We have loved the always-perfect paella at Cafe Aion in Boulder since the restaurant opened more than five years ago (so much so that we gave it a nod in our March feature, Where To Eat Now). So, we were thrilled when chef-owner Dakota Soifer emailed with the news that he’s bringing the iconic Spanish dish to the Boulder Farmers Market. Paella is nothing if not communal: Its very essence is to be shared, and the dramatic cooking process of a large pan layered with rice, vegetables, meat, and (traditionally) seafood is worthy of a crowd. This is perfect farmers’ market food—especially since Soifer will be incorporating the meats and vegetables from other market vendors.

In order to cook for the masses, Soifer recently purchased a couple of huge Spanish-made paella pans. “We’ll be filling these bad boys with Bomba rice, saffron, and delicious meats and veggies from the local ranchers and farmers who also will be setting up shop,” Soifer says. Expect braised chicken from Wisdom’s Natural Poultry and Frank Silva’s grass-fed beef, as well as early-season veggies like Oxford Gardens’ spinach and Cure Organic Farm’s spring peas. On Saturday mornings the paella will swing toward breakfast with Wisdom’s eggs baked into the rice.

Barring any issues, Soifer’s paella will kick off on Saturday, April 2, the opening day of the 2016 Boulder County Farmers Markets season. “I’m so stoked to be cooking paella out in the sun, using great local ingredients, and making new friends,” Soifer says. Look for the paella at the Saturday and, starting in May, Wednesday Boulder markets.

Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m., 13th Street between Canyon and Arapahoe; April 2 through November 19.

Wednesdays, 4 to 8 p.m., 13th Street between Canyon and Arapahoe; May 6 through October 7.

Boulder County Farmers Markets, bcfm.org

Amanda M. Faison
Amanda M. Faison
Freelance writer Amanda M. Faison spent 20 years at 5280 Magazine, 12 of those as Food Editor.