Courtesy of Farow

Enjoy Hyperlocal Farm-To-Table Fare at Farow in Niwot

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In September 2021, longtime culinary professionals Lisa and Patrick Balcom opened Farow, a hyperlocal-focused, farm-to-table restaurant in Niwot. The duo sources 90 percent of the restaurant’s ingredients from within 10 miles, creating a delicious rotating menu that showcases Boulder County’s fresh produce, locally raised meats and freshly milled flour.

 

Farow’s new winter menu includes dishes like rutabaga cacio e pepe with black truffles; grilled bass with grapefruit, chimichurri and hominy; and handmade ricotta ravioli with fennel and tarragon beurre blanc. Farow also recently launched a new concept called Pie Dog, which serves up scrumptious handcrafted pizzas that are available only for pick-up or delivery via DoorDash and Uber Eats. And, starting in May, the restaurant will begin hosting farm dinners at Boulder County farms.

 

We caught up with co-owner Lisa Balcom—who is responsible for Farow’s delectable rotating focaccia bread and desserts—to learn more about everything that’s happening at the restaurant. Here’s what she had to say.

 

Courtesy of Farow

What compelled you to want to open a restaurant in Boulder County, and why Farow specifically? What did you set out to achieve when you opened Farow?

 

Patrick and I have been in the food service industry for over 20 years. We have a deep passion for delicious, well-prepared food from great ingredients in addition to amazing wines and creative cocktails. We spent so much of our lives doing this and love it so much. Combined, we have a really unique skill set that rounds out both sides of the restaurant. Patrick has a savory fine-dining culinary background, and I have a pastry background in addition to a fine-dining serving and bartending background with sommelier training. After living in Boulder County for a couple of years, we saw an opportunity in the area to combine our unique skill sets and bring something new to the table. When we found ourselves with shorter and matching schedules during the pandemic, we took the time to put together a business plan and organize what we really wanted to do. We’d hit a point in our careers where working for someone else had become more of a lateral move than an advancement. We felt it was time to take the next step and do our own thing.

 

Courtesy of Farow

 

Our goal with opening Farow was to support our local farming community on a larger scale. Farming has such a huge impact on the environment and, oftentimes, the people doing the most important work in that industry are not being compensated appropriately for what they do. We pay whatever they ask for their organic veggies and pasture-raised meats and then charge appropriately at the restaurant. If they’re sitting on a lot of a certain cut of meat or a certain vegetable, we will buy it up and find a way to create a dish around it. In addition to supporting our local farmers, we wanted to create a place where we could put out delicious food and drinks made from the cleanest and freshest ingredients for our guests. Our wine list is biodynamic and organic and our cocktails stay seasonal, all our juices are fresh-pressed and syrups are made in-house.

Why Niwot? What was it about the Boulder County community that prompted you to launch Farow here?

 

Courtesy of Farow

 

Niwot actually wasn’t on our radar initially. We live in Longmont and have been wanting to see downtown Longmont transform into the cool place we know it can be. At the time we were looking, there were no spaces available for us that were a good fit. We knew we definitely didn’t want to deal with the cost of Boulder rent and we happened upon a previous restaurant space in Niwot and fell in love with it immediately. The huge patio is shaded by giant cottonwood trees with garden beds all around the building. There is also a parking lot and a fully built-out kitchen. It just made sense for this concept. Then we got introduced to the actual community of Niwot, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen such an actively connected community as Niwot. They host so many wonderful events and make every holiday such a special celebration. Everyone knows each other. It’s like a tiny Hallmark town. The magic is very palpable. Beyond the space and the community, we have almost every farm we work with just across the Diagonal Highway or within a 10-mile radius of the restaurant. We’ve built so many amazing relationships with our local farmers and ranchers. If we ever need something last minute, we can easily pop by or they will bring it to us.

Why the focus on hyperlocal foods? Why should diners care about eating, shopping and supporting hyperlocal?

 

Courtesy of Farow

 

While opening a restaurant during the pandemic, then rolling into a recession, has definitely had its challenges, I can’t think of a more appropriate time when supporting local has really played in our favor. With all of the supply chain price hikes and shortages, we’ve been more insulated from a lot of it because we work with only local farms. We still have access to eggs, and our grass-fed meats are around the same price or cheaper now than a lot of commercially raised meat. In addition to skirting the commercial supply chain, we work with farmers who are using regenerative practices and are enriching the soil of the lands they work on. In the case of our ranchers, they treat their animals with respect and allow them to live on their natural diets in wide open spaces, which makes the animals healthier and happier and makes their meat more flavorful and nutritious.

 

Courtesy of Farow

 

Additionally, food that is consumed right after being freshly harvested retains more of the nutrients, flavor and vibrancy. Our vegetables are harvested across the highway and driven, in most cases, just a couple miles to our restaurant, then put on your plate. If you’ve ever eaten a fresh tomato off the vine and compared it to the ones flown in from Mexico and California in the grocery store, you understand exactly what I mean. Fresh food, grown in its proper season, consumed just after it’s done ripening on the vine, is miles above what you get when we take the shortcuts we do in order to have produce year-round in our stores. From a culinary perspective, using the best ingredients creates the best-tasting food. You can’t make great food from crappy ingredients. We’re very passionate about having and showcasing these gorgeous ingredients that we take a lot of time and energy to source.

 

How did the idea for Pie Dog pizzas come about? What makes your pie recipes so special?

 

Courtesy of Farow/Pie Dog

 

There was a period of time when all of the pizza shops in Niwot were closed for various reasons. Our building used to be a pizza shop, and we have a brick oven from Italy already. We also make all of our delicious focaccia dough in-house. After learning more about ghost kitchens and how they operate, we realized we could easily do without a lot of extra labor, start-up costs or energy, so we decided to start testing pizza in the kitchen. The results were incredible and after testing it on our team a few times for family meal, everyone agreed we should definitely go for it!

 

Courtesy of Farow

 

It has been a really great stream of revenue to help us get through the slower months so far, and it really seems to be taking off! Pie Dog has been really well received by our community as we’re servicing a need here that wasn’t being filled. Just like with Farow, we use nothing but the best ingredients. Our dough is made from fresh-milled flour, followed by a three-day fermentation time, so it really gives the dough a chance to develop great flavor and makes it more digestible. Then, we top it with a super simple tomato sauce — just really good tomatoes and salt. Our cheese and pepperoni are imported from Italy and we slice/shred all of it fresh in-house. Our sausage comes from Buckner Ranch. In my opinion, they have some of the best sausages I’ve eaten and their meats are always flavorful and top-notch. We’re not doing anything crazy, we’re just using really great ingredients and treating them with care. They really shine when left to their own devices.

 

With all of your events and collaborations with local farms, what are you hoping to achieve? What place do you hope Farow has in the community and why?

 

Courtesy of Farow

 

I would love to introduce our farmers to the rest of the community and help support their businesses with visibility to their CSAs or at the farmers markets stands. They’re doing truly some of the most important and undervalued work in this world. They, like everyone else, deserve to make a living wage and be supported in their efforts to better our soil, our health and, ultimately, our planet. I hope that we can inspire people to eat more veggies at home, try things they would never find in the store, make more frequent trips to our farmers markets and sign up for CSAs. There’s something special about having a close relationship with the people who grow the food you eat. It connects you more deeply to the process, where it all comes from and all the work that someone goes through for you to enjoy what’s on your plate and to have foods that nourish and sustain you. As a whole, humans have really lost connection with that process and the joy that comes along with it. It’s something I hope everyone can experience again.

 

 

I’m hopeful Farow is a place where people come to not only be fed and nourished but where they can also be inspired by the ingredients we use to bring them home and use them at home. I know a lot of people who have started shopping with Buckner Ranch because of having their meats in our restaurant or who have gone into Moxie asking for those wheat berries or flours they’d eaten in the restaurant. I also hope it’s a place where we can keep sharing our knowledge of food, wine and spirits with the community and our team so people can further learn the pleasures of really great food and drink.

 

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