For Tim Payne, chef at Terroir in Longmont, who has a family history in farming, love of food and the land from which it comes have always gone hand in hand. Now he strives to honor his restaurant’s name by honoring the ingredients he uses from local producers.
Yellow Scene: What is your personal food philosophy as a chef? How does local food play into that?
Tim payne: Clean, focused flavors that highlight ingredients instead of manipulate them. Simplicity can be elegant, and overly complex food is not my thing. I feel local food is one of the two or three most important aspects of what we do at Terroir. It is the reason we are so lucky to be located in Boulder County with such great access to local resources.
YS: What local produce do you look forward to the most each year?
TP: Heirloom tomatoes, arugula, corn (I’m from the Midwest), and squash blossoms.
YS: How has seasonal cooking colored or shaped your menus this year?
TP: We change our menu once a week and try to maintain seasonality as our theme throughout the year. It is hard winter squashes and deeper, richer cooking in the winter; bright, lighter food with more spice in the summer; and a mixture of the two in the tweener seasons (fall, spring).
YS: Winter is always a challenging season for locavores; how do you work around growing restrictions with our climate?
TP: We are fortunate to be able to maintain a local orientation year round, working with Colorado’s Best Beef, John Long for pork, Jay and Cindy Wisdom for eggs and chicken, Haystack Mountain Goat Dairy and Hazel Dell mushrooms. For produce, luckily we connected with Grower’s Organic, an organic produce company in Denver, which is where we get our produce in the winter. They have a great network of growers in California and Mexico that are certified organic and, in most cases, are independently owned farms. They also provide me with exactly which farm it comes from.
YS: I’ve heard that you have a special partnership with Aspen Moon Farm. How did that develop, and how has it influenced what you do at Terroir?
TP: Jason and Erin are doing amazing things with their small farm. Very few people have as wide an array of produce as them. They utilize organic and biodynamic farming practices and we feel you can taste the difference. Jason and Erin as well as are other farms are how we think we honor our restaurants name Terroir.
YS: Give us a little background on you. How did you get to where you are today?
TP: Like many people in my business, I love food and wine. I worked in another industry before restaurants and while I made a good living, I wasn’t happy. Food made me happy, and I leapt in with both feet. I started at the bottom and fortunately have been able to work my way to where I’m at now. Hopefully, I will continue to develop and make people happy with food. I am from Missouri and have always had roots in food. My grandfather was a pig farmer, my other grandfather was a farmer as well. And my family always had a huge garden, so I feel I’ve always been around a belief that the family farm is at the root of our food and should be preserved as agri-farming proliferates. We don’t want to lose this direct connection with food. My wife and I love food and are at our core foodies, which is why we love doing what we do.
Jason and Erin Griffith (not pictured) run their part-landscaping business and part-organic farm out of a beautiful swath of land near Hygiene. The couple has focused on farming naturally, with no pesticides or chemical fertilizers. Aspen Moon also offers CSA shares. aspenmoonfarm.com