All of a sudden it feels like fall out there, which is why chef Bradley Yard from Avelina wanted to start working on his cool-weather menu. We met the chef at the Union Station Farmers' Market (run by Boulder County Farmers' Markets), which takes place every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October 28. Beets were first on his list, and from there he needed inspiration for the rest of the dish, plus some supplies to boost the menu for that day.
Just like every other chef we've followed, Yard made a beeline to ACRES at Warren Tech, the teaching farm overseen by Joshua Olsen, a chef-turned-farmer. "You telling us what to grow is what makes a difference," said teacher and co-founder Liz Hudd to Yard as he praised the produce. We left that stand with a handful of cucamelons, micro-sorrel and three types of beautiful, fist-sized beets.
Also on our list of vendors were Cure Organic Farm, the Denver Botanic Garden stand and Fruition Farms for some sheep’s-milk skyr (a kind of yogurt). Yard also got a box full of heirloom tomatoes from Rocky Mountain Fresh to make a vibrant melon and tomato salad. We couldn't help admiring the bright yellow Rocky Mountain melons from Honey Gold Farms in Fowler or the stunning fall produce display from Kiowa Vally Organics Inc., located in Roggen. Squash is definitely making a splash in the market right now, too, in every shape, size and color.
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In the end, Yard called his sous-chef Josh Oakley for help with all the goodies and walked away with ingredietns not only for the "beets three ways" dish he was working on, but a whole lot more. With the load lightened we headed back to Avelina to watch Yard work magic with root vegetables in the restaurant's huge, stunning kitchen.
We'll keep visiting the farmers' market until the season winds down. For more photos, see our complete slideshow of chef Bradley Yard at the Union Station Farmers' Market. Want to see more of our tag-alongs with chefs? See all of our photos in the Food & Drink slideshow section of Westword online.