Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Black Cat Organic Farm

Culinary Gardens, Black Cat Organic Farms Part 1 from BVMA on Vimeo.

About a month ago, I began working on a Culinary Gardening video series in collaboration with Boulder Valley Media Alliance (Channel 22) and local chef, Eric Skokan, the owner of Black Cat Farm Table Bistro.

Eric's situation is unique: he owns and operates a neighborhood-style bistro, he grows much of the organic produce for his bistro on Black Cat Farm (10 acres he leases from the county), plus, he sells his produce at Boulder Farmer's Market.

Just one of these ventures is enough to keep the average person extremely busy, which Eric is, however despite this, he also considers himself extremely lucky because he has a life where he's able to immerse himself in his passions: cooking and gardening.

We began shooting the series on Black Cat Farm at the end of March, in between several sizable spring snow storms.

At that time, farm interns were harvesting winter produce that had been planted the previous June. Varietals grown from seeds that Eric sources via Boulder Culinary Gardener's seed exchange program, and from FEDCO, a seed coop in Maine, and that are suited to Colorado's climate.

The soft-leafed greens that interns were harvesting for the Bistro's daily-changing spring menu had not only survived Colorado's winter, they had, to my surprise, thrived under an insulating blanket of snow!

I had the chance to nibble on some winter spinach, hazelnut-like mache (also known as lamb's lettuce), anise-tasting chervil, parsley root leaves, and turnip greens.

We'll be observing Eric in the kitchen preparing these greens as accompaniments to several Black Cat Bistro signature dishes in future episodes!

Working in the kitchen with amazing organic produce pulled from the earth within hours of being prepared and eaten is the reason, I gathered, that Eric dedicates himself to operating an authentic, farm to table restaurant.

Do check back this week for more; I'll be uploading the second episode in the series, which includes footage of Eric's amazing root cellar, a dug out in the ground next to his hoop-house--a temporary hot-house--plus some footage and discussion on growing asparagus.

Meanwhile, learn more about Eric, the Black Cat Farm, and the bistro, by watching the 9-minute video above. Enjoy!

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