Organic dinner in Vail honors Colorado farmers |

Organic dinner in Vail honors Colorado farmers

Vail Daily staff report
Vail, CO Colorado
Ranchers say re-introducing wolves to Colorado could harm their operations and further deplete already-dwindling wildlife herds.

VAIL, Colorado –Colorado’s bounty will be celebrated at Larkspur Restaurant in Vail, Colorado at 6:30 p.m., Monday, with a special five-course dinner.

Chef/Owner Thomas Salamunovich will honor local farmers Chris LaVenture and Kerry Donovan, Canyon Wind Cellars winemaker Jay Christianson of Palisade, and Jennifer Olson, author of “Colorado Organic.”

Two years ago, Olson, a photographer and author, embarked on a Colorado Organic journey. Olson’s vision was to create a book that featured Colorado farmers and chefs who are passionate about cooking seasonally and eating locally. The result is a hardcover cookbook, filled with 40 tasty recipes, beautiful photography, and insightful musings on the health benefits of choosing organic foods.

“My philosophy is pay now, or pay later,” Olson said. “Organic ingredients do cost more, but not nearly as much as what good health may cost you later.”

Salamunovich is one of the eight chefs featured in “Colorado Organic.” He has been planning the produce for his menus with Gypsum farmer LaVenture for over six years.

“We did not know where the venture would lead us,” Salamunovich said. “It’s been a tremendous partnership. Over the years we have helped LaVenture Farms build their greenhouse, and we love having the ability to serve food in the restaurant that was harvested on the same day.”

The Copper Bar Ranch in Edwards is the dream of the Donovan family, who are longtime Vail residents. Daughter Kerry has taken on farming as a hobby. She maintains a large garden of fresh produce and has been supplying specialties to Salamunovich’s restaurants. The family ranch also raises highlands, a breed of cattle which originated in Scotland.

“The breed is coveted for its meat,” Kerry Donovan said, “these cattle are foragers – they are hardy and roam for pastures to graze. This yields lean, but well marbled beef that is delicious.”

Donovan expects some of her small herd will be ready for market in the fall of this year.

Canyon Wind Cellars wines have been on the Larkspur wine list for many years.

“The Christianson family grows all its grapes and produces their wine in Palisade,” said wine director Kevin Furtado, “these estate wines rival any of the big names from California. We are delighted that Jay Christianson can be with us on the night of the Colorado Organic dinner.”

Monday night’s dinner at Larkspur will feature the recipes from Colorado Organic and will utilize as many local ingredients as are available. Olson will be in attendance and the book will be available, signed by both author and chef.

Five-course dinner with wine pairings is priced at $75. For reservations, call 970-754-8050. To view the menu, visit

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