The Tomato Edition
Happy Friday, friends.
Our acres devoted to tomatoes are so thick with fruit that we fear the land itself might sink. We raised enough of one of our star vegetables that we could probably craft a pool of sauce the perimeter and depth of the Boulder Reservoir. Yes—it’s been an epic growing season for the many varieties of tomatoes we grew this year.
Read on to learn much more about our upcoming Harvest Celebration “Dirt Dinner” showcasing tomatoes, as well as our altered plans for U-Pick this year. Get ready to start making sauce, beginning this Saturday!
Meanwhile, we will see you at our booths at Boulder County Farmers Markets in Boulder and Longmont; at our Farm Store at 4975 Jay Road; and at Bramble & Hare, the most true farm-to-table restaurant in the United States.
Enjoy the weekend!
September 11th Harvest Celebration Dirt Dinner: Tomatoes
We are excited to confirm your reservation with us for our Harvest Celebration Dirt Dinner of TOMATOES! And bonus for newsletter subscribers: As the Monday dinner is already close to sold out, we are opening up Tuesday for another Harvest Celebration Dirt Dinner reveling in all things tomato—YOU are the first to know!
Our “Dirt Dinner” series is an ever-changing weekly celebration of one vegetable harvested at its peak from our farm. This annual TOMATO celebration dinner is the culmination of months of hard work. Beginning in March, we planted and nurtured an astounding 10,000 tomato plants, representing 18 distinctive tomato varieties. As part of our celebration, we’ve crafted a tomato-centric menu to allow our chefs to explore the uniqueness tomatoes can offer in every course (including dessert and a craft cocktail). This is where our geeky-creative side gets to come out!
As these celebratory nights features ONLY our Harvest Dirt Dinner menu, it is important to let us know in advance of any DIETARY RESTRICTIONS in your party.
As we usher in the heart of the tomato season for the Front Range in Colorado, this event also marks the beginning of our tomato canning season that will see us preserving thousands of pounds of tomatoes for the winter ahead. We hope this dinner inspires you to put up tomatoes at home too. Toward that end we offer bushels and pecks of tomatoes ready for canning at our Black Cat Farm Store on Jay Road, at 4975 Jay Road every weekend into October, beginning this Saturday. Read on for much more about this new program.
We look forward to seeing you.
Warm Regards, Eric, Jill, and the Bramble Team
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, September 11 and Tuesday, September 12 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
Naturally, you will find our tomatoes in abundance at our Farmers Market stalls at both Boulder (8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday) and Longmont (8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday). Ditto for peppers, eggplant, sweet potatoes, cucumbers, basil and a bazillion other goodies.
Do look for our shishito peppers. We think when pan-fried in olive oil until blistered all over and showered with salt, shishitos are fabulous for any gathering: a barbecue, a dinner party, a pre-dinner snack on Tuesday night. And the above approach is awfully malleable. Having a stir fry for dinner? Then swap out the olive oil for roasted sesame oil, and splash with soy sauce rather than salt. Thai food? Fry in coconut oil and douse with fish sauce. Would a teaspoon of Thai curry paste added to the hot pan somehow improve the dish? It would. Leaning into Spain? Then go the olive oil and salt route, but add smoked paprika to the pan. Some minced garlic tossed to the skillet a minute or two before it’s ready to serve? Absolutely.
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:
- Sweet Potatoes
- Summer beans
- Squash blossoms
- Tat soi
- Mizuna, green and purple
- Romaine lettuce
- Salad mix
- Roving wool from our sheep
This year the Farm Store serves as Central Command for all things Black Cat Organic Farm tomatoes. We had hoped to host our U-Pick this year, but the insurance company that insures most small farms nationwide has pulled out of insuring farms that hold events with guests, like U-Picks, pumpkin patches and the like. We searched for other insurance partners, but didn’t have enough time this go around. Our hope is that by next year this issue is resolved. It’s going to hit a lot of farmers—not just us.
Either way, it is important to us to offer to our community bulk vegetables, which people can use to can, freeze, dry or ferment for off-season veggie glory. When the U-Pick fell through, we decided to bring our tomatoes, peppers, eggplant and basil to the Farm Store, and offer them in bulk—with commensurate bulk pricing.
For our organic heirloom tomatoes, the normal price is $5/pound. Bulk pricing is different. For 10 pounds boxes, it’s $3.50/pound. For 20 pound boxes, $2.25/pound.
We will also offer discount bulk pricing for eggplant, peppers and basil at the Farm Store.
Visit us on Saturdays and Sundays for the foreseeable for mountains of organic vegetables to bring home and preserve by making sauces and freezing them, canning and other preservation techniques.
For CSA members, the guidelines attached to your CSA still apply. But instead of hand-picking them this year, you will be able to walk away with pre-harvested boxes of vegetables.
Another Black Cat Organic Farm treat in this newsletter? Absolutely. We raised thousands of huge sunflower plants this season, in two varieties: Mammoth Grey, and Salt and Roast. The technical term for these and similar varieties is “confectionery,” meaning they are not designed for yielding sunflower oil, nor are they purely decorative. No, these are the kinds that farmers grow for the seeds, which get roasted and scarfed down by hungry humans (and are especially beloved by birds, too).
We will offer whole heads of sunflowers, each of them dense with sunflower seeds in their shells, at the Farm Store and Farmers Market booths for quite a while.
Eric likes liberating the fat seeds from the head (you can do it with your hands by just rubbing across them, or get help with a spoon or some other dull tool), boiling them for three minutes, and then drying in the oven or out in the sun (if outdoors, just make sure the drying situation is not accessible to squirrels or birds). Shower with salt. Commence eating organic sunflower seeds.
In addition, Eric recommends hanging whole heads from a tree branch or some other arm-like deal in the yard, and make sure it’s visible from a window or three. Birds will flock to the gigantic blossom and spend hours climbing around it eating seeds.
Enjoy! This is a wonderful pursuit for kids.
Please visit us at the Farm Store at 4975 Jay Road, open Wednesday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. for:
- Sweet potatoes
- Summer 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
- Orange Fig spread
- Full Stop sourdough crackers
- 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
These newbies to the Bramble menu wowed guests during the past week. If we don’t have them when you visit in coming weeks, that’s because we change the menu constantly to reflect the daily harvest. One guarantee: Whatever serve as their replacements on the menu will sing.
Beautiful squash blossoms continue to spangle our fields, and we have been harvesting them with abandon. Our blossoms stuffed with local goat cheese, pistachio tarator and pickled onions have been described as addictive many times. We’d love to share them with you.
And then there’s our ratatouille—this is a spectacular vegetarian entree, but one that only shines for the next few weeks, when all of the key ingredients are ripe and ready. Feeling expansive and downright oceanic? Then try the pan-seared salmon with our sweet potato hash, sautéed fennel, marinated tomatoes and beurre blanc. The merguez-stuffed quail has also been a huge hit—it’s bright with flavors from red onions, Anaheim peppers, salted cucumbers and raita. Don’t miss the Boulder County grass-fed beef dish, with saffron rice pilaf, Hazel Dell mushrooms, Detroit beets and braised celery. This entree will captivate you. And finally, dessert will punctuate your evening of pampering and deliciousness with a parade of exclamation marks—not just one!
We look forward to taking care of you this week at Bramble & Hare!