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Trying a new summer business in the Roaring Fork Valley

Aug 24, 2015

Amy Fulstone, left, and Jennifer Craig talk details inside the Cowgirl Kitchen.
Credit Elise Thatcher

Starting a small business isn’t for the faint of heart. But it can be a key way for residents to make ends meet in the Roaring Fork Valley. Aspen Public Radio’s Elise Thatcher has this story of one longtime local who’s trying a new restaurant venture this summer in a unique place: a horse trailer.

        

Valley resident Amy Fulstone is standing in her horse trailer, next to the Wednesday Farmer’s Market downtown Carbondale. As Fulstone makes change for a customer, there’s no horses in sight. This is her version of a food truck, called the Cowgirl Kitchen.

What’s on the menu is prepared in a mini restaurant kitchen in the back of a retrofitted trailer, and today the person filling orders there is Fulstone’s old friend, Jennifer Craig. Craig is no stranger to food. She’s a longtime local from a farming family in Woody Creek, and used to run Ute City Farms. This morning she’s helping put together orders, and brought some produce.  

Outside the Cowgirl Kitchen, next to the Carbondale Farmer's Market.
Credit Elise Thatcher

“My contribution from my garden today is kale,” explains Craig, who then lists “peas, radishes, and cucumbers.” A freshly printed menu pops out of a printer, and Craig reads the day’s fare:  “Rodeo basic, which is pulled pork on kale slaw.  [Then] Paonia Sausage Rotini, that’s the pasta dish; Chick Fun, [which is] Rosie’s amazing provincial chicken served on peanut noodles loaded with fresh local garden veggies. Also, Cowgirl Pizza, [with] tortilla, pesto, cheese, spinach, feta, tomato.”

Fulstone is the brains and brawn behind the Cowgirl Kitchen, and used to train and show horses, traveling long distances with them in this trailer. Yes, it’s very clean, not a horse hair in sight. She’s already tweaking the business. Earlier this summer, she was parked at the Confluence put-in, where the Crystal River meets the Roaring Fork, but she did not make many sales there. Here there’s been a steady stream of customers at Carbondale Farmer’s Market, so Fulstone is pleased. She’s crossing her fingers it’ll continue in the coming weeks.