4
Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta inspects greens at the Union Station Farmers' Market.EXPAND
Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta inspects greens at the Union Station Farmers' Market.
Linnea Covington

Farmers' Market Cooking With Chef Ian Wortham of Tavernetta

This past Saturday morning, chef Ian Wortham of Tavernetta (1889 16th Street) refused to let a little rain dampen his mood, and apparently, plenty of other people felt the same way, because the Union Station Farmers' Market teemed with shoppers and farmers.

"The variety at the farmers' market these last few years is greater than it has been in the past, and everything is super-delicious," says Wortham, who's been shopping the Union Station market since it launched in 2015. "The food we cook [at Tavernetta] is not about being super-flashy; it's simple and delicious, and it helps our food to start with good raw ingredients."

Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta after a successful chef's demo.EXPAND
Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta after a successful chef's demo.
Linnea Covington

The chef  was getting ready for the morning's cooking demo, and his feature ingredient was cherries, which have just come into season and can be found at the Morton's Orchards stand. As the chef di cucina of Tavernetta, located adjacent to Union Station, Wortham is an expert in Italian cuisine. So he decided to take those plump and perfect cherries and pair them with equally sublime trumpet and chestnut mushrooms from Mile High Fungi for a classic conserva, a type of condiment or side dish that involves preserving the food in olive oil with salt and vinegar.

Beautiful chestnut mushrooms from Mile High Fungi.EXPAND
Beautiful chestnut mushrooms from Mile High Fungi.
Linnea Covington

"Cherries are great for dessert, but also for a lot of savory dishes," the chef explains while plucking stems from the ripe fruit. "Mushroom with cherry or other fruits is a classic combo in Italy."

Saturday, June 22, was the second day of summer, but bundled in a pullover like many others at the market, Wortham agreed it sure didn't feel that way. Luckily, farms are producing plenty of good stuff,  and between bins of crisp spring greens and hearty beets, shoppers found the first carrots, crunchy kohlrabi and bright Swiss chard. To go with the cherry and mushroom conserva, Wortham picked up tangy goat cheese from Haystack Mountain Cheese and peppery watercress from Croft Family Farm, one of the newer purveyors this year.

Watercress from Croft Family Farm.EXPAND
Watercress from Croft Family Farm.
Linnea Covington

Back at his booth, the chef pitted cherries, cut up the trumpet mushrooms and then cooked the fungi in a bath of fruity Italian olive oil and kosher salt. As those sautéed, he sliced the cherries in half and crumbled the cheese into manageable chunks. Once the mushrooms had cooked down enough, Wortham splashed white-wine vinegar into the mix, a technique, he says, used to lock in the flavor and add a bit of acid. Next the raw cherries and cooked mushrooms were mixed together, scooped into paper bowls (the farmers' market stocks compostable products) and topped with the goat cheese and sprigs of watercress.

The beginning of chef Ian Worthham's market chef's demo.EXPAND
The beginning of chef Ian Worthham's market chef's demo.
Linnea Covington

"This is incredibly easy to do — but not something people really think about," says Wortham of the dish.

The Italian-style salad certainly proved one of the more unusual dishes to grace the market, but, says Wortham, it's a popular way of cooking in Italy. Though some of the observers were hesitant at first, all of the bowls were claimed and eaten, and by 11 a.m., Morton's had sold most of its cherries.

A splash of white wine vinegar finishes the conserva.EXPAND
A splash of white wine vinegar finishes the conserva.
Linnea Covington

Not only did the shoppers get to try Wortham's tasty food, but the farmers' market was handing out "rain check" cards that get punched any Saturday when there's wet weather. Six punches earn $10 in market bucks to spend on fresh eggs from Jodar Farms, flowers from the Fresh Herb Co., truffles from Cultura Craft Chocolate or anything else at the market.

Italian-style mushroom and cherry salad at the Union Station Farmers' Market.EXPAND
Italian-style mushroom and cherry salad at the Union Station Farmers' Market.
Linnea Covington

Visit the Union Station Farmers' Market at 1701 Wynkoop Street every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October 26. The next chef's demos will be hosted by Matt Vawter of Mercantile Dining & Provision on June 29, Thach Tran of Ace Eat Serve on July 6 and Sheila Lucero of Big Red F (JAX Fish House and Lola) on July 13.

Cherries are in season, and Morton's Orchard grows some of the best.EXPAND
Cherries are in season, and Morton's Orchard grows some of the best.
Linnea Covington
Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta hosting the June 22 chef's demo.EXPAND
Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta hosting the June 22 chef's demo.
Linnea Covington
Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta pitting cherries from Morton's Orchard.EXPAND
Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta pitting cherries from Morton's Orchard.
Linnea Covington
Chopped trumpet mushrooms from Mile High Fungi.EXPAND
Chopped trumpet mushrooms from Mile High Fungi.
Linnea Covington
Life's a bowl of cherries, minus the pits.EXPAND
Life's a bowl of cherries, minus the pits.
Linnea Covington
Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta mixing mushrooms with cherries.EXPAND
Chef Ian Worthham of Tavernetta mixing mushrooms with cherries.
Linnea Covington
Some really pretty kohlrabi from Croft Family Farm.EXPAND
Some really pretty kohlrabi from Croft Family Farm.
Linnea Covington
Haystack Mountain provided goat cheese for Wortham's dish.EXPAND
Haystack Mountain provided goat cheese for Wortham's dish.
Linnea Covington

We use cookies to collect and analyze information on site performance and usage, and to enhance and customize content and advertisements. By clicking 'X' or continuing to use the site, you agree to allow cookies to be placed. To find out more, visit our cookies policy and our privacy policy.

Newsletters

All-access pass to the top stories, events and offers around town.

  • Top Stories
    Send:

Newsletters

All-access pass to top stories, events and offers around town.

Sign Up >

No Thanks!

Remind Me Later >