Steamboat Springs may have surpassed everywhere else in the locavore food industry. As our town grows in sustainable practices, the Steamboat local and visitor have benefited from delicious, fresh foods and goods. Throughout the last several years, the Steamboat restaurant industry has made moves toward preparing food with more local ingredients. After the recession, our area farms and ranches thrive, keeping goods in the Yampa Valley even as they sell them elsewhere. Our ranching heritage is flourishing as more and more people desire grass fed beef in restaurants and at home. It’s now easier than ever to become a Yampa Valley locavore, whether for a weekend getaway or as a lifestyle.
The hottest new restaurant in town to prioritize local foods is Cloverdale, which opened this past July to rave reviews from locals and visitors alike. The owners view fine dining as “a race against the clock” for perfect ingredients, and so the restaurant runs a 10 acre farm south of Steamboat Springs. That agricultural haven provides the restaurant daily with produce, flowers, herbs, honey, and eggs. Forget a seasonal menu; Cloverdale offers a daily menu that changes based on the freshest fruits and vegetables on the farm that day. Even the wait staff heads to the farm once a week in order to bring authentic farm-to-table knowledge to evening dinner guests. The diners can choose between a 5 and 10-14 course option, but for those of you who just want a taste, you can order off the short but sweet menu at the intimate bar.
If you’re in Steamboat to sample the craft beer, belly up to the bar at Mountain Tap Brewery. The craft beer selection is wide, with usually 10+ draft selections. The IBUs vary from 13 to 90, so all of your friends are sure to find a beer that they will love. Steamboat’s newest brewery also has a full-service restaurant that sources local ingredients whenever they can and is committed to a seasonal menu. The summer menu included a Skillet Corn Cake with charred peach jam sourced from Davis Family Farm, Fonduta beer cheese dip with cheese from Steamboat’s Moon Hill Dairy, bread from the local Smell That Bread bakery and Rocky Mountain Trout, among other dishes. The dedicated kitchen staff also works with a few other regional farms for produce, minimizing carbon footprint while maximizing freshness.
In addition to our forward-thinking restaurant scene, Steamboat Springs is home to many farms that provide an opportunity for folks to buy directly from the farmer. Moon Hill Dairy, our local 300-acre dairy farm, is unique in a valley that’s more conducive to ranching than cheese-making. With the combination of an alpine grass and clover diet, sunshine, and hundreds of acres to wander, the cows produce amazing cheese. Moon Hill doesn’t stop at Alpenbert or Pas de Chevre; they also produce creamy ice cream and “frommage truffles,” the chocolate-cheese truffles you didn’t know you dreamed of. On top of that, you can purchase finished Angus Beef or pork from the dairy as well. You can find Moon Hill products at The Elevated Olive or Natural Grocers in Steamboat Springs, and if you’re geographically fortunate, even at some specialty shops in Colorado’s front range.
Planning to save money and eat in? You can join the local Community Agricultural Alliance to purchase as many Yampa Valley foods as you want to stock your condo. The CAA works with 52 local producers, so you can purchase everything from coffee to eggs and more. Got a tickle in your throat? J & J’s Honey has been making local honey since 1991 and is an effective preventative cure for seasonal allergies as well as stirring in a hot toddy after a long day outdoors. Can’t make it to the grocery store? Farm-to-Fork Delivery works directly with area ranchers to deliver beef, pork, lamb, and chicken right to your door - and yes, they can pass the Portlandia farm-to-table test. Even knitters and crocheters can create Yampa Valley scarves and hats by swinging by Yampa Valley Fiberworks for milled yarn from regional sheep. The best part about eating locally? Everything you taste has been grown or made with the hardy spirit of the Yampa Valley, whether rancher, farmer, baker, or chef. Welcome to our community.