The weather's great, the vegetables, fruit and herbs continue to grow, and chefs and farmers are coming together to bring summer to your plate. That is, if you choose to attend one of many special dinners going on now and through this fall. Expect a ton of delicious produce, esteemed chefs, creative cooking, fresh air and a new way of looking at how we eat. Here are five farms hosting field-to-table dinners; get them on your calendar soon!
Black Cat Organic Farm
Black Cat is the name of both Eric Skokan's farm and his Boulder restaurant. But unlike the eatery, the farm isn't generally open to the public for dining among the tomato and bean plants. This year, though, Skokan is putting on special farm dinners, the first of which takes place on Thursday, July 18, and helps kick off the Slow Food Nations long weekend. This event includes a tour of Black Cat Farm and McCauley Family Farm just down the road, as well as words about sustainable farming by Dr. Phil Taylor of MAD Agriculture. Afterward, guests will enjoy a four-course meal by Skokan and chef Anthony Myint of Mission Street Food in San Fransisco. Also dive into the world of biodynamic wines, all selected by sommelier Drew Duggan. Join the team for all or one of the day's happenings, including the first tour at 4 p.m., the second tour at 5 p.m., and dinner at 6 p.m. Tickets run $160 per person for the whole package.
If you can't make this dinner, join Skokan on the farm on Monday, July 22, for Rosé on the Farm, with Provence winemaker Christophe Renard of Domaines Ott; tickets, $120 plus tax and gratuity, include a five-course meal and many pours of gorgeous French wine.
Atop sushi restaurant Uchi at 2500 Lawrence Street sits Altius Farms, a beautiful greenhouse with vertical gardens. Texas transplant Uchi buys produce from the farm to enhance many of its beautiful dishes, and the restaurant will serve a multi-course outdoor dinner loaded with Altius produce to benefit the Friends of James Beard Women’s Leadership Programs, which helps women advance in the culinary industry. This is just one in a series of dinners, and this one will highlight the skills of and array of chefs from the Uchi team. The dinner runs from 7 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, July 30, at $175 a ticket (tax and gratuity not included). Upcoming chefs in the Garden Series include Lachlan Mackinnon-Patterson, of Frasca Food & Wine and Tavernetta, on August 20, and Tommy Lee, of Hop Alley and Uncle, on October 15.
Oxford Gardens (10145 Oxford Road, Longmont) is hosting a slew of farm dinners this summer, starting with a repast prepared by chef Paul C. Reilly, who will serve dishes inspired by his restaurants Coperta, Pizzeria Coperta and Beast + Bottle from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, August 1. The four-course menu includes roasted lamb shoulder with cocoa-eggplant gratin, and peach tarte tatin with corn cream and cinnamon ice cream. Order wine in advance from Cured Wines (Oxford Gardens will soon have an order form online) and get ready for a magical and delicious evening at $120 a ticket. Other guest restaurants in the series include Arcana, from 6 to 9 p.m. August 7 for $115 a ticket; Babette’s Artisan Pizza, at 5:30 p.m. August 11, for $80 a ticket; and Basta on August 24 (details to come).
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Each year, Ollin Farms (8627 North 95th Street in Longmont) hosts a series of four-course dinners and brunches with local chefs, and this year the lineup includes establishments such as Longmont's Collision Brewing at 6 p.m. August 17; Boulder food truck Ohana Eatery at 1 p.m. August 25; Boulder's Seeds Cafe at 6 p.m. August 31; Beast + Bottle at 6 p.m. September 7; and Longmont restaurant Bin 46 at 5 p.m. September 21. All of the produce comes straight from the farm, and other ingredients are sourced locally, so expect to eat truly seasonal fare. Dinners are priced at $60 per person, and brunch is $30 for adults and $15 for children. Reserve on the Ollin Farms website and enjoy a meal next to beautiful cottonwoods lining the banks of Left Hand Creek.
ACRES at Warren Tech
Farm manager and jack-of-all-trades Josh Olsen has set his annual farm dinner for September 15, from 6 to 9 p.m., right in the heart of ACRES farm (13300 West Second Place in Lakewood), which also serves as an outdoor classroom for Warren Tech high school students. Co-hosting the fete is Marielle D'Onofrio of A Notte, who will oversee guests as they arrive. So far, the chef lineup includes Chris Starkus of Urban Farmer, Andrew Vanstee of Truffle Table and new Potager co-owner Nick Brand, but expect a few other surprise guests. The dinner (price to be determined) includes four courses, two passed appetizers and two mocktails courtesy of Nick Touch of the Family Jones distillery and tasting room in Denver. Alcoholic beverages will not be served, since the farm is on school property, so each of the lovely drinks Touch prepares will highlight natural flavors found on the farm and beyond. All proceeds go to ACRES to further Warren Tech's food, nutrition and organic farming programs. Call 720-616-3837 for details and reservations.