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How Colorado is tackling food insecurity with farm-to-table concepts

"It's not so much a philosophy for us as a foundation," says Jill Skokan, co-founder of Michelin Green-starred Black Cat Bistro, a Boulder mainstay that sources a large percentage of its ingredients from Skokan's farm plot just a few miles away. "If you talk to the older generations of farmers in Boulder County, there were no grocery stores," she says. "They grew or raised their food, preserved it, and traded with neighbors."

There's a good reason for that. According to Steamboat Springs chef and restaurateur Hannah Hopkins, there's something about the Mountain West that fosters both an intimate connection to the landscape and a tight-knit sense of community. Here, she says, the land is rugged and winters are long. It's impossible to pretend that humans hold sway over the indomitable march of the seasons. So Coloradans learn to live in tune with the natural rhythms of the earth—and learn to look out for one another. The farm-to-table ethos is a powerful expression of that mutualism.

"Steamboat Springs is a small town," Hopkins says. "The ranchers are our neighbors. And the people who dine with us are our friends, our family. It's important that we all support each other." For Hopkins, sourcing ingredients locally is more than just a nice way to ensure fresh, flavorful dishes. It also feels like a responsibility to her community.

Of course, there's more than one way to do farm-to-table dining. Over the past few years, Colorado restaurateurs have also experimented with imaginative new formats. Take Austin & Davis Breedlove of Denver. The brothers—one a chef and the other a farmer—run Farm & Market, a concept where cultivation and dining are separated by just a single glass wall. As you dig into soups, teas, and salads, you can gaze through the glass to watch the herbs and produce growing in real time. You can also pick your own produce from a live tasting station—a row of crops brought into the restaurant lobby specifically for nibbling.

Read the entire article at Atlas Obscura

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