It’s about 5 a.m. on Sunday and I have pretty much packed more than enough clothes for my fifteen-day excursion that I will call “The last leg” of my culinary experience. In about two hours I will meet Krystal and Jake (two of my classmates) and we will carpool to Crawford, Colorado (The North Fork Valley). We will spend the next nine days living the farm life and exploring the natural beauty of this area.
As part of this leg of our farm-to-table experience we have “lucked out” to drive what is considered the best part of autumn in Colorado. They say that this weekend will be the true autumn at its best. I guess that means snow is on the way also. Apparently the fall is short-lived here in Colorado.
Our week will consist of working with several different farmers in the area. Our itinerary also includes some vineyard work and possibly even a slaughter. The week will be a lot of hard work once again focusing on seasonal produce, where it comes from and how its grown and harvested. We end the week
with an outdoor harvest dinner in the orchards of one of the farms.
There is so much to talk about but I will save that all for my next post as that all starts to unfold. I am very excited and nervous.
At the present time, I am more nervous about how Krystal and Jake will react when they see all the bags I am bringing on the trip. I was told to pack for every season. Great. It is bad enough that I am the worst when it comes to bringing minimal clothing. One thing I am trying to change about myself is the need for too many things. Apparently the clothes and shoe thing has not sunk in yet.
Following my trip to the North Fork Valley, I go directly to Winter Park, Colorado to complete my working stage as the final requirements I need in order to graduate. As mentioned in another post, I will (with a fellow student Emily) be the part of a personal chef duo that will prepare meals morning, noon and night for a group of women from an organization called Art Camp for Women http://www.artcampforwomen.com/
Emily and I will leave directly from the North Fork Valley to Winter Park, Colorado. There are sixteen of us total in a beautiful cabin in the area. We will cook all the appropriate meals as per their needs. This assignment entailed designing a menu, breaking down the cost within a given budget and making that budget work to produce healthy and appealing meals for these women on vacation. That, the shopping, bringing necessary chef tools and necessities along with getting ready for the first leg of this trip has made for one tough week. Here I am though, ready to go and watch the rest of this journey unfold.
Attached are pictures from this past week finishing up our work on the Isabelle Farm. Working on this farm for a week was a great experience. All the workers were wonderful, passionate about what they do, helpful and full of information to share. We got the opportunity to prepare a nice lunch for them using fresh produce just picked from the farm. I loved taking on this task and showing my appreciation for the opportunity that was presented to us. Jazmin, Emily and I were told we could take anything we wanted in order to produce a lunch for about a dozen people. I loved the fact that we could show our appreciation through food. The ingredients I selected were baby eggplant, tomatoes, fresh arugula and mesculan greens and beets. I
also took the willowy tops of the overgrown fennel in order to produce some infused fennel oil.
Our presentation included stuffed eggplants with lentils, quinoa and some fresh arugula pesto served with a fresh tomato sauce. We took the beets and made a beautiful beet salad with the fresh greens. I made some whole wheat bread as well as some baguettes and served that with the fennel
oil. Also threw in some homemade chocolate chip cookies. We had to bring this all to the farm at lunchtime and use what was available for service. Our only
means of heating up the food was on a gas grill. We improvised very quickly and made the best of the given situation. This especially is what our chef tries to
instill upon us. Conditions are not always going to be ideal. We must make the most of any given circumstance, ingredients and work environment. Seems to me our chef did an excellent job. We had a happy crew and utilized all of our ingredients.
Also for your viewing pleasure is a couple of us capturing the infamous spider in action finally!! This is good stuff.
I have to say for sure the one thing I took from this past week on the farm is that nature is an amazing thing. It is such a broad statement and it entails so many differnet meanings for me at the moment. As I post more throughout the week my hope is that you come to understand more of that statement on the level that I am coming from.