Browns Around Town: Join us in our quest to live deeper
‘If you can’t live longer, live deeper.’
When we recently saw this old proverb, we realized this has always been our goal, even though we hadn’t thought about it. Coming to the Grand Valley crystallized it for us.
Some of you have families that reach back to the earliest days of settling the Western Slope. Some of you are recent arrivals. You all bring interests and local appreciation that spark our interests. We have been having so much fun with the food, the outdoors, the art, the history and the folks of this area that we are excited for a chance to share with you.
Rita grew up in New England, with summers following her family and atmospheric physicist father to Florida and New Mexico. Kent grew up in New Mexico, with most summers working on his uncle’s farm in Illinois. All of these areas provided varied and exciting experiences.
Fortune worked out that we met in college and got married. From the first, even on minimal student and newlywed finances, interesting food was a priority.
Wherever we dated, moved or traveled, local food was a driving interest in our explorations. It has brought us a lot of happiness and still does. This is true around the country and overseas.
As time went on, we became more interested in the local people and history too. We found our most memorable moments were spent off the main track, eating local foods and interacting with people.
After our work around the country and overseas, we came here in the fall of 2014 to help Kent’s aging, widowed mother.
It was quickly apparent we had landed in a fascinating area. The geology was amazing, the inhabitants and businesses were delightful, the recreation was unbelievable with such easy access, and the food — oh, the food.
The food mostly derived from local ingredients that were very local (grown just a few miles away). The cooks and chefs reveled in what they had to work with. The farmers were accessible and quality driven. The results of their collaboration were outstanding. We were astounded.
Want a few examples? Field to Fork, an organic farm in Palisade, provides produce to Café Sol, 626 on Rood, Bin 707 Foodbar, Tacoparty, Pablo’s Pizza, School District 51, Palisade Café 11.0 and the farm’s own CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) members.
Another example? Clifton-based Blaine’s Tomatoes and Blaine Diffendaffer’s related Farmacy Farms stand offers outstanding tomatoes and other produce, again providing superior quality produce to local restaurants.
Plus, Diffendaffer gathers the cream of the crop from other area farms for his farm store and provides source farm and variety information. And you can get to know the movers and shakers of each of these enterprises. They are all neighbors.
Locally driven foods give interest to our lives. Palisade Café 11.0 proudly states it serves food that is “Slightly Whimsical. Maximum Fresh.” Its menu shows local ingredients in italics. It also notes which dishes are “vegan or veganizable.” And they make each variation amazingly tasty.
Café Sol notes what dishes are “veg – vegetarian, v – vegan, gf – gluten free and df — dairy free.” Café Sol also calls out the sources of its ingredients.
To us, that old proverb about living deeply captures the opportunity of this area — the food, the retailers, the artists and musicians, the writers, the educators and the great Colorado outdoors.
The richness of living deeper is not only possible here, it is easy.
We will share some of our findings with you while trying to share a sense of the vividness we experienced.
We are sure you know of some of these places already. Perhaps there are others that you have forgotten — or never knew existed.
Whatever the case, we hope you’ll join us in our quest.