Around the Ranch
For me, one of the best parts of being a farmer is the opportunity to interact with a wide array of community members. The casual conversations that generally take place at farmers’ market or on farm tours often lead to new friends and great networking contacts. Some of our most treasured relationships started with a conversation about the growing season, how to prepare kale, or simply the recent weather.
One such introduction came this spring when I met Betsy Fifield and Candace Cross. The pair came to the Ranch for a tour and discussion about our local food system and to share their plans for a summer project. The project, entitled “Aspen Locavore,” started with a pretty simple idea – four women set out to eat all of their meals using exclusively local ingredients for forty days. At first glance, the challenge may sound fairly easy but when you start to dive into the planning, one quickly realizes that a significant number of pantry items are not produced locally. What substitutions are available for everyday items like olive oil, vinegar, cereal, orange juice, flour, mayonnaise, mustard, nuts, bananas...the list goes on and on? Now pair that with seasonality, access (driving to farms and/or attending multiple farmers’ markets in the valley takes a significant amount of time and fuel), cost, and recipe knowledge and you can quickly see that this simple initiative really takes a lot of effort.
The Aspen Locavores are up to the challenge, which launched last week on August 22nd and continues until the end of September. You can follow their efforts at aspenlocavore.com where you can also find a list of resources and information about our local foodshed.
Perhaps the most compelling part of this project, for me as a farmer and educator, is that it will address of the following questions:
- What are the barriers to eating locally? Is it cost? Availability? Access? Cooking knowledge? Convenience?
- How can we minimize those barriers?
- What can we do as an organization and a community to make food access and food security a reality in our valley? Do solutions include addressing government policy, training more farmers, breaking down economic or access barriers, and/or preserving/enabling more access to agricultural land? Is it all of the above?
The Aspen Locavore team is identifying and starting to answer some of these questions. ACES and the Locavore team are also working on a few projects that we plan to introduce in the near future - stay tuned for some exciting developments this fall!
All products can be purchased at the Aspen Saturday Market and at Ranch during open hours (Monday – Friday 9AM – 5PM and Saturday 9AM – 1PM). Please call ahead to confirm availability or to place an order for pick-up. Eggs are available for sale at Hallam Lake in Aspen during open hours (Monday - Saturday 9AM - 5PM).
- Chicken (stock up because quantities are limited and we won’t have any more chicken until next spring!)
- Greens including Scarlet and Ripbor kale, rainbow Swiss chard, salad mix
- Root vegetables including sugarsnax carrots, red and golden beets, radishes, turnips and potatoes
- Heirloom tomatoes and Sungold cherry tomatoes
- Sweet Genovese basil
- Bell peppers, summer squash, zucchini, cucumbers, cauliflower, broccoli, Preludio fennel
- Limited supply of Rock Bottom Ranch / Cap-K Ranch Beef inventory including New York Strips, briskets, short ribs, ground beef, and more
- Full pork inventory including chops, bacon, ribs, roasts, and ground pork
~ Jason Smith, Rock Bottom Ranch Director
Rock Bottom Ranch is open Monday – Friday 9AM – 5PM and Saturday from 9AM – 1PM with Farm Tours each day at 11AM. For questions about Rock Bottom Ranch please email Jason at [email protected]