Local restaurant The Farmhouse brings Fortlandia to life

Hannah Hemperly

“Farm-to-table” is a trendy new movement where people are starting to care more about where their food is coming from than what it tastes like. I was first introduced to this concept in an episode of “Portlandia” where Portland-locals Peter and Nance go out to lunch and are very concerned about the quality of life of the chicken they’re about to consume.

Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, stars of "Portlandia." (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia)
Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen, stars of “Portlandia.” (Photo courtesy: Wikimedia)

After prompting their waitress with several questions about its locality and USDA-organic approval rating, she returns with the chicken’s papers. Turns out his name was Colin, and was actually born and raised at a farm merely 30 minutes away. Peter and Nance end up making a trek to the farm, which actually turns out to be a cult, that they end up joining.

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This weekend I experienced “Portlandia” in real life when I ate at the newest Fort Collins endeavor of this farm-to-table concept, the Farmhouse at Jessup Farm. It’s advertised as “from-scratch farmhouse cuisine.”

Quintessentially Fort Collins, the restaurant is housed at this new, hip, never-been-done-before artisan village made up of the repurposed farmhouse and stables at Jessup Farm off of Timberline Road.

I decided to take my dad there this weekend when he was in town, because, let’s be honest, what else are dads for but to take you to lunch?

When we walked in, I was no longer in my college town of Fort Collins but instead, Fortlandia, a new place where bearded men dressed in red and blue gingham were ready to serve me some of the best, locally-grown, gluten-free, non-GMO and hormone-free food.

My understanding of farms is limited to Little House on the Prairie and Old McDonald — all I know about him is that he had one. The Farmhouse seemed to really nail the farm vibe, though. There’s a freakin’ chicken coop in the back. And Old McDonald definitely had chickens.

Despite the name and their look, the  $7 fried green tomatoes at the Farmhouse at Jessup Farm are finger lickin' good.
Despite the name and their look, the $7 fried green tomatoes at the Farmhouse at Jessup Farm are finger lickin’ good.

We ordered the fried green tomatoes for an appetizer to share. I’ve never tried this classic dish from the ‘90s movie of the same name about powerful women in the south who BBQ a racist guy and eat him. If you take nothing else from this review, go watch that movie. It’s on Netflix.

Fried green tomatoes don’t really sound or look appetizing, but holy cow were these delicious. Fried stuff plus healthy vegetable plus aioli dipping sauce equals nutrition and happiness in my book.

At just $7, I would definitely eat this on the reg, and apparently so would most people because according to my waiter Nate, a summer rafting instructor hailing from Maryland, this dish is among the most popular at the Farmhouse.

I followed the fried green tomatoes with their daily selection of soup, at $5 for a bowl, a blend of vegetables and lively spices that filled my belly up with from-scratch joy.

For those of us wedge-challenged, this colorful $9 ancient grain salad was tricky to consume, but delicious nonetheless.
For those of us wedge-challenged, this colorful $9 ancient grain salad was tricky to consume, but delicious nonetheless.

My dad ordered the ancient grain salad at $9, which was comprised of a petit romaine wedge, wheat berries, pearl barley, white beans, basil (from their garden!), shredded beets and a carrot vinaigrette. My first thoughts on the wedge: how the heck are you supposed to eat this thing? Apparently my dad was informed on the art of wedge-salad-eating (phew!), and I shared some bites of this colorful concoction. Yum.

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Unlike Peter and Nance, I didn’t end up going to any farms and joining any cults (yet), but I would make another trip to the Farmhouse to get that Fortlandia fix of local hipster healthy grub.

Collegian Reviewer Hannah Hemperly can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter at @kawanhannah.