Producers, chefs, food industry advocates attend Colorado Ag Day at the Capital | TheFencePost.com

Producers, chefs, food industry advocates attend Colorado Ag Day at the Capital

DENVER — On March 22, when heading to the first floor of the Colorado Capital Building, an enticing array of smells hit the halls, along with chatter among chefs, agriculture producers and members of the Colorado legislature.

Colorado Ag Day at the Capital is considered one of the best days to be in downtown Denver, as it brings the agriculture industry to state legislators.

There were a number of agricultural groups represented, with almost every product grown and raised by Colorado producers available to sample.

Part of what made the event so special was watching the chefs prepare food. One of those chefs was Emma Nemechek, pastry lead at Omni Interlocken Hotel and Resort. This was Nemechek's first year at Ag Day, and she worked with the Colorado Egg Producers to create a six-layer torte.

A torte is a multi-layered cake, and Nemechek's orange-colored torte included layers of coconut cake, vanilla bean moose, mango gelee, mango moose, passion fruit moose and chocolate swirl. Gelee is a jelly-type food product. Her cake took third place at the annual cook-off. Nemechek said she wanted to make something "springy and light" to celebrate the new season.

She used eggs from Colorado producers, who are part of Colorado's farming and ranching community. Terri Heine, outreach event coordinator for Colorado Egg Producers, said Ag Day at the Capital is one of the biggest agriculture events the group attends.

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"It brings awareness to how much agriculture there is in the state," Heine said.

Colorado Agriculture Commissioner Don Brown said awareness is such a key issue, and an important part of Colorado Ag Day.

A big movement in the agriculture world right now is to connect the farming industry that produces food to the consumer.

"One of the reasons (Ag Day at the Capital) is really, really important is it exposes urban consumers to real agriculture people. … We are so good at what we do as farmers. A small percent of us feed the world and the nation in particular, but people are somewhat distant from it," Brown said.

It wasn't just the agriculture community working to help educate and talk about their work.

Brandon Durio is the executive chef for Cherry Creek Schools. He partnered with the Colorado Association of Wheat Growers and produced sliders with sweet potato fries.

All Durio and his team prepared fit into the requirements of a healthy lunch, and part of what the team advocated for was the ability to provide funds for schools to not just produce healthy food for the kids, but also food that's enjoyable.

"As much as we want to have farm to plate in schools … We don't get the funding," he said. ❖

— Fox is a reporter at The Fence Post. She can be reached at sfox@thefencepost.com, (970) 392-4410 or on Twitter @FoxonaFarm.