Happy Thursday, friends.
We’ll take the recent blanket of snow. It’s been dry in Boulder County. While we are not especially worried about our balance of irrigation water this season, due to healthy mountain snows, we needed moisture now. And just like that, the skies delivered.
Days prior however, instead of a snowstorm, it was more like the Dust Bowl. The steady 50 mph winds, with 75+ mph gusts, threatened the farm: row cover, hoop houses, the green house and our farm dinner cabanas. Thanks to years of contending with Boulder’s wild winds, however, we have figured out how to build for our steppe equivalent of hurricane winds. And with the exception of some row cover getting blown around, everything survived the gale. Thrilling! It’s always a worry.
Happy Passover and Easter to those who celebrate! From meats (beef, lamb and pork) to root vegetables, onions, vibrant greens, bread, prepared foods and artisan provisions, we’ve got outstanding additions to any menu.
For lamb, which can work for both holidays, Eric offers a straightforward method for transforming an entire leg into a show-stopping centerpiece.
The first and most challenging step: deboning the leg. The leg can easily be roasted with the bone left in, but it’s easier for everybody if it’s deboned.
- The leg bone runs along the length of the lamb cut. To remove it, Eric slices through the meat to the bone and then works his way down until there is an opening all of the way to the bone that runs the length of the leg bone. From there, he cuts meat away from the bone, and peels it back as he goes, exposing bone. Eventually, you’ll be able to liberate the bone from the meat.
- Once the meat is deboned, then Eric mixes chopped garlic, rosemary, chives, mint, parsley and a secret ingredient, lemon zest, and rubs both sides of the leg with the mixture, along with liberal applications of salt.
- Rolling the meat and tying it before roasting is a fine idea, but slightly complicated. Another route: just gather the leg meat, form it together so the meat is even across the sheet tray, and then roast at 350 degrees for between 50 minutes and an hour.
- At 50 minutes, Eric plunges a thermometer into the leg; he’s looking for 116 degrees for a cut that yields rare to medium rare after it’s had a chance to rest. For more well done, he’ll hit 118 degrees; for more rare, 113.
We will see you at both the Longmont and Boulder farmers markets on Saturday (our first Longmont market was a big success), our Farm Store at 4975 Jay Road open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and our farm-to-table restaurant in downtown Boulder, Bramble & Hare.
Bloomsdale Spinach Stars in Upcoming “Dirt Dinner”
The return of our harvest celebration “Dirt Dinner” at Bramble & Hare this week thrilled. Guests showered those Chantenay carrots, the stars of the show, with critical acclaim; they now can’t wait to visit us at the Farm Store and the farmers markets to pick up bouquets of beautiful Chantenays.
Ever since, the culinary team has been dreaming up dishes for next week’s Dirt Dinner, which celebrates our Bloomsdale spinach, an old American variety with lineage stretching back into the 19th century. Eric began growing Bloomsdale years ago, and has stopped experimenting with other spinach varietals; Bloomsdale is wonderfully sweet and offers immense textural advantages.
“The neat thing about the early spring Bloomsdale spinach is the leaves have heft to them; they are substantial,” says Eric. “But when cooked, the leaves turn into this buttery, smooth, velvety texture. So for building a menu for this Monday’s Dirt Dinner, we encounter a variety of welcome directions, with the succulent raw leaves coming across as almost beefy, with robust sweetness, and then when cooked transforming into something elegant and silky. It’s amazing.”
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 accompany 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 last Monday’s dinner, the sommelier game captured the imaginations of guests who signed up; we had a blast watching them having fun tasting and talking about the wine, and then researching the wines once they learned their identity.
Whether you opt to play the wine guessing game or not, 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, Bloomsdale spinach.
The celebration, on Monday April 10 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
We’ve been at the Boulder County Farmers Market in downtown Boulder for more than 15 years, and it’s been rewarding from the beginning. Opening a second stand at the BCFM market in Longmont tantalized us all along, but due to so many other priorities, we never made it happen. Until last Saturday. What took us so long! The experience at this friendly, bustling market wowed the whole team; we cannot wait to return.
Please visit us at the Farmers Markets this week for:
- Salad mix
- Roving wool from our sheep
We look forward to taking care of you at the Farm Store through Sunday. One thing we will not have at the Store this week — or for a couple of months — is watermelon. But we’ve spent the week working on an experiment that we hope yields the fruit somewhere around July 4, which would make Black Cat Organic Farm sort of like watermelon royalty this year.
Our late spring and early fall frosts in Boulder challenge watermelon ripening. Normally, we just don’t have enough time for the fruit to grow sweet and luscious. Watermelon plants don’t normally do well when transplanted, but this year Eric is pushing forward with an experiment he began last year, where he starts them in the greenhouse, and then transplants in the hoop houses. We will be doing the transplanting this week.
The plants are highly sensitive to cold; at 32 degrees or below, they turn black and die. And our hoop houses are not heated. But Eric came up with a plan to maintain hoop house temperatures above freezing, even when the mercury dips beneath freezing (which it will do repeatedly until sometime in May). If the plan works, then we should have juicy watermelon for you by July. Fingers crossed.
Please visit us at the Farm Store this week for:
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
- Spaghetti squash stuffed with vegetable stew on a bed of sauteed greens (New!)
- Orange cake with beet mousse (New!)
- Beef chili (New!)
- Mole (it is BACK!)
- Vegetable curry
- Onion jam
- 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
This current menu offers one dish inspired by our recent Dirt Dinner spotlighting our fabulous Chantenay carrots. The carrot ravioli with carrot gofres (a savory, waffle-like dish) and carrot beurre monté (an emulsified butter sauce) is a new standout on the appetizers menu.
From our adobo pork sausage with roasted potatoes and kimchi; to the saffron risotto with deglazed parsnips, sautéed beets and frico; to the olive oil cake with beet mousse, orange caramel, beet meringue and Chantilly cream, this menu positively sings with farm-to-table vision and excellence.
Let us make your night special — join us at Bramble & Hare!