Oct 042007
Authors: Nikki Cristello

“Stone Soup,” a children’s tale, has come to life at CSU and in the surrounding community.

The children’s book tells the story of travelers coming to a village with nothing except an empty pot. After placing a stone in the pot, the villagers ask the travelers what they are making. The travelers’ explain, “stone soup.”

Then, the villagers were all asked to add a little something to improve the flavor. Before long, the travelers and the villagers shared a delicious and healthy vegetable soup.

Tom Stoner, owner of Spoons restaurant has decided to bring the story to life by making a “stone soup” of ingredients completely donated by local farmers.

“The heart and soul of the soup is everyone pitching in what they can,” Stoner said.

The vegetable soup was made with about 15 different vegetables, Stoner said, and is vegan and gluten free. The batch of stone soup amassed to about 95 gallons.

“There is lots and lots of great produce in it,” Stoner said. “Including and supporting the local farm community is important.”

Frank Stonaker, one of the local farmers who donated to the soup, said he thought the soup is important for this community because it’s a way to give back.

“Tom is doing a great service in helping (the) food bank,” Stonaker said.

Stonaker came with cases of tomatoes, squash, peppers and more to contribute to the soup.

“(Stonaker) had all kinds of stuff,” Stoner said.

The food Stonaker donated is from the Rocky Mountain Small Organic Farm Project, which is an organic farm sponsored by CSU and is in the specialty crops program.

“I’m just delighted it is happening,” Stonaker said. “I think it is a really good initiative. It ties the community together and provides an important service. I’d love to see more things like this happen around Larimer County.”

Camille Howells, program coordinator for community volunteer programs at CSU, said the partnership with Spoons is strong. In the past, she said Spoons donated a portion of sales on a particular day.

This year, Spoons is donating 100 percent of the proceeds from the stone soup to the Food Bank of Larimer County.

Howells said about 100 quarts of soup have been sold so far and the remaining 300 will be sold through Oct. 6.

Each quart of soup sells for $10 and all Spoons locations are participating in the community project.

“We were looking for a way that we could come up with our own fundraiser,” Stoner said. “Stone soup came to mind, and I thought it was a perfect match.”

In true stone soup style, Stoner said all of the culinary staff at the restaurant joined the effort.

“It took more time to prep the veggies, cleaning, cutting, getting ready, than it did to actually make the soup,” he said.

The soup is available in the CSU food court and Stoner advises to buy the soup after lunch.

Stoner and his crew plan on making this community event an annual one.

“I think every year the soup will get better,” Stoner said.

As for this years’ tale, the various local farmers have already added the ingredients necessary to make a warm stone soup to help fill the bellies of those who need it most.

“The farm community has given so much it is unbelievable. They are so giving and so passionate about what they do,” Stoner said.

Assistant news editor Nikki Cristello can be reached at

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