For Colorado organic farmers, Denver startup offers opportunity to reach more buyers

Pinemelon is the sister company of the online grocery store Arbuz, based in Kazakhstan. Currently, the only location in the United States is in Denver. His 30,000 square foot warehouse contains staple foods, local produce and meat that he can deliver to anyone within a half hour radius.

Christin Mihon, co-owner of Tasty Acres Colorado, said that before the COVID-19 pandemic hit, his family’s farm made the biggest profit selling to restaurants. But when the pandemic hit and restaurants closed, Mihon was in dire financial straits. Now in partnership with Pinemelon, Mihon said she can sell her products directly to them without having to deal with administrative tasks.

“It really frees us up to work on food culture and build our food systems without getting lost in administration,” Mihon said.

She also explained that the real reason she and her husband became farmers was to focus on food.

“They don’t become farmers so they can spend time in an office and spend a ton of time packing and spending a ton of time marketing, you know? All of this takes away the real work that needs to be done on the ground,” Mihon said.

Tasty Acres is a no-till farm in Lakewood.

Tasty Acres Colorado is an organic, regenerative farm that grows an assortment of lettuces, baby root vegetables, radishes and tomatoes. They are also a no-till farm, meaning they don’t plow their fields with power tools. This method can increase the nutrients in the soil of the farm. Mihon described her farm as maintained on a “human scale,” meaning there is no mass production that she and her husband cannot finish by hand.

John Gengel, director of merchandising at Pinemelon, said their priority is to work with small-scale farmers who are passionate about regenerative or organic farming practices.

“We feel it’s our duty to help these farmers put this food in people’s mouths,” Gengel said.

Michael Moss is the owner and principal farmer of Kilt Farm, another farm that works with Pinemelon. Located in Longmont, Kilt Farm is an 80-acre regenerative organic farm that supports a family of 250 CSA Program (Community Supported Agriculture).

Moss has long said people have been asking for his products to be brought to places like Aurora, Denver and Englewood, which he has had to turn down due to the distance. But now, this partnership allows it to extend its impact.

“You know, I have a 19-month-old son and he eats my food,” Moss said. “And I see kids growing up eating my food, and that really gives me a lot of hope.”

Lindsey Ford is a multimedia journalist at Rocky Mountain PBS. You can reach her at [email protected].

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