There’s a growing consensus that the food system in this country is broken. One way to help begin fixing it? Get to know—and support—local farmers and ranchers. A new dinner series at Blackbelly Butcher in Boulder provides the opportunity to do just that.
“If you come into the butcher shop and ask the butcher, or even ask your server, about where the steak came from, how long it’s been aged, what kind of animal it was—they’ll be able to tell you,” says Blackbelly’s chef de cuisine Arun Moghe. “That connection is important to us.” And with Farm to Feast, the Blackbelly team hopes to take that connection a step further, introducing you to four ranchers who raise the pasture-based, sustainable meats sold in its shop.
Nate Singer, Blackbelly’s head butcher, describes Farm to Feast as “a cocktail hour and feast based on what these ranchers raise on their farms. We’re offering the community a chance to meet the farmer, meet the rancher, put a face with the food and understand the integrity, honesty, and transparency behind our sourcing,” he says.
Each of the series’ events cost $90 per person and includes a discussion between Singer, Moghe, chef and owner Hosea Rosenberg, and the visiting rancher or farmer. The ticket price also includes a butchery demo by Singer, a welcome cocktail, unlimited Stem ciders, a $10 gift card to the butcher shop, and, of course, a feast: a multi-course menu crafted to showcase the animal (and any other products) raised by the visiting guest of honor.
The first event, which will take place on Friday, May 3, will feature Marcus Curren of McCauley Family Farm in Longmont, Colorado. (Mark DeRespinis of Esoterra Culinary Garden, which is located on McCauley’s land, will also make an appearance.) Although Blackbelly regulars may already be familiar with McCauley’s pasture-raised chickens, which are commonly featured on the restaurant’s menu, the hope is that the Farm to Feast event will provide an opportunity to forge connections with McCauley himself. Over the course of the evening, folks will be able to cultivate a deeper understanding of what it means to farm regeneratively, a system that employs various methods with the goal of increasing biodiversity and overall land and soil health.
These “meat and greet” dinners are a way to educate the Colorado community while encouraging genuine connection with our local producers, so that, for example, after meeting McCauley, a guest may be inspired to visit his farm, buy his meat, or sign up for his weekly Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) share. “That’s our target audience,” Singer says, “people who want to learn more about their food system and how they can be a part of it.”
If you go: Blackbelly’s first Farm to Feast event takes place on May 3 and features McCauley Family Farm and Esoterra Culinary Garden. Mark you calendar for future events on July 26 (RC and Mark Carter of Carter Country Meats); September 27 (Craig Scariot of SkyPilot Farm); and November 8 (Clint Buckner of Buckner Family Ranch). Tickets to each dinner will be available here starting two months in advance and each event is capped at 20 people.