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Beaver Creek Bruschetta: Rounding up Lunch at Colorado's Minturn Market Print E-mail
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Written by Linda Hayes   
Tuesday, 23 August 2011 04:48
Minturn MarketJeep tour? Check. Zip-line? Check. Horseback riding? Mmm…not so much. But wait. What's this? A trip to the Minturn Farmers' Market with Executive Chef Mike Spalla of Beaver Creek Lodge, host of our weekend visit to gorgeous Beaver Creek, Colorado? Yee-haw!

Yes, there are bountiful farmers' markets up and down the Roaring Fork Valley, including in Aspen, where I live. But Minturn is a sweet, historic little mountain town (about a dozen miles from Beaver Creek), with mining, railroad and farming roots and a year-round population of 1,037, give or take a few. In addition to freshly plucked produce from local farms, I'd heard talk of pickle canning demos, colorful, hand-woven grass market baskets and fab fish tacos from Mango's Mountain Grill in nearby Red Cliff. Bingo.

Little did I know, though, that the invitation to visit the Minturn Farmers' Market would come with a challenge. Our group of 10 journalists would be split into two teams, handed five dollars apiece and be sent on a mission: collect ingredients for dishes that we would prep in the Lodge's restaurant kitchen and serve for lunch. Our team made a bee-line for summer squash and zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, peaches, greens and roasted green peppers from Austin Family Farm (Paonia) and Miller Farms (Platteville). We added a loaf of artisan bread from a Denver bakery and blackberry honey from Winter Park Honey.

A couple of hours later, and with the help and good humor of chef Spa Spalla* and sous chef Chad Barbier*, we served up pretty impressive platters of bruschetta and tomato-basil salad -- paired with the just plain prettiest prosecco and peach bellinis you've ever seen (recipes below). Tasty, too, I might add.

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Big Island Bounty at the Hilo Farmers Market Print E-mail
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Written by Melanie Waldman   
Thursday, 04 August 2011 02:33

Hilo Farmers MarketOn the eighth day, God created the Hilo Farmers Market on the Big Island of Hawaii. And lo, it was good, offering as it does lilikoi lemonade, local crafts, exotic plants and a whole lot more.

Since 1988, the farmers' market in downtown Hilo - the biggest little city on Hawaii's lush eastern side - has featured the bounty of the island's iron-rich soil. Back in the day, the market was little more than a few farmers hawking their wares from their flatbed trucks, while now you'll also find prepared foods, toiletries and crafts that reflect the mixed heritage of the local population: Polynesian, pan-Asian and Transplanted Mainlander.

It rains in Hilo at least once every day, so just about the entire market is tented. As you elbow your way through the sometimes-serious crowds, keep an eye out for:

  • Filthy Farmgirl at Hilo Farmers MarketFreshly made Vietnamese rolls and tropical-fruit-flavored lemonades
  • Spam musubi, a local version of sushi made with...Spam
  • Hand-woven palm baskets from one of Hawaii's oldest families
  • Gorgeous beach glass-and-silver jewelry by Seashore Collections
  • Little bites of purple sweet potato mochi from the Papa'a Palaoa Bakery
  • Dramatic necklaces made from big, shiny, dark and indigenous kamani nuts
  • More Hawaiian shirts than you've ever seen in your life
  • Soap from Filthy Farmgirl, featuring fresh ingredients -- and hilarious labels
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Mad for Macadamia at Hawaii's Puna Girl Farms Print E-mail
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Written by Abbie Mood   
Tuesday, 05 July 2011 07:13

Puna Girl Farms signIf you've ever wondered what all goes into growing those wonderful macadmia nuts you get in Hawaii, a visit to Puna Girl Farms in Pahoa on Hawaii's Big Island is definitely in order. On a recent tour of Puna Girl Farms through Kapoho Kine Adventures (currently the only way to tour the farm) on a trip set up by the Big Island Visitors Bureau, I learned a lot about all that goes into macadamia nut farming from owner Cherie McArthur. Cherie and her husband Ian first came to Hawaii's Big Island in 1990 for a visit and were hooked. They bought some land in Pahoa (part of the Puna area) and, after clearing out eight acres of jungle by hand over two years to save 600 Macadamia nut trees, Puna Girl Farms was born.

For any of you who might be interested in trying your hand at macadamia nut farming, here are some tricks of the trade that Cherie passed along: 

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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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