Posted: April 01, 2012
Made in Colorado: Organic and natural foodsBy Mike Taylor
Rocky Mountain Wildflower Honey
Honeys and Jellies
Based in Durango, Honeyville is a fifth-generation family operation that churns out 300,000 pounds of honey a year in various forms, often to tourists who become repeat customers – or word-of-mouth advocates who turn others onto the unique Honeyville tastes.
“They buy some honey and take it back home and hand it out, and then those people will call and order a catalog,” says Sheree Culhane, who runs Honeyville along with husband Danny and son Kevin. “We do a lot of mail order.”
Honeyville products include raw honey straight from the hive, and a thicker honey that is whipped with various fruits, nuts and natural flavors. Cinnamon honey is the best-selling whipped variety. The company also sells a line of jellies and jams, including a wild chokecherry jelly from fruit harvested along high-country mountain streams.
“We buy as local as we can from several different regional beekeepers,” Sheree Culhane says. “And they’re all family beekeepers.”
High Country Kombucha
Ed Rothbauer and Steve Dickman began brewing Kombucha, a fermented tea made from the Manchurian mushroom, when they were roommates in 2003. A year later they turned the probiotic beverage into a business, launching High Country Kombucha in Eagle County.
Within three years the company landed a national distributor, and today High Country Kombucha is sold in all 50 states, the Caribbean and the Virgin Islands.
“It’s kind of an acquired taste, but people who have tried it at least one time – and tried enough to get a feeling from it – just love the way they feel,” says Rothbauer, who credits his own home brews of the probiotic drink in the early ’90s for helping his recovery from paralysis after a fall from a roof.
Among High Country Kombucha’s biggest sellers is Wild Root. “It’s got a wide variety of herbs and roots in it,” Rothbauer says. “Combined with the natural effervescence of the kombucha, you end up with a flavor that’s like a very unique root beer.”
Fresh Ground Bison
Rocky Mountain Natural Meats
Founded 25 years ago when the bison meat industry was in its infancy, Rocky Mountain Natural Meats has a nationwide following and clients that include Whole Foods, major grocers and boutique meat shops. It also processes all the bison grown on Ted Turner’s ranches and served at Ted’s Montana Grill restaurants.
The company’s best-selling product is its 1-pound “brick” of fresh ground buffalo.
“That’s our flagship product,” says Paul Bernardo, vice president of sales and marketing. “We sell quite a bit of that in town. Once that gets going with grocery stores, they’ll look at bringing in maybe a strip loin or a ribeye or a sirloin.”
The company touts the fact that bison are wild animals raised naturally without hormones and antibiotics, though they are “finished” with grain feeding to ensure uniform meat quality. Rocky Mountain Natural Meats was ahead of the healthy-diet trend when it launched 25 years ago and has continued to grow alongside the public’s appetite for a meat that has less fat, fewer calories and more protein and iron than a comparable portion of beef or chicken.
Justin’s Nut Butter, Boulder
Natural farmstead cheeses
Laz Ewe 2 Bar Goat Dairy, Del Norte, lazu2bar@
and trail mix
Bee Nut Free LLC, Frisco
Natural and organic beef, lamb and pork
Coleman Natural Products, Golden
Natural and organic oat bars
Bobo’s Oat Bars, Boulder,
Organic and gluten-free breads
Rudi’s Organic Bakery, Boulder
Boulder Sausage Co., Louisville
Cakeheads Artisan Bakery, Englewood
Aurora Organic Dairy, Boulder
Natural chocolate and caramel sauces
Sweet & Saucy Inc., Centennial
Mike Taylor is the managing editor of ColoradoBiz. He writes about small-business money issues and how startups are launched. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.