Eric and Jill Skokan have been active members of the Boulder farm and restaurant communities for years, with their Black Cat Farm, which they grew from a backyard garden to more than 400 acres of farmland, and their restaurants Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare, which opened in 2006 and 2011. While running the restaurants, the farm and various farmers' market stands over the years, they also raised four kids: Morgan, Kelsey, Ian and Avery.
But on the evening of Friday, July 24, the Skokans lost their 17-year-old son, Kelsey, in a car accident that also injured Ian, just outside their Boulder home. Friends, neighbors and local businesses have sprung into action to assist the Skokans during this tragedy; a GoFundMe page has been set up, and has already drawn more than $200,000 in donations in memory of Kelsey, to help them with finances, and volunteers have signed up to help with farm work and the Black Cat farm stand at 4975 Jay Road. Boulder Chautauqua has donated the use of a large cottage for incoming family members, since the accident, which involved a dump truck, damaged part of the Skokans' home.
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Black Cat's weekly newsletter announced the devastating news on Monday, while also sharing that farm and restaurant work never ceases, and the heart of harvest season is fast approaching. In addition to the GoFundMe campaign, you can support the Skokan family by stopping at the farm stand, which is open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., or by visiting Black Cat's stand at the Boulder County Farmers' Market from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. every Saturday at 13th Street and Canyon Boulevard.
The family also passed on this message in their newsletter:
Thank you, friends, for your bountiful generosity — for your hearts and love, your selflessness and passion, your devotion to community. You astonish us. You enrich us. Just as our world crumbles beneath our feet and we begin to fall, you strengthen and support us.
While Black Cat Bistro and Bramble & Hare are currently closed because of the pandemic, Black Cat is continuing its nightly farm dinners at 9889 North 51st Street in Longmont, which have given the Skokans extra outdoor space to serve customers during the coronavirus restrictions.