Mike Preisler began hosting "authentic Colorado farm dinners" at Corner Post Ranch in Black Forest last summer. "A Night on the Ranch" featured an array of chefs cooking healthy meals sourced from local farmers, along with musical entertainment.
The five-course dinners were so popular that they're back this year with an even more impressive lineup of chefs. They don't start until June, but several of the dinners already are sold out. Fear not, however. This year, Preisler is introducing another meal option: "Brunch on the Ranch," which also begins in June. Tickets to the events are on sale now.
The menus for both meals can change up to the day of the dinner, so the foods aren't announced ahead of time. The food usually is cooked in an open fire pit. A long dining table is set with flowers, silverware, china and crystal. At night, twinkling lights are added, creating a stylish feel that you might expect to see in Martha Stewart Living magazine. Bales of hay make for comfy seating. The meal is served family style from huge platters, and wine or beer are paired with each course. Live music, usually bluegrass, keeps diners entertained.
Sunday brunches will feature typical morning and lunch dishes such as eggs, bacon, salads and sweets along with alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks. Music starts after the meal. You'll need to bring a lawn chair for the show. The first brunch is planned for June 3 with Jacob Cheatham, the chef at Loyal Coffee Co., doing the cooking.
In keeping with Preisler's mission to educate people about the grazing life, the brunches and dinners include an extensive tour of the ranch that teaches visitors about management of the pigs, cattle, lambs, chickens and turkeys raised there. All of the animals must be a breed that can survive in the pasture year-round. The livestock are moved around the pasture, sometimes every two days, to conserve the land's grasses.
Upon returning to the ranch house, you can buy meat produced at the ranch and other products from local vendors on-site who may be providing produce, alcohol or other items for the meals.
The brunches and dinners run for four to five hours and include the tour, happy hour, food, wine pairings, live music and, for the dinners, a bonfire. Tickets for the dinner are $115 to $135; brunch tickets cost $75. Seating is limited; children are welcome with a ticket.
Not all of the brunch chefs have been announced yet. Many of the dinner chefs have, though: Mario Vasquez, Colorado Craft; Max Robbings, The Broadmoor Penrose Room; Jacob Cheatham, Wirewood Station; Franco Ruiz, Fruition; Geoff Cox, Hop Alley; Bill Thompson, Pikes Peak American Culinary Federation; Spencer Boyles, Speed Trap Bistro; Bill Miner, Il Porcellino Salumi; Scott Hybbenneth, Angelos Taverna; Mark Musial, The Broadmoor's Ristorante del Lago; and Jay Gust, Tapateria and Pizzeria Rustica.
Visit agrazinglife.com to read more about the dinners and brunches. When you're ready to buy a ticket, you'll be asked to fill out a form and answer a few questions about yourself. Afterward, you'll get an email invitation link to complete the purchase.