True Farm to Table
Happy Friday, friends.
A day in the life of the most ambitious farm-to-table operation in the United States normally includes tasks that are entirely foreign to restaurants—and often to farms, too.
Consider our harvest this week of black chickpeas, called kala channa in Hindi (kala means black, and channa means chickpeas). We plant these beauties in the spring in our organic fields. In early summer orange flowers emerge on the green shrub-like plants. Then seed pods emerge, and the peas form. The farm team harvests some of them fresh, but allows most of the plants to dry in the fields. And then they harvest the chickpeas, which get stored at our restaurant Bramble & Hare. The culinary team turns to the long-lasting dried chickpeas across the year.
Could we have bought organic kala channa and had it shipped to Bramble? Of course. But that’s not how we roll unless there’s no way we could grow the ingredient. Lemons? Olives? Pistachios? We source them from outstanding farmers. But most of what we bring into our kitchens and serve to you comes from our own fields. We grow more than 250 varieties of vegetables, legumes, grains, herbs and flowers on our 420 acres.
Visit us this weekend at Bramble & Hare, our Farm Store at 4975 Jay Road and our Boulder County Farmers Markets in Boulder and Longmont on Saturday to savor the many gorgeous things we grow in our USDA Certified Organic fields.
And remember to look up into the sky, especially Saturday night and early Sunday, for what could be a majestic Perseid meteor shower. The streaks of light we observe come from the comet Swift-Tuttle. When Earth nears the comet’s orbit, bits of rock and debris from the comet land in our atmosphere and burn, creating the arresting light show. With the moon now a waning crescent sliver, moonlight is barely competing with light from the Perseids. Last year’s Perseid’s took place during a bright full moon. This weekend, look up!
August 14 Harvest Celebration Dirt Dinner: Green Tomatoes
Red tomatoes invite us to dream of pasta sauce and pan con tomate, of gazpacho, ratatouille, BLTs and a pleasing parade of other dishes. Jalepeños ignite visions of salsa, curries, banh mi sandwiches, jalapeño cheddar corn bread and spicy margaritas.
Green tomatoes? Our culinary fantasies often begin, and end, with fried green tomatoes. The classic preparation—tomato slices covered with flour, dipped in whisked eggs and milk, and then dredged in cornmeal and bread crumbs and fried in oil—beguiles us every time we craft it. But there’s far more to green tomatoes than hot, crisp slices. Especially when the tomatoes are heirloom varieties, and naturally redolent with flavor.
Colorado does not occupy the heart of the bullseye for tomato-cultivating excellence. The final product, the tomatoes, taste outstanding, rivaling those grown in more tomato-happy locales. But with its cool nights and relatively short growing season, tomato harvesting in Colorado doesn’t really get started until the middle of August, and then ends with the first frost, normally in early October.
The situation yields quite a lot of green tomatoes. They have become an important side crop at Black Cat Organic Farm, one we cherish.
The culinary team has thrilled to the satisfying green tomato challenge, devoting hours this week to exploring the flavor and textural advantages of our many varieties of heirloom tomatoes that haven’t quite yet reached peak ripeness. They’ve come up with four beautiful courses for Monday night’s celebration, plus a green tomato-oriented welcome aperitif. This is a night for both green tomato enthusiasts and skeptics. Prepare to get wowed! And get ready to make your friends who don’t show up green with envy.
An aside: Please let us know in advance if you have any dietary restrictions before attending a Harvest Celebration dinner. Thank you!
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 our 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 has 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.
The celebration, on Monday, August 14 in our convivial dining room, costs $87, plus tax, gratuity and adult beverages. When making a reservation, it is important to include dietary restrictions, so we can best accommodate; we rely mostly on the fruits of our fields for our dishes, and while accommodating dietary restrictions is something we do with pleasure, it is especially helpful in our case to have a little bit of advance notice.
Farmers Markets in Boulder and Longmont
Summer squash season is upon us. For the next few months, witness a burgeoning bounty of the fruit and its myiad colors, shapes and textures. We love slicing them into rounds and baking them with Parmesan cheese. So simple, and delicious. Baked with garlicky breadcrumbs in a casserole dish? Yes, please. Sauteed until caramelized and then paired with lemon for a pasta dish? You bet. Squash fries, squash bread, squash lasagna, squash and salmon baked in foil, grilled squash, squash enchiladas, squash kebabs, pickled squash, ratatouille, squash chips, squash-stuffed ravioli. We could go on, but you get the idea. This is one versatile vegetable. And we’ll have organic squash at the Markets into October, if not later.
Visit us at the Markets on Saturday in Boulder (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.) and Longmont (8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) and snag a bunch of organic squash, along with many other agricultural treasures, from tomatoes to greens to onions, herbs, carrots, fava beans and much more.
At our booths this week, which are open from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Boulder and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. in Longmont, look for:
- Squash blossoms
- Sunflower bouquets
- Fava beans
- Tat soi
- Mizuna, green and purple
- Romaine lettuce
- Salad mix
- Roving wool from our sheep
- Cuts of lamb
Interested in spending your days surrounded by just-harvested and organic vegetables, legumes, grains, herbs and flowers? In serving our many happy customers for whom a visit to the Black Cat Farm Store is a weekly highlight? Our Farm Store is one of the happiest patches of Boulder County, and we are looking for a new team member. If you or someone you know might be interested, we’d love to hear from you! Head to blackcatboulder.com, click on the “Information” tab and scroll down to job opening to learn more and apply.
Please visit us at the Farm Store, located at 4975 Jay Road and open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., for:
- Squash blossoms
- Sunflower bouquets
- Fava beans
- Tat soi
- Green mustard
- Salad mix
- Chicken eggs
- Duck eggs
- Guinea eggs
Black Cat Grains and flours and legumes
- Sourdough bread
- Cuts of Black Cat heritage lamb
- Cuts of Black Cat Organic Farm pork
- Dog food
Black Cat Farm Provisions
- Onion soup
- Roasted tomato sauce with basil and garlic
- Basque piperade
- Yellow Tomato Sauce with French thyme
- Tomato shallot fonduto
- Salsa amarilla con rajas
- Spicy harissa
- Big B’s Organic Apple Cider Vinegar
- Frog Hollow Farmstead Apple Butter
- Annie Bee’s Hand-Poured Beeswax Candles
- Havenly Baked Gluten-Free Bread
- Boulder Broth
- Bjorn’s Colorado Honey and doggie treats
- Boulder Valley Honey
- Bolder Chips tortilla chips
- Pueblo Seed Grains Co. cookies, cereals, grits and more
- Heartbeets Veggie Burgers and doggie treats
- Spark + Honey Granola
- Green tahini spreads
- Mountain Girl Pickles
- Project Umami Tempeh and bacon
- Silver Canyon Coffee
- Vegan charcuterie from Greece
- Italian risotto rice
- Humble Suds cleaning products
- Growing Organic probiotic soaps
- BeeOch beard and body care products
- Purple Fence Farm salves, beard oils
- Vital You toner mists, soaps
- Bjorn’s face wash and sunscreen
Bramble & Hare
Menus at the nation’s most true farm-to-table restaurant revolve largely around the things we grow on our 425-acre organic Boulder farm. We raise livestock on organic pasture, and cultivate more than 250 varieties of organic and heirloom vegetables, grains, legumes, herbs and flowers.
But we can’t trace the provenance of every ingredient to the farm. If we limited the menu to Black Cat Organic Farm, we’d have to say goodbye to cooking oils, dairy products (butter!), citrus fruits, nuts, olives and more. That includes fish.
Our approach lets us offer dishes like the pan-seared salmon dish, with red quinoa, summer squash, marinated cherry tomatoes and Romesco sauce. The squash, tomatoes and Romesco ingredients all come from the farm, but not the salmon. So most of this dish is true farm-to-table, with ingredients raised in soil just miles away from Bramble & Hare. The whole dish is wonderful.
The Bramble menu changes nearly every day, especially for the next few months, as so many new vegetables finally ripen and get harvested.
Pay us a visit soon. We look forward to decorating your evening and week with exquisite food, most of which came directly from our fields.