From the garden to the table in Vail |

From the garden to the table in Vail

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO Colorado
Special to the Daily/Kelly Layton

VAIL, Colorado – When Carol Morales first planted arugula at her Granby farm, she did it as a cover crop, to be tilled into the ground to make the soil more fertile before she planted vegetables in the space again. She didn’t like the taste of the spicy and aromatic salad green herself, and certainly didn’t think her customers would. She was wrong. The green has been a top seller each week at the Vail and Edwards farmer’s markets she sells her produce at, she said.

Morales recounted her arugula beginnings to diners last month at Sonnenalp’s Gather in the Garden dinner, held in the hotel’s garden area, overlooking the Gore Creek.

As Morales munched on a salad made with her arugula and beautiful striped radishes (Chef Richard Beichner and his crew drove to Granby the day before the dinner to harvest the vegetables), it was apparent her opinion of arugula has changed.

Sonnenalp is hosting another three-course, family-style Gather in the Garden dinner, with Morales Farm vegetables and Austrian wines, on Thursday evening at the Vail hotel. The dinner will be held in the private dining area in Ludwig’s, “to go along with the strong Bavarian theme,” said Kelly Layton, the Sonnenalp’s marketing manager.

Attendees can try Morales’ arugula for themselves at the dinner. The peppery green will be topped with house-smoked ricotta cheese, roasted plum tomoates and basil vinaigrette. A Gruner Veltliner from Wachau, Austria will be served alongside.

“It’s where the best gruner veltliner from all of Austria comes from,” said Jamie Garrett, the Sonnenalp’s sommelier.

Garrett, who chose each of the four wines being served Thursday, traveled to Vienna, Austria this past spring and had a chance to try each of the wines he’ll be serving, he said.

Garrett called the dinner a “celebration,” and said it’s a “snapshot of what’s to come” as far as Ludwig’s winter menu.

“It’s a casual, fun environment and it’s meant to be a celebration of what we have locally, as far as produce,” Garrett said.

The dinner is $35 per person or $65 with wine pairings. The evening is a Market to Table event, part of a a series of events being offered in honor of Vail Restaurant Month, Layton said.

High Life Editor Caramie Schnell can be reached at 970-748-2984 or

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