Happy Thursday, friends.
As the growing season evolves from the sounds of trickling snow melt and temperatures spiking into the 50s last month, to highs reaching the mid-80s, the emergence of flowers and the greening of grass now, our work ramps up considerably.
While the fields still look fairly brown (not for long!), what’s happening beneath and at the surface is extremely consequential for the life of the farm.
We are cultivating soil, and planting seeds in the patchwork of beds that comprise our cultivated acreage. We are tending to thousands of seedlings in the greenhouse, nurturing them to vigor before they eventually leave the structure’s warm, moist swaddle for Boulder’s more stern outdoor environment. And we are already transplanting some starts to our hoop houses, which serve as bridges between the greenhouse’s coddling caresses and the wild, unprotected life out in the wind, volatile temperatures and loud sun.
While the hoop houses have supported the growth of greens like arugula and kale all winter, only two vegetable starts — plants that began life in the greenhouse — now dwell within the unheated hoop houses: tomatoes and watermelons.
To at least try to ensure that the starts make it until sometime in May, when the last hard frost of the spring normally arrives, we surround the starts in the unheated hoop houses with hollow towers of reusable plastic, the walls of which are filled with water (see photo). As sunlight alone warms the hoop houses considerably during the day, the liquid in those towers gets quite toasty. At night, when temperatures in Boulder routinely dip below freezing across April and part of May, the water-filled towers retain their heat from the long day of sunlight. Most of the time, they stay snug enough to keep those starts healthy.
Our April toil revolves around more than planting and nurturing, however. We also harvest quite a bit, and of course devote many hours a week to making those organic veggies squeaky clean with water and a lot of elbow grease. And they are here to satisfy all of your culinary needs and wishes.
We hope to see you at our booths in Boulder and Longmont at Saturday’s Boulder County Farmers Market; at our Farm Store at 4975 Jay Road, open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; at our upcoming “Dirt Dinner” at Bramble & Hare celebrating two exquisite varieties of beets (more below); and at Bramble & Hare for the rest of the week (we are closed Sunday) for the most true farm-to-table cuisine in the United States.
Detroit & Three Root Grex Beetroots Star in “Dirt Dinner”
Both of our Harvest Celebration “Dirt Dinners” this year have enchanted and inspired guests and Bramble & Hare staff. For each Monday event, we spotlight one of the more than 250 varieties of organic vegetables, grains, legumes and herbs that we grow on our 425-acre farm in Boulder. This year’s kick-off two weeks ago featured glorious Chantenay carrots, and last Monday’s revolved around an utterly bewitching and old varietal of heritage spinach, Bloomsdale. After both dinners, guests said they could not wait to hit the Farm Store or one of our farmers market booths to buy the vegetables, and cook with them at home.
The experience has galvanized our long-held belief that a balance of dining pleasure finds its foundation in the quality of the ingredients. Of course, excellence in the kitchen is essential. But when you combine high-level culinary savvy and imagination with exquisite ingredients, it simply does not get better.
This Monday’s (April 17) celebration honors two varieties of beets, Detroit and Three Root Grex. Eric grows both of them for several reasons, including their ability to thrive in Boulder County. But the main impetus for growing these beets — we raise thousands of them every year — is flavor and texture. Both of these varietals broadcast classic beet earthiness, but with a bit more finesse and complexity than beets we all have picked up at the supermarket. Standard beets are fine culinary partners, but many offer just one note, earthy, and too often lack the background sweetness that turns beets from workhorses into champion thoroughbreds. These beets are stallions.
People first began cultivating beets in the Middle East and primarily for their greens. When they reached Italy, however, the Romans understood their culinary glory, and grew them for their roots (way to go, as usual, Italians!). Today, Eastern Europeans turn them into borscht. Germans mash them with labskaus, a salted meat dish that also incorporates potatoes, onions, and often gherkins and herring. And Swedes make Biff à la Lindström, a ground meat dish that includes chopped or grated beetroot.
For our beetroot feast on Monday April 17, we anticipate serving:
- Welcome aperitif incorporating beets
- Beet carapaccio with grapefruit and first flowers of spring (mostly tantalizingly delicious blossoms from plants like arugula, tat soi and mizuna)
- Roasted beet salad with goat cheese bread pudding and arugula
- Slow cooked beef with beet spaetzle
- Chocolate beet cake, beet ice cream, chocolate sauce, cacao nib nougatine
Coming up, on Monday, April 24, majestic rapini will take center stage at Bramble & Hare.
We look forward to sharing the grandeur of Detroit and Three Root Grex beets with you this Monday night!
Meanwhile, the hospitality team is eager to once again invite guests to order simply “white” or “red” wines, all of which have been curated by our outstanding sommelier Logan to complement evening’s dinner, which arrive wrapped in burlap. Diners who participate in the engaging challenge then receive the sort of taste, aroma, color and texture scorecards that sommeliers use to understand wine, and to take part in blind tastings. From there, guests have fun exploring the wines and guessing at their varietals, countries of origin and more.
At each of our dinners, the sommelier game captured the imaginations of guests who signed up; we love watching them having fun tasting and talking about the wine, and then researching the wines once they learned their identity.
Not interested in using the sommelier’s grid during dinner? No problem. You can order the bottles of wine that Logan selected to pair with the meal, or you can work with a server to discover something you love on the wine list, or turn to cocktails and other beverages. Either way, we cannot wait to welcome you into our dining room in downtown Boulder and share four courses of culinary excellence with you, all of which will revolve around next week’s diva, Detroit and Three Root Grex beetroots..
The celebration, on Monday April 17 in our convivial dining room, costs $75, plus tax, gratuity and adult beverages.
The Black Cat Organic Farm CSA
If you haven’t signed up for our 2023 CSA yet, spots still remain. Our CSA differs from most: Instead of us filling sacks or baskets with vegetables for you to pick up, for our CSA we invite you to visit the Farm Store 20 times between June and October and fill Black Cat CSA totes with produce. In addition, CSA members enjoy 5% discounts on all store items, plus a bonus U-Pick credit based on share size.
The link contains loads more information about how the CSA works, as well as a way to sign-up. Welcome to the Black Cat family.
Farmers Markets in Boulder and Longmont
The forecast predicts climatic glory on Saturday, with a cool start but reaching 50 by noon and nothing but sun for most of the day. We cannot wait to serve you at both of our farmers market booths, in downtown Boulder from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at the Boulder County Fairgrounds in Longmont from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Please visit us at the Farmers Markets this week for:
- Salad mix
- Roving wool from our sheep
The Farm Store, open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at 4975 Jay Road, will have the outstanding beets we are featuring at Monday night’s dinner, along with sourdough bread and pastries, local meats, loads of Black Cat prepared foods, and provisions from local artisans.
Please visit us this week and weekend at the Farm Store, located at 4975 Jay Road and open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for:
- Salad mix
Black Cat Grains and flours and legumes
- Sourdough bread
- Flours from Black Cat Organic Farm grains
- Dried beans
- Ancient grains
- Grama Grass & Livestock Beef
- Cuts of Black Cat heritage lamb
- Pork ribs, pork shops and bacon
Black Cat Farm Provisions
- Braised lamb curry (New!)
- Spaghetti squash stuffed with vegetable stew on a bed of sauteed greens
- Orange cake with beet mousse
- Beef chili
- Vegetable curry
- French onion soup
- Tomato sauce with basil and garlic
- Basque piperade
- Yellow Tomato Sauce with French thyme
- Salsa amarilla con rajas
- Spicy harissa
- Carrot cake
- Chocolate cake
- Mini Moos Goat Cheese
- Frog Hollow Farmstead Crackers with Nettle Salt
- Frog Hollow Farmstead Apple Butter
- Full Stop Bakery Sourdough Crackers
- Tenderfoot Farm Jam
- Plains & Prairie goods
- Humble Suds cleaning products
- Bee-Och Organics tooth powder, muscle pain rub, beard oil, deodorant
- Growing Organic probiotic soaps
- Purple Fence Farm lotions, soaps, bath salts, facial toners and salves
- Annie Bee’s Hand-Poured Beeswax Candles
- Bluecorn Beeswax Candles
- Havenly Baked Gluten-Free Bread
- Boulder Broth
- Bee Grateful Honey Caramels, in chocolate, espresso and salted flavors
- Bjorn’s Colorado Honey and doggie treats
- Boulder Valley Honey
- Bolder Chip salsa, corn chips and tortillas, and uncooked flour tortillas
- Green Tahini dips and dressings
- Pueblo Seed Grains and Seasoning
- Heartbeets Veggie Burgers and doggie treats
- Spark + Honey Granola
- Mountain Girl Pickles
- Project Umami Tempeh
- Silver Canyon Coffee
- French mustard
- Gorgeous Italian balsamic vinegar
- Ambrosial Italian apple cider vinegar
- Vegan charcuterie from Greece
- Italian risotto rice
Bramble & Hare
The carrot ravioli with carrot gaufrette (a savory, waffle-like dish) and carrot beurre monté (an emulsified butter sauce) is a new standout on the appetizers menu. It’s a gorgeous dish.
Nearly everything on the Bramble & Hare menu comes from our 425-acre organic farm in Boulder. The cozy, convivial restaurant is the most true farm-to-table restaurant in the United States — and it’s right here, in your back yard.
Let us make your night special — join us at Bramble & Hare!