The next stop in our summer produce journey takes us more than halfway across the country. From the Atlantic coast, we travel due west to Tabernash, Colorado, which is where Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa is located. At the ranch, there are two fine dining locations, Heck’s and Ranch House Restaurant, both of which are overseen by Executive Chef Evan Treadwell.
Since his arrival at Devil’s Thumb, over a year ago, Chef Treadwell has expanded their connections with local and sustainable farms. When I spoke with him, I was able to learn more about the exciting approach they are taking with their food.
TT: What local produce items are being used in your dishes currently?
CT: We are using spinach, arugula, herbs, rhubarb, zucchini, asparagus, squash blossoms, lettuces, herbs. Our salads are fresh. We use high altitude greens from this valley. They are heartier greens; they grow a little tougher and have a more complex flavor,
TT: I noticed that you work with Morales Farm.
CT: We get all of their vegetables from them for summer. We get a lot of fruit from locally purveyors: rhubarb, peaches. One of our goals is to have our own greenhouse. It would be a high altitude greenhouse with vertical farming and would have grow lights for winter. We could farm year-round. It is slated to be built next year with a 40-room extension.
TT: I also saw that you have fifty head of Wagyu on the ranch. When will you be able to butcher them?
CT: Some will be ready next year. In the meantime we are buying the meat from the actual herd that ours came from. This is the first year having some on our ranch. We won’t have births here for a year. The cattle that we have are one hundred percent Wagyu, which is more rare.
TT: Do you use nose to tail?
CT: Yes, we custom cut each one. We work closely with butcher; each head of cattle lasts a month or two. We use the loin, sirloin, brisket, short rib, liver for pate, even use tail for soup and tongue for tacos.
TT: What makes your menu/restaurant unique?
CT: The cattle is the highlight. From a food perspective, we’re committed to local farm sustainability and seasonally changing menus. Our menus change on the equinox and solstice in our two fine dining restaurants. We do daily/weekly specials. Even though it’s a seasonal menu, we may change several things during the season.
We’re also working toward producing our own eggs, which we would use for breakfast items and lunch eggs.
Photo courtesy of Devil’s Thumb Ranch Resort & Spa.