Gleaned and Delivered Via Bike
Even though nearly a third of children in southwest Colorado lack food security, there’s food to be had—for instance, 21 million pounds of apples are dropping to the ground this fall between Durango and Cortez, according to Rachel Landis with the nonprofit Good Food Collective.
“When they fall, they’re not feeding all the hungry people,” she says. “And they’re not creating economic opportunity.”
Observations like this led Landis to initiate the Good Food Collective in Durango this past summer. The collective already has big programs up and running for the fall harvest—such as Fresh Food Connect, which links the abundance of food with the food shares (Manna, Durango Food Bank, Mancos Food Share, etc.) and businesses that can use it. Plums have been delivered to Cream Bean Berry and the Ore House.
Anyone with a fruit tree can list it on www.fruitglean.org, and others can sign up to harvest the available fruit. Also, if trees are at high risk of attracting bears, owners can call the Good Food Collective (partnered with the Department of Wildlife and Bear Smart) and volunteers will clear out the attractants, fast.
Backyard gardeners can also sign up to indicate they have extra produce, and the Collective will pick it up on their e-trike and redistribute it to underserved populations for free.
“I’ve always been so moved by food because I watch it touch all people in all ways,” Landis says. “I really do see it as a way to address challenges in this world, and in this beautiful connective way.”
A Butcher, a Baker, a Community
Autumn is a special time for The Butcher & The Baker, one of Telluride’s year-round restaurants, because of the different kinds of bounties—both edible and social—the season brings.
“The fall is when we get to start preserving the jams, pickles, and relishes,” co-owner Megan Ossola (the eponymous butcher) says. “And things slow down. Once fall rolls around, we can start making birthday cakes again. Catering small parties. It’s nice to have time to have conversations with people.”
Even with the challenges of sourcing food in the post-harvest season, the restaurant strives to use local food, so the soups—Ossola’s personal favorites on the menu—often include mulligatawny, green chile corn chowder, and a ginger Hubbard squash.
But the best part of fall is being part of the community. “It’s a local vibe in here, for sure,” she says. “And we try to do our part for our community, being both an opportunity for people to work year-round and a place to get together.”
In their ninth year, everything is still made from scratch for breakfast, lunch, and dinner at The Butcher & The Baker—and people get excited about eating different kinds of food in the fall. “The change of seasons is always nice for something new to happen with the menu,” Ossola says—and some of the temptations to come include a pulled pork sandwich with spicy pear chutney, a roasted turkey sandwich with homemade apple butter, and a savory breakfast bowl with quinoa, rice, amaranth grain, roasted tomatoes, goat’s chevre, spinach, egg, and a mix of seeds.
Honey Still Flows on the Edge of the 416 Fire
Honeyville, just north of Durango on U.S. Highway 550, is celebrating its 100th anniversary. And the number one question people ask in this climatically momentous year is: Are the bees OK?
Honeyville, after all, is located right on the edge of the 416 Fire, and no one was certain the building would survive the blaze or the resulting runoff.
“We’re up and running,” says Sheree Culhane, co-owner of Honeyville, along with her husband, Danny, and son Kevin. “And the bees are OK. They still found the flowers. We have a really good crop of honey coming on.” In fact, according to Danny, this year boasts a particularly excellent crop of comb honey, which is a real treat.
To commemorate the anniversary, Honeyville is featuring its original “hundred-year recipe” items—whipped wildflower honey (both plain and the best-selling cinnamon) and other long-running favorites, such as the chokecherry jam and syrup. In addition to the standards, Honeyville will release its seasonal catalog this fall, including Sheree’s latest concoction: a chai-spice whipped honey.
They’re planning a celebration, though the date is not yet set thanks to recovery from all the natural disasters. “We have a lot of locals who drive up to see the colors,” Sheree says. “So sometime in September, I think.”
Through all the challenges, the Culhanes remain grateful. “Thank you, everybody, for a hundred years,” Danny says. “We wouldn’t be where we are without loyal customers. We sure got a bunch of those.”