Once you attend a farm dinner, your summer plans will never be the same. You will buy seats to another—and another. My inaugural experience was three-plus years ago at Isabelle Farm. That evening was magical, and not just because the food came from the very land that surrounded us. There was a tour of the fields led by farmer Jason Condon, a visceral sense of community that enveloped the tables, and a sunset that threatened to never end. (That meal, in fact, spawned this story about salsa verde.)
Last week I returned to Isabelle Farm for a dinner put on by Top Chef Season Five winner Hosea Rosenberg and his Blackbelly Catering company. This was but one in a series of Blackbelly farm dinners (there are two more in August) and it was another unforgettable evening. Walking the fields, getting to know my table companions, chatting with Rosenberg about the meal, dining on locally sourced and carefully prepared dishes, even that sunset…it was a highlight of my summer.
When you sign up for one of the remaining dinners (and you should), here are a few things to remember: Go hungry. Our meal was five courses, not including passed appetizers. The dishes (ours included blistered shishito peppers, summer melon and tomato salad, roasted rainbow trout, slow-smoked pork and lamb) are served family-style and they are generous. Blackbelly's dinners are also BYOB (look for excellent pairing suggestions from the very astute Brett Zimmerman from Boulder Wine Merchant). There are no assigned seats so arrive on time (especially if you have a large group), and wear sensible shoes so you can tour the farm.
Inside Info: Rosenberg's Blackbelly Farm raises Blackbelly sheep (for which the farm and the catering company are named) and five different breeds of pigs. The hogs are fed an organic vegetarian diet, as well as spent grains from Upslope and Avery breweries and whey from Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy.
–Photo courtesy of Lucky Malone Photography