In the flat expanses of northern Colorado, about 30 miles east of the foothills, sits Strohauer Farms. Here, on 3,000 acres of land outside the small town of La Salle, third-generation farmer Harry Strohauer and his dedicated team cultivate corn and specialty onions such as shallots and cipollini. But their most famous crop is potatoes. They grow mainstay types like russet, red, Yukon Gold, and Purple Majesty, along with four fingerling varieties: Russian Banana, Rose Finn, French, and Purple Peruvian.
The first generation of Strohauer Farms put down roots in the Greeley area in the early 1900s when Harry’s grandfather (who had 10 sons!) began working the land. In the 1930s, Harry’s father moved the farming operation to its current location and established the fields that the Strohauer clan still tend today. “Our family is dedicated to being good stewards of the land,” Harry says. Two of his children, Amber, 23, and Tad, 19, have just joined the business, becoming the fourth generation to carry on this strong family tradition.
Several miles from farm headquarters, on a 1,300-acre section, potatoes planted in the spring continue to grow underground in mounded rows. Even though the potatoes are protected from above-ground elements like hail, they can still be pestered by burrowing bugs. In keeping with organic pest-control techniques, Harry uses fish oil to keep these insects away from the growing spuds.
Come fall harvest, the potatoes get a bath, a good scrubbing, and then a once-over by a team of workers who look for the best quality. A machine called an optic sorter separates them by size in order to save prep time in the kitchen. “If you want potatoes to cook at the same rate, they all should be roughly the same size,” Harry says.
While some potatoes head immediately to retail, the rest of the harvest goes into commercial storage. When kept in cool, dark, dry, well-ventilated conditions, potatoes will keep for months, if needed. To stop them from sprouting eyes while in storage, Harry uses clove essential oil, yet another innovative organic farming method.
These smart, natural techniques and their generations-old commitment to producing quality food are just a few reasons why we love working with Strohauer Farms—and enjoying the fruits (er, vegetables) of their labor. Oh, and did we mention we love their sense of humor? Check the Farmers’ Market Delivered section of the Shop to find local organic produce in season.