Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery: Big Changes
Wrights Mesa’s Indian Ridge Farm & Bakery is coming alive this spring, albeit with some major changes in its operations.
For the past 15 years, the farm’s one and one-half acre organic garden fed as many as 65 regional households for 20 weeks during the short growing season through a program known as Community Supported Agriculture, or CSA. This year, a majority of the garden will be planted in a cover crop.
“Managing the vegetable operation along with raising pastured poultry and running a commercial bakery, had become too much for just the two of us. So, we’ve decided to search for another farmer to lease this part of our operation,” explained Barclay Daranyi, who co-farms with her husband Tony, and manages the bakery.
“We hope to provide an opportunity for other farmers,” added Tony. “We started looking for a gardener last fall, but by the end of winter we had not found the qualified leaseholder.
“It was a really tough decision to share with our CSA members, who have been so loyal the past 15 years,” he added, recalling the day this past winter when he and Barclay notified their members that produce would not be available as part of their CSA share this year. “Hitting ‘send’ on that email was not easy.”
Most families and individuals understood, and many are participating in this summer’s more limited CSA.
“Anyone can sign up for our 2016 CSA. We will be offering pastured chickens, eggs and baked goods. It’s only the produce that isn’t going to make into the CSA boxes this summer,” said Barclay. “Small scale organic farming is a challenging endeavor. This will give us another summer to find just the right person who’s looking for a viable business and the chance to grow food in a turn-key operation. Our soils have been built over the last 15 years into a rich medium that will grow practically anything. I’m confident to say, our delicious produce will be back!”
Of course, the farm and bakery will be vending again this summer at the Telluride Farmers Market. Indian Ridge Farm will also have chickens available at the Ridgway Farmers Market. Both markets are on Fridays, beginning in early June.
And the vegetable garden is not the only enterprise going through a change. Indian Ridge Bakery will be moving off the farm and into a beautiful historic space in downtown Norwood.
“We’ve been baking out of a relatively small space attached to our home,” said Barclay. “We needed to expand, and we’re so excited about the possibilities of this new space.”
Located at 1605 Grand Avenue, the 1600-square-foot space will house the existing bakery. But plans are in the works to expand the bakery’s retail sales to accommodate the public’s growing appetite for Indian Ridge granola, breads, pastries, and other farm products.
“We see a lot of potential here. This space definitely has the possibility of enhancing the vitality of our local food shed. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to walk in and buy granola, farm fresh eggs, a loaf of organic bread, fresh produce, grass-fed chicken, and other locally sourced products?” If all goes according to plan, Indian Ridge Bakery hopes to be operating out of their new location by June 1,” added Barclay.
In other bakery news, Indian Ridge Bakery is introducing its “Love a Farmer Fund.” A percentage of sales from the granola is collected and put into a fund to help small farmers.
“We want to continue to support young farmers. Revitalizing local agriculture is a key to our long-term survival, and we need to be thinking about the next generation of farmers,” said Barclay.
This year’s recipient is Max Kirks.
Max apprenticed on the farm in 2015 and is now launching his own CSA in Durango. This award will help in the purchase of much-needed tools and equipment. Upon receiving his grant, Max wrote: “Big dreams often start small. As the next generation of farmers begin to sow seeds, I am excited for the future of agriculture as well as incredibly grateful for those who provide us with the experience and wisdom needed to succeed.”
“All of these events are serious about food, and sourcing as much of it locally as possible. We’re proud to be affiliated with these organizations,” said Tony. “Of course, The Ride was a no-brainer since we joke that our farm is powered by Pearl Jam, which is performing on Saturday night. We’re so psyched. We’re passionate fans.”
If interested, you can learn more about the farm and bakery, sign-up for this summer’s CSA or place an order for winter storage chickens, turkeys, pork and lamb at the Farm’s website, www.indianridgefarm.org or the Bakery’s website, www.indianridgegranola.com.
“We feel so privileged to be growing and baking healthy, fresh foods for the regional community,” said Barclay. “The support we’ve had year after year is really reassuring. We’re doing what we can to keep the soil productive and our neighbors healthy.”
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