Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October 28, the Union Station Farmers' Market
(run by Boulder County Farmers' Markets), rolls out the jewels of the earth. There are new finds each week, which makes it a marketplace perfect for a chef looking to try something fresh, new and grown nearby.
When Franco Ruiz, the chef de cuisine at Fruition
, visits the farmers' market, he always brings his daughter Luna along with him. While she remains a fixture at his side (or in the arms of one of his cooks who like to pop by), the chef's approach to shopping proves a little more sporadic. "I like to take one trip around to see what's available and then stop at the Mercantile stand and have a treat," he says. "Then I go buy what I need for the restaurant and the weekly vegetarian entree."
This week, squash was on the chef's mind, namely, delicata, which he purchased from Toohey & Sons Organic
. But, as we wandered from stall to stall, he found ripe strawberries and curly kale at Cure Organic Farm
; sweet corn from Munson Farms; tasty apricot jam from Morton's Orchards
; Italian sausage from Corner Post Meats
; and lipstick peppers from Berry Patch Farms
. "As a chef, you have to guide our farms in the right direction," says Ruiz about making sure the local growers know what is needed. "Then, you have to keep supporting them; if you don't, [the supply chain] is going to die."
The haul proved bountiful and colorful, perfect for the two dishes he had planned. We headed back to Fruition along with sous chef Nick Pissari, who was there to help prep the meal as well as entertain and watch Luna while Ruiz cooked for us.