Cure Organic Farm veggies are manna from foodie heaven
This is the fourth in a series of pieces profiling Colorado-grown products...and what some local restaurants do with them.
Paul Cure and his kid campers.
"I want to have a relationship with someone who's cooking my food," declares Paul Cure, co-founder of Boulder's Cure Organic Farm. One handshake at a time, Paul and his wife, Anne, have labored to do just that: from passing out organic produce to over a hundred CSA members, to holding pig cookouts and Easter egg hunts, to hosting farm dinners among their rows of beans and beets, to the intensely close partnership they have with the staff of the Kitchen franchise.
It's a match made in foodie heaven, really -- the two doting farmers with their organic wonderland of a farm, and the four minimalistic, local-focused Kitchens (that's [Next Door], [Upstairs], Denver, and the original) with their army of devoted followers.
"Seasonally, and as we go through the year, we have ups and downs," says Kyle Mendenhall, who oversees the menus for all four Kitchen eateries. "We live the successes and the disappointments together."
Ever since the day the Kitchen's executive chef, Hugo Matheson, stuck out his hand and introduced himself to the Cures, the farmers and chef have collaborated on much of the Kitchen's ever-changing menu. After one phone call, Mendenhall will have the next day's harvest on a plate by dinner service; if you see a veggie on the menu, more often than not it's been plucked from Cure's soil. On a recent night, for example, [Upstairs] featured wood-fired green beans dressed in a whole-grain mustard vinaigrette, with pickled shallots and sherry vinegar accenting the tenderly wood-fired beans.
A fritto misto of lightly battered Cure cauliflower and broccoli, with a ramekin of chile-flecked aioli on the side, washes away memories of a hundred limp, re-thawed sprigs of restaurant roughage. More than any splash of harissa yogurt or garlic butter, the simple freshness of Cure Organic produce is the vital ingredient on the boards at all four Kitchen restaurants. "There is a common thread, but we want every place to be its own unique thing," says Mendenhall. If Anne calls with news of a snow pea harvest, the Kitchen will be using them in a risotto with mint and Fresno chiles, while the Denver outpost might pair them with a char-grilled ribeye.
Asheley Davis/ Davis Tilly Photography The Cure Farm Spicy Greens salad, a longtime Kitchen staple.
The Kitchen and Cure are united in their desire to collaborate on -- and not just consume -- the fruits of each other's efforts. "These days, you have chefs who just call up and say, 'Do you have this, how much is it?,' rather than having an actual working relationship," says Mendenhall.
Paul Cure is scathing on the subject of these hands-off chefs: "Those guys aren't getting a call back."