by amiee white beazley | June 1, 2010 | Food & Drink
Years ago, when Ryan Hardy was beginning to make a name for himself in the culinary world as a chef at Montagna, his boss asked him a blunt question: “So do you want to be a chef? Or do you want to be a farmer?”
“What he was saying was, ‘Get your properties straight,’” explains Hardy, the James Beard-nominated executive chef of The Little Nell. “But to me, they go hand in hand. They should be joined at the hip.” And a decade later, they finally are.
Now a star of the local sustainable-food movement, Hardy uses his 27-acre Rendezvous Farm in Crawford, which he owns and operates with partners Mike and Adde Waters, to grow organic produce like tatsoi (a spicy Asian green), artichokes, carrots and red Russian kale. He also raises heritage-breed animals, including Berkshire pigs, which he uses for his dishes (like the house-cured charcuterie platter) at The Little Nell.
Home cooks can create their own dishes with farm-fresh ingredients when the valley’s farmers’ markets kick into full swing. From June to October, visit the Aspen Saturday Market (aspenchamber.org), travel downvalley to Basalt on Sundays (basaltsundaymarket.com) or hit Carbondale on Wednesdays (carbondalefarmersmarket.com).
PHOTOGRAPH BY JASON DEWEY