Roots – “Where we come from and how we are growing”
The seeds of inspiration for Elkstone Farm germinated with two key concepts – respect for the agricultural traditions of Strawberry Park and a desire for the land to be as productive as possible. To integrate these ideals, we adopt those practices that are tried and true, experiment to discover new possibilities, and share ideas. It’s our genuine hope that we can renew appreciation for this heritage by making the most of this beautiful land while inspiring others with our experiences.
Taking a cue from the valley’s earlier inhabitants, we’re endeavoring to bring commercial produce back to Strawberry Park. In the early 1900s, this fertile area just north of downtown Steamboat Springs, was known for its commercially-successful Remington strawberries. Plants yielded large berries that were ripe long after plants from lower elevation farms had stopped bearing fruit. Prosperous years promised local farmers a generous profit, but the boom ended in 1916.
We believe in carrying on some of these agricultural traditions. As stewards of this land, we’re also responsible for caring for the environment, managing our resources and using them efficiently. Our idea is rooted in a desire to make the most of what we have and cultivate practices that are less impactful on our environment. As we envisioned the possibilities for a farm, we discovered inspiration everywhere including the landscape of New Zealand with its diverse vegetation and geomorphic features. When we were introduced to the permaculture philosophy by former Steamboat Springs’ environmental designer Lisa Benjamin, the vision transformed and coalesced.
The ecological, sustainable concepts of permaculture harmonize with our core values. By observing our natural ecosystem, we are designing an agricultural system that works with our environment, produces sufficient yields, and minimizes waste. We manage diverse environments by employing permaculture principles and practices that pertain to patterns (observing spatial and temporal patterns in nature and incorporation of these patterns into the design of the farm), guilds (grouping plants that work together for mutual benefit), and layers (stacking a tall canopy of trees, mid level shrubs, groundcover plants and soil). In controlled environments such as our greenhouse, we can also create ecosystems that imitate nature in other parts of the world such as the Mediterranean.
Elkstone Farm is being developed slowly and thoughtfully and we’re excited to make a healthy, delicious contribution to our community.