If you’ve ever enjoyed organic carrots, broccoli or potaotes, or if you’ve dined on naturally raised beef or lamb, there's a good chance that what you ate was raised in the San Luis Valley.
The Valley is home to a number of organic farms and ranches. For example, tucked against the hills in Saguache is Green Earth Farm. Owners Tom and Lillian McCracken are in their eleventh year of raising organic produce and quinoa. Their diverse range of products are sold locally, on the Front Range, and through wholesale distributers. A variety of greens are available through the summer, with root vegetables, quinoa and potatoes coming on later in the season and lasting usually through the winter. You may visit the farm and buy direct, but call in advance, at (719) 655-2655). Lillian also offers a full line of herbal remedies, tinctures and salves, all organic and handcrafted.
Travel Highway 285 a few miles south, turn off on County Rd. J and after a mile you'll come to Haugen's Mountain Grown Lamb. Sherry Haugen is a woman rancher whose lamb is raised on natural forage without grain, antibiotics, steroids or growth stimulants. The result is a lean, healthy, tasty product. She offers a variety of cuts and specialty items such as lamb kibbee. Her products are featured in fine dining restaurants such as Zapata Ranch. near the Sand Dunes. They are also available through Vitamin Cottage stores on the Front Range or you may purchase directly from her. Sherry also presents her products at many food fairs statewide. To order call: (719) 754-2176.
Further south outside of Monte Vista is Gosar Ranch. Greg Gosar raises organic wheat and beef. He operates Manna Milling, a source of organic whole wheat flours. He also offers natural ground beef, steaks and roasts, in addition to a variety of chicken sausages. His cattle are organically fed without any additives or stimulants. Greg’s products are sold to restaurants and stores throughout the Southwest. He also sells to national distributors and his products can be found as far away as Florida. Of course you can buy direct. Call (719) 855-2133.
Swing east from Gosar’s to Mosca on Highway 17 and you’ll find the Mosca Pit Stop. This store is owned by Ernie New who raises organic potatoes and quinoa, which may be purchased from his shop. Ernie also offers a program in which families and individuals can pick their own produce from an organic garden plot. A wide selection of produce is available throughout the season, and the membership price is reasonable. For more information call the store at (719) 378-2346.
This is but a selective example of organic growers in The Valley. There are many other organic farms and ranches which range from large scale commercial operations to cottage industry growers who offer their products on a limited local basis.
While the San Luis Valley sits at 8,000 feet and has a short growing season, it is also a fertile region with rich potential for healthy sustainable agriculture. Please enjoy what it offers.