By Amber Shanklin, Conservation Director
It’s a cloudy Sunday as I set up the Palmer table at the Frost Livestock Ranch in Fountain, Colorado. I watch as people mill around trying unique cocktails, throwing axes at stacked logs, and touring a regenerative and sustainable farm 20 miles south of Colorado Springs. It’s definitely not my typical Sunday, but it may be one of my favorites.
When the rains roll in, I am sure we will lose half our attendees, but to my surprise no one seems to notice. We are forced to mosey a few hundred yards to the Big House where there’s a bit more protection from inclement weather, but the drinks soon follow and no one minds the brief change of venue. At the Big House, the band continues to play and we hear from the chef who is creating our meal; our hosts, Jay and Sam Frost; and the gentleman who has brought us all together, Mike Preisler from A Grazing Life. This is Mike’s 3rd year hosting farm-to-table dinners, but his first year partnering with Frost Livestock Ranch. Mike has a vision of a community filled with people who understand the benefits of buying and consuming local food, a community connected to their local producers. Creating this space and bringing these people together is part of fulfilling this vision. What Mike has created isn’t your typical farm-to-table dinner, A Grazing Life is all about the experience. Absolutely everything is sourced locally as you would expect with a farm-to-table dinner; the brewery, the distillery, the winery, the food, the flowers on the tables, even the chefs and the bands. But for Mike, it’s more than sourcing...it’s getting people to the farm to hear stories, to meet the farmers, and to experience ranch life, if only for a few hours.
Prior to dinner, Jay Frost and Ellen Kerchner take us on a tour of the ranch and tell us stories of growing up ranching and farming. Wand we learn about current operations, the water rights that play a critical role in farm production, the importance of pollinators to our local food production, and the methods used to mitigate the need for pesticides and herbicides in the garden. Dinner is lamb that has been roasted for 12 hours in a hole dug on the property specifically for this evening’s event, a farro salad with lemon yogurt dressing, dill pickled beets, goat chevre, and red wine onions, and slow roasted veggies. Peach Street D’Agave Silver with honey, carrot, and beet juice sourced from the ranch is the evening’s signature cocktail.
The evening is filled with the sound of laughter as couples dance near the band or play cornhole with drinks in their hands. As people start to head to their cars at the end of the night and I finally have a minute to reflect, I realize that Mike has created something truly special. Palmer is proud to partner with A Grazing Life to create this unique event.
Did you know: A Grazing Life donates 5% of ticket sales to Palmer Land Trust to help conserve important farms and ranches in southern Colorado. Buy your tickets today because they sell out fast! This is an event you are not going to want to miss!