Last week we kicked off the 2017 Spring and Summer Season with what we hope will become an annual tradition–the Farm Runners Field Trip.With more than 25 people, representing over 10 restaurants, this was the largest tour we’ve hosted yet. Thank you so much to all the chefs who took the time to come meet their farmers and get a taste of our valley. We hope it was a day of fun and inspiration.
After what’s been a volatile spring, we were stunned by a gorgeous day full of sun, puffy clouds, a gentle breeze, and vibrant green views of the valley. Everywhere we went, snow-capped Mount Lamborn provided a stunning backdrop.
Our tour started in Paonia at Rain Crow Farm. Kerry Noonan shared with the whole crew her infectious enthusiasm for her beautiful farm on the banks of the North Fork River. When we arrived, Kerry and her crew were transforming blank canvases of tilled earth into new beds of cooking greens. Kerry’s farm is an edible landscape, with cultivated rows of veggies tucked between wild patches of perennials and stands of wildlife-attracting shrubs and trees. Chickens scratch beneath a small grove of fruit trees. Greenhouses overflow with early season mustards, chois, and flowers.
Next stop: Delicious Orchards for a bite to eat and tour of their organic orchard. Delicious is home of Big B’s juice and hard cider, as well as a farm-stand cafe, u-pick orchard, and campground. Lil not only managed to get all the mob of us fed and full of cider, but also taught us about organic orchard management and how to keep delicate fruit blossoms warm when it freezes.
Last but not least, we wrapped up the tour with a trip to Zimmerman Pork Farm in Hotchkiss. Rick Zimmerman raises berkshire hogs, known to produce some of the best flavored pork around. He and his wife Jeanne also raise several vegetable crops from seed. His greenhouse was bursting with plants like Shishito peppers, okra, and tomatillos ready to get out in the ground. Rick’s down-to-earth style and wealth of information on farming were a perfect way to end the day. Plus, there were baby pigs. And who can doesn’t love a baby pig?
A big thank you to all of our farmers for taking the time out of their busy schedule to tromp us around. We couldn’t do what we do without you. Here’s to a prolific, successful, and happy season!