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Food & Dining

Farm-to-table isn’t a trend here – it’s a way of life

Cuisine at Smith Fork Ranch is guaranteed to be fresh, innovative and (most importantly) delicious.  We’re blessed to be located in a place where fresh produce, grass-fed meats and much more are just a few minutes away – Colorado’s fertile North Fork Valley, where people have been living in harmony with the land for centuries. We cherish our longstanding relationships with the local farming community – and it shows in our menus, which are full of ingredients that deliver the area’s best and freshest flavors right to your plate, and change seasonally following local harvests.

Fresh ingredients are, of course, just the beginning. Smith Fork Ranch’s exceptional culinary team is dedicated to excellence, bringing inventive twists to classic dishes. “There aren’t many places that can compare to this valley’s diversity of offerings. From a variety of orchards – including cherry, apple, peach, apricot and pear – to the abundance of organic farms and ranches, a burgeoning wine scene, and not least our own SFR farmstead that provides the majority of our produce at its high point. Here at Smith Fork Ranch there is a spirit of terroir that is all its own.”

Guests wake in the morning to the cool Colorado air, sunny skies, and a sense of relaxation. Breakfast starts before you’ve even left your cabin, sip on a warm mug of coffee that has been brewed fresh that morning and delivered to your porch. Once the coffee has energized you for the day stroll over to the Dinner Bell Cookhouse where a warm breakfast of our made-to-order menu along with a fruit & pastry buffet awaits.

You’ll be greeted by our friendly staff and met by the welcoming aroma of ranchmade breakfast pastries and ranch cured & smoked bacon (you’ll never look at bacon the same way). Grab a seat in the historic Dinner Bell Cookhouse or out on the deck if weather is nice and get started with some of our ranchmade muffins and scones, a bowl of ranchmade granola, yogurt, or fresh fruits. Our breakfast menu is available daily and includes offerings of farm fresh eggs prepared any way (scrambled, over easy, poached, hard-boiled, etc.), traditional buttermilk pancakes, the omelet of the day or one of our daily specials that include quiches, chicken-fried steak, shirred eggs, hues ranchers, eggs benedict, french toast and more. Round out your breakfast plate with sides of golden hash browns, ranch made pork, chicken or turkey sausage or the ever popular ranch cured and smoked, thick sliced bacon. Our hearty breakfasts will prepare guests for an adventure filled day on our Colorado Guest Ranch.

The Creekside Cafe Campfire Breakfast Ride is offered to all guests on Wednesday mornings June through August. Rise a bit early to the coffee on your porch, put on yer boots and hat and gather for a morning horseback ride (or ranger ride through the river for the young ones) where you’ll stop at a trailside camp by the river. A traditional cookout breakfast is prepared with a buffet of fresh ranch made pastries and baked goods, ranch made granola and local fresh fruits as well as eggs, dutch oven fried potatoes, ranch cured and smoked bacon, ranch made pork and chicken sausage, and our famous ranch made biscuits and sausage gravy.

Noontime is such a beautiful time of day at Smith Fork Ranch. We take advantage of that by scheduling as many meals outside on our canvas covered pavilion deck as weather permits in the summer. It is a casual setting for guests to enjoy the warm sun and beautiful views together while refueling after their morning adventures and before afternoon adventures.

Choose from a number of daily plated options and kids can choose from menu items tailored to a younger palette, including the SFR Culinary Team’s little crowd-pleaser offerings such as buttered noodles (the most ordered meal here at SFR), hamburger or hotdog with french fries, macaroni and cheese, quesadillas and fresh vegetables with Ranch dressing.

Experience a new space on the ranch after you have returned from the Breakfast Ride on Wednesdays. The night before our reservationists will have you put in your order for lunch the next day. Following breakfast ride you may not be ready to think about food again which is why we leave it to the experts, our culinary team. They’ll prepare the lunch you ordered the night before, wrap it up and place it all in a picnic basket, complete with picnic blanket. All you need to do is stop by the Dinner Bell at your leisure, pick up your basket and head out to your favorite spot or a new spot to enjoy your lunch down by the river, at the tree house or up at the swimming pond (remember to wait 30 minutes between eating and swimming).

Our goal with each dining experience is to showcase the American West as a bountiful gourmet table under. Our culinary team builds on tradition and history stretching back to the Ute Indians’ use of abundant wildlife and the 19th-century cattlemen’s development of the area’s fertile land.

Dinner menus change nightly, with two options for first course, main course and dessert, such as duck confit with kale, walnuts and chèvre, and bison with a chile relleno, mole, and pickled blackberries and a decadent chocolate soufflé cake. Because it is the SFR Farmstead Garden, the North Fork Valley, and surrounding areas that provide the building blocks, the best in raw materials.

Whatever can’t be grown and harvested from the property is sourced from our local farming community that has long attracted folks to the Smith Fork Ranch region. Our culinary team will be letting you know what was harvested for each meal, where it was sourced from and which local purveyors brought them to use. Dinner at Smith Fork Ranch is just as much an experience as the adventures they have gone on throughout their day and can tell a story all of its own.

Among the unique eating environments created throughout the week is the Garden Dinner. To take in all the Colorado glory from a different angle of the property there is a garden party by the veggies under the lighted trestle in full view of the Mountain Alpen Glow.

See where the evening’s offerings have been sourced from, the Smith Fork Ranch Farmstead Garden. During this evenings Cocktail Hour our guests will enjoy garden inspired and infused cocktails such as the “Forage for Borage” while strolling down the rows of planted produce chatting with our Farmstead Gardener about the bountiful produce being harvested.

This adult’s only ride is an escape to a mountain top cocktail experience. What may be the only time you belly up to a bar from horseback!

Saddle up in the afternoon for a trail ride up Needle Rock Pass to stop at our West Elk Watering Hole where you’ll find that we have set up a bar complete with hors d’oeuvres. Enjoy each other’s company while the children are back at the ranch partaking in a ranch-wide water balloon fight. At the West Elk Watering Hole there will be a selection of beer, wine and a specialty cocktail for the evening. Views of the Smith Fork Valley accompany good friends and cheer. Once a cocktail or glass of wine have been enjoyed, saddle up once again and make your way down to the cookout where the kids will already be with the Kid’s Counselor taking part in a fun game of corn hole or horseshoes.

Guests arrive to the Pasture Pavilion Cookout to cap off their week of adventures in the Colorado Rocky Mountains. Children will be arriving with the Youth Counselors by way of their afternoon scavenger hunt and a short walk on the Smith Fork Trail. Adults will be arriving by horseback after enjoying a specialty cocktail with views of the valley to match.

Once settled in you will see that we’ve set a rustic spread of smoked brisket and chicken, maybe smoked salmon, and occasionally a whole roasted lamb, along with a wide array of salads made with vegetables from the garden. A special ranch dessert awakes to end the week on a high note and as with any campfire here at Smith Fork there will be S’mores to be made (we consider ourselves S’mores connoisseurs).

After a long day and a long week guests make their way back to the Ranch property for one last evening to enjoy each other’s company sans distraction in the Elk Lodge.