Posted: September 12, 2013
Rocky Mountain Worm Company
State of the state: Home and gardenBy Eric Peterson
Jay Williams graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University and came home to Colorado Springs in 2010. His green-thumbed father, Ken, had started using compost in the garden, but something was missing: worms.
“You need a lot of worms to keep your garden healthy,” says Jay.
It follows that Ken and Jay bought a Worm Factory 360 and set up a home-based worm farm. After navigating the learning curve, it was time to scale up and go pro last year.
Today the Williams’ Rocky Mountain Worm Company sells worms, worm cocoons and worm-farming equipment, but its primary product is worm castings – “worm poop,” explains Jay. “That’s the staple of the business.
“When you feed worms decayed compost, they digest it into something that is almost perfect compost,” says Jay, touting its pH neutrality and vibrant microbe population. “It turns into a living product.”
The father-son team first sold worm castings in 2012 and opened a retail store this year. The worm farm is on the premises in a climate-controlled warehouse where they raise African nightcrawlers and red wigglers. “They’re a little like a pet,” says Jay. “You have to feed them and monitor them and make sure they’re OK.”
In one year, they’ve emerged as the state’s most prolific worm farmers, selling 15-pound bags of castings for $30. Of course, some customers want more than that, says Jay. “We’ve had a couple of customers who have bought a ton at a time.”
ON THE WEB: rockymountainwormcompany.com
DATA POINT: 450 pounds:
How much worm castings Rocky Mountain Worm Company’s 20,000 African nightcrawlers produce in a week.
Denver-based writer Eric Peterson is the author of Frommer's Colorado, Frommer's Montana & Wyoming, Frommer's Yellowstone & Grand Teton National Parks and the Ramble series of guidebooks, featuring first-person travelogues covering everything from atomic landmarks in New Mexico to celebrity gone wrong in Hollywood. Peterson has also recently written about backpacking in Yosemite, cross-country skiing in Yellowstone and downhill skiing in Colorado for such publications as Denver's Westword and The New York Daily News. He can be reached at Eptcb126@msn.com