High Altitude Society column: Farm to Fork benefits Eagle Valley Land Trust | VailDaily.com

High Altitude Society column: Farm to Fork benefits Eagle Valley Land Trust

The Eagle Valley Land Trust recently held a benefit harvest dinner prepared by chef Jason Harrison's Red Maple Catering, featuring fresh, delicious local fare from area farms and ranches. Guests learned how the Eagle County Land Trust's land conservation efforts support our local ranchers and farmers. There was excellent music performed by Brent Gordon Band that filled the tent with a great sound and energy.

Jim Daus, Eagle Valley Land Trust executive director, greeted guests who stayed dry under the white tent during a heavy rainfall.

"I am absolutely thrilled to be here and to see you all here on this beautiful sunny evening (insert laughter)," Daus said. "I want to thank all of our table sponsors and the partners that pulled this amazing evening together.

Natural beauty is why we moved here. In our 35th year, with the foresight of founder Roger Tilkemeier, our community has conserved 7,700 acres permanently. Conservation of our public and private land ensures scenic vistas, fantastic wildlife and outdoor recreation for ourselves, our families and our future generations."

Daus spoke of protecting clean air and water, starry nights, farm and ranch lands and favorite places.

"We are in this fantastically gorgeous setting, supporting locally grown food that connects us to our land," he said. "This evening is about conserving the character of our valley and protecting what makes this a special place."

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Daus was sure to remind people that the Land Trust conserves public access for hiking, biking, boating and fishing.

"We not only preserve iconic and scenic views, waterfalls … and the habitat of the Western ranchers. … Did you know that over two-thirds of the land that we conserve is for public access?" Daus inquired and asked for a call to action.

"Our work has only just begun. Things are changing in this valley. Did you know that we lose 3 acres a day to subdivision in Eagle County? That is the pace of the 50-year average. The population here is set to double to about 100,000 people in about 30 years. We need to work together to keep this place special."

There was a call to conserve our favorite places.

"You can be part of saving your own backyard. Tonight is not just a benefit for Eagle Valley Land Trust, it is a benefit for you. It is for your own personal benefit, and for the benefit of your children and grandchildren and future generations," Daus said, encouraging the group to connect with our incredible landscapes.

Corinne Hara is the principal at CMH Creative Studio and worked closely with the Land Trust to ensure the success of their event.

"Here, we leave the ordinary behind," she said. "Farm to Fork is a culinary adventure in an open meadow surrounded by majestic mountains. Food grown in our backyard is infused with Red Maple Catering deliciousness and savored by our community. Together, we dine in the beautiful landscape that we collectively protect."

Delicious event

Harrison and his team at Red Maple Catering created fabulous dishes that tantalized taste buds. Overheard by a guest: "I don't want this beet salad to ever end."

Presenting a 20-year pedigree from some of North America's finest restaurants, hotels and resorts, Harrison's culinary expertise was refined at prestigious locations bearing such names as Four Seasons, The Ritz-Carlton and Bellagio Las Vegas. His background also encompasses a deep knowledge and appreciation of local, Colorado-sourced ingredients and of their powerful appeal.

Red Maple Catering is a passion project and a chance to build a lifelong relationship with the Vail Valley. Started in 2014, it is staffed with service-oriented and passionate food lovers, eager to provide incredible culinary experiences and ready to make your every whim a reality. Victoria Bruce, who interns with Dr. William Sterett, was helping out at Farm to Fork before she sets out on medical service trips to India and Africa. Quality businesses attract quality people.

Before dinner was served, Daus asked the guests, and it could be asked of you, "If you could save one special place in nature forever — where would that be?" For more information about the mission of Eagle Valley Land Trust and ways to donate, visit http://www.evlt.org.

Betty Ann Woodland is a longtime local who covers social events including fundraisers for nonprofits, local happenings and soirees of all kinds. She can be reached at bettyannw6@gmail.com.