August Farmer’s Market Fun

August is an exciting month in Colorado, with an imminent football season, and students coming back into town. But most importantly, August is a great food month.

As always, you can find the best, freshest, locally grown fruits and veggies at Boulder’s farmer’s markets. We are passionate about producing great food, and that requires great ingredients.

Throughout this month you can find Chef Jim strolling through the market, looking for great ingredients and strengthening relationships with the local farmers who produce the food you love. What will he be looking for in August? Here are just a few of the foods that are in season this month:

  • Arugula: It’s a fact: we love arugula, and for good reason. Healthy and tasty, arugula is the main component of our Boulder Cork salad, a longstanding family favorite!
  • Squash BlossomsSummer squash: Of course, fresh squash are absolutely indispensable as a side dish for an entrée. August is a fantastic time for lovers of squash, especially if you’re a fan of delectable squash blossoms.
  • Herbs: The right seasoning can absolutely make a dish, and fresh herbs make all the difference. August sees fresh basil, cilantro, rosemary, thyme and dill, among many other popular herbs.
  • Peppers: Peppers are finally ripening, which is great news for those of you that like your food with a subtle kick. And you know what this means for some of our Southwest-inspired dishes!
  • TomatoesTomatoes: It’s here: tomato season. If you’re a fan of caprese, this is the right time of year for you. Chef Jim creates a wonderful (and beautiful) caprese with lovely heirloom tomatoes from area farms, complete with fresh garden basil and the best mozzarella. Yum!
  • Sweet corn: If you like sweet corn (and we know you do), August heralds one of our favorite times of the growing season: that of sweet corn from Munson’s Farm. Sauté it, pickle it, use it in a relish, or just roast it to discover some of the delights of summer.
Munson's Sweet Corn

Of course, this is far from an exhaustive list. As we said, August is a great food month, which means it’s a great time to visit Cork for the fresh, local food you love.

We Love June!

The Boulder Farmers Market is in full swing, and we’re excited about the gorgeous seasonal and local veggies we find there. Greens are finally in season, and Chef Jim is already crafting ways to weave them into our dishes, incorporating fresh, organic arugula into our salads and introducing a variety of braising greens into daily specials.

IMG_4831Of course, the Farmers Market isn’t our only source of fresh produce—our garden is brimming with delicious herbs. Throughout the summer, we cultivate a variety that make their way into dishes, appear alongside them as garnishes and get muddled in summer cocktails. We are proud to bring you such hyperlocal treats as lovage, basil, sage, oregano, borage, lavender, rosemary, parsley, sorrel, thyme, fennel, mint and more.

20130407-172957If all this talk about fresh greens has you hooked, grab some fresh parsley from the market this weekend and try Chef Jim’s great Spring Salsa Verde recipe. We highly recommend pairing this delectable sauce with fresh white fish or steak and a nice, crisp white wine.

And of course, we always welcome you to join us for a taste of these local and seasonal flavors any day of the week (we’ll help you pair the wine). Never hesitate to ask about our daily specials or recommendations. Chef Jim’s just getting started!

May: One of Our Favorite Food Months

In Boulder you can always confirm the arrival of spring with the sights and sounds of our legendary farmers market. Booth after booth, the market seems to expand each year, marking the arrival of established and new farms and ranches. Who can keep up with this bounty?

Jim at Farmer's MarketA longstanding devotee of the market, our Executive Chef Jim Smailer certainly does his best. Undeterred by the chill of an early spring morning, Chef Jim arrives early for the best selection. Lots of folks enjoy the Market, but for Chef Jim, finding the freshest local asparagus and greens is like panning for gold.

“I feel like I say this every year, but May is one of my favorite food months at home and at the Cork. We come out of five months of virtually no local produce, and May really starts the Farmers Market season off. The world comes alive in spring,” Chef Jim said.

It’s true that freshly-picked produce stands on its own, but its ability to elevate a dish is remarkable. That’s where Chef Jim’s true talents come in to play. The joy in his face reflects his delight in cooking with these kinds of quality ingredients, as well as the creative opportunities hyper-seasonal selections, such as pea shoots, offer.

Asparagus ravioliThat asparagus in his hand might just turn into Asparagus ravioli, which you can also try at home with Chef Jim’s recipe. Pea shoot pesto and squash blossom pizza are other examples of Jim’s artistry. To supplement goodies from the farmers market, The Cork regularly receives deliveries from the best local farms.

It’s also a great time for seafood.

“Wild salmon and halibut have been long gone. These two great American fish make a welcome return in the spring,” Jim said, “Oh, and I almost forgot to mention softshell crabs which I eagerly await!”

Halibut Salad (better lighting)Together with Jim’s hand-picked produce, the possibilities for his seafood selections are almost endless.

“We also have spring lamb from Triple M Bar Ranch,” Jim said.

So, who can keep up?

Chef Jim, of course.

Come and enjoy Chef Jim’s inspired spring cuisine at the Cork!

Recipe: Pea Shoot Pesto

Recipe: Pea Shoot PestoIngredients:

  • 2 packed cups of pea shoots
  • 1/2 cup of fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup of spring onion or scallion chopped
  • 1/4 cup of lightly toasted piñon nuts (preferably Italian)
  • 1/4 tsp. of black pepper
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup of grated reggiano parmesan


  • Place all of the above ingredients in a food processor and slowly add extra virgin olive oil until you have the right consistency (should make about a 1/3 to 1/2 cup of finished pesto).
  • Can be made a couple of hours ahead of time, covered with plastic wrap and stored at room temperature.

Chef notes:

  • The pesto is the perfect complement to a piece of fresh halibut because it is a little less pungent than a classic basil and garlic version.