Break bread with your local farmer and you’ll come away with a greater appreciation for Colorado’s food sources.
Even with farmers’ markets and Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), there’s no meal quite as locally sourced as the farm dinner. At these increasingly buzz-worthy events, guests tour the meadows and orchards of local farms, then dine outdoors on ingredients that travel just inches from field to fork. The peak-flavor menus are determined by what’s freshest that day and are prepared on-site. Get in touch with your inner locavore at these standouts among the season’s dinner crop.
- Meadow Lark Farm Dinners
Twice weekly, June through October
On this roving tour, chefs Veronica Volney and Heath Thompson hop from farm to farm whipping up decadent four- or five-course feasts. The gourmet meals showcase the goods at more than 12 different sites; last year’s series included Cure Organic Farm, Black Cat Organic Farm, and the Lyons Farmette. Go in early June for ultratender lettuce and pea shoots, midsummer for fava beans and peas, and late August for a bounty of melons, tomatoes, and eggplant. $90/person, not including tax or wine from Boulder Wine Merchant; farmdinners.com
- Slow Food Denver Farm Tours
Once a month, May through October
Get schooled on local agriculture at this series of lunches, where host farmers treat guests to an up close peek at how their products go from the field or barn to Colorado restaurants and farmers’ markets. (Past tours have focused on biodynamic farming, raw milk production, and bison ranching.) After the tour, diners enjoy an open-air lunch as varied as the farms themselves; your spread might include berries, beet salad, honey, aged cheeses, or free-range beef. $20/person for members, $25/person for nonmembers; slowfooddenver.org
- Truffle Cheese Shop’s Get-a-Whey Tour
Every Memorial Day for the past three years, the gourmands at the Truffle Cheese Shop have bused hungry cheese-heads to a local dairy to witness the magic of milk’s transformation into a creamy chèvre or tangy Muenster. The post-tour lunch features fresh herbs, farm eggs, and, yes, plenty of cheese. This year, the tour will explore Larkspur’s Fruition Farm and Creamery (run in part, by chef Alex Seidel of Fruition Restaurant). The farm added a sheep dairy last fall—this spring, look out for a decadent ricotta and, perhaps, an aged pecorino. $85/person; denvertruffle.com
- Isabelle Farm Dinner Series
End of July through early September
This Lafayette organic farm already works with a number of restaurants, and the tour gets chefs out of the kitchen and cooking over an open fire-pit grill. Brett Smith of Zolo Southwestern Grill and Kelly Kingsford of Mateo Restaurant Provençal are onboard for a second season; last year, their treats included goat-and-butternut-squash tamales, Colorado striped bass with roasted veggies, and grilled flatbread with salsa verde. After dinner, guests are invited to gather ’round a bonfire to savor the sunset. $75–$110/person, depending on the chef; isabellefarm.com