Colorado Food Contributors


Episode Description State Plate Seasons

Living Water Ranch  |  Vanessa Stahla

Rocky Mountain Oysters & Lamb | Website

Vanessa Stahla and husband Rex have a passion for healthy living. Before they started Living Water Ranch, they did their best to buy fresh, organic and non-GMO foods, supporting local farmers and vendors as much as they could. The biggest challenge on their healthy-eating journey was finding natural grass-fed meats that were antibiotic and hormone free.

So they bought a farm and started raising beef and lamb to their high standards—completely antibiotic- and hormone-free; roaming-at-will, grass fed and finished on their tall, sweet, foothill mountain grass. On the farm’s website, Vanessa says, she realized what “we had been missing all this time. The meats tasted so much better than any of the natural meats we had bought before.” And because the animals are not fed grain to fatten them up before slaughter, the resulting meat is lean and therefore, healthier than the average cut of other so-called natural meats.

Vanessa and Rex wanted their friends to enjoy the delicious meats, too, so they shared, and when the response was overwhelmingly positive, they started taking a selection of their grass-fed beef and lamb to local farmers markets, and during that first summer they struggled to keep up with the demand.

Today, with their three sons by their sides and the stunning Rocky Mountains in the background, Vanessa and Rex run a successful family farm.

Don’t be Sheepish…Grass-fed lamb is a nutritious lean meat. Here are ways to enjoy different cuts:

Shoulder – Stew
Shank or Breast – Braised
Lamb Chops or Rack of Lamb – Roasted or quick-broiled
Ground Lamb – Sautéed


Tony’s Market  |  Mick Rosacci

Olathe Sweet Corn | Website

In 1978, driving home from church one Sunday, Tony Rosacci’s young son, Danny, pointed out an abandoned 7-11. Tony had been in the food retail business all his life, but his dream was to have his own butcher shop. Danny suggested this could be his chance, and Tony took it. He was a butcher, and had no aspirations to expand his market beyond meat. Problem was business was booming. Over the years, the family business outgrew the small shop and added services and products, including a deli, seafood, poultry, sides and more. Today, Tony’s Market has four Denver metro area stores, with Tony’s Burgers, a casual restaurant within the downtown Denver store, Tony Rosacci’s Fine Catering and TR BBQ. The family catered for the Denver Broncos for 11 years before the team built a facility with their own kitchen, and now feed the Colorado Avalanche hockey team. State Plate fans will meet Head Chef Mick Rosacci, who will share tips about Olathe Sweet Corn

All You Can Eat! During the first weekend in August every year, Olathe, Colorado hosts the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival. The price of admission includes all the corn you can eat, and apparently attendees love their corn. The festival goes through more than 70,000 ears of corn each year.



Disanti Farms

DiSanti Farms  |  Dominic DiSanti

Pueblo Green Chili | Website

The DiSanti family started farming in Pueblo, Colorado in 1890. Dominic DiSanti is a fifth generation farmer growing a variety of crops from cucumbers to cantaloupe, watermelon to winter squash and dozens of others. One of the farm’s most popular products is the medium-sized, hot Pueblo Pepper, most commonly used to make Green Chile. The DiSanti’s roast the tasty peppers throughout the season.

“Words cannot describe the phenomenal smell of Fire Roasted Peppers at DiSanti Farms. Leaving you begging for tortillas or an inevitable bowl of Green Chile this aroma fills our neighborhood and is a sure sign that the summer harvest is here,” the family writes on their website.

Dominic is a graduate of Colorado State University with a B.S. degree in Soil and Crop Science and Agricultural Business. He’s on the Board of Directors of The Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association and is one of the founders of The Pueblo Chile Growers Association, an organization dedicated to building awareness of the Pueblo Chile Pepper.

Too Hot to Handle! Was that pepper spicier than you expected? Don’t reach for a glass of water to cool the heat. Drink milk! Milk contains casein which will bind the pepper’s hot capsaicin oil and wash it from your mouth.


Hirakata Farms  |  Diane Mulligan

Rocky Ford Cantaloupe™ | Website

“We are a family farm that continues to carry on the tradition of our ancestors,” states the Hirakata Farms website.

Indeed, now, fifth generation Michael Hirakata heads up the sales department and is also chairman of the Rocky Ford Growers Association, a group of local growers committed to producing the sweetest, juiciest cantaloupe that bears the trademark name. The association also oversees the safety and integrity of the produce. One way the association brings awareness to their members’ signature cantaloupe is through the annual Rocky Ford Cantaloupe Creations Cook-Off that draws the area’s top chefs. Diane Mulligan, who introduces State Plate viewers to the exceptionally sweet melon, is a spokeswoman for the Rocky Ford Growers Association.

Sweet Talk: Want to eat healthy? No need to give up sweets! Satisfy your sweet tooth with 1 cup of cantaloupe cubes (5.5 oz.) for just 53 nutrition-packed calories.

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