Lorrae Moon, owner of Moonshines Homegrown Produce, sits with a few of her milking goats at her home north of Craig.  Moon sells a variety of food products that come from her home.

Photo by Hans Hallgren

Lorrae Moon, owner of Moonshines Homegrown Produce, sits with a few of her milking goats at her home north of Craig. Moon sells a variety of food products that come from her home.

Moonshines keeps it local

Variety of homegrown products available at ranch north of Craig

— Moffat County resident Lorrae Moon thinks that people are looking for "a little more basic" food to make them healthier. She also choses to buy locally and support area farmers and ranchers.

With that in mind, Moon has started her own business. Through Moonshines Homegrown Produce, she sells a variety of food products that come from her home, located north of Craig on the Frosty Acres Ranch.

Moon said that her mission is to "keep things as local as we can, eliminate shipping and grow produce naturally."

For example, a big seller for Moon is raw goat's milk. She explained that there's a market for goat's milk because some people can't drink cow's milk. In addition, some babies can't tolerate any milk besides goat's milk.

Moon said it's Colorado law that a person can't sell raw (vs. pasteurized) milk. So the people she deals with have to buy shares in her goats. In return, they get a weekly supply of milk.

Oberhasli is the breed of goat that Moon owns. She said it's a smaller breed of goat that produces milk tasting closest to cow's milk. Moon milks three to four goats daily.

Precaution must be taken with what the goats eat. Some things they eat affect the taste of the milk. So Moon feeds them good-quality alfalfa, which is grown at Frosty Acres. No commercial fertilizers are used on the alfalfa.

Although Moon does make goat's cheese, she doesn't sell any. She explained that "it's just for lack of time."

Moon also sells eggs and garden produce. Most are sold at the farmers market in Craig.

"We can't grow some garden crops in Moffat County, due to the short growing season," she said, "but some things we do grow are of superior quality. That's because of the cool nights."

Moon's star crop this year was broccoli.

All of Moon's garden crops are grown without using any herbicides or pesticides. She explained that some customers might find a tiny hole in a radish leaf, but the trade-off is getting radishes that are grown naturally.

Although Moon's produce isn't certified "organic," she raises everything naturally.

One pretty steady garden seller for Moon is salad mix. It's made up of four or five different varieties of greens and lettuces. Examples of what might be found in a package of mix include Romaine, Oak Leaf (a green that has a leaf resembling that in oak brush), Red Leaf and Firecracker (both a red color), and Mesclun.

Mesclun is a Europeon-style salad mix, grown from a mixture of seeds, including such varieties as mustard greens and arugula.

Moon said each package of salad mix may differ slightly from the others, depending on what's coming on at the time it's picked. Since produce taken to the farmers market can't be washed, the lettuces and greens are picked and packaged in reclosable bags and then kept cool the day of market.

At the present time, other garden produce Moon has for sale includes radishes, kohlrabi and onions. (Moon just took Reserve Champion with her onions in the "root storage" division at the Moffat County Fair.)

A little later in the season, she will have potatoes and different varieties of squash for sale, too.

Because she can sell her produce locally, Moon said "it takes the shipping out of the chain, the produce is fresher and it lasts longer."

"It's nice to get something fresh that was picked that day," she added.

Moon and two friends, Kim Thompson and Jennifer Stagner, also make and sell homemade noodles. Every week, they get together and make as many noodles as they can. They make plain noodles, whole-wheat noodles and gluten-free noodles.

Moon chuckled when she told how she, Kim and Jennifer sold a bunch of cooked noodles at the Moffat County Fair. The noodles were buttered, garlic added and mixed with vegetables such as chives, spinach and zucchini.

Moon is one busy person. She and her husband, Lewis, have three sons, Doyle, Rance and Nate. Nate is a member of the Elkhead Wranglers 4-H Club, where his mom is a leader.

Moon is also a member on the Northwest Colorado Product Board (affiliated with the Community Agriculture Alliance located in Steamboat Springs). Its purpose is to bring Northwest Colorado residents with locally raised/made products in touch with retailers. (Also on the Board from Craig are Bernie Rose and Tammy Villard.)

In a final note, Moon said "Keeping it here at home - that's the key for all of us."

To find locally grown produce, visit the farmers market, held each Thursday from 3 to 6 p.m. in the downtown park next to Serendipity Coffee Shop.

Comments

50cal 5 years, 8 months ago

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