Aspen Peak - - Contents - BY ALI MARGO

Two Basalt de­buts take farm-totable to heart.


“When I told a cus­tomer I had no toma­toes for his burger, he looked at me like I had two heads,” says Steve Hum­ble, coowner with his wife, Robin, of the new Free Range Kitchen & Wine Bar (305 Gold River Ct., Basalt, 970-279-5199; freerange basalt.com) in his­toric down­town Basalt. But Hum­ble takes his gar­den-fresh mis­sion se­ri­ously: “If toma­toes aren’t in sea­son, or if I can’t get fresh toma­toes, then I’m not go­ing to serve toma­toes.” Such a lit­eral ap­proach to the lo­cal-food phi­los­o­phy has taken root down­val­ley, where a new breed of farm-totable bistro has cropped up.

With the likes of Rock Bot­tom Ranch and Moun­tain Pri­mal Meat Com­pany nearby, Basalt restau­ra­teurs have found the op­ti­mal lo­ca­tion for sourc­ing high-qual­ity lo­cal prod­uct. That’s why Aspen­ite Mawa McQueen de­cided to ven­ture down­val­ley to Wil­lits Town Cen­ter, where she opened Mar­ket Street Kitchen (499 Mar­ket St., Basalt, 970-510-5820; mk­street kitchen.com). “We saw a real op­por­tu­nity here, not only in terms of growth but in a de­mand for qual­ity food and wine,” says the clas­si­cally trained FrenchIvo­rian chef, whose menu spans sweet and sa­vory crêpes, tartines, sal­ads, and sa­vory bowls that fea­ture lo­cal pro­duce, meat, and cheeses—all in ad­di­tion to an ex­ten­sive wine list. “We saw a real need for the kind of el­e­vated food you typ­i­cally find in Aspen, but with more of a lo­cal at­mos­phere.” .

Lo­cal greens, toma­toes, sweet pota­toes, hari­cots verts, and eggs join wild salmon for a Niçoise salad at Mar­ket Street Kitchen, one of two Basalt de­buts tak­ing sea­son­al­ity and lo­cal sourc­ing to an­other level.

Val­ley van­guard: Two new Basalt restau­rants are turn­ing the lo­cal­food fo­cus in­ward by cel­e­brat­ing mid­val­ley agri­cul­ture. above: A

ve­gan curry from Mar­ket Street Kitchen. here: A pork chop with sea­sonal suc­co­tash

from Free Range Kitchen & Wine Bar.

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