Sustainable Gardening at the Ranch


In recent years there has been a growing interest the production and sustainability of the food we eat. More and more people are paying attention to where their food comes from and how it was grown, rather than just focusing on the cost and convenience of it.

In 2015 our lead gardener Kendra Stumpf realized this growing demand and decided to begin sketching up a draft for a raised bed garden. Her idea was simple, fresh herbs and vegetables grown on the same property they would be served.  Unfortunately, Kendra passed away unexpectedly in the summer of 2015 before she could see her dreams come to fruition.

In the fall of 2016, construction began on the garden. Our main goal was to pay tribute to Kendra’s original vision while creating a highly productive and aesthetically pleasing area for guests to relax and learn about local flora. Replacing a former event area between Yager House and Ranch House Restaurant, the site was chosen due its excellent sun exposure, as well as its access to existing irrigation. Built entirely in house by the Grounds department, construction of the garden was finished in the spring of 2017.

The vegetables grown here are distributed among each of our restaurants on site as well as our Winter Park properties. All of our raised beds are filled with a mixture of native CO soil, organically sourced compost and sphagnum and fed with organic fertilizers. We do not rely on  commercial herbicides or pesticides to defend our crops either. Instead our beds are weeded organically by hand to eliminate unwanted visitors. Instead of pesticides, we encourage beneficial predatory insects into the garden with selected plantings. We only use organic mixtures of natural oils and irritants when the predators fail

Growing vegetables at 8600’ is full of challenges. With a average growing season of only 64 days and cooler night temperatures, we are somewhat limited to what we can successfully produce at our elevation. Brassicas such as broccoli, kale and kohlrabi thrive in our climate as well as some Amaranth like swiss chard, beets and spinach. Some legumes, such as peas and beans, have also been successful. We refuse to be completely restricted by our location and climate and are actively trying new plants and varieties to find what works best.

Moving forward, it is our aim to provide each of our restaurants on site as well as our Winter Park properties with fresh organically raised local produce. However, we also want to be more than just a vegetable garden. We hope to see guests enjoying their morning coffee on the benches or even a couple exchanging vows someday. Please come and visit us in Kendra’s Garden. We would love to tell you all about what we have planted and what we have planned for our growing future.

-Jeremy Gillette

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