Dinner at Colorado’s pioneering organic farm
I’ve been wanting to attend a “feast in the field” ever since I became aware of this enchanting, inspiring dinner format. Yesterday evening, my husband and I did just that, attending Grant Family Farms’ first farm dinner of the season. It was something of a pilgrimage to Wellington (north of Fort Collins), because Grant’s was Colorado’s pioneering organic farm.
The Grant family farmhouse.
Lewis and the late Patricia Grant (he a professor at Colorado State University) started a bit of farming in 1953. Lewis and their son Andy began to grow vegetables in the ’60s. The Grants have been responsible stewards of the land and have been growing organic produce since 1975. It was the first frarm to be certified organic by the State of Colorado and actually was instrumental in helping to reate the process for state-conducted organic certification. Andy still runs the farm and has never lost his commitment to growing healthy, delicious food.
Today, they farm more than 2,000 acres and have major CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. They raise more than 150 varieties of vegetables, fruit including cherries and now grapes and have reintroduced livestock to the farm and raise chickens for eggs and meat, lambs, turkeys, ducks, geese, goats and pigs. All are organic and naturally raised — uncaged and pastured or kept in sizable enclosures. My husband and I were crawling north on I-25 when the guided farm tour was taking place, but walking around the farm before dinner was a joy.
Majestic chicken parading around its enclosure.
The plucked turkey we buy for Thanksgiving bears little resemblance to this imposing bird. This might be a broad-breasted bronze tom — or maybe another variety.
Ducks, flocking in their enclosure and splashing in a small trough and quacking.
The reddest, ripest cherries.
To the Table
Table set for a feast in a meadow behind the farmhouse.
Composer/guitarist Maxwell Hughes
played mellow music and sang longtime favorite tunes and his own compositions as we sat down at the long, white-clad table with farm-fresh flowers, toasted new friends and got ready to eat. Chef Erik Skaar and pastry chef Yasmin Lozada-Hissom of Olivea
in Denver prepared the hors d’oeuvre, which we also missed because of the slow drive, and this three-course meal. They were assisted by students from Boulder’s Escoffier School of Culinary Arts
Baskets of rustic bread were placed on the table.
Simple, sensational cold pea soup with a hint of mint.
Duck three ways — boneless roast, ground and formed into a sausage patty and braised (I think) to a brisket-like texture with a light, bright compote alongside. Side dishes of baby beets and braised beet greens came later, family- style. The vegetarian option, which one of our companions ordered, was a vegetable salad of baby beets with beet green pesto, pickled green gardlic and dill — and it looked great. I wish I’d managed to snap a picture.
A simple dessert of panna cotta with rhubarb and raspberries.
We had a long drive back, so we left without staying for campfire s’mores and more music. It looked like fun — but we were satiated and happy, having seen how the food was raised. Farm dinner or no farm dinner, visitors are welcomed to Grant Family Farms on Saturday mornings to tour and learn what organic and sustainable practices are all about.
Grant Family Farms is hosting two more farm dinners this summer — August 13 and September 17. The cost is $85 per person for one, $80 per person for two and $75 per person for four or more. And BWOW (bring your own wine). 1020 Weld County Rd. 72, Wellington, 970-568-7654. The farmhouse and dinner are at 172 Starbright Court. They’ll send driving directions when you reserve, which you can do by contacting Angela, firstname.lastname@example.org or 720-375-5883.