Health Wise, From the Ground Up 2

Parker Resident Focuses on Healthy Ways of Farming

When John and Christine Henze wanted a better quality of life for their family, they looked to Colorado and found their way to Parker. They wanted to purchase land to grow their own healthy food while sustaining John’s thriving, eco-friendly construction and fine woodworking business, Henze Construction.

Since moving here from Orange County, Calif., in 2008, the Henzes have gradually expanded their farm in northeast Parker from providing healthy food for the family to selling crops to their community.

Their business, Yoko Farm of Parker, is dedicated to growing organic produce and humanely raised chickens and turkeys. (Yoko is Japanese for sunlight; yo can also mean to give, Henze explains.)

“I’ve learned that people are just as interested in animals raised with care as they are in eating organic foods,” John says.

At the Parker Farmers’ Market, Yoko Farm of Parker offers heirloom lettuces and edible flowers you can’t find at the supermarket or even conventional farm stands.  A visitor to the farm’s booth will find, along with vegetables and eggs, lettuces such as red-leaf Merlot, green Simpson and other varieties. And nasturtiums aren’t the only edible flowers. Yellow calendula “are pretty in a salad,” Christine says, as are the petals of blue bachelor’s buttons. Wild pansies’ colorful blossoms can be frozen in ice cubes to serve with drinks.

Many grow-it-yourselfers in this charming but challenging four-season climate grapple with unpredictable weather along with predictable critters. “What I want to do,” John says, “is produce more, for a longer period – maybe nine or 10 months.”

To facilitate that, he invested in a high tunnel house, a structure that extends the growing season on both ends.  “I’m trying to do the best I can to create microclimates to produce healthy foods,” he says. He also plans to dig a large root cellar.

The Henzes hope to establish a cooperative for Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which has become a popular way for consumers to buy local, seasonal food directly from a farmer. According the USDA, CSA comprises “a community of individuals who pledge support to a farm operation so that the farmland becomes, either legally or spiritually, the community’s farm, with the growers and consumers providing mutual support and sharing the risks and benefits of food production.”  John thinks about 25 members could make it work.

To learn more, visit YokoFarmOfParker.com or call 303.841.1192.