Customer Beth Boyd checks out the fresh produce at a new indoor retail space for Elkstone Farms. The new indoor retail space is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and features a number of items grown locally just down the road at Elkstone Farm. The retail outlet is located on Routt County Road 36 between the Strawberry Park Elementary School campus and the turnoff for Buffalo Pass.

Photo by John F. Russell

Customer Beth Boyd checks out the fresh produce at a new indoor retail space for Elkstone Farms. The new indoor retail space is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and features a number of items grown locally just down the road at Elkstone Farm. The retail outlet is located on Routt County Road 36 between the Strawberry Park Elementary School campus and the turnoff for Buffalo Pass.

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

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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.

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Alex Berger stocks fresh produce at a new indoor retail space for Elkstone Farms. The new indoor retail space is open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays and Fridays and features a number of items grown locally just down the road at Elk stone Farm.

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

Comments

Scott Wedel 6 months, 1 week ago

On one hand this can be viewed as government listening and letting people operate an ag business.

On the other hand, the public can ask why are government regulations so controlling that it takes special permission for a farm to sell its products?

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Lisa Marxuach 6 months, 1 week ago

Excellent point Scott. There are other counties in our state that have amended their policies and regs and we only need to look to them rather than reinvent the wheel so that producers - whether on a commercial level or for personal use - can do this in an easier way, financially as well as in a timely manner. Garfield county is one that comes to mind. We need to keep up with what the rest of our state is doing regarding local food production and it's availability to the community.

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