By: Helena Stallings, Culinary Arts Student
One of the main challenges that faces culinary professionals looking to procure local produce is the lack of diversity. Many restaurants give up on the idea of being farm-to-table because of the level of difficulty required to change a menu seasonally and sometimes multiple times a season. Luckily for the Colorado culinary industry, the multitude of diverse, organic farms is spectacular and with farms like McCauley Family Farm, local produce is available almost year round. McCauley Family Farm is not only an incubator farm, meaning they are planting seeds to aid in soil rebirth and help with the food systems for tomorrow, but they are seed saving, preserving their harvests and promoting community by holding volunteer opportunities.
As my culinary class progresses through Escoffier’s farm-to-table experience, we are going to farms that are really changing our perspectives on what it means to be a farm-to-table chef and the importance of procuring ingredients from local farms. At the beginning of our farm-to-table experience we were focusing on the importance of obtaining quality ingredients from sustainable producers, but now we are starting to really understand the importance of obtaining these ingredients from local producers. McCauley Farm is a family run farm and in today’s world that is a rarity. With the drastic rise in corporate farms and ranches, the idea of mom and pop owned farms is almost extinct. The traditional family owned farms are a thing of the past, but Marcus McCauley, his parents and now his own family are trying to make an impact in our food industry.
Marcus McCauley was an engineer from Ardmore, Oklahoma before moving to Colorado to pursue his passion for the culinary arts. He graduated from Escoffier 2 years ago and shortly after his graduation he and his parents purchased what was once Sunflower Farms, and began the McCauley Family Farm. Although it has only been in production for 2 years and 1 of those years was effected by the floods, they came out on the other side as strong as ever. One of the mindsets on the farm is to grow foods indigenous to the Americas, so when my class spent the day at the farm, we weeded close to 200 pepper plants. The farm is sitting on 40 acres of land and my class was really surprised to see how much variety one farm can grow on a relatively small plot of land. The McCauley’s are making waves in the farming and culinary worlds, and it is going to be exciting to see how their farm grows over the next few years.