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edible

southwest color ado

Interesting a nd interested since 2010

No. 33 Summer 2018


CONTENTS 6

8

Notables By Zach Hively

Work Your Own Ranch (dressing) By Rachel Turiel

10

Farmers in a Drought Year

Reader's Opinion by Mike Nolan

12

Tyler Willbanks and the Ladies of the Field

By Katie Klingsporn

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16

Rosa Sabido's Tamales

20

Home is Where the Hub is By Amy Irvine

24

The Heart of a Milk Cow By Rachel Turiel

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The Alternative Resource durangoorganics.com

By Sarah Syverson

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Carver Brewing Co. (est. 1986) An Edible Interview

Tyler Willbanks of Rocky Draw Farm


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enn Rawling is an artist who works in Durango, CO, where she pursues her interests in print making, painting, and song writing. Her work, including the hand-pressed linoleum prints as well as paintings like those on the cover and to the right, reflect her continued relationship to medicinal and native plants, herbalism, and her love of botanical illustration.

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EDITOR AND PUBLISHER Rick Scibelli, Jr.

CO-PUBLISHER Michelle Ellis

COPY EDITOR Mia Rupani

POETRY EDITOR Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer

WRITERS Rachel Turiel, Amy Irvine, Zach Hively, Katie Klingsporn, Sarah Syverson

PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN Rick Scibelli, Jr.

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Edible Southwest Colorado is published quarterly by Sunny Boy Publications. All rights reserved. Distribution is throughout southwest Colorado and nationally (and locally) by subscription. No part of this publication may be used without written permission of the publisher. © 2018.

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EDITOR'S LETTER

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am not sure how my carbon footprint stacks up. It certainly isn’t anything to be proud of — regardless of your point of view. But don’t ask me. For it seems I can be triggered like a bear with a thorn (if said bear limited all his confrontations to email) by words and phrases I feel have become loaded — ‘carbon footprint’ being just one on a long list ... So this is a behind-the-scenes look at how Amy Irvine, a writer in Norwood, wrote a story (pg. 20) about a tiny grocery store (FRESH), and how one sentence produced a week of spirited back and forth. “For items that cannot be acquired nearby, FRESH sources from small independent organic food-producers who are closer than not—meaning the carbon footprint of a product is taken into serious consideration.” I requested that the sentence be rewritten to exclude ‘carbon footprint.’ An editorial debate ensued. I hear some of you saying, “What’s the big deal?” And others maybe saying, “Hallelujah.” And still others, exhausted by any hint of divisiveness, having turned the page (or worse, quit reading). It was my strong feeling that the phrase carried a repellent charge for some people including, quite possibly, your neighbor. "[It] doesn’t point to anyone as good or bad,” Rachel Turiel, our managing editor, wrote to me. Formidable point but I believed that was exactly what it did. Either you have a respectable footprint or you don’t. “It has become bumper-sticker talk,” I wrote, rather self-satisfied, thinking I had just checkmated everybody. Nobody agreed with me. “To me, the FRESH hub is standing for local food and reducing the carbon footprint of food,” Rachel wrote. “That doesn’t have to be what you’re about or what the magazine is about, and yet when we’re telling their story that seems like a big part of their motivation. I am considering this a friendly ideological and business disagreement. Being in dialogue feels better, and I trust that we can hear each other and come to an agreement.” Except I was unwilling to listen or dialogue as my thorn abscessed. “I am going to override you on this,” I wrote to her. Now I value peace with the people in my life far beyond being right, but only after I marinate in a lonely bath of my own righteous indignation. So this override didn’t feel good for long. After several days of perseveration, I apologized and then made another attempt at expressing my concern. I tell her how I keep seeing these bumper stickers everywhere, and that I had even seen one that very day that read, “We're Not Happy Until You're Not Happy” with an elephant on the side that announced to the world the driver’s political identity. I told her how this lead me to a Google search for liberal and conservative bumper stickers which fielded a varied — often crude — and depressing haul:

“How ’bout I put my Carbon Footprint in your Liberal ass” (This is a popular one that I have seen on multiple occasions). “Free Carbon Credits — Suck Here” (I warned you. Crude. This sticker has an arrow pointing in a suggestive direction lest you be confused where the tailpipe might be). “My Carbon Footprint is Smaller than Yours” (This was set with an earthy font, which I guess serves to drive the point home in case there is any lingering ambiguity in the message). “My Carbon Footprint is bigger than yours!!” (No ambiguity there)!! “Jesus Would Drive a Prius” (I would argue that he would be driving a truck to haul his tools). “Jesus was a Liberal / Jesus was a Conservative” (Lord, whoever you voted for, please save us all from ourselves). So I suggested that Amy reword her sentence and abandon the phrase, but not the intent. I felt it would only serve to help her story — the implication still being clear — less fuel being burned is good all the way around. "I have never seen any of these bumper stickers," Rachel said. I envy her. In my world, they are everywhere. But it’s becoming apparent that I look for reasons to upset myself. “It seems like what you are saying is that some people believe that liberals have co-opted the term ‘carbon footprint’ to push an agenda, and that makes the phrase unpalatable to people who view the term as political condemnation.” Yes, I said, “That is what I am saying” — minus the eloquence. And that was that. We heard each other and we came to an agreement. Besides, we have always agreed that we don’t tow agendas. Maybe this was all a big something out of nothing. Or maybe there is an argument to be made that I am being ironically divisive about divisiveness. But I will argue that empathy matters, especially if you want to be heard. And we all want to be heard. I know I do.

– Rick Scibelli

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NOTABLES BY ZACH HIVELY

Workshop Your Herbalism this Summer

Harvesting the Menu at Cosmo

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Gary Lincoff

he 2018 Telluride Mushroom Fest is tickled to expand its offerings — but there’s also sadness, as some of the events are memorializing founder Gary Lincoff. “On Friday night, we’re going to do a big memorial for Gary,” organizer Olivia Coe says. “We’ll have some presentations detailing how he affected the mushroom world, but also the greater world, because he was such an influential botanist and mycologist.” This year’s theme for the fest, held Aug. 16-19, is Mycology in the Molecular Biology Era. Paul Stamets, a well-known mycologist who advocates for bioremediation and medicinal mushrooms, will host talks. A range of other microbiologists will give additional presentations throughout the weekend. The Mushroom Fest is known for its hands-on participation. This year, it’s expanding into full-day mushroom forays, for which lunch will be provided (and possibly harvested). There’s the legendary mushroom cook-off, free to the public, where chefs compete for people’s choice prizes by offering tastings and serving mushroom beer. And, also for the first time, events will hap pen a gondola ride away in the Mountain Village. “Telluride Mushroom Fest is an amazing collaboration between people who want to make the world a better place with all the things mushrooms can do for humanity,” Coe says. “It’s a great place to come and learn about anything to do with mushrooms.”

he owner-chef of the restaurant Cosmopolitan in Telluride sets the menu and creates the food, naturally — but he also harvests some of it. “I love mushrooms,” Chad Scothorn says. “I’ve been picking for years. Between the Telluride Mushroom Festival and a lot of experts who come for that festival, I’ve got a lot of training over the last 23 years. I’ve had some pretty big years where I’ve pulled in over a thousand pounds. We serve quite a few mushrooms when we have a good year.” Whether he’s creating mushroom dishes or the best-selling beet salad, Scothorn sources the majority of his produce locally, and he shapes his menu in response to the availability of local crops. His food is also known for an Asian flair, and he has fresh fish flown in two to three times a week directly from Hawaii. A locals’ favorite is the sushi happy hour, with four different (and rotating) varieties on the menu. There are two constants at the Cosmo: One is that everything, from the bread on up, is made from scratch. And the other constant is change. This restaurant in the Hotel Columbia, at the bottom of the gondola, prints a new menu every day. “I hate serving the same thing over and over again,” Scothorn says. “So come with an open mind to a changing menu.”

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Change is Coming to the Durango Farmers Market

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hange is coming after more than 20 years at the Durango Farmers Market. The market is looking to expand its offerings by jumping the wall in the First National Bank parking lot. “We’d love to have more vendors producing food products in our area,” market manager Melanie McKinney-Gonzales says. Ultimately, the market’s purpose is to support the community. In addition to food vendors, it connects customers with local non-profit organizations. And it participates in the Double Up Food Bucks program, which doubles SNAP card holders’ purchasing power up to an extra $20 each week. “It's an amazing social venue,” McKinney-Gonzales says. “People can buy local food and also meet their friends and neighbors, enjoy the music, and learn about what’s going on in the community.” The market is held Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon through October, which is also prime time for other outdoor activities. Setting an alternative schedule is one of the reasons farmers Morgan Di Santo and Kate Sopko founded the new Farmers Market at Three Springs. “A lot of people in Durango are serious weekend warriors,” Sopko says. “We’re offering this market at an accessible place on the south side of town, as well as on a weekday evening.” The market’s inauguration is set for June 21 and will run every Thursday through mid-October from 4-8 p.m. The market has a mix of agricultural and craft vendors, and it coincides with the Three Springs concert series. “We hope to reach people who don’t usually go to farmers markets,” Sopko says. “We’re excited about that.”

ow you can get a big-city herbalist education without traveling to the big city. The Colorado School of Clinical Herbalism is based in Boulder, but its herbal healing center at Elderberry’s in Paonia makes integrating herbalism into nutrition accessible for individuals and practitioners alike. “We’re a school of vitalist western herbalism and nutrition,” school director Lisa Gamora explains. “We focus on how you actually build health and support the wisdom of your body in correcting its imbalances.” This year, Elderberry’s is hosting five weekend workshops focused on nutrition and herbalism. For instance, you can study the healing powers of medicinal plants and foods during the Wise Woman Weekend (July 26-29), learn artisan essential oil distilling (Aug. 25-26), and prepare for winter during the Experience Nature Cure workshop (Oct. 5-7). Half the beauty of participating in the workshops is simply being at the 4-acre farm just outside of town. You can camp, glamp, or shack up in a tiny house for the weekend and enjoy visiting the orchards and gardens — the active farm is the home of Happy Belly CSA, run by a CSCH alumna. Even if you’re just passing through, you’re always welcome at Elderberry’s. “If people want to drop in and have a look while they’re in the area, that’s totally fine,” Gamora says. “It’s like an open house all the time.”

lta County DeFRESH N COLORADO M

PHOTOS: JIM BRETT, LEHMANIMAGES.COM

Telluride Mushroom Festival

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Work Your Own Ranch

TELLURIDE

(... Dressing)

fresh & organic

By Rachel Turiel

T

here’s a time for culinary simplicity (weeknights, solo meals, feeding kids), and a time for more elaboration and care. Maybe you’re hosting a Sunday brunch, and while ingesting high doses of caffeine and clearing the kitchen of interlopers (i.e. family members), you have time to whisk piquant herbs into the cloud-like base of your own homemade ranch dressing. These minced spices swirl like festive confetti into the creamy liquid, elevating your meal to something instantly more special. Does this mean I’m more likely to go all out for guests than my own family? Certainly. This ranch dressing takes a bit longer to make than the typical weeknight vinaigrette, but gives back in flavor, freshness, and yes, a bit of wow factor. Make a big batch and maybe you’ll have enough to bust out on a Monday night with carrot sticks for your longsuffering family.

8 edible Southwest Color ado Summer 2018

INGREDIENTS 3/4 cup sour cream 1/2 cup whole milk plus 1 tbsp freshly-squeezed lemon juice or 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped or 2 tsp dried parsley 1 tbsp fresh dill, chopped or 2 tsp dried dill 1 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp sea salt 1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper 1/2 tsp garlic powder or 1 tsp minced fresh garlic

C R E AT I V E S E A S O N A L F A R E Proprietor chef Chad Scothorn

La Cocina de Luz MEXICAN FOOD & MORE

METHOD 1. Stir milk and lemon juice together in a small bowl. Set aside for about 5-10 minutes. (cheaters buttermilk). OR pour 1/2 cup buttermilk into small bowl. 2. Combine milk mixture OR buttermilk with sour cream; whisk until smooth. 3. Add herbs and spices and whisk until combined. 4. Transfer dressing into a jar with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate. Good for one week.  Shake before each use! 

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READER'S OPINION

Farmers in a Drought Year

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By Mike Nolan

S

itting around our kitchen table in January, my farm partner, Mindy, and I discussed what the coming growing season would look like. It’s both habit and tradition to dissect our successes and mistakes from the previous season, which guides our operation in a positive and dynamic direction for the following. We had just come off our most successful year on the farm, grateful to be both profitable and healthy enough to do it again. It’s now May and the Southwest is in one of the worst droughts of the last 100 years. It’s tough, heartbreaking, and a guarantee that our irrigation season will be short and unpredictable. Consequently, we are planting 80 percent less than normal. Some neighbors are moving cows out of the region or bringing them to the sale barn. Hay is expensive, if you can find it, and the prospects are slim that many ranchers will fill their hay barns this summer. For a few weeks there, the only moisture on the farm was the sweat on my brow and the tears in my eyes. Our livelihood and business has never felt more fragile. My understanding for the issues facing agriculture in and beyond my little community has evolved to an all-consuming empathy, where I feel what others have felt for generations. As a first-generation farmer, this is the first time I have sincerely felt Mother Nature threaten my livelihood in a long-term way. Drought years like this reacquaint even the most resilient of farms and its famers with the fragility that is agriculture. In the last six years, farm income in the United States has dropped by nearly 50 percent, while the cost of production has steadily increased. The average age of a farmer is over 60, and farmers over 65 outnumber those under 35 by 6 to 1. Because of this, more than half of the agricultural equity (land, equipment, etc.) will change hands in the next 12 years. We only make up 2 percent of the population, and that number is dwindling fast. These factors result in farmers having a suicide rate just under male military veterans ages 18 to 29. Farmer suicides are happening at a rate of 84.5 of 100,000, and prevention is such a priority that the Colorado Department of Agriculture has started a farmer-specific suicide hotline, where counselors are trained to understand drought, cattle, commodity prices, cost of production, and more. I tell you, the eater, all of this because most of these stories are not on the consumer’s radar. I ask not just for your sympathy, but also for a favor. More often than not, a binary gets played out amongst consumers and within the greater food system. It often labels organic or sustainable farms as “good” and commodity or conventional farms as “bad.” This binary hurts agriculture. Picking sides hurts agriculture. Being dogmatic on either side of this discussion is not beneficial to how our food system is shifting. Additionally, it is definitely not beneficial to the emotional and financial bottom line 10 edible Southwest Color ado Summer 2018

of farmers, ranchers, and farm workers in this country. While everyone is a consumer, very few of us are involved in agriculture. How you publicly frame agriculture ripples out. Please keep supporting your local growers as much as you can, and keep shopping in whichever produce aisle you choose. Meanwhile, do your best not to judge other consumers for their food choices or denigrate producers for their growing practices. Behind every piece of American-grown produce there is a family farm dependent on a consumer purchasing it. The longer I am in agriculture, the less dogmatic about my own industry I become. An old mentor encouraged me to keep all the tools in the toolbox, and not to discard anything because someone else says you do not need it or it won’t work. Let’s not get so dogmatic about our food choices that we forget to be grateful for the simple fact that we have a choice to begin with. Food choice is a privilege that a lot of consumers in our region do not have. I ask this favor for a personal reason. As I work on agricultural policy on a state and federal level, the perception of good vs. bad agriculture and food hinders farmers in being efficient in advocating for policy that works for everyone, from the urban farm to the commodity grower. When the duality is removed, the door opens for farmers to advocate for policy that is equitable and fair for all consumers and agriculturalists, no matter what aspect of the food system they’re involved in. I will fight for all of you if you will fight for all farmers — not just the ones that fit in your ideological box. There are lots opinions and facts about agriculture, but rarely do I see those actually coming from the mouths of farmers. To learn more about agriculture policy and the issues that matter to us the most, please check out the Rocky Mountain Farmers Union and National Young Farmers Coalition. Rocky Mountain Farmers Union: rmfu.org, National Young Farmers Coalition: youngfarmers.org, Colorado Department of Agriculture Suicide Prevention: 844-493-TALK (8255)

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Tyler Willbanks and the Ladies of the Field By Katie Klingsporn

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t’s a gusty spring morning at Rocky Draw Farm just north of Mancos, and farmer Tyler Willbanks is parking the manure spreader in his barn. Willbanks leads two massive black and white Clydesdale horses into the yard. The horses, Dee and Belle, stand proud and patient as he hooks them up to the spreader, a piece of machinery that resembles a large wagon, but with paddles in the back for flinging manure into the field. He climbs into the lone seat perched behind the horses. “OK, ladies,” he says, and they take off. Willbanks drives the ungainly piece of equipment to the barn door and proceeds to pull off a six-point turn, instructing the horses back and forth just so until the spreader is parked neatly inside. It’s the kind of parking job most people rarely achieve even in their automatic transmission cars. “You get used to it after twenty years,” he says, adding that driving with animals is fun. It requires more concentration. “It makes your tongue hang out a little bit.” Willbanks would know. The fifth-generation farmer got his first donkey at the age of 11 and immediately began using it to plow any piece of dirt he could get his blade into. (“Nothing was safe,” he says). As a teen, he hired himself out to plow gardens with his mule, and even after splurging for a tractor to work his very first piece of land, he continued to use his mule, preferring the results. These days, he’s long sold his tractor, opting for horsepower to plow, plant, mow, harvest, and carry out heavy labor on the roughly 180 acres of southern Colorado land he farms with his wife, April. The 31-year-old farmer has encountered his share of incredulity and derision in response to his chosen method. But he’s unmoving. For a farm his size, horsepower is optimal. He ticks off the advantages of horses over fossil-fuel powered machinery: They are easier to maneuver, capable of duplicating themselves, help grow the food that fuels them, allow for a precision that’s impossible to achieve with tractors, and they keep the pace of life nice and slow.

12 edible Southwest Color ado Summer 2018


“The quality of product that you raise is better, because your attention to detail is more,” He says. “You are right down there with the crop, instead of sitting up above in an air-conditioned tractor. You get to know the soil. So it makes you a better farmer.” Plus, even when it’s 50 below zero, “They still start.” Willbanks is lean and slight, with a wiry kineticism that indicates strength. He keeps his brown hair trimmed short and his shirts tucked neatly into his Wranglers. And though his work fits into the modern-day hipster ideal of Old-World methods and custom-made small-scale production, he is not playing a role. He has never known anything else. Willbanks’ father’s family began farming in Montezuma County in the 1890s, while his mother’s family traveled via wagon over Wolf Creek Pass circa 1920 to homestead between Cortez and Dolores. Like most farming families of the era, both utilized horsepower. Willbanks grew up on his mother’s family farm, the second of three children. He began growing plants as soon as he was big enough to hold a garden hoe, and always knew his life would involve cultivating food. He attended school in Dolores, but was ill from a young age with Crohn’s Disease — an autoimmune disorder that causes chronic inflammation in the gastrointestinal system — and spent a lot of time in and out of the doctor’s office before being home schooled. (At the age of 14, weighing just 75 pounds, he underwent a surgery to remove a substantial section of his digestive tract). He never formally studied animal husbandry or agriculture, though he learned everything he knows about breaking horses, raising animals, plowing fields, and harvesting crops through hands-on work, and a kind of self-reliance endemic to small family operations. When he was 16, he enrolled at San Juan Technical College to study welding, working in that field for a couple years to sock away money. By 18, he had saved enough to purchase his first piece of land: 40 acres in Montezuma County, along with a tractor. But after planting the ground with potatoes and oats, he found that he preferred working his fields with his mule. In 2011, he bought the 25-acre farm he now lives on with April (the daughter of New York State dairy farmers), a high school teacher in Mancos who co-runs the operation. Back then, the farm was a scrubby and over-grazed piece of high desert. A couple years in, Willbanks sold his tractor to help pay for the cost of building a house. Not long after, while working as a game warden to supplement his income, he came across an unbroken team of Belgian Haflingers that he bought for a song. He broke them and put them to work. Pleased

at the results, he never did replace that tractor. Today, Rocky Draw Farm is home to fields and a pond, a house and barn and several animal pens. The Willbanks grow spelt wheat, hay, potatoes, and barley, and raise a sizeable kitchen garden on 157 acres of land near the Mancos River bottom. They sell milk and cream shares, livestock feed, lamb and beef, potatoes, eggs, whole spelt flour, and livestock bedding. They also breed and break workhorses and offer weed management consulting. In the wintertime, they run sleigh rides near Durango Mountain Resort, and, with the aid of their horses, log and mill lumber. Upon first glance, it’s a typical small-scale farm. “But the difference between ours and most others is that ours looks like it stalled out in the 1920s,” Willbanks notes. Aside from their trucks and a small UTV being driven around by a farm hand, it’s true. The Willbanks’ stable of horse-drawn machinery is impressive: A grain binder that’s well over 100 years old; a shiny all purpose horse-drawn tractor that can dig, plant, cultivate, disc, and harrow a field; an ancient John Deere plow; and a hay mower, also horse-powered, that brandishes two rows of gleaming tooth-like blades. They still borrow conventional tractors occasionally for big projects, but mostly use horse-drawn equipment. Some of these contraptions make for wild rides, while others are as comfortable as old gloves. And when you pair them with a solid team of horses, Willbanks says, life doesn’t get much better. “That’s what my stress reliever is, hooking up to the horses.” In 2014, April bought a bag of spelt flour after reading that people with Crohn’s Disease can tolerate it. Curious, Willbanks looked into the hardy heirloom winter wheat. Despite having a tough hull that turns many farmers off, he decided to trial it. He bought a 100-pound sack from an Amish farmer in Ohio, then planted, babied, and fretted over the crop like he had rarely done before. “Off of a 100-pound sack, I ended up with about 2,000 pounds,” he said. He’s now in his third year of growing spelt, and it’s proven to be a fantastic crop. It makes great hay, nutritious livestock feed, delicious heirloom flour that artisan bakers are keen for (and purchase wholesale), and withstands drought. “It keeps our farm powered.” And as the Willbanks have grown their operation, expanding their newfound spelt niche, outside doubt about their old-school methods has been replaced by something else. “Now people actually really respect it,” Willbanks said. “When I’m driving six head of horses and working a lot of ground and logging and making an income, I get some respect.”


Rosa Sabido's Tamales By Sarah Syverson

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nock on the locked turquoise door of the Mancos United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall, cheery against the sandstone stucco walls, and you’ll wait a minute before you hear soft footsteps. “Who’s there?” Rosa Sabido asks. If she knows you, Rosa lets you into the Fellowship Hall. Pastor Craig, working in his office just to the right inside the door, nods hello as you pass through the entryway and into the wood paneled great room, topped by two long rows of intrusively bright florescent lights. To the left is a well-used utilitarian kitchen, utilized both by Rosa and church members to feed the community. At the end of the great room a large, hand-written Margaret Mead quote is taped to the wall. “Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” A door to the right opens to a small fenced-in area nestled under a great, old willow tree with two busy bird feeders hanging on the limbs, dozens of birds flitting from limb to feeders. There is a lock on the gate. Back in the Fellowship Hall, tucked into the right-hand corner, is Rosa’s only private space, her tiny, tidy, all-purpose bedroom/office/sitting room/art space/sanctuary. Painted a soft blue and still containing part of a mural from when it was the church’s play room for children, gentle afternoon light flows through the window, through which near-constant chatter of nuthatches, magpies, and an occasional dove carries. A 6-foot-tall bookshelf in front of Rosa’s small twin-sized bed has been converted into an altar. It overflows with heart-shaped stones, devotional prayer candles displaying an array of saints, bottles of holy water from Chimayo, and a variety of other tokens of hope from friends, family, and supporters both in Montezuma County and across the country. Rosa’s desk, situated in front of the window, gives her a vista of Grand Avenue in Mancos, and more importantly, the ravenous birds twittering away. A Christmas cactus overflows with hot-pink blooms and a peace lily hovers just over the cactus with a quiet white bloom, moments from rolling open. This is Rosa’s Sanctuary. Rosa was 23 when she first entered the United States with a work visa that she renewed for 10 years, until authorities became suspicious of her. She then decided to re-enter the U.S. as an undocumented immigrant, and worked under the table as cleaner and cook until she was hired as a secretary for the Catholic Church in Cortez. In 2008, she was caught in an immigration raid of her relatives, and was released on the condition that she check in with the federal immigration office in Durango. She had been granted stays of removal until May 2017, when she was denied. Facing deportation after more than 30 years of living and working in the U.S., and desperate for help, Rosa called on Pastor Craig and his congregation. She entered 16 edible Southwest Color ado Summer 2018

the sanctuary of the church in Mancos on June 2, 2017. For more than a year, her only footsteps have been on this small parcel of land between the two buildings that occupy the lot. If she crosses onto the public sidewalk running along the perimeter of the church property, she could be arrested and deported back to Mexico.  One of her deepest joys, preserving her spirit in this profoundly challenging situation, is her ongoing love affair with cooking. Rosa’s culinary repertoire is wide ranging and culturally diverse, but always includes favorites from her family. Dishes range from more traditional holiday recipes like Sopa de Haba y Nopales (Fava Bean and Cactus Leaf Soup) to snacks like fried corn tortillas with black beans and mole, which her grandmother made for her on a daily basis. But what she is known for county-wide in Montezuma are her famous tamales. Long before she was in sanctuary, she sold tamales. Mancos residents would count themselves lucky if they bumped into Rosa at the local P&D grocery store as they were wearily trying to conjure something to make for dinner that night. That warm, joyfilled Rosa smile would appear, and suddenly, the Tamale Heavens would open up. And this is how it went all over the county. Every week. Ask Rosa where it all started and she’ll recount growing up in Mexico City with weekends and holidays spent with extended family in Veracruz. Her Grandma Carmen was Italian, and cooked polenta and homemade Italian sausages along with a plethora of Mexican and indigenous foods. Her Aunt Aurora owned a farm down the road in Veracruz that supported an enormous garden full of watermelons, corn, beans, and herbs, and also milking cows and chickens. Rosa remembers watching Aunt Aurora make corn tortillas the size of a basketball from scratch. When she was back home in Mexico City, she’d scour the television channels, looking for cooking shows to hone her skills and combine what she was learning from her time in Veracruz. At the age of 22, she opened her first hole-in-the-wall café, Tutti Frutti, in Mexico City. With only a grill, griddle, fryer, and blender at her fingertips, she offered customers an array of American foods infused with Mexican sass. Suddenly, hot dogs were making friends with chorizo and eggs in the same cozy bun. This union of cultures, no doubt started by her Italian grandmother living in Mexico, continued to interest her. She didn’t see culinary boundary lines, only opportunities to create a symbiosis between ingredients that hadn’t yet known each other on the plate. The improvisational art of cooking is one of Rosa’s most beloved ways of being in the kitchen. While most of us start with, “What do I want to eat?” Rosa is vastly more creative, taking a deep dive into,


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Rosa Sabido talks with Pastor Craig Paschal on the front lawn at Mancos United Methodist Church Fellowship Hall.

“What do I have, and what can I make out of it?” Give her some pasta, a jalapeno, and a link of turkey pepperon, and she’ll create a dish that breaks all barriers. She calls it a marriage, or a union, or sometimes a whole community of ingredients getting together to sing. One can imagine K.D. Lang’s version of “Hallelujah” being belted out by Rosa’s famous tamales. Rosa’s secret ingredient is her bottomless contentment in the crafting of it all. It’s an elixir that all chefs, from food truck self-starters to Michelin Star-laden elites, wish they could bottle. Coping with more than a year in confinement, Rosa is making adjustments and working with her team of community supporters to make it through each day, each week, and each new challenge. There are great ebbs and flows in the wave she is riding. Her mother,

Blanca, has not been well and has chosen to go to Mexico for medical help because Rosa is no longer able to support her here in the U.S. Heartbreak rises to Rosa’s eyes as she explains her own difficult decision to stay in sanctuary in Mancos. “I have a mission. Something that I need to do here, and so I must stay,” she states with great sadness and great conviction. Her mission, she explains, is to support the sanctuary movement in the U.S. through the sacrifice of her own confinement every day, while speaking up for marginalized immigrants and the circumstances they face in seeking citizenship. Within that confinement comes the unexpected and continual gift of her love and cooking. She is nourishing the bodies and souls around her, and feeding her own soul with every ingredient and every human she links together.

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Home is Where the Hub is Local Food Becomes Big Business in Small Towns By Amy Irvine

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alking into our local food hub is like walking into the pantry of my grandmother — the one who gardened like she was going to feed the world: The place is full of women with rolled-up sleeves talking about their kids, the weather, and food. No one seems to mind that it’s a tight squeeze between stainless steel shelves, a two-step around the drums of grains and flour. They’re too busy admiring the local fare that’s just been delivered — the first batch of baby carrots, beets the color and size of human hearts, and the chard with jewellike stems. Just a decade ago, one of the hardest things about living in remote parts of the American Southwest was a dearth of fresh local food. In many small towns the greenest thing you’d find in the grocery store was a head of iceberg lettuce, wilted and road-weary from its travels. Indeed, we dwell in a region of extremes: temperatures soar, then plunge. Altitudes and attitudes are rarefied. And things are bone dry until a storm hits; whatever’s not swept away by wind or flash flood is soggy to the core. So it’s easy to believe we must import most of what we eat. Sure, there are now farmers markets in some of these places. I love the idea of donning a sun hat and putting a basket over my arm so I can stroll among vendors and choose carefully some heirloom tomatoes and braids of garlic. But as a full-time working mother, weekend mornings are a Matterhorn of laundry, the aftermath of sleepovers, and if I’m lucky, a quick walk before driving my kid to a

20 edible Southwest Color ado Summer 2018

birthday party. More often than not, hitting the farmers market gets nixed off the “To Do” list because there simply isn’t enough time. Luckily for me and my 500-plus neighbors living in Norwood, Colorado — a town atop a far-flung mesa that sits 34 miles downriver from Telluride and 99 miles from Moab, Utah — we boast one of the several hundred small, community-owned and operated organizations called food hubs. These venues facilitate aggregation, storage, processing, distribution, and marketing of regionally-produced food products. Unlike other new businesses that have a survival rate of only 56 percent during their first five years, 96 percent of all new food hubs have maintained robust operations during the same period of time. Norwood’s hub is called FRESH, which stands for “Food Resources Encompassing a Social Hub.” This community-based co-op is housed in a small, robin’s egg blue storefront on the town’s main drag. Inside, the shelves and coolers are filled with local and regional food products — from choice cuts of organic, pasture-raised meats to jam, honey, just-picked produce, and soap. There are dry-farmed beans in bulk — Four Corners favorites such as Anasazi, and pinto. For items that cannot be acquired nearby, FRESH sources from small independent organic food-producers who are closer than not, always with an eye on reducing impacts of food travel. The hours are limited, so when FRESH is open, the place is usually

(Clockwise from the top left) Mesa Owen, manager, thumbs through inventory prior to the end of her shift. Mato Johansson, 4, can't wait to taste the groceries prior to heading home. Melanie Eggers browses for dinner on May 24, 2018, at FRESH in Norwood. The FRESH storefront in Norwood, CO.


hopping. You’ll no doubt rub one elbow with a young, dread-locked vegan mother while bumping the other into a plumber. You might see the cellist who drives from Telluride to shop at FRESH. Old time farmers and ranchers tip their hats as they pass through to drop off their wares. Artisan bakers lay out their still-warm goods on a baker’s rack like spiritual offerings. A volunteer (you can work in exchange for a discount on your groceries) grinds fresh nut butters while another makes a latté for the bleary-eyed schoolteacher who pulled an all-nighter to grade papers. Between five and six o'clock on weekdays, working parents (myself included) stop to see what pre-made meals are ready to take home for dinner. The back of the store is home to Thorneycroft Kitchens, and Julie Thorneycroft — known throughout southwest Colorado for her top-rate culinary creations — conjures meat pies, lentil salads or veggie burritos, all of which are made using as many regionally-procured ingredients as possible. If you’re lucky enough to get your family’s share before Julie sells out, you’ll be singing her praises until bedtime. At the center of the Norwood food hub is Leila Seraphin, a tall willow of a woman with an impressive CV in community organizing. She founded FRESH in 2016. In its first two years of business, sales increased by 58 percent. During the growing season, 80 percent of all goods sold are locally sourced. At Norwood’s Community Garden, she helped establish plots for the county food bank — ensuring fresh food is accessible to all. In the words of Hannah Rossman, FRESH board member and co-owner of Blue Grouse Bread, a local bakery that uses organic, heritage grains and hearth-baking methods, “Leila is a powerhouse. Sure, it took a devoted community to make the food hub happen, but it was Leila who galvanized our energy and turned it into something both joyful and viable.”

Julie Thorneycroft's infamous meat pies. 22 edible Southwest Color ado Summer 2018

Paula Robinson and Sajun Folsom, a young couple who started with two cows and now run eighty head of grass-fed/finished beef under the banner of Laid Back Ranch, sell their products at FRESH. “The local hub gives us a way to support one another,” Robinson says. “That way, each producer can fill a niche for the community, rather than working within a more competitive model, which is more polarizing.” There’s room for improvement. Shelf and cooler space is limited, so many people still find it necessary to supplement at other stores. For many of the mesa’s residents, there is a bit of a stigma. When one local stockman was asked if he shopped at FRESH, he replied, “Nah, that place is for the hippies.” And given the short growing season on the mesa, currently only 20 percent of the hub’s winter inventory is locally produced. There’s no doubt these things will improve, given the leadership and early successes of FRESH. One recent development is an online ordering and delivery service. On a cool evening in early April, I poke a fork through the buttery crust of a Thorneycroft pot pie and see inside the tender bits of chicken from Indian Ridge Farm’s pastures — good grassy ground on which my daughter has chased butterflies. There are some of those just-pulled spring carrots and there are potatoes grown by a poet. These ingredients are stewed in savory herbs and a hearty bone broth produced here, too — just a few miles from our dining room table. Yes, this way of shopping and eating is good for both the body and the earth. It keeps money on our mesa. But it also feeds our sense of gratitude and builds our appetite for collaboration. And for these things, in the remote pockets of place we call home, we are ever so hungry for more.

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The Heart of a Milk Cow By Rachel Turiel

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ows are just gentle souls,” Dan James remarks, lanky frame sprawled in a grassy field dotted with manure. The morning sun has just lifted off the eastern ridges and it seems he’s been rehearsing this line, maybe just today, or perhaps his whole life. “They’re just made to graze on grass,” he says by way of explanation. And this is exactly what the small group of Jersey cows are doing, balancing bulky, rectangular bodies on stout legs, bending down to clamp grass between lower teeth and monolithic, toothless upper gums. “They don’t nibble down to the base like horses with opposable teeth; they grab and tear, which helps the grass regenerate,” James points out. Their calves — bearing artistic smatterings of caramel brown and white fur — born just weeks ago, are sacked out in the sun. James is relaxed this morning. The daily milking is complete and the cows are behaving as dairy cows should. (The term “cows” refers to any female who has calved. Previously, she is a heifer). In fact, it is highly likely that one year ago James was in this very same field, feeling a similar sense of relief and satisfaction, gazing out across an identical scene, complete with Canada goose dramatics at the lower pond and red-tailed hawks cruising the thermals. (Note: cattle ranching is not for novelty seekers). “They act in unison; that’s what you want to see,” James explains. “Right now, they’re all up and grazing with an eye on their sleeping calves. Soon, they’ll all lie down and chew their cud for a few hours. If a coyote approaches, they’ll all get on their feet and move it off.” One of the gentle souls lumbers slowly toward us. I expect her to turn and amble off at the last minute like I’ve seen cows on forest service land do. But she shuffles forward, her paunchy udder a spectacular appendage of utility, four knobby spouts protruding from the drooping mass of it. The tag pierced to her fuzzy ear marks her as “Rose.” Rose pushes her snout toward me, wet nostrils flared, hot breath on my face. Eyelashes that can only be

24 edible Southwest Color ado Summer 2018


described as lustrous brush her large, glossy eyes. The longer, light hairs surrounding her nose are backlit by the sun. “She’s curious about you,” James explains. Rose inhales my scent, and luckily, is satisfied. She carries her 900-pound bulk off to graze. The morning routine can continue. In child-raising, farming, and cattle ranching, theories suggest that results will be most efficient if you utilize the patterns and features existing naturally within system (think permaculture). Rather than laboriously tilling manure into soil, which destroys the underground fungal network that funnels nutrients to plants, one can simply add organic matter to the soil surface and let the nutrients percolate down. In the bovine paradigm, rather than forcing cows via cattle prod into situations that go against their nature (provoking fear, which James believes taints the quality of the milk), one can observe their behavior and look for ways to enhance strengths, compensate for weaknesses, and work with what James calls, “their natural way of being.” “We milk six cows at a time, April through November. In the milking barn, there are certain cows that aren’t comfortable being on the end, and others who can’t be next to each other.” (This could be the Jeopardy game show clue for the answer: How is a cow like a middle school student?). “It all works out,” James assures. “We just have to remember the best line up. First Brooke, then Sara, then Rose. If you get it wrong, you get pooped on.” Getting pooped on might be par for the course in mega-dairy operations, but James is willing to put work in on the front end to create better conditions on the back end, so to speak. Poop in the milk stall creates extra clean up and less hygienic conditions. The cows have folded up their legs, lowering massive tawny bodies to the meadow. They are preparing to ruminate, a brilliant strategy to wring nutrients out of stringy cellulose. In their predomesticated forms, cows were prey, and like elk and deer, also ruminants, it’s safest to feed quickly then retreat to a protected vantage for hours of digesting, where all senses can be deployed to track predators. When grazing, a cow chews just enough to moisten the food, sending it to the first of four digestive chambers, the rumen, where it forms into fist-sized wads of “cud.” Later, the cud is shuttled back to the mouth via the two-lane esophagus. Now, eyes, ears, and nose tuned to predators, the cow has a second go at it. She masticates the cud further as the sun arcs overhead and James appraises the predictable wholesomeness of it all. Digestive juices are added, grass particles get smaller, increasing surface area for the bacterial festival of fermentation unleashed in the second chamber. In the third chamber, excess moisture is squeezed out, and finally, in the last chamber, enzymes and hydrochloric acid put the finishing touches

on the digestive job. Grass fuels a half-ton beast, becoming milk and muscle. And then, the cows rise to their feet and begin again. James is not casually committed to cows. He understands the intricate machinations of a cow’s rumen (“This is where the magic happens,” he explains, eyes igniting like twin engines. Indeed, for a dairyman, this is where straw is spun into the gold of milk); he can parse the subtle meanings of different vocalizations (“That’s a ‘where’s my baby?’ moo, this is an ‘I’m in pain’ moo,”); he can send a pipette of bull semen past a cow’s cervix and square into her uterus; and he knows each cow in the herd as an individual. Three-year-old Zara thinks every calf is hers. “This is how she is every year,” James sighs with unmistaken tenderness. Newborn calves must be separated from Zara because she can co-opt a lessdominant mother’s calf. Lana is a helicopter mom. “You know, overprotective, the way a lot of us were with our first children,” James smiles. “Lana’s calf, when he sees his mom coming, is like, ‘Oh my God, here comes mom. Hide me.’” Gigi’s calf, already a leader at two weeks old, commences the all-calf post-sunset romp each evening. It’s like we’re discussing the local mothers’ playgroup, and if it seems that James is playing the sentimental grandparent, make no mistake, this is a business. “These little boys are gonna grow up and be delicious,” James says, motioning to Gigi’s playful calf, curled up in the grass, fawnlike, rib cage rising and falling rapidly with breath. “I do this so you don’t have to,” James says. “I castrate and dehorn so you can be a CPA — I don’t want to do that.” It seems there is a region of James’ brain — a cluster of neurons collectively active for the past 10,000 years that humans have been agriculturalists — which for most of us have atrophied. He can provide quality milk and meat to an omnivorous society, while upholding an animal’s dignity. For James, these two goals are not incongruous. He accommodates a cow’s individuality, gives her a cow-happy life, feels unmistaken tenderness toward her, and without any sentimentality, sends her to the meat packer when it’s time. “You want to pet him?” James motions to a white and brown calf, hair coalescing into a swirl on the height of his back. “Was I that obvious?” I wonder. We approach the calf and James corrals him in his long, elasticized arms, and invites me forward. The calf’s hide is soft and sun-warmed, and he squirms and ducks his head, signifying that he is not a pet. This same calf follows us off the field, through the cows that now are lying down ruminating, and over the bridge across the ditch. His mother rises to her feet, though casually gazes off in the opposite direction. “What’s up with that mom, letting her baby get this far?” I ask. James isn’t concerned. “Trusting,” he says shrugging, already moving on to the next chore of the day.

Dan James stays on top of the less-idealized side of the dairy business during a recent morning at James Ranch.


Carver Brewing Co. (est. 1986) An Edible interview with Mike Hurst of Carver Brewing Co. in Durango, CO

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arver Brothers Bakery was established in 1986 by brothers Jim and Bill Carver, ushered in a new paradigm for Durango. Fresh roasted, whole bean coffee replaced the “add hot water and stir” methods, already cast out in hip, coastal cities more than a decade earlier. Soon after craft beer laws became more flexible, Bill Carver, an avid home brewer, began scheming to add a brewery to the cafe. A fellow named John Hickenlooper had the same idea up north in Denver, and a competitive battle ensued for earliest opening. Turns out, Jim and Bill, perhaps not so ambitious after all, were rafting the Grand Canyon when Hickenlooper’s Wynkoop opened. One month later, in 1988, Carvers became Colorado’s second craft brewery. (And 23 years later, Hickenlooper became governor of Colorado). Mike Hurst joined Carvers in 1999, working his way up through the restaurant stations — “I was a busser. I was at the pastry counter at 6 a.m.” Now, Hurst is a co-owner with Jim and Bill Carver and chef Dave Cuntz. He refers to customers as guests, and likes to remind his employees that “our role is to host a celebration for anyone who walks in the door.” Hurst daydreams about being more of an activist, but currently sees his role as being “pro-Durango.” A lot has changed since the brewery’s first pour in 1988. There are now six breweries in Durango. But, Hurst says they work together and he’s proud of that. What’s the best part of running a restaurant in a small, closeknit town? It’s the people. Both the Carvers team and the guests. I have a huge responsibility to run the best restaurant I can for our guests and the people who make a living at Carvers. You just look forward to seeing people. Restaurateurs are nurturers at heart. Also, it’s humbling to be part of this community where so many passionate citizens wear so many hats to make Durango the place it is. What’s the most challenging part of running a restaurant in a small, close-knit town?

I take things really personally. It’s hard to keep perspective in a town that has one restaurant for every 1,000 citizens. It’s a very competitive business. Things get lost between the energy you put into the business and what the public actually notices. Is it hard to be the face of Carvers in the community, even when you’re not working? Yeah. I’m naturally introverted. Running the business is almost like another marriage. Because of all the various relationships you manage and oversee? Between you and staff, across staff, and then add in the public?” (nods) I’m probably an empath by nature. I care about all those players you mentioned. I think about how to pay due respect to all the interpersonal issues that come up, while also making sure people walking in the door get taken care of. There’s a rumor that your beer is gluten free. We use a naturally occurring enzyme that clarifies the beer and also knocks gluten levels down to twenty parts per million (ed: this is the international threshold for brewing to be considered "gluten free”). We don’t advertise this because we don’t conduct lab research on each batch we brew. But the testimonies I’ve gotten from gluten intolerant people is that Carvers beer doesn’t give them trouble. Yet, I have to offer the disclaimer that we bake our own bread and cross contamination is a possibility. Have your brewers ever had a great idea that just bombed? I don’t see our brewers making that kind of mistake. They do the work before they brew. We encourage creativity. I’m always telling our brewers I want them to be mad scientists back there. What’s your favorite Carvers beer? I love the Belgian styles. We dry hop the beer, so instead of being bitter on your tongue, it shows up as more of a citrusy, floral aroma. Do you use any Colorado hops? Our Pine River IPA uses hops grown in the Pine River Valley. When they come in, fresh-picked, they smell like mango and cantaloupe.

Bill (left) and Jim Carver then (Winter Park, mid-80s) and now


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We get most of our malt from Buena Vista, and in spring we partner with Turtle Lake Refuge to make a dandelion saison with fresh dandelions they pick. It’s on tap right now. Are your daughters (ed: 5th and 7th graders) celebrities amongst their friends, being able to come in anytime and get a root beer float? I think they’re proud of that. They also see me at the end of a stressful fourteen-hour day, so there’s that side too. What has it been like to watch other craft breweries succeed in Durango? I’m grateful for the cooperative spirit we’ve cultivated. We all have a common enemy named Anheuser Busch. They (AB InBev) have unlimited resources and are getting more savvy everyday, buying up craft breweries. They now own Breckenridge Brewery (ed: purchased in 2015 during a spree in which AB InBev acquired three craft breweries in five days), which is opening a beer garden at Durango’s DoubleTree hotel. And it’s sneaky, because you think you’re supporting a Colorado company based on the logo, but they’re headquartered in Belgium. I’m proud of how all six breweries work together in Durango. We partner for Oktoberfest in Buckley Park. We also do the Pint for Pint blood drive together, which is a competition for bragging rights for a life-saving cause. Donate a pint of blood and come in 24 hours later for a free pint of beer at any of the six local breweries. That’s the Friday before Halloween. Note: that’s 24 hours after donating. The phlebotomists don’t condone donating and drinking. Also, we’ll buy bulk ingredients collectively, or if a shipment

didn’t arrive on time, we’ll borrow an ingredient from another brewery. Favorite SKA beer? Euphoria. Steamworks? Conductor IPA. What else do you want the public to know? Last year we used 4,500 pounds of produce from our own Carvers Farm. Our menu includes local squash, zucchini, salad greens, shishito peppers, garlic, kohlrabi, kale, and jalapenos. There’s more. Chef Dave would know. We also buy local produce from other farms. Right now, we have a caesar salad on the menu with romaine from Peak Season Farm. It’s literally alive — we lop the roots off the lettuce right before we put it on your plate. We also heat our hot water with solar panels, and purchase wind-powered electricity (ed: they also support numerous local non-profits). Has your menu changed to reflect customers’ growing interest in health? Yes. You can substitute a salad for fries, hash browns or bread. I had an arugula salad with a breakfast omelet here recently. It was fantastic. Isn’t it good (smiles proudly)? Do you ever have to work weekends? (sighs) There’s always a reason to come in — High volume in summer. We’re open sixteen hours a day, something’s broken, someone’s grandma is dying ... Could you perform every job here? You don’t want me cooking the food.

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Baby Brie Recipe

As a connoisseur of the sandwich that staple of my bachelor days both single hip and widowed paleo the quickest, fastest, tastiest meatless (if not vegan) home fast food I’ve found is open-face ambrosia! Take a thick slice of Blue Grouse seeded sourdough & toast lightly Smother in organic mayonnaise & then heap with Haystack Mountain Cashmere double cream baby brie – Art Goodtimes

On the day I learned that he died, I made blackberry jam. The kitchen was steamy and hot from the water bath, and the bubbling saucepan of fruit took nearly an hour to gel. I stood and stirred and stirred and stood. The sweet scent touched everything. It was gray outside and smelled of rain, while in the pot deepened a most beautiful darkness, the color of sugar that comes with time. It was an accident, of course, the kind that makes every one of us think we are lucky to be alive, lucky to stand wherever we are standing, whether it’s in line for a bus or beside the road or in front of a chalkboard or in the middle of the kitchen stirring blackberry jam. How could I not fall in love with the heat, with the color of blackberries, how could I not fall in love with the cat and the chatter of the girl playing dolls and the racket of the boys throwing pillows and even the ache in my feet. What a blessing to be alive, to feel this awful tug in my gut, this surge of what if, this swell of what was, this terrible gift of standing for hours to preserve what is sweet as if I believe there will be a day months from now when we will eat the sweetness and know ourselves lucky to be alive.

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Edible Southwest Colorado Summer 2018  

Telling the story of local food throughout Southwest Colorado.

Edible Southwest Colorado Summer 2018  

Telling the story of local food throughout Southwest Colorado.

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