Category Archives: Farming

‘The Shed’ Launches Website to Support Boulder Food Resources

DiscoverTheShedLocal foodshed becomes reality & gains momentum with online presence.

A bit over a year ago, I wrote a post called “Foodshift to Foodsheds” — a foodshed being defined as a small geographic area that includes the boundaries of where food is produced, transported and consumed. I then thought that the local foodshed comprised the Front Range, but Boulder now has an even more localized one. The Shed, as it has been named, is a new public-private coalition with a website as its first initiative to educate and build awareness about Boulder County’s local foodshed.

A good group of local officials, community leaders and food influencers were present at the Boulder Public Library's new Seed Café for the introduction of The Shed.
A good group of local officials, community leaders and food influencers were present at the Boulder Public Library’s new Seed Café for the introduction of The Shed.

Boulder City Council members Tim Plass and Suzanne Jones shepherded the initiation through the local legislative process. The Shed has emerged as a coalition of nine private and public entities that aims to increase awareness, consumption and production of local foods.  The founding entities are the City of Boulder, Boulder County, Boulder County Farmers’ Markets (Boulder and Longmont), Boulder Valley School District, Chef Ann Foundation, Local Food Shift Group, Naturally Boulder, University of Colorado and 350 Boulder County. While the City of Boulder (again) took the lead, it is a county-wide initiative with room for other communities and organizations to join.

Plass listed benefits from the local foodshed: economic (i.e., keeping more grocery dollars in the community), environmental (reducing the carbon footprint of food consumed here) and social (building community through food).  Continue reading ‘The Shed’ Launches Website to Support Boulder Food Resources

Blackbelly is Hosea Rosenberg’s Latest Hit

Boulder-based “Top Chef” champ’s restaurant also a winner.

011Hosea Rosenberg, the Taos-bred and Boulder-based chef who won Season 5 of Bravo TV’s “Top Chef,” took his time parlaying his renown and his revenues into a permanent restaurant. While he was planning his next step, he did personal appearances, took on catering gigs and became a farmer too. Hosea originally studied engineering, and that deliberate thinking came to the fore in planning this restaurant.

As he put it when he opened his East Boulder restaurant/market/butchery biz last November, “I have been conjuring up this scenario for years — a restaurant and market, with a whole animal butchery program and a kitchen ‘laboratory’ where we can experiment, tinker and dream. Blackbelly Restaurant, Bar & Butcher is “the culmination of thousands of ideas, years of brainstorming, and a whole lot of cooking.”

Rosenberg was all smiles as he was ready to launch Blackbelly in November.
Rosenberg was all smiles as he was ready to launch Blackbelly in November.

I was in Denver on the day of Blackbelly’s media preview four months ago, so I arrived late — after introductions and remarks had been made and when most of the food tastes were finished. When Hosea told me that there had been a last-minute plumbing crisis, I thought that the pressure of TV — no matter how unreal reality television actually is — must have helped him with that hurdle. I didn’t get much to eat on that first visit, but I liked what I tasted and vowed to return. I don’t know why it took so long, but my husband and I finally met two friends there last night. The earliest available reservations were for 7:45 p.m., and when we left a bit after 10, people were still ordering, eating and lingering — a testimonial to Blackbelly’s success. Continue reading Blackbelly is Hosea Rosenberg’s Latest Hit

New Mexico Ranch Earns Animal Welfare Certification

CertifedGrassFed-logoPeople become vegetarians for a variety of reasons, including concerns about the quality of life of animals before they are slaughtered. It comes as good news that the L6 Cattle Ranches in Corona, New Mexico, has become the first agricultural business in the country to earn Animal Welfare Approved Certified Grassfed designation. As consumers learn about the damaging impact that intensive farming has on our health, the environment and animal welfare, many are seeking truly sustainable alternatives, including grassfed meat., with demand for increasing by 25-30 percent every year over the last decade.

Not surprisingly, the US Department of Agriculture’s standards are fairly loose, and AWA therefore issues  the only certification and logo in the United States and Canada that guarantee food products come from animals that were fed a 100 percent grass and forage diet, raised outdoors on pasture or range for their entire lives, and managed according to the highest welfare and environmental standards on an independent family farm. While other grassfed labels exist, none has reportedly fully met consumer expectations when it comes to a grassfed and forage diet, environmental management and farm animal welfare.

Sharie and Bill Leibold, owners of the 4,000-acre L6 Cattle Ranch have been producing strictly grassfed and finished Angus-Jersey cross beef since 2006. Although the Leibolds were already certified by Animal Welfare Approved in 2009 for their high-welfare and environmental management practices, they were eager to gain Certified Grassfed by AWA status for their grassfed cattle herd when the new program was launched in January.  Congratulations to the Leibolds — and may other ranchers follow their lead.

Click here for purchasing and pickup-delivery information.

Cochon 555 Showcases Heritage Pigs

Annual pork-fest and competition returns to Denver.

Cochon555Cochon 555 is back in Denver on Friday to Sunday, March 6-8. This three-day feast and culinary competition celebrates family farms, heritage breed pigs and tilt the scales in favor today’s emerging chef community struggling to pay premium prices for safer, more flavorful food raised by real farmers.

Denver is again a stop on a national tour that spotlights notable chefs, super-skilled butchers, spirited bartenders, top winemakers, brewers, distillers, oysters, caviar and sweets, now in  its seventh year.It starts Friday evening with a guest chef dinner at The Nickel in the Hotel Teatro, followed by a large- format meat feast on Saturday at Colt & Gray with wines of Antinori /Antica Napa Valley and then the main event Cochon 555 on Sunday at Ritz-Carlton Denver –

On Sunday, Cochon 555’s five Denver area chefs cook five pigs in an intense but friendly competition. This year’s competing chefs are Kelly Whitaker of Basta, Matt Vawter of Mercantile Dining & Provision, John Little of Harman’s Eat & Drink, Christopher Thompson of The Nickel and Rich Byers of The Corner Office. Using heritage breeds from family farms (an  Old Spot and Large Black from Autumn’s Harvest Farm, Mulefoot from The Piggery, Red Wattle and Large Black  from Heritage Foods US, and a Mulefoot from Climbing Tree Farm), they will prepare a maximum of six dishes, Voting are a crowd of hungry gourmands and celebrated local  judges.

Tickets begin at $130 (plus service  charge). Click here to purchase.

Taste Test Invite Declined – I Already Buy the Product

NestFresh eggs are always in my fridge.

NestFresh-logoThis morning, a public relations representative sent me the following E-mail:

“I was hoping you might be interested in a little experiment that I was thinking of — that I honestly think will be really cool and attractive blog content…One of our clients is NestFresh eggs — a leader in non-gmo, specialty eggs.  I’d love to provide you with a voucher for NestFresh eggs in order to do the experiment on your blog.  I personally would love reading that! Let me know if this is something you’re interested in posting about. Thanks so much!”

NestFreshEggs

I declined by sending this message back to her:

“Unless I buy eggs directly from a farmstand, which I occasionally do, I already buy NestFresh eggs and have for years. They used to branded, in Colorado anyway, as Cyd’s NestFresh eggs. I like the idea of supporting farmers rather than factory farm managers. I like to know that my eggs come from chickens that are permitted to roam. I’ve been happy with NestFresh egg taste. In order to do a taste test, I’d have to buy some other brands. But thanks.”

As Edith Ann was wont to say, And that’s the truth.

Denver Harvest Week Events

GrowHaus is the setting for sustainable meals & fun events.

EatDenverHarvestWeek-logoDenver Harvest Week (five days, actually) is back from Tuesday, September 23 through Saturday, September 27, with more than thirty of EatDenver’s restaurants hosting a series of pop-up dinner parties at the GrowHaus (4751 York Street).  Proceeds go to support the efforts of EatDenver and The GrowHaus. On the schedule are one brunch and four dinners, all cleverly themed, prepared by different chefs each event will be accompanied by hand-crafted cocktails, local brews and wines. Being sustainable and taking place in an indoor farm mean that guests must all bring their own place settings (plate, cutlery and wine glasses — a prize for each evening’s best place setting.

The party begins with passed appetizers and cocktails crafted by some of the city’s best bartenders.  Then, guests are be seated at large community tables. I’d be tempted to go because I love the GrowHaus concept and a number of the chefs/restaurants, but I am not one for enforced merriment. Personally, I am put off knowing that “Everyone is encouraged to join the fun with outfits to match the party’s theme,” and that “themes have been created to encourage guest participation and guarantee that a good time is had by all.” But don’t mind me. It’s a great cause for those who like themes and costumes.

The tug o’ war between wine and beer is the theme Tuesday’s “The Duel in the West.” Wednesday, it’s “GrowLove: Buddha’s Vegetarian Delight!.” On Thursday, the theme is “The Feast of Hunters and Gatherers.” A DJ spins ’80s music for Friday’s “Footloose & Farm Fresh.” The week wraps up with Saturday brunch themed “Egg-a-Hole Brunch.” Click on the link for each meal for details including time, participating restaurants, what’s included and cost.

Note: I have no idea why WordPress is crossing out all of my links. The seem to work, so do try.

The Home Ranch’s Growing Organic Farm

Dude ranch with a difference grows its own.

Clyde Nelson in the greenhouse.
Clyde Nelson in the greenhouse.

The Home Ranch, located in the Upper Elk River Valley north of Steamboat Springs, is known for luxury, style and cuisine that meet the international standards of hospitality for Relais & Chateaux membership.

General manager and executive chef Clyde Nelson, has been performing culinary magic there for some 20 years, and for the last three he, his kitchen staff, master gardener Adele Carlson and her crew have created an organic farm to produce local, sustainable, high-quality vegetables and soon livestock to create gourmet cuisine for guests, enhancing the The Home Ranch’s position as a high-end Colorado culinary destination.

As the Ranch’s website explains, “the only way to eat here is to stay here; which is why some of our guests come just to indulge in the food. In spite of all the wonderful activities and adventures we offer our guests, the meals and conversation served in Clyde’s communal dining room are the heart and soul of the Home Ranch experience.”

Having grown up tending a big garden and selling home-grown produce at a roadside stand, Nelson learned to love fresh ingredients and nurtured a passion for quality that carried over into his career. Clyde’s Farm, long a dream, is now a reality.

Nelson wanted “to give our guests the experience of eating and dining with the freshest ingredients they’ve ever had.” Also, his objective was “to show guests how a high-country organic farm in Colorado can thrive with hands-on care and attention to detail shown by our and the chefs.”

Each morning, Carlson offers a tour of the farm, walking guests through the greenhouse, garden, orchard, chicken coups and potager, explaining the crops and why it’s so important for The Home Ranch to get back to the immediate farm-to-fork philosophy. Clyde’s Farm currently has 24 vegetable crops, 20 herb varieties, 54 chickens and six pigs. Next year, they plan to add lambs, goats and turkeys, continuing to increase flora and fauna over time.

Clyde’s Farm grew out of founders Steve and Ann Stranahan’s vision to support and sustain a local ranching and farming community with “an ongoing commitment to the stewardship of the land” and the goal for the next generation of the Stranahans to “nourish and foster the growth of ideas and sustainable businesses in the Clark valley, and to remain true to its founder’s vision.”

The Home Ranch offers a Harvest Week program called Wineries, Artisans and Chefs program from August 31 to September 7. The Home Ranch is at 54880 County Road 129, Clark, Colorado 80428; 970-329-4797.