Each week, farmers' markets fill up with glorious produce from local growers all across the state, but for Denver's chefs, none shines quite as bright as the Union Station Farmers Market (run by Boulder County Farmers Markets). Every Saturday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. through October 28, this market rolls out the jewels of the earth, from ruby-tinged tomatoes and amethyst-hued eggplants to emerald-green lettuces. There are new finds each week, which makes it a marketplace perfect for a chef looking to try something fresh, new and grown nearby.
It wasn't hard to spot the tall, broad shouldered Nick Kayser, executive chef of Vesta
, as he waited by the Ela Family Farms fruit stand this Saturday morning. With an iced coffee in hand, the friendly chef began by perusing the peaches there, garnering ideas for the restaurant's menu. "On Saturday we come down to the farmers' market to get inspiration for weekend specials," says Kayser, who orders most of his produce from local farms, including some of the staples at this farmers' market. "It's a good environment to be in, plus the farmers have a better idea about what's sustainable for a six-week stretch." He bought a small bag of the stone fruit and then headed to get mushrooms, micro greens, radishes and other ripe goodies. Once the ingredients were procured, we didn't have to walk far to Vesta's downtown kitchen, where Kayser whipped up three market-driven dishes that included cucumbers three ways, brûléed peaches and a beautiful cheese plate enhanced with mushrooms.