grew only two or three varieties and all they had to do was the growing part of it."
As it turned out, food and farming were on the cusp of big changes. Today, the Rockeys and the News co-own and operate White Rock Specialties, a packing shed in Mosca that doubles as a regional food hub. The Rockey farm, long known for its production of certified seed potatoes, has branched out into supplying the fresh market. And the number of different varieties grown on the farm now exceeds two dozen.  
They've made other important agronomic changes too. Brendon Rockey has become widely known for being a dynamic, enthusiastic soil health champion who travels the world telling his story of how returning to traditional farming methods helped him create more resilient and productive soil, cut down on water use and suppress weeds and pests without the need for harsh chemicals. He grows his potatoes in a rotation with forage cover crops, which are in turn intensively rotationally grazed, and plants pollinator strips throughout the farm to attract beneficial insects, biological practices that make for better soil.
They also make for better tasting potatoes, Brendon says. "One of my proudest moments was when a neighboring farmer who raises 20 circles of potatoes came to me to buy some of mine for dinner because that's what he wanted to eat," he says. "As producers, we've got yield figured out. What I want to do is improve the quality of my potatoes, and do it while spending less on artificial inputs."

In store now: Potatoes from the San Luis Valley, including bagged fingerlings grown by Rockey Farms, where the priority is on healthy soil for tastier potatoes!   

A taste of Old Mexico for the discriminating sweet tooth: popped amaranth treats 
"Amaranths produce big generous seed heads that are flower-like," writes Deborah Madison, in her book, Vegetable Literacy. "They are easy to grow, maybe a little too easy...but amaranth seedlings are actually quite good in a salad."   
Ranch Foods Direct customers can count on seasonal favorites like real sourdough breads and pastries from The Sourdough Boulangerie, creamy holiday pies from Mountain Pie Co., and handmade caramels and sweets from local kitchens. This fall the store introduced a new line of products called Simply Amaranth that includes seed-packed nut clusters, chocolates and honeyed granola bars.
Why amaranth? Joe Wintergerst, who owns The Artisan Cookery with his wife, Alejandra, describes it as something of a new-old superfood already popular in their native Mexico. "It's been around for thousands of years. It's big there," he explains. The high protein and fiber content, combined with essential amino acids, makes it highly nutritive. Using a certified gluten-free commercial kitchen in Colorado Springs, the couple makes everything by hand, roasting the seeds and then mixing them into a variety of products. For the sweeter concoctions, they use only high quality, fair trade, organic chocolate, Irish butter and Joe's favorite real vanilla flavoring, which he tracked to its original source in Southern Mexico. 
As a physicist, Joe admits to being meticulous in all things, and adds that his wife has also put her whole heart into their challenging but exciting new business. The couple's two grown children also sometimes help out. The recipes and methods they use Joe learned from his own mother and grandfather.
"Ranch Foods Direct is our go-to place," he notes. "We're very happy to be in such a well-recognized store that has so much prestige. And the beef? It's amazing. It's out of this world.".

Sweets and treats, hot soups, prepared entrees, salads and sides... plus delicious smoked ham, prime rib or free-range turkey...it's all available in one convenient place: Ranch Foods Direct!   

Thanks for shopping the wide selection of seasonal, Colorado proud products at Ranch Foods Direct!
Shipping and gift boxes available.
Stop by for last-minute gifts. 
Last shopping day before Christmas:
Saturday, December 23