FOR SALE ~~~ Iconic Organic Market Farm!
White Buffalo Farm is the longest running organic market farm in Colorado, now going on almost forty years! The farm features an organic mountain orchard with fruit known as “the tastiest in the state” per senior buyer at Growers Organic in Denver. Outstanding organic farming practices and starch-to-sugar conversion at this farm’s altitude and exposure are key! Of utmost importance, years of experience ensure fruit is harvested at just the right time for the peak of flavor!
To illustrate the farm’s visitor appeal, imagine a farm gate directly off the West Elk Wilderness Scenic Byway provides access to the valley’s first orchard as you descend in elevation from the glories of McClure Pass. You’ve entered a paradisical valley and you ponder the view. A welcoming sign informs that you gaze upon Colorado’s oldest organic orchard! You are encouraged to turn in for a stop at the farm’s low-key, yet sophisticated cafe set in a lovely and wild riparian vale. From here, you catch a closer glimpse of the state’s most diverse orchard! You discover a suspended foot bridge (to be developed) merits exploration as you find your way into the farm proper. On the farm, you discover visitors may go on a walkabout in the orchard. Therein, you discover the present moment of the orchard’s exquisite seasonal displays: an array of fruit varieties adorned with fruit blossoms, or later in the season, the spectrum of fruit forming, growing and ripening. On second thought, you go back for that tempting picnic basket in the cafe. Basket in hand, you return to the farthest reaches of the plum orchard. You are lulled by the cascading river melody so nearby. You opt to settle in for lovely picnic lunch of the farm’s own bounty! What a treat! Much interpretive potential exists on the farm to nourish the longings and imagination of even the most jaded traveller. Authenticity abounds in this most special farm setting!
White Buffalo Farm’s orchard draws on the alluvium of the valley’s oldest homestead farm. Although trees planted by the current owner are less than 25 years old, the farm’s original orchard is over one hundred and thirty years old with centenarian apricot and “Johnny Apple Seed” apple trees! Lest we forget before the settlers, the First Peoples, the Ute, loved and sustainably stewarded this valley as a wildland for centuries. We can never restore the herds and experience, but we can surely do our best to minimize our impact now.
The diverse orchard is comprised of varieties of cherry including native species, apricot, peach, plum, pear and apple. The orchard includes true-to-seed damson plums and native sour cherries. Even in a valley of newly emerging, small organic farms, very few have diverse orchards. Not only is the orchard diverse, it is the state’s pioneering organic orchard with numerous studies conducted on the site by state and federally-funded agronomists.
The farm’s operations benefit from ideal conditions for fruit farming. A special niche climate exists in the upper North Fork River Valley that funnels the “Million Dollar Wind.” This air current serves exceptionally well for frost protection in ways no wind machine can replicate! Additionally, because of White Buffalo Farm’s upper valley location, over-spray drift doesn’t harm people or plant life prior to heading to market! The farm is never exposed to GMO contamination from neighboring, non-organic operations.
White Buffalo Farm is the west’s vanguard organic market farm. established 1974. This homestead farm was reborn in the back-to-the-land movement as the state’s premier organic orchard. This farm opened the doors on organic fruit for customers at mom and pop health food stores from Texas to Colorado including Crystal Market (later Wild Oats) and Alfalfa’s in Boulder, Vitamin Cottage in Denver, Whole Foods in Austin and many others. There was no other source for organic fruit in these markets! In the fall of 1978, the farm even hauled a load of organic plums and shipped sweet cherries to Los Angeles and Philadelphia. This farm was the first source of organic pears for the country’s first organic baby food, Earth’s Best. Soon later, the farm’s owner contributed to crafting protocols for organic fruit farming. Not only did the farm participate in the development of state and national organic certification, but the farm was the region’s only supplier of market quantities of organic fruit in the 1970s, 80s and even early 90s.
The farm offers an authentic story and brand upon which to leverage expansion into regional markets for agri-tourism visits and fruit sales. Regional markets from Santa Fe, to Denver and Salt Lake City are all in a day’s travel. Regional National Parks – Mesa Verde, Grand Canyon and Rocky Mountain – are a powerful draw for foreign vistiors as well! For tourists once on the farm, the premier attractions of the Colorado Plateau are are all in easy reach – from Moab to Chaco to Aspen! Through a well-executed marketing plan, this iconic agricultural resource could quickly build revenues building on existing efforts to attract tourists to the region’s extraordinary landscape. In turn, word of mouth and first hand experience grows additional market connections expanding fruit sales and the distribution of other fruit-based products.
The farm features senior irrigation water, three taps on a deliciously pure domestic water pipeline, and soils restored by forty years of organic farming practices. The farm’s strong foundation of agricultural assets includes vegetable fields, pasture, three high tunnels and a wash station. The farm features three historic homes, several seasonal staff residences, and a wonderful “New Age” hexagonal community kitchen.
In point-by-point comparison, you will not find a more viable and diverse market farm in the region! Tell your friends and family about this special farm opportunity! There is much untapped potential for the right management team!
The farm’s rejuvenated organic soil, abundance of good water, secluded end-of-the-road mountain setting, mellow biking proximity to charming Paonia, and riparian habitat adjacent to wilderness make this farm an exceptional natural resource to be cherished and protected for future generations.
Visits & Stays
We had a wonderful season this year with a great crew of young people who gave it their best shot all season! The farm benefited immensely also from the presence of elders to balance the impulsive longings of youth in search of a better world. And now as Fall comes on, farming doesn’t stop simply because a farm is for sale. We continue to accept new interns, apprentices and staff of all ages! And even when the farm sells, Wayne Talmage, the farm’s owner, is open to staying on (if needed) as did the elder farmer who taught Wayne and his friends about fruit farming in the 1970s.Wayne Talmage is a master at ensuring an optimal organic farm learning experience in our arid, high desert climate with markets in prime alpine recreational areas. He matches your skills to the farm’s needs in order to build complementarity in our work teams. Interns and apprentices with varying skill sets enjoy bonding together to accomplish a common goal or important farm function. The work is restorative and healing. The farm provides wonderful, mostly locally-sourced organic foods in our community farm kitchen.
We also welcome tradespeople and farmers experienced in independently running their own crew or project. Please don’t hesitate to propose your unique project or offering to strengthen the farm. We love guest chefs and olde-tyme, home-style cooks!
We seek a CSA Coordinator Apprentice to start in October 2013 and commit through March 2014. Learn the fundamentals of CSA marketing; become skilled in the logistics of weekly content design, harvesting, packing and delivery; master the ins and outs of CSA administration and member relations.
Stay tuned for upcoming events in 2014. We plan to offer summer open houses, weekend retreats and workshops. Farm Maps & Contact Us
White Buffalo Farm is replete in undeveloped potential in agri-tourism, service learning and restorative retreat services, not to mention small batch organic foods like preserves and cheeses, and its regional CSA. Agri-tourism ventures might include sustainability workshops, an interpretive natural history center, a cafe and B&B.
In this scenario, a management team would jointly operate and ensure the farm’s financial viability through annual fees assessed on individually operated micro-enterprise. As the project takes life, members of the farm-based eco-village would likely deliberate on next steps and seasonal planning based on recommendations made by a farm leadership work group. The work group itself might be composed of a rotating membership of individuals selected for complementarity of knowledge, aptitude, education, availability and other jointly-identified qualifications.
Time to get out the drawing board! How best might we build upon White Buffalo Farm’s iconic legacy of “restoring our food, our earth, ourselves?” The farm’s transition management group hopes to attract an informal advisory board and funding in order to facilitate the coming together of a talented team of social entrepreneurs to work together and make it happen! With a solid team of collaborative and dedicated co-leaders, the farm could become a self-funded. non profit, holistic farm village learning and retreat center!
The transition team seeks to improve on urban ecovillage models where livelihood often remains tied to urban centers rather than connected to natural systems. We also need to improve on the farmer to processor/distributor model so that farmers also benefit from the stronger profit margins generally found in value added production. In a non industrial, small batch food production model such as that provided by Colorado’s Cottage Food Act, a farm requires a cooperative team of farmers and producers all working in a well-coordinated manner to support the resource. In this case, the resource is Colorado’s oldest and most diverse organic orchard with senior water rights-a cornerstone of regional food security and ecological restoration.
The farm’s transition team, along with running the farm, asks investors to look beyond business as usual. We promote the development of a prototype for an ecovillage model in which livelihood comes principally from producing food grown on the farm. How might we tap into the positive experience of farming and bonding offered by an agrarian way of life? How might that positive energy be channelled coherently in a working business model in the political economy of our times? How might village life be restored without the social justice pitfalls of share cropping or even in contemporary leasing arrangements? In sociocultural terms, even feudalism had its social benefits, but aristocracy is out of fashion! Perhaps, it is just as good.
How about a farm-based eco-village rooted in a sound business model resilient enough to weather micro and macro economics factors? Factors include crop loss, surplus related reductions in wholesale prices, fluctuations in “staff,” climate change, the general population’s poor food habits, unproductive business competition between food growers and investors, weak agricultural policy and sadly, we can easily enumerate more.
The team seeks to develop a model for farm living in which financial barriers to entry are reduced to encourage a new model in farmland management practices that is village-based, equitable and sustainable over the long haul. In purely economic terms, the current model of dispersed farm land holdings and solo ownership is not a panacea for regional food security. The current “new organic farmer” model engenders competitive farmer relations and a general failure to meet demand. Coordinated production remains elusive. Concurrently, new farmers with early capital prevail upon the markets of long-time farmers whose endurance is remarkable despite minimal margins. For how many years will the “new” farmers endure in these competitive conditions unless operations are viewed as tax write offs? This is not a sustainable model for regional food security upon which to build national agricultural policy. National agricultural policy focusses on the commodities market and global food shortages, themselves occasioned by our narrow view of sustainable agricultural and a misunderstanding of the causes of hunger.
Regional food security is strengthened by an equitable distribution of land tenure in a matrix of small interwoven villages themselves managed cooperatively either as family units or in a contemporary eco-village format. Dispersed holdings of 35 acres with solo ownership is not a cooperative model as evidenced by competition at local farmers markets and a lack of coordination in agricultural production. Furthermore, individuals with sufficient monies to buy farmland often earned those monies in non green endeavors or investment. Certainly, this pattern of wealth accumulation and land tenure is not sustainable in terms of building a “green” economy at the state or national level. In other words, if individuals contribute to the problem in order to acquire a land parcel, there is no net gain in protecting ecological or cultural resources at a national or global level. This is a planetary crisis; not simply an individualistic psychological crisis of Americans seeking to retire into a nourishing or green lifestyle. How do we move the whole political economic game into a more cooperative model of shared resources at the planetary level?
What makes the farm’s proposed experiment in sustainable and wholesome living more likely to succeed than previous communitarian efforts? A quick answer: we are in an era in which group dynamics are better understood than they were forty years ago when the farm’s commune-like management body formed! Effective management builds on excellent communication patterns within an organization which often requires skillful facilitation. To ensure the success of a farm-based eco-village, the transition team is confident a farm-based eco-village can thrive with contemporary best practice in organizational development including a focussed mission, collaborative leadership, appreciative inquiry and instituting the norms of a “learning” organization.
The cornerstone of sustainability is food and community living. “Keep Farms for Farmers,” states a recent headline of the New York Times (9/30/13).
White Buffalo Farm offers the ideal natural resources and setting for developing this prototype. Be part of optimizing the natural resources of this iconic farm for the benefit of generations to come. The farm’s story has the fabric of legends, if only we can ensure a solid transition. Please spread the word!Farm Maps & Contact Us
Scenes of the Farm
- USDA organic farm serving the Western Slope of Colorado year round!
- Join any time – Summer, Fall, Winter, and Spring
- Payment plans for weekly, monthly or discounted seasonal shares
- User-friendly online member dashboard allows you to schedule your weekly shares and even hold a share if you are away
- Thank you for supporting the farm as Wayne retires. We plan to hand over the CSA to the farm’s new owners and are renewing memberships through this transition. We are sure our CSA will be better than ever now that we have an online registration system and expect the new farm owners will be able to hire dedicated staff! As you may know, the farm’s CSA is currently a volunteer operation! Your membership ensures the best possible transition!
- Click here to learn more and join up!
What our CSA community says
Thank you for feeding us healthy and diverse food! I do recommend you to everyone.,
I always enjoy my share. Thank you so much!,
Thank you so much for the box of love!,
It’s awesome getting the healthy food week after week!,
I was very pleased with the “goody” box!,
We love getting our box from the farm each week.,
We love your food. Thank you so much!,
Looks like another great box of goodies from WBF!,
My children look forward to discovering what is in their farm box each week. Thank you!,
We are loving the fresh and wonderful food.,