Colorado Ranch Vacation with Inspired Farm-to-Table Cuisine
What makes HR food different?
Part of it is how it’s grown in the Colorado sunshine, supervised and innovated by Master Gardner Allison Mecklenburg and her team. The rest is summed up best by Chef.
“We try to walk the line between ‘Ranchy and Fancy’. It’s all about the execution, taking the time and effort to make every step of the meal perfect. When you take great care and pride in every step of the process of cooking it really shines through. Be it a simple charcuterie platter of our own cured meats, to the more elaborate, multi-coursed wine pairing dinners. Everything is executed at the highest level; that is paramount. Although we have a little fun with the food on wine pairing nights with molecular gastronomy, it is very important to us that people learn to recognize what they are eating.”
About Our Chef, Jonathan Gillespie
Chef Jonathan jokes that as a young person he landed in the kitchen unintentionally, making messes and getting underfoot. “I just ended up there and it felt right.” He attended the Culinary Institute of America and honed his craft in the country club industry and in high end hotel restaurants. He found a natural niche in the guest ranch industry. Jonathan was an instant fan of how it’s done at The Home Ranch with access to fresh ingredients. “When there is that kind of connection to your food and where it is coming from, as opposed to a bag in a box on a truck from a warehouse, etc., you automatically feel this responsibility to treat it the best you can. It is already perfect; it’s our job to not to make a mistake and let the ingredients shine. Our ranch products and our gardens…… are unsurpassed.”
What the Chef Wants Guests to Experience
“To want for nothing! There is a subtlety to food and beverage and serving in particular. To have a server be there to give you what you need before you even realize you need it is something special and it is important to every fine meal I have ever had. I am also always telling cooks and servers alike to keep their ears open. You can pick up on something a guest might need, or perhaps a food they would like to try. To conjure that for them before they mention it makes all the difference in the world to guests. During their stay our guests will be able to experience everything from casual pizza and tapas in the garden, beef and pork, ushi or Middle Eastern cuisine in the dining room. A little bit of everything, and all of it fresh, walking the line between ranchy and fancy.”
Organic Gardens, Greenhouse, and Ranch-Raised Livestock ~ A Vision Realized
The genesis for The Farm grew out of founders Steve and Ann Stranahan’s love the Elk River Valley. They worked to create conservation easements among local landowners that would support and encourage the local ranching and farming community. Collectively, 8,000 acres of this pristine alpine valley are forever protected from development.
The Home Ranch Farm began as an idea in the 90s between then Chef Clyde Nelson and Horticulture Manager Adele Carlson. How could they add fresh and local ingredients during a short growing season in Colorado? Clyde’s Farm and Adele’s Greenhouse were born.
The farm provides the Ranch kitchen with the freshest of ingredients. You’ll find a lot of variety on your plate – like purple potatoes or turnips and radishes prepared in ways you never imagined. Along with the Farm, the Ranch provides organic beef, pork, the Horticulture Team maintains a happy, healthy flock of chickens and happy bees who produce the honey. The bonus is that guests can learn where their food comes from and about how a high-country organic farm in Colorado can thrive with hands-on care and attention to detail.
Allison began life growing things with her parents which led to an interest in nutrition and a degree from University of Colorado. As an “Aggie”, Allison supports healthy living beginning with food. “Dietitians tend to step in at a point in people’s lives when they’re already desperate – they’ve had a heart attack, already gained the weight. Better to know before then how to make choices in what you grow or buy, and how to cook it.” Growing at this altitude is a labor of love and Allison and her Team make it happen.
“Our staff comes from all over the world,” Allison says, “We provide an education of I hope they can take into their futures and teach to everyone they meet.”
Table to Farm – We encourage guests to visit and stroll through The Farm or to take one of our Garden Tours. We hope The Farm will become an ideal classroom to demonstrate the Farm-to-Table movement in person. We look forward to sharing the harvest with you!
Check out our blog on Allison to learn more.