In the heart of Colorado’s Sawatch Range, Knapp Ranch is propelled by a vision to preserve the land, water, and wildlife in a rustic and timeless setting.
When looking at Knapp Ranch as a brand, we start with our founder Bud Knapp's philosophy and apply this to any decisions we make moving forward. "We wanted to fit exactly what the environment gave us. What did the land give us, rather than what we can get from the land. And that value was critical to the execution of designs, and the craftsmanship, use of wood and stone and so forth." - Bud Knapp.
We grow varieties of lettuces, microgreens and root vegetables in fields, as well as in hoop houses. The fields and hoop houses are packed with specialty deep leafy greens, squash blossoms, beets, carrots, and potatoes. Hoop houses and off-site greenhouses produce nutritiously dense and flavorful microgreens year-round. We partner with local restaurants and chefs and bring their menus to life with fresh, gourmet-quality ingredients. Produce availability varies throughout the year.Learn More
Producing fruit at 9,000’ of elevation is indeed challenging. Low humidity, combined with intense sunlight, rapid and extreme weather changes, make for highly volatile growing conditions. At Knapp Ranch, we focus on cultivars that can withstand the elements and still produce fruit that is delicious, nutritious, and long-lasting. The orchard is located in the lower meadows of Knapp Ranch, an area of moderate temperature fluctuation and higher humidity. Currently, the orchard contains three apple cultivars - 5 apple cultivars - Haralson, Sweet Sixteen, State Fair, FrostBite and Gravenstein - and a handful of cherry, apricot, plum and pear trees. Knapp Ranch is working with researchers at Colorado State University on gaining information into creating our own high altitude root stock that can successfully thrive in the high mountain valleys of the west, where last frosts, cold nights and dry air challenges even the hardiest of fruit growers. This potentially benefits Colorado fruit growers who lose crops and consequently income that costs the Colorado economy when these killing frosts occur.
Our bees are by far the hardest workers at Knapp Ranch. They perpetuate a seamless habitat in the greater upper West Lake Creek valley, continually enriching our flowers, fruit trees, and crops, as well as the natural ecosystems that abound in the national forest and wilderness areas surrounding the ranch.
Nestled in protective canopy of the orchard, bee colonies at the farm produce an extra-fine grade of Colorado wildflower honey derived from a mix of native wildflowers, fruit tree blossoms, and annual and perennial flowers.
In addition to selling honey, honeycomb, and full frames of honey, the beekeepers of Knapp Ranch are researching the benefits of apitherapy, and the use of beehive products including pollen, propolis, royal jelly, wax, hive air, and bee venom in alternative medicine and cosmetic products.
The farm is committed to sustainable organic farming practices at 9,000’. All agricultural activities are monitored and adjusted on a regular basis to accommodate the variety of opportunities and constraints afforded by existing water resources, soil composition, microclimate impacts, and the unknown effects of a changing climate.
Mimicking natural communities is a key component of the innovation and research occurring at Knapp Ranch. Currently, it is one of four institutions around the country participating in SEED - Science for Edible Ecosystem Design - an experimental program focused on the study of the biological communities required to support productive agriculture. As such, areas on the farm, including the orchard and the vegetable gardens, is experimenting with the incorporation of naturally-occurring nutrient elevators (such as the deep-rooted comfrey), nitrogen-fixing plants (such as Siberian pea), and aromatic pest confusers (such as non-invasive herbs and scented perennials). Flowers, such as yarrow and coreopsis, are integrated throughout the orchard to attract and maintain beneficial insects.