The words “farm-to-table” are slapped on so many menus these days, it’s hard to know what’s authentic and what’s a gimmick—unless, of course, that table is sitting smack dab in the middle of the farm. That’s the idea behind the growing trend of field dining, and here in Colorado, we’re lucky to have a variety of venues, from farms to ranches, offering picture-perfect settings for truly local fare.

This year’s crop of field dinners—hosted by chefs or farmers who are eager to share their insights on the meal and offer tours of the property—range from casual, weekly burger nights to five-course meals complete with wine pairings and white tablecloths. Here, we share a few of our favorites. Some events sell out quickly, so don’t wait to make reservations for an outing that just might deliver your best meal of the summer.

OITF fresh herb co dinner
The table at Outstanding In The Field’s 2017 dinner at the Fresh Herb Co. in Longmont. Photo by Neringa Greiciute

Outstanding in the Field
Oxford Road Farm
Saturday, July 28, 2018
4 p.m.
4290 Oxford Road, Longmont

Outstanding in the Field is a field-dining pioneer known for setting up loooong tables in some of the world’s most spectacular locations. This summer, the company is hosting two dinners in Colorado: An evening at Fruition Farms Creamery in Larkspur sold out in just one hour, but as of press time, seats remain for a late-July meal at Longmont hops farm Oxford Road Farm, where chef Adam Dulye, executive chef of the Brewers Association, will create a special menu with his personal beer pairings for each course. A seat at the table costs $235.

james ranch dinner
Diners enjoy live music and grass-fed-beef burgers from the ranch at James Ranch’s summertime Burger and a Band nights. Photo by Paul Eckenrode

James Ranch
Burger and a Band Summer Series
Thursdays, June 1–August 30, 2018
5–8 p.m.
33846 US 550, Durango

James Ranch—an Animas River Valley property known for grass-fed beef, whey-fed pork, artisan cheeses, and eggs from pastured hens—hosts this weekly, kid-friendly event where $20 buys a beef or veggie burger, a bag of chips, and live entertainment. While you’re there, shop the market for fresh produce, meats, cheeses, and eggs. If your trip to Durango doesn’t cover a Thursday night, you can still visit the ranch’s restaurant, which is open Monday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., from Memorial Day through the second week of October.

grazing life pigs
Guests mingle with the porcine residents of Corner Post Meats before enjoying an alfresco meal orchestrated by A Grazing Life. Photo courtesy of A Grazing Life

A Grazing Life: Corner Post Meats
Audubon Rockies’ Kiowa Creek Ranch & Sanctuary
10165 Hodgen Rd., Black Forest
Events throughout summer 2018

“What’s good for the bird is good for the herd,” is the motto at Corner Post Meats, a working ranch on the Audubon Society’s 1,500-acre Kiowa Creek Ranch & Sanctuary; the partnership is designed to keep the habitats of local birds healthy while supporting successful ranching operations. Events at the sanctuary are organized by A Grazing Life, and include ranch tours; local art, music, and brews; and a full slate of alfresco meals ranging from family picnics to Sunday brunches; special evening events feature five-course meals from chefs from the Broadmoor. Events happen rain or shine, though the ranch does have tents for dinner.

meadow lark farm dinners
Meadow Lark Farm Dinners sets its long tables amid rows of produce on Boulder County farms. Photo courtesy of Meadow Lark Farm Dinners

Meadow Lark Farm Dinners
Variety of Boulder County locales
Thursday and Saturday evenings, July–September 2018

This moveable feast, hosted by a variety of Boulder County farms, happens on Thursday and Saturday evenings from July through September. (Look for the 2018 calendar to be released soon.) Featuring only the freshest seasonal ingredients, each menu is inspired by the day’s harvest, and ingredients—fresh eggs, cheeses, meats, produce, and heirloom grains—come from each host farm and, as needed, other local growers. Reservations are handled via an online lottery; the season’s first is scheduled for June 4. Each event is capped at 42 guests, and children are permitted with a full-price ($125) ticket.