Thursday, April 22, 2010

Eating on the Farm

This was originally published in the Left Hand Valley Courier in 2009 as part of my Vicinity and Beyond series.

It was fun to write, fun to photograph, and it was a really great meal. And it was the ultimate "locovore" experience, since we were on a farm eating food that was cooked on-site and grown on that farm or on neighboring farms,

Farm Food

Buying and eating locally-grown food is becoming more and more popular, as people try to support local businesses, including local farms and farmers. What better way to get a taste of the farm than to eat right on the farm?

You can do that at Ollin Farms in Longmont. New this year is a series of dinners – one Friday and Sunday evening each month from June through September – with farm-grown foods supplemented by goods from other local purveyors, all deliciously orchestrated by Chef Dale Lamb.

Sunday dinners are family oriented with discounted meals for kids, while Friday night dinners are geared towards adults – kids are welcome, but no discounted pricing. Guests can bring their own wine or choose from the nonalcoholic beverages, like fresh-squeezed lemonade or brewed ice tea, available at the farm.

On a recent Friday, the meal included a selection of appetizers including fresh radishes and turnips on baguettes with butter and salt, a feta and spinach frittata, and roasted zucchini.

Two salads were served family style – a cabbage slaw with plums, apricots and cherries, and garden salads.

The entrée was a steamship roast of bison that was carved by Dale Lamb, along with a homey chicken-and-noodle dish and a side including an interesting gratin of potatoes, turnips and fennel.

The menus will change depending on what is seasonal and available, and are posted on the farm’s website about two weeks before the dinners.

At the dinner we went to, everything was served buffet or family-style, except the palate-cleansing sorbet and the dessert, which were brought by servers. Seating is at long tables under a tent, so we ended up chatting with fellow diners during and after the meal.

Mark Guttridge of Ollin farms said that most of the dinners are already sold out, but that his goal wasn’t to compete with local restaurants, but rather to introduce more people to his farm, his farmstand, and the idea of buying and eating fresh and locally grown foods.

Like many of the farmers represented at the local farmer’s market, Guttridge stressed how much better the locally-produced fresh produce is since it can be picked ripe, handled carefully, and sold immediately. And since the produce doesn’t have to withstand shipping, local producers can grow different varieties of vegetables than you might find in the supermarket.

This year, Guttridge is growing 140 different varieties of vegetables, from artichokes to zucchini, which he sells at his farm and at the farmer’s markets. At his farmstand, he also sells western slope fruits, along with tamales, tortillas and salsas.

1 comment:

CJ said...

Oh. What a lovely way to share a meal. How lucky to have that experience of superb farm freshness.

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