Worley Family Farms
Because the best food starts with the freshest local ingredients
Monte Vista, Colorado
“We try hard to grow stuff that people like to eat,” says Carla Worley, co-owner of Worley Family Farms and Hi-Land Potato, Inc. “They aren’t just pretty!”
If you’ve never grown potatoes, you probably never thought of them as pretty. Root vegetables generally don’t put much energy towards being pretty since they spend most of their lives underground.
A potato, however, is not your ordinary root vegetable. After the seed germinates and a stem struggles to break through the soil into the sun, leaves spread out and in time, the plant blossoms. The effect is stunning: abundant, beautiful, petite flowers that grow in clusters. They might be purple or white or pink, depending on the variety. When you drive past a potato field, you might even mistake it for a cut-flower farm.
The Worley family doesn’t grow potatoes for beauty, though. They choose their varietals for flavor. Carla’s father, Carl Worley, started growing potatoes as a young man more than 70 years ago. Over five generations, the family has gotten very good at it.
These delicious potatoes grow very well in southwest Colorado’s high-altitude San Luis Valley. Several of Hi-Land Potato’s neighbor farms also grow potatoes that people love to eat.
Why do potatoes grow so well at 7,600 feet? “We grow low-input potatoes,” explains Carla. Since the local air tends to be bone-dry, the farm doesn’t need to use fungicides to prevent moisture-loving potato fungus. And since summer temperatures trend cooler at high altitude, the potatoes don’t suffer in heat. Best of all, the Colorado Potato Beetle doesn’t survive at this altitude. So Hi-Land doesn’t need to spray pesticides or natural biological deterrents.
If you're planning a visit to the San Luis Valley, contact Worley Family Farms for a tour. When is the best time to visit? You guessed it! Go in July, when the potato plants are blooming.
Enjoy the beauty … then enjoy the flavor as you eat those tasty local taters.
Carla’s Roasted Potato Recipe
Chop 2-3 potatoes and put them in a gallon bag with olive oil, salt and pepper. Shake it up, then dump onto a cookie sheet and bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, or until golden brown.
“You’ll have wonderful potatoes,” Carla promises. “Especially if you get them from us!”
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