the dirt on our staff

Ralph Dittman


A love for biology, botany and history combine to make Ralph the latest farmer in Strawberry Park. Having great respect for the land’s agricultural heritage, he and wife, Terry Huffington, were inspired to recreate the traditions in the beautiful valley. The concept seemed destined for Ralph whose mentor and college professor was Richard Schultes, the father of modern ethnobotany.

Ralph’s zest for life and quest for knowledge are evident in his diverse accomplishments. After doing his residency in obstetrics and gynecology at Stanford, he moved home to Houston. There he found a natural rhythm doing surgery and writing books. The intense focus of surgery was relaxing and meditative, as was writing. He penned five books, a historical treatise based on his Houston ancestors, a fiction trilogy, and a novel. Ralph’s inquisitive nature has followed him to the farm.

“As you age, it’s vitally important to remain open, receptive, and explore. We have to aggressively and actively quest for knowledge, make observations, ask questions, and seek answers. You can’t come up with a solution without identifying the problem.”

Ralph’s father was a career officer in the U.S. Air Force, so Ralph lived all over the world. While in high school he met Terry’s brother and became acquainted with the 10-year-old girl he would marry 24 years later. Their paths crossed many times throughout the next two decades. It was as if fate kept reuniting them.

“We were good friends at first, but it took us a while to connect because she was like a kid sister.”

They got engaged in Steamboat Springs long before their botanical journey sprouted. And the rest is history.