Silt market provides organic option across the valleys

Alex Zorn

Skip Doty in the farm store located in Silt on Main Street.
Chelsea Self / Post Independent

After opening a second farm-to-market store in Silt last fall, Skip Doty, owner of Early Morning Orchard in Palisade, now provides an all-organic option for families in both the Roaring Fork and Colorado River valleys.

Following the success of Skip’s Farm to Market in Basalt, which opened in November 2017, Doty wanted to plant new seeds across Garfield County and decided to set up shop in Silt.

Doty is a familiar face at farmers markets across the Western Slope.

In the months since opening, the market store has grown into a spot for Silt families, who don’t have a traditional grocery store in town, to buy local fresh organic produce.

Doty said one of the big differences between the customers he’s seen in Silt and the ones at his Basalt store is that, more often, Silt families will be shopping for their whole pantry, whereas Basalt customers may just come in for a fresh jar of pickles.

While Early Morning Orchard supplies a healthy amount of the food sold in the store, Doty said he’s always looking for new local producers to partner with.

The store offers a local option to those looking for farm-to-table options in the community, he said.

“We are the local grocery store, because we are working with the locals,” Doty explained. “We anticipate bringing in six to seven new farmers by spring to sell their produce here.”

Doty said the Roaring Fork Valley farmers he buys from are thrilled to have another outlet to sell to and believes it’s a “win-win” for both sides.

Doty added that most of the local producers who sell at his store are those he met at farmers markets in Garfield County and throughout the valley.

Jerry Ruiz, manager of the Silt store, said the goal is to provide people with quality local food, and added that the market store has developed a growing Hispanic customer base.

“What makes us unique is we are in the center here. You can come here instead of driving to Grand Junction or Glenwood Springs for organic produce,” he added. “All the fruit always sells.”

While the store sells all the local produce it can find, it has to go outside the county to find products that aren’t grown here.

Ruiz says they always look for Western Slope products first, but will go to the Front Range for products like pineapples that aren’t typically grown in Garfield County.

“We try to get the same quality as the local produce and try to keep it as local as possible,” he added.

He said the store is looking at Spanish marketing and other options to grow the store’s connection with the Hispanic community.

“We are a better business by collaborating with more people,” Doty added.

He said he plans to move to a bigger location in town before the end of the year.

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