Happy Wednesday, friends.
Lambing season is here! The first lamb arrived on Sunday, followed soon after by a ewe having triplets. More than 130 ewes are pregnant this year, and many of them will have twins and triplets. We anticipate that by this time next month, we’ll be taking care of well more than 200 lambs.
We devote ourselves to the lambs during this patch of weeks every year, and our guard dogs live with them around the clock, ensuring they are safe from predators. Teamwork!
If you head to our Instagram account @blackcatboulder and @realbrambleandhare you’ll find new videos and photos of these breathtaking animals for as long as ewes are bearing them. Please join us on IG.
At the same time, we are busy this week planting tremendous amounts of seed potatoes and onions that will result in many thousands of pounds at harvest time. These are key partners in our farm-to-table operation. The farm team also is busy in the fields, harvesting greens, root vegetables and much more for the Farm Store, our two farmers market stands in Boulder and Longmont, and Bramble & Hare, our farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Boulder.
Read on for news about a thrilling new “Harvest Celebration Dirt Dinner” on Monday, celebrating the joys of rapini, as well as information about what’s for sale at the Farm Store and the Markets.
Pro tip: We now have LOTS of farm-fresh eggs at the Farm Store. We think it’s a quiche/omelette/egg sandwich/custard/Dutch baby kind of weekend, yes?
Celebrate the Pleasures of Rapini at Dirt Dinner
Our Harvest Celebration Dirt Dinners continue to flood guests and staff with joy and culinary inspiration. With each Monday evening celebration, the staff grows increasingly excited about the next event, as guests marvel over how a vegetable like a carrot or a beet could broadcast so many different flavors and textures, including playing starring roles in cocktails.
For Monday, April 24, the culinary team is showcasing rapini, a broad term that refers to greens from plants within the mustard family, including turnip, tat soi and bok choi. Italians prize them with especially keen enthusiasm, harvesting these early-flowering greens in spring, sautéing them with garlic and hot pepper flakes in olive oil and then eating them with pasta, bruschetta and within sandwiches.
For our Monday dinner, the culinary team is working hard this week on experimenting with different preparations, and coming up with some gorgeous creations. We cannot wait to share them with you.
A tidy range of vegetables that we grow eventually become rapini. But we also specifically plant beds for rapini, just 50 feet from our bees, because these greens are the first to yield flowers every year, even before dandelions. And the bees go crazy for the nectar. The strategy is true win-win: We dedicate plots for one of our favorite vegetables, and the pollinators that sustain our farm get some of their first nectar paloozas of the season. Truly, at Black Cat Organic Farm, every day is Earth Day.
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 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, rapini.
The celebration, on Monday April 24 in our convivial dining room, costs $75, plus tax, gratuity and adult beverages.
Coming up: On Monday, May 1 we will celebrate esescarole-endive-chicory, and on May 8, arugula.
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
You’ll find rapini at our Boulder County Farmers Market stands in Boulder and Longmont. How to prepare it? Eric offers a favorite approach.
- Bring a pot of salted boiling water to a boil.
- Cook pasta of your choosing in the water. Drain the pasta once cooked, but keep the starchy water.
- Plunge rapini into boiling water that formerly cooked the pasta, and blanch for about 5 minutes. Remove rapini from water with tongs, and dry with paper towels. Put aside.
- Meanwhile, heat a few healthy glugs of olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat, and add roughly chopped garlic. After a few minutes, and before garlic starts to brown, put cooked rapini into pan and sauté for a few minutes. Add a few pinches of red pepper flakes.
- Add cooked pasta to pan, and a little of the pasta water to thicken it a bit — maybe 1/3 to 1/2 of a cup.
- Once the pasta is heated through, season to taste and serve. It’s delicious with grated Parmesan. A little lemon juice or lemon zest can rock, too.
Please visit us at the Farmers Markets this week for:
- Fava tops
- Salad mix
- Sourdough bread
- Roving wool from our sheep
We’ve got eggs! Boy, do we have eggs. Guests loved our farm-fresh eggs so much that we doubled-down on our order from a local farmer, and now enjoy a bounty of the stuff of Benedict, sardou, meringues and a bazillion other culinary pleasures. Eggs stand as one of the foundations of much culinary work. And excellent from-the-farm eggs, like these, make a big difference. If you are looking for eggs, now you know where to go for the good stuff — 4975 Jay Road, open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Please visit us at the Farm Store this week for:
- Salad mix
Black Cat Grains and flours and legumes
- Sourdough bread
- Flours from Black Cat Organic Farm grains
- Dried beans
- Ancient grains
- Merguez sausage (New!)
- Grama Grass & Livestock Beef
- Cuts of Black Cat heritage lamb
- Pork ribs, pork shops and bacon
Black Cat Farm Provisions
- Braised lamb curry
- 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
- Taos Bakes Cosmo Nuts (New!)
- 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
You’ve had spanakopita before, the classic Greek dish starring spinach and complementary ingredients encased in phyllo dough. You may even have loved it. But chances are the spinach was frozen, and from a conventional field somewhere other than your own town: California grows the most spinach in the United States, but 90% of the world’s spinach is grown in China.
This is not flavor-electric spinach, nor does it yield winning textures.
But our spanakopita, from just-harvested sweet spring spinach? Now that’s spinach broadcasting charisma and charm. Our Bloomsdale spinach, the centerpiece of a recent Harvest Celebration Dirt Dinner, turns spanakopita into another dish entirely, one you will think about and crave long after you try it at Bramble.
Meanwhile, the popular rabbit leg entree is back, and our New York Strip with samosa-spiced potatoes, saag and Hazel Dell mushrooms is gaining a following. The Colorado striped bass with red quinoa, braised onions, roasted cauliflower and Romesco sauce receives heaps of love from guests. And the olive oil cake with beet mousse, orange caramel, beet meringue and Chantilly cream? You can’t miss it.