We are thrilled to announce that the Michelin Guide has awarded Bramble & Hare with a Green Star, which honors restaurants that demonstrate extreme commitment to sustainability. Prior to Tuesday evening’s ceremony, only 17 restaurants in the United States had earned a Green Star, while 200 restaurants had achieved regular Michelin Stars.
The acknowledgement by Michelin of all that we have done to build a restaurant and farm that complement each other is a distinction that we hold close to our hearts.
We have devoted more than 17 years of our lives to figuring out how to operate restaurants with deep roots in community, beginning with soil. Shortly after opening our first restaurant, Black Cat Bistro, we began growing vegetables like carrots and peas on a small scale—as in, our back yard. That was in 2006. Fast-forward to 2023, and we now steward land that supports more than 425 acres of vegetables, grains, legumes, herbs and flowers, and raise heritage pigs and sheep.
From the beginning, we understood the farm would be certified USDA Organic. We rejected saturating soil and plants with harmful chemicals, just to deal with pests and weeds. Not only does the practice introduce harmful chemicals to the people in our community, it also kills soil—which should be a living thing!—and corrupts our beloved Boulder community’s environment.
Along the way, we also embraced a variety of biodynamic farming methods, such as the incorporation of livestock into the farm. And we pursued key aspects of regenerative farming, which especially champions soil health. Among other things, our expansive grain program—we grow myriad heritage grains, and mill them into flours for use in our restaurants—fits squarely into some of the hallmarks of regenerative farming.
Restaurant waste? Our approach has dramatically curtailed it—and it’s a problem in the restaurant industry. Instead of trucks pulling up in the alley behind Bramble & Hare every hour across every day, trucks filled with lamb from New Zealand, chile peppers from Mexico, cabbage from China and tomatoes from California, we source most of our food from our farm down the street. Artichokes, carrots, Asian greens, parsley, lamb, pork, eggplant, wheat, fava beans and hundreds of other ingredients—we grow it all in vibrant, living, Boulder County soil.
Farm-to-table in February in Boulder County’s punishing steppe-like climate? We preserve an enormous variety of the things that we raise, which allows us to pamper guests with local food 12 months out of the year. Tomatoes get transformed into sauces and many pounds of sun-dried fruit. The farm team raises corn specifically for polenta, which we serve year-round in the restaurant. Our culinary pros cure cuts like pork and lamb legs into charcuterie. Peppers get fermented and sun-dried. Beans get dried, including the acres of garbanzo beans we grow every year and turn into things like hummus. We even make our absinthe-like spirit, from seeds we harvest from fennel plants.
At Black Cat Organic Farm we save seeds to plant the following year, and rotate fields constantly to ensure soil vitality. We shepherd pigs into already-harvested fields to provide them delicious and healthy organic food, but also to turn over and fertilize fields, and rid plots of weeds. Pigs represent a much better weed-removal approach than toxic chemicals!
The whole team, from the kitchen and dining rooms to the fields, is grateful for the Michelin Guide’s recognition of all of the work, savvy and commitment that we have poured into building both Black Cat Organic Farm and Bramble & Hare.
We look forward to welcoming you to our dining room, to share with you the fruits of our fields and the culinary wizardry that takes place in Bramble & Hare every evening.