Master Gardner Allison Mecklenburg The Home Ranch image

Growing Organic

Allison Mecklenburg and her Horticulture Team have a full time job with the Home Ranch farm to table program.  A lot of the organic vegetables guests see on their plate come from the greenhouse or garden beds on the property.  Home Ranch has been doing this since before it was cool.

Allison says, “I am SO passionate about growing food! And especially organic food.  I come unglued when I notice that a plant has grown to the point of fruiting without me noticing. It is hands down the most important and exciting part of my life to watch all of this unfold. I have grown food as a hobby for many years, and now to have it as my vocation and career (corny as it may sound) is a dream come true.”

We asked her some questions about her unique occupation.

What it’s like to grow plants in the mountains of Colorado

“It’s a labor of love. This is not easy, and it takes trial and error to get good at it. Unfortunately, our trial period, also known as a growing season, is only about 60 days long! The training I’ve received from Master Gardener, Adele Carlson, and the Master Gardener coursework helps. I also have the support of my staff, and a community of friends who also grow at elevation.  I’ve learned through the seasons to “just try it.” Never be afraid of trying because you never know, something that isn’t “supposed” to work just might! And then the real fun begins.”

What Makes HR Food Different

“The fresh ingredients, and the love that goes into preparing them makes Home Ranch dining different. I have to remind myself all the time that the food we buy in grocery stores, that was all cared for as tenderly as we are caring for these plants here. What makes these plants and this food different is the people who prepare it, the people who serve it, and the fact that we are able to consume that produce the very same day it was harvested.”

What it Means to Home Ranch Guests

“I feel it’s also important for guests at the Home Ranch to be able to have these farm fresh ingredients incorporated into their dishes.  Farm to table is not new but it is a growing trend for restaurants and resorts and a really good one.  What a treat and a gift to be able to have fresh basil, tomatoes and peppers grown at 7,200 feet! It’s also a great experience for all of our staff to see that you can grow vegetables in this place. Our staff comes from all over the world, and they all are interested and impressed with what we are growing at the Farm. We hope they’ll take that knowledge with them and help drive this trend. Understanding what you eat, how it connects to your health is really key.”

Check out the Food and Wine pages to learn more about how the ingredients of the farm are handled in the kitchen.