Keep it simple. Keep it local. Chef Dava Parr, owner of Fresh & Wyld Farmhouse Inn and Gardens in Paonia, Colorado, lives and cooks by these words. During the past decade, Parr, a chef in Aspen for many years, began to see a real need in her community for local and organic foods. Her growing passion soon manifested in a farm-to-community produce service, which turned into a cooking school—and finally settled in a charming bed and breakfast plus organic farm in her small Rocky Mountain town.
I was fortunate to visit the farm and speak with Dava in the original homestead building (now a tiny but beautiful two-room home) last June. Many of my favorite cookbooks sat on the shelf, including Deborah Madison’s Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone, and With a Measure of Grace by Blake Spalding and Jennifer Castle of Hell’s Backbone Grill in Boulder, Utah. Parr’s food philosophy is simple: “Let people come and have a good meal—something your mom or grandmother would put on the table. When people leave the farm they feel good; they don’t feel sick.” And, like many of her visitors, I left feeling deeply nourished and refreshed. Enjoy these recipes from Parr for a taste of her vision.
Serves 6 / A simple, tasty side dish. Ingredient tip: Look for chili-garlic sauce in the Asian foods section of your market; versatile and filled with flavor, it keeps forever in the fridge. View recipe.
Makes 4 cups / Prep tip: Adjust the amount of sweetener to suit the ripeness of your strawberries. View recipe.
Serves 4 / An Asian twist on comfort-food pasta. Ingredient tip: Despite its name, buckwheat contains no gluten; look for it near the regular (wheat-based) soba noodles in the Asian section of your market. Prep tips: Frozen peas are fine; just thaw slightly before using. Be sure to rinse the soba noodles with cool water after cooking so they don’t stick together. View recipe.
Serves 4-6 / Terrific for a Southwestern-themed brunch. Prep tip: Try to find an applewood-smoked goat cheese (such as Colorado’s Haystack Mountain version) for this dish. Serving tip: The delicious vinaigrette also enhances roasted cauliflower or pork. View recipe.
Serves 4 / A kid-friendly way to enjoy this bountiful crop. View recipe.
Serves 6 / A wonderful, crowd-pleasing fall side dish, this would be a welcome addition to any holiday meal. View recipe.