Chef Bradford Heap has gumption.
I once sat alongside him when we tasted hundreds of tomatoes (we were both judges) at the Love Apple Festival, I wrote about Salt when I first started my blog (one of my first posts) and over the years, I’ve “broken bread” with him, as we’ve discussed food, GMO’s, owning restaurants, and what it means to be a good person.
In May, a piece I wrote for Boulder Weekly on restaurants going entirely non-GMO, Chef Heap expressed his dissatisfaction with the “business” behind it, and the obvious dangers we face as consumers.
“I get really freakin’ annoyed by [GMOs],” he says. “I start frothing at the mouth. It’s so wrong and it’s so unfair.” Knowing there are grey areas, he has worked tirelessly, to ensure Salt and Colterra, can both be non-GMO.
As of August this year, he can throw that stake in the ground, claiming that success – which is huge.
“We’re only just beginning to understand the full impact and harm that these chemicals are delivering to our bodies, and our land,” says Heap. “We all have the right to know what is in the food we are eating, we deserve an informed choice. It is unethical to ask us to be “experiments” for genetically engineered food that has not been tested or regulated.”
As the father to 10-year-old twins, Heap also admits that beyond wanting to make a true impact on the world, he wants to know he has done his part for his own health, and his family. As a deliberate person, he couldn’t see it any other way, but to serve delicious, healthy, non-GMO food.
Heap is vocally anti-GMO, and proactively supporting Proposition 105 (which I do, here at Grace(full) Plate as well).
“Colorado’s Proposition 105 calls for the mandatory labeling of foods containing ingredients from transgenic crops derived in the laboratory through recombinant DNA technology—a technology that splices genes from bacteria, viruses, or other foreign species into major food crops—pairings that would never occur in nature—to create genetically engineered crops that make their own toxic pesticides, or that can withstand ever increasing amounts of toxic, synthetic herbicides. The primary GMO crops include genetically engineered corn, soy, canola, cotton, and sugar beets, which make their way into just about all grocery products sold in the U.S.”
He shared with me that he wants to know when he looks in the mirror, when he’s 80, he did his part to give back, but he also is thriving.
I was most intrigued to learn that through his longtime partnership with Full Circle Farms owner Dave Asbury, he setup a special partnership. He loaned $15,000 of which $10,000 will be repaid interest-free after the profits from the harvest are in, and the rest is being repaid in trade to have Asbury custom grow organic product for Colterra and Salt, on a 15-acre plot called Soul Patch.
I asked why the name, and without question he stated, “It’s food for my soul.”
Heap has toiled the soil himself, alongside Salt and Colterra staff which are “strongly encouraged” to help harvest Soul Patch produce, thus giving them a connection to the food they serve. In exchange for every four hours of harvest work, they receive a 30 pound bushel of produce to take home.
Part of Salt and Colterra’s 100% non-GMO journey includes:
- Coca-Cola has been replaced by Boylan’s all natural, cane sugar-sweetened sodas
- Oils used are organic sunflower oil for frying, rice bran for sautéing, and extra-virgin olive oil for cooking and for finishing
- Only cane sugar is used
- All sauces and condiments are now made in-house
- Heap only buys from ranchers who not only use humane practices and no antibiotics, but also refuse to finish their beef and lamb on GMO corn:
- Pork is supplied by Tenderbelly who are sourcing non-GMO fed pigs from Bennet, Colo.
- Chicken comes from Coleman Natural’s Rocky chicken, and a local production starting up in June-July from Chicken Tracks from Hudson, Colo.
- Lamb is pasture raised Boulder Lamb
- Beef is local pasture raised, grass finished beef from Bar J, also 7x Beef and Teton Waters Ranch pasture finished beef
Heap, who still signs every check and order that comes through his restaurants, has put in his time and it shows with his restaurants thriving which is exciting to see in this economy.
Oh and, I can’t help but mention, he makes my favorite dessert in Boulder [below].
When I asked what was the most surprising thing to him about being a restauranteur, he noted the fact that “it [owning restaurants] could be this good.” Although he has toiled and put in the holiday work days, late hours, and days after days without a break – he now is also focused on his health, ensuring his restaurants are run by a quality team he trusts, and giving back to the community by making a difference.
Photos Via: Salt/Colterra Bradford Heap