What Farm to Table Means to Urban Farmer Denver
There’s no denying the farm to table movement sets some pretty lofty goals and ideals for restaurants nationwide. Calling for ingredients used in the kitchen and placed upon your plate to be locally sourced and often natural or organic (easier said than done, right?). But, then again, there’s no certification to dub your restaurant farm to table or a government agency checking to see where exactly you sourced your ingredients. So why spend the extra time and money to ensure you’re sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local farmers, fishmongers, and purveyors? Well, for our Executive Chef Chris Starkus the “why” starts with the flavor.
“As a chef, beekeeper, and farmer, I understand that when you can begin from seed selection, that’s really where the flavor starts. No matter if it’s mushrooms from Hazel Dell or edible flowers from Lost Creek Micro Farm.” – Chef Chris Starkus
But that’s not the only reason. He also knows supporting local vendors is key to getting the highest quality product and ensuring you’re getting exactly what you need for the restaurant, all while helping and encouraging growth in the community.
“It has to do with the distance. The vegetables are picked fresher, the meat is butchered closer, making for a better product all around. And we can customize our product because we have a relationship with the people actually doing it.” – Chef Chris Starkus.
That’s why, from frequent trips to the Union Station Farmers market and our rooftop #milehighhive bee program to our basement mushroom terrarium and local partnerships with Colorado based farms, bakeries and composting organizations, Urban Farmer places a huge emphasis securing the freshest, locally sourced ingredients. But we know what you’re thinking. Where can these ingredients be found on the menu?
Well, Urban Farmer sources mushrooms from Colorado-based Hazel Dell Mushrooms. They are grown in the restaurant’s basement terrarium and harvest about 10 pounds of mushrooms a week. From there, they make their way into dishes like our Tableside Roasted Local Mushrooms and Pan Roasted Chicken. We’re also currently using edible flowers from Executive Chef Chris Starkus’ Lost Creek Micro Farm in Lakewood, Colorado. They make an eye-catching addition to the Foie Gras, Pacific Halibut and cocktails such as our Urban Forager. Our three bee hives on the rood are kept by Chef Chris Starkus, and produce hyperlocal honeycomb and been pollen used for our artisanal and house-made charcuterie and cheese platters as well as our Local Greens Salad and Avocado Toast. Our aquaponic tank in the basement grows naturism leaves and red vein sorrel used to garnish our Coconut & Chia Seed Panna Cotta. In addition, we work with local farmers, ranchers and purveyors; including Corner Post Meats, Pappardelle’s Pasta, Fortuna Chocolate, Cedar River Farms, Flying B Bar Ranch, Cure Organic and more to bring the rest of the menu to life.