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 now includes 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 (Broadway, 2007) and With a Measure of Grace (Provecho, 2004) 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.” And, like many of her visitors, I left feeling deeply nourished and refreshed. Enjoy these tastes of Parr’s vision.
Grilled Potatoes with Chevre and Cilantro Vinaigrette
Serves 4-6 / Terrific for a Southwestern-themed brunch. Try to find an applewood-smoked goat cheese (such as Colorado's Haystack Mountain) for this dish. The delicious vinaigrette also enhances roasted cauliflower or pork. View recipe.
Roasted Tomatoes with Fresh Basil and Mozzarella
Serves 3 / An easy appetizer. Be sure to use a glass or enameled pan (not plain metal) to avoid reactivity with the acidic tomatoes. Splurge on a flavorful, fragrant olive oil for the best results. View recipe.
Curried Butternut Squash with Cranberries and Toasted Coconut
Serves 6 / This wonderful, crowd-pleasing fall side dish would be a welcome addition to any holiday meal. Be prepared to share the recipe. View recipe.
Braised Bok Choy with Miso
Serves 6 / A simple, tasty accompaniment to Buckwheat Soba with Shell Peas, look for chile-garlic sauce in your market's Asian foods section; versatile and filled with flavor, it keeps forever in the fridge. View recipe.
Makes 4 cups / Because berries of all kinds freeze extremely well, this simple dessert works any time of year-and you don't even need an ice-cream maker. Use the creamiest yogurt you can find, and adjust the amount of sweetener to suit the ripeness of your strawberries. View recipe.
Fresh & Wyld Farmhouse Inn and Gardens: To plan a visit, take a class, or browse food products, contact freshandwyld.com. 970-527-4374