This week’s spotlight is on Native Hill Farm a small, local vegetable farm and CSA located just a short bicycle ride from the heart of Old Town Fort Collins.
Owner and Farmer Katie Slota Answers Our Questions
How long have you lived in Fort Collins and how long have you been farming?
Nic and I have been farming in Fort Collins as Native Hill for 7 seasons. I have lived here since 2002 and he has lived here since 2007. He had been growing food since he was a junior in college at Clemson University in South Carolina. I had been growing food since 2006 in Colorado.
What got you started?
Nic decided to start Native Hill in the fall of 2008 because of a land opportunity and love of farming. I joined him in the spring of 2009 right at planting time because of a love of a farmer and a love of growing food for my community.
How often do you have a stall at the farmers’ markets here in town?
You can find us at the Larimer County Farmer’s market every Saturday morning from May 16th to October 26th. We also have a mid-week farmstand at Beaver’s Market on Wednesdays and an on-farm produce stand open 7 days per week during the same time period. During the winter, we are at every Winter Market in the Opera Galleria on various Saturday mornings.
Where else can people purchase your produce?
Which people and/or organizations have had an influence on the growth and success of your business?
It seems like everyone has been influential in our business. The short list includes all the restaurants above, our dedicated CSA members, market goers, Beaver’s Market and the Lairmer County Farmer’s Market, The Fort Collins Winter Farmers Market, The Growing Project, The building farmer’s program in Northern Colorado, our awesome neighbor Bill who builds all of our equipment, dedicated interns and working members, CSU specialty crops program, all of our amazing land lords (we’ve had a lot!), the thoughtful crew at the Fort Collins Wholesale Nursery, The Cohn Family, and tons of love from family and friends.
What are your goals, your vision for the future?
The main goal is to just be able to keep farming. Sounds simple, but is actually pretty tough when you don’t own land. If we can keep farming, we would like to innovate and push the boundaries of organic agriculture in the this region. In addition, we would love to help fortify and create a strong, vibrant, and resilient food system here in Colorado.
What do you like best about the farmers’ markets?
The best thing about the farmer’s markets for us is the direct connection with our community. We know our customers by name, they come back to us season after season to show their support for local agriculture and they appreciate all the love and hard work that goes into the food that they eat. It is where we find the reward for working the land.
What’s your favorite product available at Fort Collins farmers’ markets?
Hmmm besides our produce? Just kidding. I can’t pick just one. I love the bread from Ingrained bakery, I love the pork and eggs from Jodar farm, I love the mushrooms from hazel dell. I love the fruit from Ela and Maisonville Orchards. But there is so much more!