Farm Collaborative gives out fresh, local ingredients at annual Farm-to-Fridge event

Audrey Ryan The Aspen Times
Farm-to-Fridge gave away ingredients from 12 Roaring Fork Valley and North Valley farms.
Audrey Ryan/The Aspen Times

Roaring Fork Valley residents gathered at Farm Collaborative to collect local produce and goodies just in time for Thanksgiving. This free, community-supported, agriculture-style giveaway welcomed all to the farm.

The Farm Collaborative is a non-profit organization on Cozy Point Ranch in Aspen that has worked in youth environmental education for years and has recently begun to make strides in farmer-support networks. The collaborative was born 15 years ago as a farm-to-table free community meal open to everyone for no cost by pre-reservation.

The past three years, they have had the Farm-to-Fridge Community Free Meal Give Away in lieu of the former Farm to Table Free Community Meal. In what they hope was their final year of Farm-to-Fridge, Farm Collaborative boasted produce from 12 local farms, including some produce of their own.

Each share of ingredients is enough to feed four to five people. According to Farm Collaborative, getting fresh ingredients from the event is a great way to support the local farming community during the months where farmer’s markets are over; however, harvests are still abundant.

Community members were encouraged to bring their own bags, and a spare for someone in need if they could. As they walked in, they grabbed a cup of hot apple cider and lined up to get ingredients from local farmers.

According to Farm Collaborative, 95% of the ingredients are grown or raised within 35 miles, and 100% of the food is from the Roaring Fork or North Fork Valley.

Farm Collaborative Executive Director Eden Vardy said they make purchases from local farmers to help support them and close out their years.

Local farms that supplied the food included Wild Mountain Seeds, Sustainable Settings, Top of the World Cultivators, Field to Plate, Abundant Life, Farm Collaborative, Fortunate Fruit, Zimmerman Farm, Mountain Oven Bakery, Two Roots Farm, Juniper Farm, and Rock Bottom Ranch.

Next year, Farm Collaborative plans to bring Farm to Table back to its former self, with a traditional meal made with local ingredients. In the past, the event was hosted at the Hotel Jerome with the help of 250 volunteers and served upward of 1,500 people.

“It’s an opportunity to celebrate the bounty of our local harvest, while bringing all segments of our community together,” said Vardy.

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