Greener Vail: Eat, drink and be sustainable |

Greener Vail: Eat, drink and be sustainable

Cassie PenceVail, CO Colorado

VAIL, Colorado -One of my favorite ways to practice sustainability in Colorado’s Vail Valley is eating. Simple food choices can make a huge, positive impact on our environment and health. And as far as green fun goes, dining on Colorado’s summer bounty offers more rewards than cleaning up residual peanut butter in order to recycle the jar.Practicing a sustainable diet means eating in-season produce and buying directly from farmers at markets. Both choices support the local food economy. Another example is going vegetarian … some of the time. London medical journal The Lancet says reducing your meat consumption by 10 percent could help slow global warming. Eating locally, buying organic and digesting less meat are the backbone ideas of a sustainable diet. There are a few regional food events coming up that take these ideas and not only support them, but these events turn green eating into a celebration. Here are the ones I would go to:

Betty Ford Alpine Gardens will host its first annual Chefs in the Gardens series, featuring live cooking demonstrations by Vail Valley chefs using locally grown ingredients. The demos are free and will take place in the Children’s Garden near the Schoolhouse gift shop and museum in Vail’s Ford Park.On Aug. 25, Executive Chef Richard Bailey of Lord Gore Restaurant, at the Manor Vail Lodge, will discuss his culinary vision while he prepares a summery menu to include a salad of “young organic greens, local strawberries, ‘Hay Stack’ goat cheese and toasted almonds with a citrus truffle vinaigrette; red beet carpaccio and Hamachi tuna salad with lemongrass vinaigrette; and a chilled organic peach salad with warm basil sabayon.”For a complete events schedule or more information, call 970-476-0103, ext. 3, or visit

Slow Food, EdibleAspen, Fresh & Wyld and the Paradise Theatre – all organizations and businesses that love fresh local cuisine – bring you the first Food, Farm and Wine Festival in Paonia Aug. 15-16.The two-day event features film screenings and farmhouse meals. Highlights include the premier of Lynn Gillespie’s movie “Locavore,” about the how and why to eat locally, and a dinner at Fresh &Wyld Farmhouse Inn and Gardens, prepared by Dava Parr and Aspen’s Little Nell chef Ryan Hardy.For more information, visit or call at 970-527-4374.

The local chapter of Slow Food, an international organization that believes the enjoyment of wholesome food is essential to the pursuit of happiness, has several foodie events on the books for the end of summer. You can forage for mushrooms with Bill Windsor, past president of the Colorado Mycological Society on Aug. 13 or Aug. 14, or learn how to cook using a wood-burning oven with Chef Kelly Liken on Aug. 24. Director of Culinary Education at CMC and Slow Food Vail Valley co-leader Todd Rymer will show you how to make your own pasta and fresh pasta sauces Sept. 14. Slow Food Vail Valley is anchored by the Vail Symposium, and all events, tickets and membership information are detailed at, or call 476-0954.

Five wines, five courses, barrel sampling and Celtic music will highlight the “Dinner in the Vineyard” at Stone Cottage Cellars in Paonia Aug. 22. Stone Cottage is a husband/wife operation by Brent and Karen Helleckson, and they are assisted by their two children in farming the seven acres of chardonnay, pinot noir and gewrztraminer. On any given day, you can see the family working together to crush grapes or continue building their stone cottage tasting room, fashioned from stones found on the property. For more information on the dinner, call 970-527-3444 or e-mail writer Cassie Pence is married to the superhero of green cleaning Captain Vacuum, AKA Tim Szurgot. Together they own Organic Housekeepers, a cleaning company that uses strictly organic, natural and nontoxic cleaning products. Contact her at

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