A Long Path to Success

December 5, 2018 0 Comment

By 2002, the Herrick family had heard the message loud and clear. They worked patiently through the three-year-long process of getting their organic certification as a farm. This process was ultimately a great success for the Telluride family. In the year 2005, they could truthfully claim that the majority of what visitors to the family farms resort were eating here originated on their own land. This included a wide range of produce from their orchards and farms— duck, lamb, fish of course, and more. They had become a nearly sustainable property in under only five years from originally purchasing the once only peach orchard-producing property.

Just a few short years ago in 2014, the family brought on an experienced chef and new farm manager in Bill Frantz. Frantz’s wife Carin came to serve as field manager. The arrival of these top people quickly boosted the opportunities and range of possibilities for the long-time family farm. Bill’s goal was to attain true self-sufficiency. It required that they stripped down the old guest menus. They removed foods of convenience in favor of locally produced ingredients that the farm was either producing or could produce with their leadership and creative guidance.

To aid in this expanded mission, Bill constructed a large greenhouse of 1,200 square feet. In it, they began growing herbs and vegetables during eight months in the year. They brought in a former shipping container and turned it into a chicken coop. This rests in the midst of the now-ancient peach orchard. The farm keeps the 60 or so chickens happy as free range birds.

organic farmingWith these improvements and adjustments, the Gunnison River Farms has greatly expanded their locally sourced menu to include roasted chicken, smoked duck, and suckling lamb. In the area of produce, Bill’s managed farm now produces over 300 different kinds of vegetables. Bill himself delights in experimenting with a range of vegetable production that even includes kombucha production and microgreens.

The hard work from these two families working in concert has paid off hugely. Gunnison River Farms debuted the past summer as a CSA. They sold 20 memberships that came with homemade cheeses, prepared foods, and cured meats to the residents of Telluride. This Heirloom Program involves more than just the enjoyment of good food organically and naturally produced. It comes with overnight stays at the farm’s cabins to permit the members to fully engross themselves in the agricultural life of the farm firsthand.

This is the best part of the family farm nowadays to Todd Herrick. He loves sharing his passion the farm and orchards with visitors to the paradise oasis. He takes them personally on walks through orchards before involving them in harvesting the vegetables for the dinner table of the evening. This brings a whole new meaning to the concept of from the farm to the fork as fresh as can be.

As the Herricks realize, they can not bring the entire town of Telluride out to experience this lifestyle and culinary magic firsthand. This is why they love delivering their amazing local produce and food to the members around town who can not make it out to the farms. In the future, the Herrick family is actively working towards expanding their unique program to take the once a week delivery of fresh food boxes to the greater Aspen area too.

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