Max Fields and James Plate have been best friends since kindergarten. Together, they moved from Denver to Durango and began farming on a plot of land at the Old Fort in Hesperus.
The farm incubator program, run by Fort Lewis College, helps beginning farmers and ranchers who are looking to start their own business by providing education, access to land and water, and infrastructure.
“That program provided us with a bit of a cushion when we were getting started,” Fields said.
The duo started Fields to Plate Produce in 2013 while juggling classes at Fort Lewis College. After graduating, farming became a full-time job.
Today, the farm is located in the north Animas Valley on County Road 250.
“We produced five acres of vegetables this season,” Fields said. “We capped that production because we want to focus on other aspects of the farm and dial in our operations.”
Fields said the farm focuses on bulk root vegetable storage because of Southwest Colorado’s notoriously short growing season.
“We want to have an income throughout the winter,” he said. “We grow a very vibrant storage crop that we put into a root cellar storage unit.”
Fields to Plate Produce will store about 25,000 pounds of beets, 40,000 pounds of carrots and 25,000 pounds of potatoes, which will be distributed all winter long.
The farm sells produce to Durango School District 9-R, multiple restaurants between Durango and Telluride, and local grocery stores.
Additionally, personal produce orders can be made by calling 303-847-9048.
“Beets and carrots keep us going and are what we are known best for,” Fields said. “We are one of the only farms in the region to provide produce throughout the winter.”