High Pine Produce is a farm with ambitions of growing and changing.
Owner Max Kirks said the farm has been an incubator at the Old Fort in Hesperus for the last three years, but moved this year to Mancos.
It’s the farm’s first year bringing produce to the Durango Farmers Market, though it is no stranger to Durango’s markets. Kirks runs the Tuesday farmers market at the Smiley Building, which is also the pick-up point for High Pine’s 25-member CSA.
The farm’s booths have the same variety at each market, he said, but he brings less inventory to the Smiley Building because it is a smaller market.
“Weekly, we have leafy greens, spinach, salad mix, arugula, broccoli, cabbage, green onions, turnips, beets and carrots,” Kirks said. “More in the summer time, we’ll have a lot of tomatoes, cherry tomatoes, peppers and onions.”
Outside of the farmers markets, High Pine distributes wholesale to Durango Natural Foods, Zuma in Mancos, the Durango 9-R School District, Sodexho and James Ranch.
This year, the farm partnered with the Good Food Collective and others to start Potatoes for the People, a project that grows storage potatoes using donated land and in which sponsors pay for labor, seed costs and the like. The project will be donating the food to local food pantries in September, Kirks said.
“Our goal is to get food to people who need it while also paying ourselves a fair price,” he said.
Meanwhile, back at the farm, Kirks and company are innovating what food they grow and how they grow it.
“We’re using a lot more regenerative practices, such as intercropping in orchards, using rotational grazing, getting our composting program going. In the coming years, look for more diversity in our operation, such as grass-fed animal products, fruits, berries, more perrenial crops in addition to all of our vegetable staples,” he said.