The Ranch’s Fall Harvest Festivities

This October, we are channeling The Ranch’s beehives and buzzing around diligently in preparation of our biggest celebrations of the year, Autumn Harvest Weekend and Thanksgiving. Although we celebrate most major holidays here, our fall harvest celebrations are a labor of love – the love of food grown, raised and made in Montana.

Everything about this celebration is inspired by Western Montana and its purveyors, pioneers and culture. If you’re looking for an unparalleled culinary journey through the legendary West, we have a few select accommodations remaining, like Sara Jane’s Cottage, named after a former ranch manager, below. Contact our Reservations Specialists today for last-minute fall availability.

A ranch building with the lights on under a starry sky
Sara Jane’s Cottage is a one-of-a-kind luxury home, perfect for groups of friends or families. 


1. An Intimate LeAnn Rimes Concert

On Saturday of Autumn Harvest Weekend, guests will enjoy an exclusive performance with two-time Grammy Award winning artist LeAnn Rimes. We feel so lucky to welcome her back again this year because opportunities are rare to enjoy such a talented musician with a crowd of fewer than 100 people. Rimes’ vocal talent shines in an intimate, live setting. Trust us on this one, as a few of us have had the chance to hear her incredible voice echo through the valley—it’s a bucket list live music experience.


LeAnn Rimes performing at the 2022 Autumn Harvest Weekend Celebration.

Delivering bucket list experiential travel is what we’re all about, so when our culinary and events teams take the reins on Autumn Harvest Weekend, they approach it with the same creativity that they do their ever-changing tasting menus, nightly dining experiences and private events. Inquire about next year early for this always sold-out event.


2. Sage Flats Dinner

Every Sunday in the cooler months, we enjoy a dinner that plays homage to life spent living off the land. Sous Chef Jack Kirk spent a chilly morning submerged in a fog at first light this past December on a Ranch near the Mission mountains. It was this inspiring moment that we looked to for the wild game dinner on Sundays this fall.


Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Lanier Photography

We wanted to focus on game birds and large game with a shorter format tasting menu, four courses.  Enjoy elk back straps with high line salt and a sauce of wild rice with roasted sweet onions or duck confit with leaves of trevisio and honey-cured kumquats. As with every meal, there are vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free alternatives that celebrate the foraged and farmed produce of Western Montana.


3. Drink to the Season

Harvest Smash Cocktail

Ingredients:
Rum (We use Montana-made Stonehouse Distillery Double Barrel Rum)
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 apple
1 tbsp. lemon juice (about half a lemon)1/2 oz. pure maple syrup
Ice

Method:

  1. In a shaker, strip and muddle one full sprig of rosemary and half of a tart, crisp apple.
  2. Add the lemon juice.
  3. Pour in maple syrup.
  4.  Measure and add one shot of rum.
  5. Fill with ice and shake well.
  6. Strain the drink over an ice-filled tumbler.
  7. Garnish with rosemary and an apple slice.

Enjoy!


4. Master Naturalist Classes

In 2017, The Ranch expanded its programming to include Montana Master Naturalist classes. From Flora and Fauna Identification classes to guided hikes, our Montana Master Naturalists help nature lovers to spot signs of wildlife and appreciate our awe-inspiring environment in flux. They even learn to start a naturalist’s log.

A Master Naturalist journal, including a drawing of a Blue Jay, sits by the Rod & Gun Club.

The Ranch is fully inclusive, which means that there are almost 40 included activities that can be part of a curated fall itinerary at The Ranch. All Thanksgiving events are also a part of our rates, so you can relax, leave your wallet in your luggage and roam our 6,600 acres during your stay.

A woman fly-fishing in a river


5. Thanksgiving on the Range

Everything culminates in a long weekend of feasts, festivities and adventure during our Thanksgiving celebration. With over 90 local purveyors, Executive Chef Josh Drage and his team have a full weekend of delights.

Hearty breakfast dishes will be cooked and served in cast iron Dutch ovens. Guests who have visited during the summer and enjoyed our Friday Breakfast Ride will be familiar with the scents of wood fire and savory ingredients wafting from these traditional ovens. Executive Chef Drage grew up cooking with Dutch ovens in his home — a cabin in Alaska. Our Sous Chef Jack Kirk, Chef Tom Gillespie and cooks have also contributed to The Ranch’s traditional fare with recipes they grew up perfecting.


Executive Chef Josh Drage

To get you in the mood for this lavish Western spread, we’ve included a frittata recipe from Chef Drage’s.

The Sapphire Range Frittata
Bacon and Gouda Frittata with Tomatoes and Avocado

Ingredients:
12 eggs
1 lb. bacon
1 bunch scallions
1 cup cubed gouda (We suggest Flathead Lake Cheese Company Gouda)
2 oz. clarified butter
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes
Juice of one lemon
1 bunch of parsley
Pinch of chili flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
1 oz. olive oil
1 avocado

1. Prepare your morning camp fire. It is important to produce coals for effective Dutch oven cooking. Once the firewood has mostly reduced to coals, use a shovel to push the flaming wood to one side of the fire ring. On the other side of the ring, away from the flame, create a flat cooking surface covered with a small layer of coals (equal to 10 small pieces of charcoal).

2. Place your Dutch oven (lid on) atop the coal-covered cooking surface. Shovel an equal amount of coals onto the top of the oven. Allow the dry (no oil or ingredients within) Dutch oven to pre-heat for 10 minutes prior to cooking.

3. Cut bacon into one-inch pieces. Sauté until crisp in another pan on your fire. Remove  the bacon with a spoon and set it aside in a bowl for later.

4. Prepare the garnish. Halve the cherry tomatoes and chop the parsley. Halve and pit the avocado. Cut into small pieces and place the tomatoes, parsley and avocado in a bowl. Add lemon juice, salt, chili flakes and olive oil. Toss and set the bowl aside.

5. Cube the gouda cheese and set it aside.

6. Whip the eggs thoroughly in a bowl until they begin to lighten. Add the scallion and whip together.

7. Remove the lid on the Dutch oven using thick oven mitts, placing it on the rocks of your fire ring. Keep some coals on top to retain even cooking temperature while it rests.

8. Add clarified butter to the Dutch oven and pour in the eggs. Scrape across the bottom with a spatula to fold in the cooking eggs as they bubble. Repeat the folding process until the eggs are about one-third cooked. Season with salt and pepper.

9. Add the bacon and gouda. Fold into the eggs quickly. Replace the lid of the Dutch oven. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes without peeking.

10. Check the frittata after the allotted time. Remove the Dutch oven from the coals. If the eggs aren’t fully cooked, fold through one more time before serving.

11. Garnish the top of the finished frittata with your tomato and avocado mixture. Adjust your garnish to include whatever is in season in your area.


Cheers to the comforts of fall!


Cast iron fried chicken, perigord truffle puree, broccoli raab, carrots, charred onions, crisp poor orphan creamery twyste and fingerling potato. Photo by Lynn Donaldson.