North Forty News
There’s no way to miss the two-story red barn that looms into view toward the end of Cattleman’s Road, a narrow, winding dirt track off County Road 15 a few miles north of Fort Collins. There’s a wide-open view of the foothills to the west and a serene small lake to the east.
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The barn is new and rises high enough to house a food truck and a semi, used on the farmland where it sits. The building is a recent addition. When owner Dawn Broeder asked her dad, Dennis Marsh, if she could build a barn on his land, he didn’t hesitate. Completed less than a year ago, the spacious ground floor space houses an upscale kitchen set-up, the envy of anyone who loves to cook. It is a manifestation of Broeder’s long-held dream come true.
In this light and inviting space, she has established her business, Farm Fusion in the Kitchen, which she describes as a “culinary resource” designed to share her love of cooking, fresh local ingredients and artistic presentation.
Broeder’s love affair with good food and cooking goes back to the days when she grew up on the 1,000-acre family farm. As soon as she was old enough, she took every 4-H cooking class she could find. By age 10 she had taken over cooking for the family, an activity she adored and one her mother, who did not like to cook, was happy to give up.
After competing elementary school in Waverly, junior high in Wellington, high school at Poudre in Fort Collins, and earning a degree in family and consumer science at Colorado State University, she spent more than 20 years teaching, 10 of them at Fort Collins High School.
One day she decided to scratch the entrepreneurial itch she’d always felt. Taking a leave of absence from her teaching job, she invested in a food truck, the launching platform for a new career. “My dad has been a farmer for most of his life. I grew up understanding risk,” she explained.
After a few years of hard work successfully operating the food truck, she decided to take her dream to a new level and approached her dad with the proposition to build a barn to house her kitchen. She further honed her professional culinary skills with classes at Escoffier, The Art Institute, and Johnson and Wales University.
Broeder, her husband Wade, several of their five sons and assorted friends pitched in to make the barn and kitchen a reality. Wade holds a “regular” job as a Walgreens general manager but still found time to help with barn building. “We did lots of the work ourselves,” Broeder said. One friend designed the kitchen. Another sewed 22 aprons to be used during cooking classes. One son is raising chickens to provide eggs and will soon raise chickens for meat as well. Another son is learning to be a mechanic and will eventually serve in that capacity on the farm.
Dennis Marsh and his son Dustin who farms with him, provide organic beef. A hog farmer friend supplies pork. Soon there will be a dairy cow and a goat roaming the property.
Broeder celebrated her fiftieth birthday with a “research” trip to Italy, the land of her favorite food. “I’m German and I love German food,” she said, but I have a special appreciation for Italian cuisine because of its freshness and simplicity and the fact that often much of it comes from right outside a home or restaurant’s back door.”
She took a class in a castle in Tuscany and another one where she learned to make a variety of different pestos which she plans to share in her classes.
Farm Fusion offers private and group classes designed around whatever food is in season at the time.
A starter class in basic knife skills teaches the making of salsas, chutney, stir-fried chicken, and sweet potato, beet and zucchini fries. Students go home with products they’ve created.
Classes include the basics for adults, pesto and homemade mozzarella making, bread making, soups, stews, pies, dealing with fish and game for hunters and fishermen, canning and preserving, and holiday and party planning. She welcomes team building events and interactive birthday parties. There are classes for kids and teens and a class for working people to make easy and nutritious meals in a day that can be refrigerated or frozen to feed the family for an entire week. See a complete listing of classes and other fun activities such as goat yoga and an Iron Chef competition at www.farmfusion.org.
Broeder is passionate about food and about teaching others how to cook and enjoy it. Having a place on her family farm where she can do what she loves most is the fulfillment of her dream.