A couple of weeks ago, N and I spent some time at Denver Botanic Gardens’ Chatfield Farms, so we decided to make this the second post in our Farm Series. We’ve mentioned before that since we plan to buy a farm, we visit farms whenever possible. And we’re not fussy – we’ll visit any kind of farm, whether or not it’s similar to our vision for Quiet Farm, because we believe we can learn something from every single one.
Chatfield Farms occupies 700 acres along the banks of Deer Creek. It’s a historical site, a native plant restoration area, and a working farm with a 270-family CSA program, plus it includes nature trails and spectacular birdwatching. I’ve been part of the Veterans-to-Farmers program here and taught cooking classes at DBG for years now, and N photographed a friend’s wedding at Chatfield a couple of years ago, but we hadn’t yet had the chance to spend an evening at Chatfield Farms. And what an evening it was.
We were at the farm to participate in DBG’s annual Colorado Foodways event, which showcases both local food and local farmers. We showed up early with a car loaded down with grilled sweet corn and chiles from Palizzi Farm in Brighton, plus applewood-smoked goat cheese from Haystack Mountain, and we set about making samples for 150 guests.
But see that dramatic Colorado sky? Oh yes, there was rain. And wind. And more rain, and more wind. And a tent that flipped itself over and very nearly took down all of my carefully prepared food with it. But we persevered, and we ended up having a wonderfully perfect summer night in Colorado. And in times like these, it’s always essential to remember that we may believe we’re fully in control, but nature often has other ideas entirely.
Blue skies after all!
What says summer more than fresh, local sweet corn?
The sugars in sweet corn start turning to starch as soon as it’s picked. Leave the husks on until the very last minute, and eat it as soon as possible!
Husking one hundred and twenty ears does leave quite a lot for compost.
Charred green chiles…the scent of late summer and early fall in Colorado.
Colorado Charred Sweet Corn and Green Chile Salad
- 8 ears fresh Palizzi Farm corn
- Olive oil, as needed
- 4 large Palizzi Farm green chiles
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes
- 1 bunch cilantro, trimmed and chopped
- 1 bunch scallions, trimmed and chopped
- 1 jalapeno or other hot pepper, minced (optional)
- Juice and zest from 3-4 limes
- 1-2 tbsp. white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp. chile powder
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 4 oz. fresh Haystack Mountain goat cheese, crumbled
Preheat a grill or broiler to medium-high heat. Remove the corn husks and rub the ears gently with a paper towel to remove the silks.
Rub six ears of corn lightly with olive oil and place on grill. Cook, turning as needed, until corn kernels are lightly charred. Remove corn from grill and set aside to cool. When corn is cool enough to handle, place one end upright on a cutting board and use a sharp knife to remove kernels. Cut kernels off two remaining raw ears of corn and combine with grilled corn.
Roast the chiles and bell pepper until skins are blackened; place in a glass bowl or container and cover tightly to allow steam to loosen skins. When cool enough to handle, remove skins, stems and seeds; roughly chop chiles and pepper.
Halve the tomatoes, and combine in a large bowl with cilantro and scallions. Add chiles, peppers, raw and grilled corn and hot pepper, if using.
In a small jar, shake together juice, zest, vinegar, chile powder and a pinch of salt and pepper. Pour dressing over salad, and taste for seasoning, adjusting as necessary with additional lime juice, vinegar, salt and pepper. Serve at room temperature, garnished with crumbled goat cheese.