Beautiful old farm house at Willis Ranch. Photo Credit: Joe Johnson

Talisker Farm Tour

From dawn until nightfall on a sun-splashed Spring day in northern Utah, Talisker chefs John Murcko and Zeke Wray hosted a dozen food lovers on a tour of artisan food suppliers to the Talisker Restaurant Collection. 

The Artisan Farm tour connected consumer to farmer, urbanite to fertile soil and chef to produce in a fun and novel way.  The journey covered 300+ miles but, more importantly, spanned the spectrum of food.

At the first stop, Zoe’s Garden in Layton, David Chen orchestrates the growing of more than 600 fruits and vegetables. He fills every corner of 29 acres with plants and trees.  Under the shadow and flight path of Hill Air Force Base’s famed fighter jet squadrons, he proves you don’t need to live in a rural zip code to bring “country” quality to contemporary restaurants.

Strawberry plants coming along nicely at Zoe's Garden.

In idyllic Mendon, the murmur of millions, yes, millions of honey-producing bees welcomes you to a craft farm and family home.  The James’ family produces a bounty of palate-pleasing honey, honey vinegar and honey wine that goes direct from beekeeper to The Farms’ Roasted Beets weekly.

Honey wine. Photo Credit: Joe Johnson

 Anglers perk up at Mountain Valley Trout.  Here along S.R. 218 in Smithfield, Leland Barker and his family have transformed the oracle-like waters of a Wasatch Mountain spring into a series of pools bursting with Rainbow, Brook, Brown, Blue and Tiger trout.

Gotcha! Photo Credit: Joe Johnson

Get the idea?  Utah has a cornucopia of local growers who are starting to make a name for themselves.  The visit of two Talisker chefs was validating.  And we weren’t done yet.

North of Logan, on tiny Richmond’s State Street (a place where locking your car door is definitely overkill), Rockhill Creamery boasts six hardy cows that provide milk for 200 hearty pounds of cheese per week in eight distinct varieties.  This 19th century homestead is on the National Register of Historic Places – and public tastings are available in the summer.

Rockhill Creamery. Photo Credit: Caitlin Martz

Finally, tour participants watched the sun set over Bear Lake.  The bleating serenade of hundreds of Clark Willis’  sheep is a perfect end to the day.  A primary supplier to Niman Ranch (think sustainable meats – Whole Food Market is their largest customer), the ranch epitomizes what The Farm and other Talisker Restaurant Collection venues stand for:  sustainable, local, natural and high quality.

Willis Ranch. Photo Credit: Joe JohnsonBeautiful old farm house at Willis Ranch. Photo Credit: Joe Johnson

Now that you know how we thought the trip went, take a look at what the other lucky participants thought:

The Talisker Restaurant Collection sources many of its food and beverage ingredients from more than 30 local purveyors in Utah and surrounding states.  For more information about our “farm-to-table” commitment, visit the “Dining” tab at

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