Farmer’s Market Find: Rocky Mountain Fresh
Seller: Rocky Mountain Fresh
Where to find it: Boulder and Longmont Farmers Markets on Saturdays and South Pearl Street Farmers Market on Sundays
For more information: Visit rmfresh.com
About the company: Strolling through a weekend farmers’ market these days can seem chaotic, navigating crowds as a rush of local bakers, winemakers, jam makers and vegetable pickers all vie to share their stories ( and their delicious products) with as many passers-by as possible. Amidst it all, however, there is respite – an oasis of vegetables and fruits that evokes the truth behind his status as cultivate stand: the Rocky Mountain Fresh tent.
You may still have to wait in line to get to this little produce paradise, but once inside you’ll find a rainbow of heirloom tomatoes, crunchy cucumbers, leafy greens and a variety of peppers. Depending on the time of the season, there are even blooming flowers as well as starter herbs and succulents for green fingers. It’s a tremendous performance, and we have the Marsh family to thank.
Jeremy Marsh launched Rocky Mountain Fresh in 2011. Unlike many farmers, Marsh did not come from a farming background or grow up in a growing family. Before starting his own business, he was a hobbyist. “I just had a passion for gardening and growing plants,” says Marsh. “I had very large back gardens and I thought maybe I could make a living doing it.”
He quickly settled on greenhouse production as the most viable way to grow vegetables in the Colorado region and found a small one in Arvada to get started. Soon it expanded to two different locations in Arvada plus a greenhouse in Lyon. Marsh has since cemented the entire culture of Rocky Mountain Fresh in Longmont and runs the entire business with much help from his family: his wife runs the background of the business, his mother takes care of the range of succulents and children help with growth. When it’s market time, everyone gets involved in running the stalls.
While Rocky Mountain Fresh uses its four acres outdoors to plant crops like melons, peppers and eggplant, the two greenhouse acres are where the majority of its star produce comes from. Marsh focuses on hydroponics, which involves planting in coir, a water-retaining medium made from ground coconut. He estimates that about 80 percent of Rocky Mountain Fresh’s production is hydroponic tomatoes – not surprising given the diversity, which includes varietals like Pink Brandywines, Striped Germans, Cherokee Purples, the BeOranges and one of Marsh’s favorites, the Sweet Pink Beauties.
Even though the majority of the space is devoted to tomatoes, Marsh likes to plant a wide variety of vegetables and fruits. For example, after a successful trial crop last year, he is dedicating more greenhouse space to Hawaiian-grown ginger root grown in Colorado. “It’s exciting because it’s not readily available in Colorado, with fresh ginger root,” he notes. “I think it’s tastier than the ginger that was imported, and we can pick it younger, so it’s more tender and less fibrous.” Be on the lookout for the ginger harvest later this season.
In the coming weeks you will start to see ripe melons available as well as summer squash, zucchini and pâté type squash in high season. If you can’t make it to one of the farmers markets, Rocky Mountain Fresh tomatoes (along with its crowd-favorite cucumbers) are also supplied to local restaurants and grocers like Marczyk Fine Foods.
How to use it: Vegetables fresh from the greenhouse (or from the ground) are best served simply. Most of what you’ll find at the Rocky Mountain Fresh stand is absolutely delicious when sliced raw with just a pinch of salt and pepper. A quick flash on a scorching grill or cast iron skillet will suffice for selections like shishitos, summer squash, and charming fairytale eggplant.
Unless you’ve somehow missed the seasonal heirloom frenzy that happens every summer, you already know that there really is no better way to enjoy a tomato from fancy only in thick slices on a slice of generously mayo sourdough.
Spice up your toast with this umami mayonnaise. It gets its umami flavor through the use of nutritional yeast – aka “nooch” – which adds intense Parmesan flavor, plus a hint of yeasty funk (in the best possible way). Stock up on flake salt, because you won’t want anything else for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Makes a little over 1/2 cup mayonnaise, enough for about four toasts
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons whole grain or coarsely ground mustard
1 1/2 teaspoons nutritional yeast (more to taste)
1 clove garlic, marinated or roasted, minced (or mince and use a little raw garlic clove for a crisper bite)
- Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and stir until mustard and garlic are well incorporated.
- Use the mayo right away or keep it for a few hours to let the flavors meld. Either way, store what you don’t use immediately in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
- To use, generously brush umami mayo onto a slice of toasted crusty bread. Top with large slices of heirloom tomatoes of your choice and sprinkle with flaked salt and freshly ground pepper to finish. Add freshly chopped parsley – or better yet, chives – if you feel more comfortable.
Pro Tip: Dilute this spread with lemon juice or white wine vinegar for a creamy, tangy dressing.
As a snack or side dish, try a few slices of plain tomatoes with a sprinkle of sugar on top. It may sound strange, but the sweetness can ripen a firm, sour tomato taste and add balance to one that is already perfectly flavorful.
Bonus Farmer’s Market Finds: We are entering the hottest season for local products. Visit Rocky Mountain Fresh for hydroponically grown vegetables, then check out everything that’s in season right now:
- Apricots will only be around for a few weeks before being replaced by plums and an abundance of Palisade peaches.
- Corn is at its sweetest. Give it the elote treatment or cut the raw kernels off the cob and toss them with cilantro, diced chiles, and plenty of lime juice for a relish or side dish.
- Cruciferous vegetables — think cauliflower, cabbage and broccoli — are in the first half of their season. Don’t fire up your oven to roast these bad boys. Instead, cook them hot and quickly in a basket on the grill. Finish with fancy vinegar drops and chili flakes. The same goes for green beans.
- Do turn on your oven for the beets. Wrap tightly in foil and roast until soft and sweet. Too hot to even consider the oven? Be bold – put on your apron and grate them finely to use in salads and ruby-colored slaws.
- Cantaloupe, honeydew and watermelon are ready to nibble or pair with charcuterie and cheeses.
- Get ready to stock up on fresh and roasted chilies. More market and roadside stalls will appear next month and remain through the fall.