Farm Dinner with Terroir Restaurant at Aspen Moon Farm
September 17, 2011
Last weekend we attended a farm dinner at Aspen Moon Farm, an awesome little farm in Hygiene, CO owned by Jason and Erin Griffith. Several members of my book club belong to the Aspen Moon Farm CSA (Community Shared Agriculture), so we had inside knowledge about how great their produce is. (I’ve also bought things from them at the Farmers’ Market, and been very happy with it). All of my book club and their significant others attended the dinner, as well as some of the farm workers, other CSA members, neighbors of the farm, and other food aficionados.
Before we sat down to eat, Jason took us on a tour. The farm is only 5 acres, but they get an incredible amount and variety of produce out of it. They use sustainable, pesticide-free farming methods, and have a great respect for the land. They are working on achieving their organic certification, and are considering going even further to get biodynamic certification. One of the tenets of biodynamic agriculture is the creation of a largely self-sustainable ecosystem in which as few external resources are used as possible. There are a couple of practices that Jason and Erin discussed that struck me as perfect examples of this type of closed-loop, sustainable system. The first deals with water supply. Aspen Moon sold their water rights to Left Hand Water so that they could dig a well on their property, and therefore obtain all of their water from the farm itself. The second is the use of their farm-foraging, egg-laying chickens to provide fertilizer. They haven’t yet attained the level of biodynamic, self-sustaining farming that they would like, but are always progressing toward that goal.
The orchestration of the meal was done by Terroir, a very popular Farm to Table restaurant in Longmont, which gets a large portion of its produce form Aspen Moon Farm. Terroir owners Tim Payne and Melissa Newell (Tim is also the executive chef) provided a wonderful four course dinner, cooked in the farm field with portable equipment. Paired with each course were some very impressive biodynamic wines provided by Kermit Lynch Wine Merchant.
Other people at the dinner took lovely pictures of the farm, the sunset and the full moon. I got pictures of the chickens. That’s pretty typical for me. I headed over to the large pen they were in between courses to take a picture, and they all came trotting over to me. I soon found myself trying to apologize to them and explain that I was just there for a picture, not with food. At that point I remembered I was in public, snapped a couple of pictures, and returned to the table.
I did, however take pictures of the food (aside from the passed appetizers). So without further ado:
The first sit-down course was a potato, poblano and sweet corn chowder with crispy bacon and grilled sea scallop.
The second course was a gorgeous spicy green salad with carrots, Japanese cucumbers, shallots, peanuts, soy beans, and cilantro with a ginger citrus vinaigrette.
The main course was a very lovely roasted cornish game hen served with Procencal ratatouille and pistou.
We ended the meal with a grilled Palisade peach with rosemary infused brown sugar syrup and almond nougatine. By the time dessert rolled around, it was fairly dark, so the picture does not do the food justice.