Farm Blog

Posted 3/22/2010 7:54am by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.

Springing Spring


The beginning of a new season has earnestly begun here at Zephyros.  Whenever you look out and see the lambs bounding across the field, with hints of green peaking through the pastures laid flat from the weight of snow you know spring is here.  Now that the days are longer than the nights things are sure to take off as the plants always notice this occasion.  Evidence can be found in the perennials first as they begin to swell and send up new shoots awakened from their winter slumber.  Plants all over the farm begin to peak through the soil. 


We are busy planting seeds of things to come.  We planted our first peas and cut flower seeds last week right between a few days of brilliant sun and the return of winter.  We will try to do it again this week as the balance between spring and winter shift back and forth wildly. 


We have lots of great things planed here at the farm this year so stay tuned and check back for plant sales, farm dinners, and other special events.  If you are nearby and want to join our CSA sign up soon!


Happy Spring to all!

Posted 10/19/2009 11:07pm by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.



This year the freeze of fall has come fast and furious.  It all started so slow that to have it all killed dead by frost so early makes it hard to believe that it really is the day and time that it is.  Already the nights are slightly longer than the days.   The hills are covered by snow and the valley floor is a blaze of golden yellows and burnt orange.  Amazing how quickly our thoughts turn to the next season.  That is a must on the farm as now is the time that we can do things that will make next spring more smooth and successful.  So as we remove the dead and plant the cover crops we take note of the good and the bad of this past year.  Every year is different so we try to compare but Mother Nature makes it difficult to ever compare apples to apples, even if they are apples!

A huge thanks goes out to all those who shopped at our farmer market stands, participated in our CSA, and worked on the farm.  We could not do it without all of your support and hard work.  A special thanks to Karl, Caryn, Karina and Siwar without whom this season would not have been possible, thanks.

Posted 7/1/2008 1:31pm by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.


When summer sets in on our farm everyone breathes a huge sigh of relief.  Spring has been a time of furious planting, watching the weather for rains and late freezes.  But when summer comes, which is never truly here until June, (and of course we all know it can snow in Colorado any time), the true time of enjoyment comes with the long warm days, and the literal fruits of our labor.


What is truly amazing about summer on a farm like ours is how the minute plants grow overnight into big productive plants, with flowers bursting and the promise of ripe fruit to harvest.  This is especially noticeable around the time of solstice, the longest day of the year and true beginning of summer.  Once the days begin to get shorter plants change how they are growing.  Almost overnight they go from little seedlings to plants full with fruits in the form of tomatoes, peppers, eggplants, squash, and so many beautiful flowers and seed heads. 


As the summer goes along it is the tiny fruits that grow from an imperceptible speck of into two pound heirloom tomatoes that never ceases to amaze me.  It happens so fast that I am sometimes stopped in my tracks at the surprise of how there is fruit where there once was only a seed.  We continue to seed all summer, such as our haricot vert and shell beans, so we relive this experience again and again. 


Harvesting our many different types of flowers we grow every week I am amazed how some of them keep pushing new flowers to be enjoyed all summer.  Some like our sunflowers grow so rapidly to make one huge beautiful bloom.  In the matter of weeks it goes from a seedling that we looked down at to towering above my daughters head, and she is truly amazed at the rapid progress her little seedlings make in the blink of her eye. 


As the days continue to get shorter, which a farmer begins to notice on June 22nd, the entire garden changes course and the almost imperceptible forces of fall begin pulling the fruit forth in rapid succession.  The days of spring are recalled when time sped up due to the lengthening days, where all was a flurry of activity to get all the seedlings going, culminates in the deep breath of summer solstice.  Making it to that point in the year takes an incredible amount of energy, which makes harvesting the fruits and flowers in the field so rewarding.


And as fall can be felt coming in the shortening days of August the farm too slows down, just a bit.  We begin to plant greens again for a fall harvest just as we had been in spring.  It is these cycles of plants and planting, seed to seed, that keep us connected to the cycles of the seasons in a deep and rooted way, one that holidays like the ones marking ‘the beginning’ and ‘the end’ of summer cannot. 

Posted 6/7/2008 10:35am by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.

Check out Zephyros in the New York Times!

Posted 6/6/2008 11:16pm by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.

This has been one of those amazing weeks of spring where everything (weeds especially) starts growing fast, real fast.  So we have been madly planting, weeding, irrigating, and just trying to stay upright.  This year at Zephyros we are putting in a trial of a half acre of Table grapes and a half acre of different berries.  It is something we have wanted to do for a while and now that we have it almost all planted it is a great feeling.

We have planted thirteen different types of table grapes, blue red green, purple, black and hopefully all hardy here, I am sure we will lose some and find winners in others.  Now it is hard to imagine the dense canopy that will come over the next several years as they are just bare root transplants with but a small bit of stem showing.  We will have to have patience as it will take two to four years for them to become truly productive and until then we will not let them fruit, perhaps one of the most difficult aspects of maintaining a new planting like this.

As for the berries, we have planted many different types, golden raspberries, black berries, more raspberries to come next year.  Also we have tried more unique berries and ones well suited to our environment such as, elderberries, sea berries, serviceberries, and Goji berries and Aronia to come.  Also, some that we want to have that are perhaps not as well suited but given the right microclimate (planted next to the wind break), gooseberries and currants.  As with all the berries diversity is key.  We planted five kinds of currants, and three different gooseberries with more to come next year.  Green, red, black, purple, white, gold, blue berries, we hope we can find the ones that can make it to the hands of our CSA members, farmer’s market customers and the chefs who are brave enough to try working with sea berries!  

After a long day of planting we had a barbeque and just as we pulled the last of the meat form the grill and went inside since it was raining, a rare occurrence, and even less likely visitor happened upon the doorstep for dinner.  A baby black bear and her mom wandered through the back yard and right up to the door.  The kids were on one side of the glass and the bear on the other, which was amazing to see that close.  These bears were not the bears of a David Attenborough film, but an emaciated version of the black bear, one who was hungry or sick, or both.

As the bears wandered off through the garden and the rain I worried a bit about the sheep and later with dog and rifle in hand went to check the flock, but the bears had moved on.  Somehow as unconnected and seemingly random the rain, the bears, and the berries were in our day to day life, now they seem to have all come at just the right time.  I hope the bears grow strong and recover from a long winter, and the rains keep coming, and I find myself wandering in the berry patch grazing, but not with the bears!


Posted 5/21/2008 9:17pm by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.

We were luck to host a class of third graders from the Waldorf School in Carbondale over the last two days.  and though it was a lot of work working with them it was a uplifting experience just at the time when spring can beginning to feel like we will never get all the work done.  They helped us plant a row of cherry tomatoes, perennial herbs and mulch some shrub rows we planted earlier in the year. 

Most importantly they help us see our farm with fresh eyes, as a beautiful fun place to be and work.  We truly are lucky to have this amazing place to work and live.  And to be reminded of all of that by the smiles and laughter of children (and a couple smores) makes it all worth it.  Even if it does not feel like we could ever get it all done, at least we will stop and hear the giggles off the pond and remember to look around and enjoy.


Posted 5/7/2008 3:48pm by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.
Things are finally warming up and the days are not being spent uncovering and covering plants up for the cold nights.  Even left the window open last night.  Plants are being moved out of the greenhouse quicly to be hardened off, and we weaned the lambs today so the greek style yogurt is on the way!  We are gearing up for the big berry and table grape planting, an acre total half and half.  Look for table grapes in a few years but we should have Raspberries, blackberrie, currants, elderberries, gooseberries, sea berries, service berries and others as early as next year for some!  It is totally crazy here now as spring always is but at least it finally feels like spring!
Posted 5/2/2008 12:45am by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.

Happy May Day!  We were greeted with dropping temperatures and horizontal snow this May day.  It has been so cold this spring things are sure growing slow.  But it is encouraging to see the carrots, beets, spinach and many cut flowers already pushing there way through the soil.  Plants are enduring and we hope they can all endure the cold temperatures expected tonight.  We buttoned up the high tunnels tight as they are basically full, tomatoes, basil, lilies, and so much more.  Colorado never ceases to be a relentless place to farm.  After the horizontal snow passed we were treated with a gorgeous sunset!

Posted 4/21/2008 11:41pm by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.

A Whole Lotta Alliums All the Time


There is something special about cutting into an onion that initiates the cooking process, unless of course you cut the garlic first.  The tears and house full of those smells signals the beginning of almost every meal in our house.  Both of these alliums we are pulling out of our root cellar, reminds me of both what is to come and what was.


No other crop we grow has such a long and diverse season.  Onions seeds are the first ones to be planted in our greenhouse.  By the end of January we have flat upon flat of little onions coming up, looking like little chives or blades of grass.  When the snow melts and the very first signs of spring show, the garlic too shows a little green above the soil.  They seem to be sticking their hand out the door to feel how cold it is or how much rain is coming down.  These signs from the alliums ring in the beginning of a new season, unlike no other vegetable.


In just the same way these sprigs of various alliums signal the next season it is garlic, my favorite of the alliums that signifies the ending of the season.  It is planted in the fall and usually is (at least at our farm) the last thing to get planted.  Ideally we wait for those incredible Indian summer days in the crisp Colorado fall after the first frost and flakes have come.  But sometimes it means digging into muddy soil as the flakes and frost are coming.  Once the garlic is in the ground a sigh of relief comes over the farm and we start to eye our skis. 


Garlic also signifies the beginning of the main harvest season.  As the summer heat pours on us the garlic is watered less and less until not at all and the leaves die down when it is ready to be harvested, starting in the end of June.  After the garlic is out of the ground it seems like the harvesting does not stop again until we plant the garlic again.  Garlic is not grown from seed but instead from the previous year’s harvest.  The worst part is that the enormous heads that seem like a treasure coming out of the ground and would be so easy to peel and dice are the ones that must be kept for the fall planting. 


The onions and shallots too seem to have a never ending season.  After they are transplanted into the field from the greenhouse the weeding begins.  Hoeing, flaming, vinegar and lots of hand weeding are what is required for the Alliums.  They do not offer big leaves that shade out the weeds, so this above most else is how I think of the onion patch, buried in weeds, but when we do clear them they stand tall and proud. 


Onions and shallots are a long season crop that are transplanted early and come out of the ground late.  Some of the heirloom varieties we love such as the Red Long of Tropea, a torpedo shaped mild red onion (great halved on the grill with a dash of salt and pepper, squirt of lemon and olive oil) come out of the field earlier or can be harvested over several weeks.  Another type of flat onion called cippolinis also have a shorter season and work this way too.  We can not wait for the Walla Wallas, the sweet onions, to size up and instead start harvesting them a bit young and we seem to always run out of them no matter how many we plant.


But over the last few years it is the storage onions that have won a spot in my heart.  They come out of the ground late and are stored for use all winter long.  If in April I can still pull out a solid onion from the last season to fill the senses of a meal to come, while at the same time transplanting the next years crop out into the field, the magic circle has been completed.  I have come to love all the alliums for this circle that they bring to the farm in spite of their lack of cooperation in battling the weeds. 

Posted 2/24/2008 4:29pm by Don Lareau & Daphne Yannakakis.

  Every spring the big thaw starts to happen and seeds start germinating, goats start birthing and the pace of life rapidly picks up as we fly towards the Equinox and Solstice ! Just today we have welcomed three new baby goats to the farm for a total of 13 baby goats in the past 5 days !

The greenhouse is filling everyday with new seedlings ready for the high tunnels and spring field plantings ! Keep your eyes open for our products in March !

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