The western slope of Colorado has a long of tradition of passionate farmers.

 or over a century the North Fork Valley has been home to an abundance of homesteads, farms, and orchards. In the early 1900s prized Paonia fruit made its way all over the country via train packed in ice from the snowcaps. Today a culture of self-reliance, sustainability and creativity continues in the valley. From cheese and grass fed beef to organic peaches, biodynamically grown vegetables to honey – they all hale from this tiny, sparsely populated Colorado valley.

The farms that work with Fresh Food Movement are diverse in size, food and personality, but they all have one thing in common: they grow some of the best food around.

Thistle Whistle

Mark Waltermeyer is a probably one of the most devoted farmers you’ll ever meet. Thistle Whistle Farm is invested in not only growing incredible produce but also hosting educational events and serving as a resource for the community. The folks at Thistle Whistle specialize in rare plants, including the world’s hottest pepper, spilanthes, and papalo. Perched on Hansen Mesa on the outskirts of Hotchkiss, complete with small fruits, herbs, dairy goats, this is a truly special place. 

South River Aquaponics

Based in Beautiful Southwestern Colorado, outside the city of Montrose, South River Aquaponics operates a 12,040 square foot greenhouse utilizing aquaponics to produce a variety of organic greens, mushrooms, fish and crustaceans. Aquaponics is a way of combining aquaculture (raising fish in tanks) and hydroponics (growing plants in water) into one symbiotic system. Their mission is “to provide fresh & organic products while developing an awareness of the need for healthy food production systems; by utilizing current technology combined with ancient techniques we are able to achieve this goal on a minimal carbon footprint.”

Ela Family Farm

Located on the western slope of the Rocky Mountains outside of Hotchkiss, Colorado, their ninety-nine acre organic fruit farm is dedicated to growing the best-tasting peaches, apples, pears and cherries around. The mouth-watering fruit they grow is the result of four generations of farming wisdom, innovation, and experience. From “Oh-my-god” delicious peaches and crisp, munchable apples to their tempting line of organic jams, sauces, dried fruit, and applesauce, they are growers who hang their hat on outstanding, organic flavor.

Delicious Orchards

For anyone passing through the North Fork Valley, Delicious Orchards might be the number one place to check out! The Shwartz family runs Big B’s Juices, Hard Ciders & Delicious Orchards in the heart of the majestic North Fork Valley of Colorado. This tiny mountain valley with high elevation, crisp, thin air, Rocky Mountain water, cold nights and warm days produces some of the finest fruits in the world. Big B’s produces a full line of ORGANIC and LOCAL apple juices and hard ciders from organic Western Slope fruit. Delicious Orchards and Big B’s are proud to support local sustainable agricultural and land stewardship.

Austin Family Farms

Austin Family Farm was founded in Tennessee in 1960 by Glenn and Tony Austin. They moved to Colorado in 1970 and presently own 26 acres near the foot of Mt. Lamborn in the West Elk Mt. Range of Colorado. Both have been farming for nearly 50 years and some of their children and grandchildren work next to them year-round. Glenn is a 7th-generation farmer and committed to providing safe, high quality food while maintaining responsible stewardship of the land. They are passionate about sustainable agriculture and are often asked to speak and give tours of their beautiful farm.

Desert Weyr

Desert Weyr breeds high performance Black Welsh Mountain sheep. Their small farm on Garvin Mesa in Paonia, Colorado is home to one of the largest flocks of purebred, registered, performance recorded Black Welsh Mountain sheep in North America. Ken and Oogie’s small family farm produces animal products in a humane and environmentally friendly way. They provide our food and fiber animals with a healthy life and a quick humane death. We manage our pastures in a sustainable fashion designed to improve soil fertility and the farm environment.

High Wire Ranch

The High Wire Ranch is located on Redlands Mesa. They have over 150 bison and elk at the ranch, grazing in pastures that are herbicide and pesticide free. 100% grass fed buffalo and elk, the animals are not given hormones or sub-therapeutic antibiotics, all the meat is USDA inspected, professionally processed, and vacuum packaged, and no added nitrates! With a great passion for what they do, they take pride in providing the best possible bison and elk meat.

Borden Farms

Borden organic farm was established in 1996 by Guy and Lynn Borden. A passion for quality drives their commitment to grow the finest and freshest flowers, herbs, and organic produce for our customers. Their love of the land and appreciation of great food inspires them to farm with the same care that you would take in your own backyard garden.

 

Borden Farms is situated in the fertile Uncompahgre Valley in the historic farming community of Pea Green. At an elevation of 5,423 feet, the warm summer days and cool nights combine with a fertile, sandy loam soil to provide ideal conditions for growing. From a modest beginning, they have grown each year to 14 acres of field production and over 13,000 square feet of flowers, herbs and vegetable plants in greenhouses.

Buckhorn Gardens

Located at the base of Buckhorn Mountain at 6700′ elevation, Buckhorn Gardens is a small, organic vegetable farm 13mi. south of Montrose, Colorado. The farm is part of a 12,000 acre cattle ranch, but they only manage about 3 acres of vegetables and herbs.

Colorado Pastured Pork

Colorado Pastured Pork is based in Hotchkiss, Colorado.  Toby McPartland and Hayden Kessel are both passionate about wholesome nutrition and demonstrating the economic viability of small-scale agricultural systems. Their heritage breed pigs are pasture raised and work for their food. They are regularly moved to fresh pastures and thrive on foraging, playing and exploring the cottonwood forest and lush fields.

Western Heritage Farms

Western Heritage Farms produces high quality, natural beef in keeping with their pioneer ranch family traditions, handed down from generation to generation. They operate on land that was homesteaded by their forefathers more than 100 years ago, on the high slopes of Western Colorado.  They offer naturally raised, 100% grass and forage fed beef and their livestock is raised with care and respect, in a low-stress, uncrowded environment. No grains, GMO’s or animal by-products and zero antibiotics or hormones!

City Farm

City Farm is located in Montrose, Colorado and produces hydroponic produce, herbs and AA grade, non-GMO eggs, coming from free range, pasture raised hens.  Their farming method uses principles of permaculture, which means they utilize agricultural ecosystems intended to be sustainable and self-sufficient, as well as recycling and creating a zero waste environment. The hens get to enjoy the outdoors from morning to nightfall, when they return to their custom designed chicken condo to get a good night’s rest.  City Farm takes great pride in the care of their hens and believe that a happy hen is going to produce a better egg.  They gather their eggs, wash them and package them by hand.  

Rocking W Cheese

Rocking W Cheese, based in Olathe, is the only artisan cheese producer on the western slope of Colorado.  Rocking W Cheese is “Farmstead Artisan”, meaning the milk from which it is made comes from the family’s own dairy cows within 24 hours of milking, thus ensuring supreme freshness.  All their cheeses are handmade in either small or bulk quantities. The pioneer six-generation Colorado family prides itself on quality, excellence of product, and hard work.  The Webb Family operates the dairy, farm, and cheese factory in Olathe, Colorado.