On a bucolic fall day, the sky seems to reach down and embrace the land, highlighting the shades of ocher and raw umber that patchwork the landscape. The winding, aptly named Cattleman’s Road leads up to a big red barn as sunlight dances on the small lake, one of two on the Fort Collins property. This is the home of Farm Fusion, a literal farm-to-table cooking school, and its owner, Dawn Broeder.
Dawn’s father, Dennis Marsh, started homesteading the land 50 years ago. She and her brothers grew up here, following the changes from dairy farm to beef, the selling of land and construction of new buildings. When she decided to trade her food truck business (also called Farm Fusion) for brick and mortar, it seemed natural to come home to the land she loved located just outside of bustling Fort Collins. Dawn opened the school in July 2018.
Creating this barn (really, it’s everything that you’d want a big red barn to be) was a two-year labor of love for Dawn and her family.
“It was a family affair,” Dawn shares. “I designed this … I was the general.”
With Dawn in command, she enlisted the help of her dad, brother, husband and five sons. Although there were differences in opinion — Dawn was adamant about her vision of the large, open show kitchen that would become the classroom, while her father wasn’t really convinced of the size — the end result was a light, airy space that lets participants imagine they’re the stars in their own cooking shows, with Dawn at the helm.
Farm Fusion offers courses that are truly farm-to-table: think cheese-making utilizing local milk to tapas that might include aioli made from freshly gathered pink, blue and green eggs from the heritage chickens that scratch outside in the yard. All ingredients are sourced from the farm itself or from local growers.
And Dawn has plans — she’s mapped out a large plot for a garden; she wants to incorporate a milking station for a dairy heifer or a goat (or both), and she’s gathered materials for an outdoor kitchen.
Her newest addition to the Farm to Fusion lineup is “Yoga and Yakitori,” a combo that offers both yoga and a cooking class. The experience starts with a yoga class by the lake, surrounded by the sights, sounds and smells of the working ranch. Then, after getting into a creative and productive zone, you’ll head into the barn/teaching kitchen.
Here, Dawn will instruct students to create simple yakitori favorites with dipping sauces, paired with a nutritious and fresh salad and a drink of the day, like beet lemonade. All of the meats are from natural, organic ranches local to the area and produce is from either the Broeder farm or other local farms.
“I am so excited to be able to offer this to the public,” Dawn says. “My entire concept is connecting the community with the local farmers and ranchers and utilizing what we have right here. Being healthy and happy is not only about what you put in your body, but how you take care of your body.”
Combining yoga and cooking was a natural next step for Broeder.
“One important skill when learning to cook is the ability to understand the nature of your ingredients, how they work together to produce the end result you are trying to reach,” Dawn explains. “I think yoga has very similar concepts — it takes practice and skill. The better your skills, whether in cooking or in yoga, the better the results. They both offer challenges and wonderful results.”
Tickets to Yoga and Yakitori include one hour of yoga and two hours in the kitchen. Participants will need to bring their own yoga mat. All supplies, ingredients and equipment needed for cooking will be provided. Price of class: $79. Farm Fusion also offers creative cooking classes on most Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays; private classes and events are also available. Class prices start at $59 for adults.
Visit www.farmfusion.org to learn more, peruse a full schedule or to book a class.
Photos courtesy of Farm Fusion.
Originally published in the Summer + Fall 2019 issue.