Editor’s Note: Watch for Barclay Daranyi’s weekly recipes blogs every Friday on Telluride Inside… and Out.
Dinner Saturday night had everything to do with a wonderful woman named Loey Ringquist, because Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery, the site of our farm-to-table “Grande Bouffe” would not have been possible without her.
Loey and her twin sister Louise first settled in Aspen in 1949. The continued development of Snowmass, however, prompted her to sell the property she had acquired in the area and purchase a ranch outside Norwood. Loey was a photographer – at one point in her life she was babysitter to Ansel Adams’ kids and some of it rubbed it she claimed – an adventurer and a preservationist, who wanted to see the land she lived and loved protected in perpetuity.
Barclay Daranyi grew up on a CSA farm in New England, so she was hardwired to work the land. When Barclay first came to town, she cooked at the former Skyline Guest Ranch. Later she worked at La Marmotte as a pastry chef. Her bread and granola remain best sellers.
Tony was my first employer in town. He and Mike Ritchey hired me as a journalist when they founded The Daily Planet in 1993. Although he holds an MBA and was once upon a time a fast-tracking “suit,” Tony traded in the “good life” for a much better and more balanced existence in the Telluride region. Today, in addition to farming, he is a veteran on the ski patrol.
Indian Ridge Farm and Bakery was born in 1999 when Barclay and Tony purchased 100 acres of land in Norwood, Colorado from Loey, who sold them the land below market value because, as Barclay explained, Loey believed in their vision of sustainable agriculture and community supported farms.
Since then, Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery has grown into a CSA operation that feeds over 65 families – plus three local families who cannot afford food – a “pasturized” poultry operation and a thriving bakery. The farm also raises pastured pork, 300 laying hen – the laying operation recently received the Animal Welfare Approved certification – some beef and dairy goats. And every summer Indian Ridge welcomes 3-4 interns who learn hands-on the joys and challenges of small farming.
The idea of hosting a farm to table dinner was the brainchild of Indian Ridge Farm’s baker, Lori Goralka, who Barclay explained is passionate about food and cooking and spends more than a month planning the feasts, which are true labors of love.
Dinners such as the one we were privileged to enjoy Saturday night have a hidden agenda: they underline Indian Ridge’s mission to help strengthen agrarian communities such as Norwood by proving it is possible to eat well – even like a king – simply by gathering resources close to home.
The evening began with a fresh peach soda and an appetizer of liver pate which Barclay prepared. Next she lead us on a tour of the property, which sits on a mesa surrounded by the mountains Loey used to call her “pyramids”: the Sneffels, Lone Cone, the Abajos among the majesties. With great pride and joy, Barclay showed showed the farm’s hens, goats, hot-house tomatoes, and garden,”Le Jardin.” The drip irrigation operation makes the current bounty possible drought or no: zucchini, chard, potatoes, squash, leeks, broccoli, parsnips, carrots, cucumbers, most of which wound up on our dinner plates.
On the tour, we were introduced to a young man named Sajun Folsom of Laid-Back Beef, Norwood, who spoke about the importance of raising beef on grass. “Corn and grain,” he explained, “are like giving candy to a baby.” Cattle will eat them, but that is not a good thing. The negative cascading impacts are far-reaching. Sajun went on to explain that he and the Daryanis are really “grass farmers,” which means because of their farm management practices, the overall ecosystem – water, air and soil, grass, animals, crops – thrives.
Dinner was served at a long wooden table set under a grape arbor for 21 and served by the current crop of interns, so radiantly beautiful and charming they might have graced Marie Antoinette’s Petit Hameau at Versailles.
Lori’s menu, as ambitious as it was delicious, included appetizers of fried squash blossoms, skewers of grilled zucchini, carrot ribbons, baby beets served with tarragon aioli, herbed goat cheese (prepared by Barclay), and cherry tomatoes with olive oil, basil, and a balsamic reduction. The soup course was a local summer corn chowder drizzled with creme fraiche and topped off with nasturtiums. The main course featured Sajun’s meat: rib-eye and New York Strip steak, juniper corn polenta, tomato and swiss chard sauté, topped off with Indian Ridge soft egg. Dessert was fresh peaches and creamy goat cheese in a cooked crust tartlet, glazed in limoncello and accompanied by lavender-vanilla goat milk ice cream.
And everything was right off the farm – though not entirely Indian Ridge. The tomatoes were from Juniper Farm, Norwood. Peaches came from New Leaf Orchard, Dominguez Canyon, Colorado.
Yes, Barclay, Lori and Indian Ridge are planning other such banquets. But I would get in line now. The next one on September 8 is already sold out.