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Black Cat: Farm-Table-Bistro in Boulder Print E-mail
Written by Ann Shepphird   
Friday, 10 June 2011 01:25
Eric Skaken of Black Cat

As its name suggests, Black Cat: Farm-Table-Bistro takes its farm-to-table seriously. In fact, the restaurant -- which opened in at 13th and Pearl in Boulder in 2006 -- has its own 70-acre farm run by chef/owner Eric Skokan. Not only does the farm service the restaurant but it's also often seen at Boulder's farmers market, as Linda Hayes reported in her post on "Bountiful Boulder." We recently chatted with Skokan about the restaurant, the farm -- and why his tractor is named Buttercup.

 

Which came first, the restaurant or the farm? The restaurant came first. At the time the farm was really just a little garden at my house. I wanted to grow some of the special, little things that were really hard to come by. I fell in love with puttering in the garden in the mornings before I went in to work. So, that first summer, I doubled the size of the garden. I loved it even more, so I doubled it again. The doubling continued over the last few years and now the farm is at around 70 acres.

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Bountiful Boulder Print E-mail
Written by Linda Hayes   
Tuesday, 07 June 2011 07:01
Boulder Farmers MarketIt was all about greens at last week's Boulder County Farmers' Market in downtown Boulder, Colorado. Piles of mustard greens and Egyptian walking onions from Red Wagon Organic Farm in Longmont. Pails of baby arugula, mixed lettuces and spicy greens from Black Cat Farm-Table-Bistro, an edgy little restaurant a few blocks away whose owners also run an organic farm just outside the city. (Note: We recently posted an interview with Black Cat chef -- and farmer -- Eric Skokan). Baskets of Bordeaux spinach, chives and other herbs from Toohey & Sons Farm in Hygiene.

'Alright by us,' my husband and I agreed as we packed up what we could into our cooler bag, knowing that it needed to survive the trip back home to Aspen. It had been a long, wet, chilly spring in the high country, Boulder included at 5,344 feet. We were overjoyed to see the early season crops from local farmers looking so perky and promising.

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A Sense of Season at the Pierre, New York Print E-mail
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Written by Ann Shepphird   
Sunday, 29 May 2011 07:33
Pierre watermelon salad

Chances are when you think of The Pierre, New York, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year, the thoughts run to the things one associates with an iconic New York City luxury hotel: elegant doormen, black-tie galas and an amazing concierge team. What might not come to mind -- especially in a bustling city like New York -- is an emphasis on environmental friendliness (the incredibly comfortable beds are made from recycled steel and bamboo fibers) and local, seasonal fare in the restaurants. But that’s just what is found in the hotel’s Le Caprice with new chef Ed Carew (who changes the menu weekly based on what’s in season) and in the Pierre’s Two E Bar & Lounge

 

Two E’s seasonal offerings run both to food and cocktails, most recently including a watermelon salad (left, featuring local goat cheese) and a cocktail called the Gin Gin that features ginger, cucumber, mint and lime. It was originally created as a seasonal cocktail for Fashion’s Night Out in 2009 but was so popular it became part of the standard menu and is still one of their best sellers.

 

Even better, they were kind enough to send along the recipes (click "read more"). Enjoy!

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Ventura Loves Lemons (A Lot!) Print E-mail
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Written by Abbie Mood   
Sunday, 22 May 2011 07:50

Limoncello LemonsWith its Mediterranean climate, it’s no surprise that the area in and around Ventura, California, makes it easy to grow a variety of fruits. One of the more popular ones is the lemon. Whether it’s the local Ventura Limoncello in a Lemon Drop  at the Watermark or Limoneira lemons used in one of the lemon cake desserts at the Sidecar, lemons can be found just about everywhere. On a recent trip to Ventura, sponsored by the Ventura Visitors & Convention Bureau, I toured Ventura Limoncello and Limoneira, two local companies that are deep into the lemon business.

As soon as you walk into the offices of Ventura Limoncello, you are met with the fresh smell of lemons. James Carling and his wife, Manuela, run the entire operation with just the help of Manuela’s parents and (occasionally) their son. They scrub and peel the locally sourced lemons by hand, then soak them in 190-proof grain alcohol (pictured above), filter the liquid in a stainless steel tank, blend with a sugar and water mixture, then measure out by hand. The liquid is then sent for analysis to be sure they maintain the alcohol content stated on the label. The leftover lemon fruit is sent back to the grower to use as mulch for the nearby blueberry fields. Ventura Limoncello offers the Limoncello Originale, Limoncello Crema, and seasonally, a delicious Blood Orange flavor.

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