New Routt County permit allows Elkstone Farms to contemplate agri-tourism | SteamboatToday.com

New Routt County permit allows Elkstone Farms to contemplate agri-tourism

Terri Huffington and the staff at Elkstone Farms in Strawberry Park are looking forward to greeting more members of the public after Huffington's permit for a home food industry was upgraded this week by the Routt County Board of Commissioners to the county's relatively new permit allowing value added agriculture and agricultural tourism operations.

Commissioner Doug Monger credited Huffington with providing substantial assistance to county officials in drafting the new regulations permitting ag tourism.

Already, Elkstone's summer food stand on Routt County Road 36 (Strawberry Park Road) is open for the summer season from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays. But the new permit also means Huffington will be able to offer a small retail space at farm headquarters on Virtus Way and sell freshly grown produce and herbs from the greenhouse in the autumn and winter, Huffington told the commissioners.

"In the winter, we'd like to be able to sell retail directly to people. We estimate it would be open a few hours a day — customers could order online and then just come pick up" their purchases, Huffington said.

Elkstone is exploring the possibility of hosting tours, possibly cooking classes and farm-to-table dinners on a limited basis.

"We're hoping to work with the Colorado Tourism Office this summer with an ag mentoring program," she said. "We've found there is a big interest in tours, perhaps monthly with appetizers."

A luxury condominium project in Steamboat Springs also has expressed interest in some farm-to-table dinners, she said. In both cases, car pooling will be required to minimize traffic impacts on her quiet country lane.

"We're supportive of what you're doing and very appreciative that you've come through our process and met our conditions," Commission Chairman Tim Corrigan said.

To reach Tom Ross, call 970-871-4205, email tross@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @ThomasSRoss1