While 1,207 miles technically separate Ixonia, Wisconsin, and Aspen, Colorado, in at least one way the areas are much closer than they appear. Betsy Eberle Fifield grew up in the former and now lives in the latter, and despite the glitter and glamour associated with Aspen, she’s managed to maintain an earnest embrace of her Midwestern pedigree. 

Betsy’s family homesteaded farms in Ixonia as far back as 1845, where dairy farms and raising pork and chicken was a way of life; the sight of half a cow just hanging around was neither cause for alarm nor raised eyebrows. Betsy’s mom, June Eberle, provided endless wholesome inspiration in the form of pies made from scratch. Eventually the pair, who spent endless hours together in the kitchen putting their hearts on the table as well as meals, created a cookbook, The Silver Spoon. It included recipes from June’s childhood as well as anecdotes about picking raspberries to make jam, and preparing supper for the farm hands with the freshest-available ingredients. 

Despite agribusiness being an integral part of her DNA, eventually Betsy did a 180, heading east and engaging in the “New York thing.” Of course the only dirt in New York was on the streets, yet Betsy still managed to weave her rural roots into her urban adventures. When she moved to Aspen, though, she returned even closer to her origins, at least in a culinary sense. An original partner at the renowned Matsuhisa restaurant in Aspen, Betsy received an advanced degree in integrating local and celebrity chefs with an emphasis on eating healthfully and within the community. She traveled to New Orleans where she met and became fast friends with Emeril Lagasse, who designed her kitchen. 

Betsy channeled her mother when she founded Greenalicious, and then again when establishing the award-winning Children’s Health Foundation, which became her (second) baby as she focused on reforming school lunches. A significant shift in Betsy’s thinking came during a meeting where it was discussed how little food Coloradoans consume that has been sourced from within their own areas. The statistics caught her attention, especially since she knew firsthand how practical and rewarding it can be to dine off the land. 

It got her thinking about her own gastronomic patterns, and while she was healthfully subsisting mostly on whole foods, when she gave it more thought and did a little digging, she realized not as much of her sustenance was cultivated from local sources as she’d imagined. Betsy reached out to Kate Linehan, the former owner of the Honeybee Juice Co., and floated the idea of teaming up to try to become true Aspen locavores. 

If Betsy has her way, farmers will soon out-rank celebrity chefs and Grammy winners as the real rock stars. She expects the Aspen Locavore project will bring more attention to the everyday heroes who have a large but thus far quiet say in how much they affect the physical and economic health of the people and neighborhoods in which they live and work. 

If it’s really possible for most people to eat food that’s been harvested within miles from home, Betsy will find out. How she’ll cook it is another story.

Betsy's Pantry

  • Champagne Vinegar
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Flaky Sea Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • FlourMarsala Wine
  • Chicken Stock
  • Mustard
  • Brown Sugar
  • Red Wine Vinegar
  • Cumin
  • Speck Vinaigrette
  • Honey
  • Celery Seed
  • Garlic Powder
  • Pickle Juice
  • Balsamic Vinegar
  • Sherry Vinegar
  • Dijon Mustard
  • Red Pepper Flakes
  • Bread Crumbs