White Buffalo Farm is Colorado's oldest organic orchard and is a virtual paradise of fruit trees nestled in the foothills of the West Elk Wilderness. Prime water resources flow through White Buffalo Farm making the farm a very special asset in localization and food security on the Western Slope. White Buffalo Farm has been earth-friendly and organic since 1974.
The farm is USDA certified organic and practices time-tested holistic farming methods. In the last decade, the farm has expanded into vegetable production with three geo-thermal high tunnels and two 2-acre fields. With careful stewardship, our 57 acre farm allows produces an abundance of crops including beautiful edible organic flowers and herbs. We also wildcraft and forage on the farm to supply our needs and those of our CSA. We specialize in varieties of organic cherries, European and Asian plums, peaches, apples, d’anjou pears and Asian pears. We harvest apricots when climatic conditions are favorable. We grow tons of squash, tomatoes, greens, root crops, garlic and more to meet the growing demand for local and organic on the Western Slope of Colorado. The farm also raises laying hens, guinea hens, peacocks and turkeys.
The Farm's Location White Buffalo Farm is located near the small mountain town of Paonia adjacent the West Elk Wilderness Area in Western Colorado. This is one of the cleanest watersheds in the state. From the farm, it is an easy, relatively flat, 3 mile bike ride to town on a maintained dirt road-for most of the ride. We have bears, elk, deer, eagles, hawks, owls and the rest of the kingdoms represented. Paonia has a major health food store, cafes, restaurants, little shops, and volunteer public radio. It also has a movie theater, library, concert hall and cultural arts center.
2013 Apprenticeship, Internships and Volunteers The farm relies on volunteers to fulfill the promise of each growing season. In return, we offer an educational experience of the complete process of growing food for market and many other aspects of running a USDA organic farm that is family-friendly and humane in scale. We offer short-term internships (2 months), ongoing internships after your initial 2 months (mth-to-mth) and long-term apprenticeships (6 months to 1 year). We also selectively welcome WWOOFers for a minimum stay of 2 weeks. You may select an area of focus based on your interest and our needs on the farm.
This may be the last year to work with the man known as Mr. Organic starting almost four decades ago. Wayne is prepared to educate new farmers on producing and marketing effectively. He is ready to retire and plans are in the works to sell the farm. Even if the farm sells, Wayne plans to stay on through this growing season.
Interns experience a range of farm activities. Apprentices develop proficiencies in all farm operations. The longer you stay, the more we can teach you in both fruit and vegetable production. Farm activities include planting, tending and harvesting in our fields and high tunnels; irrigating, thinning and harvesting in our orchards; laying hens and egg packaging; compost and soil enhancement; noxious weed management; grounds-keeping and housekeeping; farmers markets and our CSA. We also forage on the farm and in wildland highlands surrounding the farm.
We offer a place to re-source yourself in nature and to tune into the rhythm of the land. For WWOOFers, interns and apprentices we offer a place to camp sites and meals. We love to share the culinary arts and encourage an environment of creative nourishment in our farm-to-table community kitchen! We generally have a kitchen manager who cooks the majority of meals and helps with organizing. During some portions of the season, a kitchen manager may not be on the farm. So, you may need to cook for yourself or others while you are here. ~ taking turns. In any case, everyone takes turns cooking or learning to cook. Everyone chips in to taking care of common areas as we go through the day. This keeps the farm a nice place to be!
We expect that you:
-Work well with others
-Have an eagerness to learn about farming and growing food, animal care, and working as a group.
-Are in decent physical shape: without serious health related issues that would prohibit your ability to fully participate in the daily farming activities.
-Are able to commit to at least one month, if not two.
-Do not use drugs or alcohol daily. Even though CO passed legal marijuana, we hold to no smoking or drinking (for that matter) on a daily basis or during the day at all. Thank you. Get high through healthy living!
We are also looking for individuals with some combination of the following:
– Organic farming experience with possible additional experience in farming refinements such as permaculture or biodynamics;
– Building experience both residential and storage: carpentry, painting, maintenance and handyman, electrical, alternative energy, solar, plumbing, masonry, and more;
– Transportation skills including mechanical skills or commercial driving license;
– Landscape skills including heavy equipment, landscape architecture, site planning, work flow design, storage design and wildland restoration or trail building;
– Home making experience including food preservation, interior design, gardening, housekeeping experience or cooking experience;
– Hardware and or software skills including internet and social networking.
For your spare time (of which there is scantly due to the labors involved in farming), we would also love to have musicians, crafts people, artisans, artists, yogis, meditators, scientists, naturalists, hunters, fisherman, and more.
Come in at the ground floor on what promises to be an amazing future. We are looking for exceptional individuals with significant talent and humility (both) to support this farm's transition to new management and ownership. For the 2013 Farming Season, we are looking for:
~ an experienced kitchen manager to oversee good functioning and shared meal creation on the farm. We have wonderful food to work with in a friendly, organized kitchen. You would be responsible for picking up food supplies, kitchen hygiene and coordination, and organizing our food storage systems for this season's harvest. Must have valid driver's license. Pay will be monthly to be negotiated based on experience and initiative. We can also pay you out of the proceeds from the sale of the farm (but there are no guarantees on timing). This compensation may be delayed until final sale occurs. Pre-arranged amount to be stipulated in writing.
~ an experienced vegetable farm manager with market experience! You would work under the direct guidance of Wayne and in cooperation with our CSA coordinator. You need to be a good team player and enjoy growing and harvesting a wonderful array of produce! Pay will be a monthly draw on commissioned vegetable sales at the farmer's market, and our restaurant and retail trade. Direct marketing to restaurants and retail expected. Opportunity to establish a new farmer's market venue for the right person. Valid driver's license required. Housing and food provided. Must commit to full growing season. Pay will be monthly to be negotiated based on experience and initiative. We can also pay you out of the proceeds from the sale of the farm (but there are no guarantees on timing). This compensation may be delayed until final sale occurs. Pre-arranged amount to be stipulated in writing.
The Farm's Markets
Wayne helped create regional Farmer’s Markets. A few years ago WBF started the only year-round CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) on the Western Slope.
WBF sells wholesale to the Front Range and direct at Farmers Markets on the Western Slope and through our year-round Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. We also sell to restaurants and retail outlets. According to a well-established Denver organics wholesaler, WBF grows the “tastiest fruit” in the state (9/2010). A popular organic restaurant in Telluride celebrates the farm’s “great customer service!”
The farm's market history goes something like this. Wayne Talmage is the founder/owner of White Buffalo Farm. The farm began as a back-to-the-land community in the 1970s. Starting out well before many other Colorado organic farms, Wayne held fast to his principles and persevered despite setbacks and long, hard work. There was joy in it, too! He encouraged others to join the organics movement and helped craft the standards for the state of Colorado and the federal USDA organic program. In Denver, WBF supplied mom-and-pop health food stores and precursors to retailers like Whole Foods, Alfalfa’s, Wild Oats, and Natural Grocers. WBF supplied Earth’s Best and Rainbow Distributing. Then, markets evolved.
Wayne is ready to retire. So, if you've ever wanted to learn to farm from someone with deep experience, now is the time! You might also want to be here on the ground as we hope that a group will form to take over the farm and buy it! There are wonderful new opportunities to expand operations at White Buffalo using a farm-based ecovillage model. Ask us for more details. Think micro-enterprise and cob houses. Cafe, B&B, Herbal product line, processing of foods, summer camp, non profit education center, retreat center, therapeutic center, etc. With the right combination of residents on the farm, we hope to see an expansion into raising dairy sheep and cows. It would also be very beneficial to rebuild our bee populations with new hives.
White Buffalo Farm is for sale. We have set the price at $2 million. This is the best farm in the state of Colorado for a group to run for education, agro-tourism and of course, farming! We hope to create the conditions for a farm-based ecovillage to emerge.
Wayne is happy to help with advice and teach the ropes during any transition of ownership.