The Bolder Life: Dining Under the Stars

Tyra Sutak

Published on: May 14th, 2012

Photo by Jenifer Harrington

Summer is officially here, and aside from a little rain, it’s been blue skies and perfect hiking weather in Boulder County for the past few weeks. Farmers’ Markets have once again become the most popular place for weekly grocery shopping trips and the number of cyclists on the road has tripled in past month. Ski racks have been replaced with bike racks and storage racks to hold camping gear and winter-friendly events have been replaced with outdoor festivals and picnics.

It’s finally appropriate to wear half the amount of clothing that you usually do and to leave work at noon only to return three hours later in your hiking boots, sporting a little extra sweat on your brow.

When it boils down to it—summer is really about three things: soaking up as much sunshine in the great outdoors as possible, enjoying the company of good friends, and indulging in enough seasonal food items to propel your active lifestyle.

Aside from slaving away throwing your own event sunshine, friends and good food-filled event—the next best option is to visit the source—and by source, I mean farm. With a handful of farms dotting the Boulder County landscape, it isn’t tough to find a way to enjoy an authentic farm-to-table dinner.

My favorite local farms to enjoy an expertly prepared, fresh bite—are at the quaint Lyons Farmette and at Longmont’s Olin Farm. Both places also serve as a venue for weddings and other private events, so you know the atmosphere at each place is going to be exceptional.

Invite your friends, get outside, breathe in the fresh Colorado summer air and gaze at a sky full of stars as you dine on menu items harvested from the same patch of group it’s prepared and served on.

Pretty cool.

So give your kitchen the night off, call up your friends, and enjoy a relaxing evening supporting your local farms and noshing on a menu based on seasonal local ingredients and grown and prepared with love.

Olin Farms is located at 8627 North 95th Street. Farm-to-table dinners kick off of June 22nd and run through August. Guests are welcome to bring their own libations and encouraged to make their reservations online.

The Lyons Farmette is located at 4121 Ute Highway, and offers a slew of farm-to-table dinners through the fall. Check out their upcoming May 24th pizza dinner and check out their current calendar filled with dinners and classes at their gorgeous Lyons property.

The Bolder Life: Fresh From the Garden


Spotlight on Ollin Farms Tyra Sutak

Published on: August 5th, 2011

More than 30 local farms call Boulder County their home, making the area one big, organic grocery store—much to the delight of local residents seeking fresh farm-to-table ingredients for their own kitchen tables. For several months out of the year, local farmers are hard at work cultivating and growing everything from the usual vegetable garden suspects to honey to free-range cattle—all of which they package up and sell to the public every Wednesday and Saturday at the Boulder County Farmer’s Markets.

With so many vendors showcasing their fresh from the garden products each week at the farmer’s markets, it’s hard to pay a visit to each individual stand, which is why Longmont’s own Ollin Farms conveniently operates an on-site farm stand seven days a week; and they don’t stop there. This small, sustainable farm offers everything from farm dinners—in which they invite guests to visit the farm and dine on a four-course menu designed and prepared by local chef, Dale Lamb, using fresh ingredients picked straight from the farm—to weddings that offer couples that are ready-to-tie-the-knot, a scenic landscape setting along Lefthand Creek complete with shading by clusters of large cottonwood trees and the chance to serve their guests a gourmet meal made with ingredients grown from the same ground that they celebrate on.

For Ollin Farms owner Mark Guttridge, farming runs in the family. Mark, a Colorado native, grew up on a farm and maintained his own vegetable garden as a kid, and as he got older, he began to research organic farming and in 2007 opened Ollin Farms with his wife Kena, with the intention of creating a source of local food, and an awareness in the community of the different economical, ecological and nutritional benefits of supporting local farms.

This month, Mark and his family literally have their hands full preparing for their big summer Open House/Annual Tomato Festival in which they invite the public to check out this season’s most popular garden item. The farm grows more than 20 varieties of tomatoes and recently dominated the tomato competition at the Boulder County Fair by winning blue ribbons for best cherry tomato, best pear/plum tomato and best slicing tomato. Mark is a firm believer that tomatoes bought at the grocery store can’t compete with a tomato picked fresh off of the farm. With a mere two-day shelf life, tomatoes lose flavor and nutrition in the packaging and transportation process to commercial grocery stores and customers aren’t able to truly appreciate the fresh from the vine taste created from a ripe tomato grown in healthy, natural soil.

You can find Ollin Farms at the Longmont Farmer’s Market on Saturday afternoons and the Boulder Farmer’s Market on Wednesday nights. Be sure to visit the farm on Sunday, Aug. 14 from noon-5pm for tours of the farm, tomato sampling, live music, tips on canning and how to make the most out of garden vegetables and tons of fun activities for the kids. Also be sure to reserve your seat at the next Farm Dinner and enjoy a delicious meal full of freshly harvested produce, straight off the farm along with other locally sourced food all served to you on the rustic confines of the farm grounds.

Click here for more information on other upcoming events at Ollin Farms , and be sure to stop in and pick up some fresh tomatoes from the Ollin Farms farm stand and check out these 10 tasty ideas for preparing those tomatoes once you get them home!