Pinello Ranch was the perfect site for the annual manure distribution and fundraising event held in October! Nearly $3,000 was raised for Project COPE, which provides utilities payment relief, while 75 tons of manure was distributed to gardens around Colorado Springs. The story above (included in our printed newsletter, now available in-store) explains how it is being brought back to life by one dedicated couple who are readying it for more public events.
TALKING TURKEY ... with Chef Brent Beavers
An interview by Chef Kevin Campbell
Known and revered for sourcing local food ingredients, chef and long-time Ranch Foods Direct customer Brent Beavers is once again blazing the trail for local and sustainable cooking with the recent launch of a unique downtown eatery and cooking class venue. Friend and fellow chef Kevin Campbell caught up with Brent on his day off to learn about his new venture, Conscious Table, as well as gain pointers on how to prepare the best possible Thanksgiving turkey.
Q. Conscious Table: What's it about and how does it fit into the Springs restaurant scene?
Brent: It's about an awareness of food, where it comes from, how it's raised and supporting responsible agriculture. It will be about respecting life and our resources, eating with people and enjoying the fellowship of the table. It's also about teaching, fostering education and offering people responsible food choices and seasonal menus to enjoy in Colorado Springs.
Q. What does it mean to be local, and why does it matter to you as a chef and business owner?
I always say "buy local, the job you save may be your own." And I try to apply that to every level of running a business and being a chef. When you support local businesses, waste and pollution decreases and the building of relationships, community and trust increases. In smaller operations, the attention to detail is greater. The attention to the animal, the farm, and the family is greater and results in a better product and quality of life for us and the animals. It's that level of attention to detail I want in my cooking and service at the restaurant.
Q. What is your biggest challenge in regards to local and seasonal cooking? How can the community help?
We have become accustomed to too many choices and options, and we have forgotten the days when food choices were driven by the seasons. I love tomatoes, but it will be awhile before you see fresh Colorado tomatoes on the menu. And I love winter squash, but I know that in February I'll be very excited to see new spring produce. A big challenge is staying excited about seasonal produce and finding the variety to keep customers excited. I want customers to understand that our menu will be an offering of the best local produce we can find and the best thing the community can do is maximize the use of seasonal produce. When you can buy local produce in season, you should.
Q. You are raising your own turkey for Thanksgiving. Tell me what that has that been like.
Two turkeys, actually, Yummy and Tasty: yes, I named them! I've never raised turkeys, and they aren't the smartest of creatures, so it was exciting. Learning what they liked to eat was fun; they love grapes, but not cabbage, and they can't get enough of the goat's food. Which is great, because the goat food has molasses in it and that should make them, well, yummy and tasty.
Q. Do you have any Thanksgiving dinner cooking tips?
Buy the best turkey you can and brine it in a mix of apple cider, orange juice, cinnamon and salt for about 30 minutes per pound. Be careful with the salt after you brine, don't over-season the bird and the gravy, always taste as you go. And don't be stingy with the mashed potatoes and gravy!
Find a list of Brent's cooking classes on-line at conscioustable.net. He's open for local, artisan dinners Thursday through Saturday and for special events.
Colorado Springs' native Kevin Campbell provides event catering and food commentary. He says of Chef Beavers, who he interviewed for this issue: "His courage to re-embrace the bounty of the seasons, support small producers and do what is responsible is inspiring and hopefully contagious. His brilliance lies in returning to a chef's true mission: find the best, most amazing local produce and don't screw it up."
Check the RFD website for a list of more restaurants serving Callicrate Beef.