Tess on the Town: Opening of Sprouts Farmers Market delayed

Sunflower Farmers Market, previously slated to open a 28,000-square-foot store this fall in Grand Junction, has pushed back their opening date and will have a different name.

The market is expected to open early next year, in January or February, under the name Sprouts Farmers Market, according to a company representative.

Boulder-based Sunflower merged with Phoenix-based Sprouts in May and all of its stores will be rebranded with the Sprouts moniker.

Sprouts, known for low prices on natural, local and organic items, bills itself as an indoor farmers market with mountains of farm-fresh produce, all-natural meats and more than 200 barrels of scoop-your-own bulk foods, including grains, nuts, coffee, tea, spices and snacks.

Spouts will be located at the southwest corner of Independent Avenue and Bogart Lane, joining Hobby Lobby and Sonic in the Rimrock Crossing Shopping Center. Departments will include butcher, produce, grocery, deli, seafood, bakery, vitamins and supplements and health and beauty care.

Sprouts, which has nearly 150 stores in eight Western states, operates on the business plan of “healthy living for less.”

MOVING UP: Randy Jones, previously chef at the Red Canyon Grill, has been named the executive chef at Wine Country Inn, according to General Manager Joe Scanlon. Jones will oversee food service for Caroline’s and the Tapestry Lounge, as well as catering for banquets and events.

Jones trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Pittsburgh and has worked for 15 years in restaurants in New York, Chicago, Denver, Washington, D.C., and Snowmass. Scanlon cited Jones’ focus on Palisade’s abundant food resources.

“This is a pretty exciting prospect for our patrons, who are preferring the farm-to-table dining experience more and more. That trend is here to stay,” Scanlon said of Jones’ commitment to locally sourced food.

TWO FIRST LADIES: When Colorado first lady Helen Thorpe hosted Michelle Obama for a posh fundraising dinner this month, she called in Denver’s Three Tomatoes Catering to handle the job, the Denver Post reported.

Three Tomatoes owner Peggy Beck is a pro at handling political events, having catered for Bill and Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney events.

Tickets for the fundraiser, held at the Denver Museum of Contemporary Art (closed down for the event), ranged from $1,500 per person to $15,000 per couple.

The menu was too long to detail, but I can share the regional-raised foods that were deigned good enough for two first ladies and their well-heeled friends.

■ Boulder County’s Haystack Mountain goat cheese.

■ Western Slope charcuterie, featuring Il Mondo Vecchio cured Colorado meats (salumi vino y pepe nero, mortadella, and Harris Ranch bresaola).

■ Palisade apples and pears with Beehive Barely Buzzed cheese of Uintah, Utah.

THE DIRT ON MUSHROOMS: A band of intrepid fungi hunters are meeting this weekend in Eagle for the fifth annual Mushroom Festival. Experts Larry Evans and Daniel Winkler of Mushroom Tibet’s eco-tour will lead classes, expeditions and dinners from Friday through Sunday.

The pair will identify edible mushrooms of the Rocky Mountains. Dinner will follow at Paradigms Restaurant and Luigi’s Pasta House, both featuring mushroom-centric meals.

Cost for all weekend events is $90. Email .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) or call 970-328-9619.

QUOTE: “The clever cat eats cheese and breathes down rat holes with baited breath.” — W.C. Fields

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