Telluride Farmers' Market: Rivendell/Peace & Plenty Farm

[click “Play” to hear Susan’s conversation with John Cooley and Pat Frazier]

IMG_4161 John Cooley of Rivendell Farm and Pat Frazier of Peace & Plenty Farm are two of the popular regulars at the Telluride Farmers’ Market, every Friday, June – October, 10:30 – 4 p.m.

Rivendell is located on the Gunnison River one mile from Austin, CO. on  At 5,000-foot elevation, John is able to get a jump on the season. The soil on the farm is sandy loam, best for growing root crops, especially potatoes.

Peace & Plenty is located on Redlands Mesa at an elevation of 6800 feet. The 1800-foot difference, means the companion farm lends itself to cooler crops and different harvest dates.

John and Pat sell lots of goodies together: onions, shallots, cucumbers for pickling, herbs, and more, but what their stall is known for around town are the potatoes and heirloom tomatoes.

IMG_4166 The history of the potato has its roots in the Andes Mountains of South America, an austere region cursed with fluctuating temperatures and poor soil conditions. But the durable, tough potato braved the thin air, climbing higher and higher like the early settlers.

Pre-Columbian farmers first discovered the potato about 7,000 years ago. Western man, however, did not encounter the potato until the 16th century, about 1537, when the conquistadors marched through Peru. The first potato to cross the pond reached Europe around 1570.

Today, the potato is the second most consumed food in the US., trailing behind milk. Potatoes are great sources of vitamins C and B6, but also contain valuable supplies of such essential trace elements such as manganese, chromium, selenium and molybdenum.

Tomato history goes back to the Aztecs, around 700 A.D. As with the potato, Europeans were first introduced to the tomato in the 16th century, when explorers set sail to discover new lands. Tomatoes are a great source of vitamins A, C, K, fiber, carbohydrates, potassium, iron, lycopene (an antioxidant) and trace elements of phosphorus, sulfur an potassium. Tomatoes are also low in calories, fats and sodium.

John and Pat employ biodynamic agricultural techniques that grew out of the investigations of Rudolf Steiner in the late 1800s to work their properties.

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