Vail Seasonal: ‘Colorado Organic’ celebrates cooking seasonally, eating locally
June 9, 2009
VAIL, Colorado -With the farmers’ market season upon us in Colorado’s Vail Valley, the release of a new book entitled “Colorado Organic” is a timely arrival. The book has 40 tasty recipes and is a plethora of insightful musings on the benefits of supporting Colorado farmers and enjoying the bounty of their labors. Author Jennifer Olson’s captivating photography takes the reader on a trip throughout the state to meet not only the farmers who are committed to producing the finest quality ingredients, but chefs who all participate in a commitment to local, seasonal food, and their community.”My goal is to introduce you to the abundance of local food that is grown and raised in Colorado,” Olson said. “I want to show you how easy it is to access this bounty and how to cook with these foods. I believe that everyone deserves produce that is free of pesticides, as well as meat from animals that have been free to roam the pasture and not given antibiotics and unnatural foods to ‘beef’ them up.”Olson’s inspiration for the book comes from her great grandparents, Swiss immigrants who started a dairy farm in Washington state. Three generations later, her second cousins are still running the farm. While Olson was in college, she captured their experience in a photojournalism project that shed light on the small family farm and the future of farming in the United States. Her grandparents also farm on a smaller scale, raising their own beef and produce. From these roots, Olson grew up with beef that tasted “different” than what was bought in the grocery stores, and she found it fascinating. Her mother, too, had a large garden, and was always preparing food from the harvest outside their door. Colorado Organic features eight farmers and eight chefs, including local resident, chef and restaurateur Thomas Salamunovich. The book is divided by seasons, with five recipes of Salamunovich’s summer preparations. “The best way to highlight the complexity and character of a dish is to serve it as if just warmed by the sun,” he said. “When food is warm or room temperature, you can detect so many subtleties of flavor.”Salamunovich’s restaurants, Larkspur and Avondale, have an exclusive arrangement with LaVenture Farms in Gypsum. The relationship began six years ago when the chef started purchasing herbs and salad greens several times a week. Soon, the chef and farmer were planning the next season’s crops together, and a greenhouse was built to boost the short growing season, which challenges rocky mountain farmers. In celebration of “Colorado Organic,” the eight chefs featured in Olson’s book will each hold a special dinner and book signing at their respective restaurants. Most of the dishes displayed in the book will be served at these dinners, and where possible, the farmers will also attend to mingle with guests who support the farm-to-table way of life.
Author Jennifer Olson will visit Vail twice this summer. On June 25 Restaurant Avondale will host a four-course dinner. Larkspur Restaurant will follow with a five-course dinner onJuly 27. Canyon Wind Cellars from Palisade will provide its local estate wines for both dinners. The price of each event (Avondale $95, Larkspur $120) includes dinner, wine and a copy of “Colorado Organic,” signed by both Jennifer Olson and Thomas Salamunovich. For additional details and reservations, visit: http://www.avondalerestaurant.com or call 970-790-5500 or visit http://www.larkspurvail.com or call 970-754-8050. For more information on Colorado Organic, visit http://www.seasonalandlocal.com.Sue Barham is the marketing director for Larkspur Restaurant and Restaurant Avondale. Larkspur, at the base of Vail Mountain, has been serving American classics with a fresh interpretation since 1999. Avondale opened in September 2008 in the Westin Riverfront Resort & Spa and features a West Coast-inspired, market-driven menu.