The Face of Your Farmer

Meet Jack Reed, a local produce distributor and supplier to The Little Nell, a farmer, an informal teacher, a Harvard graduate and affectionately known by staff as “Farmer Jack.” For the past seven years or so (he can’t remember exactly), he has brought local produce to the Roaring Fork Valley community by way of an old mini-van covered in more decal stickers than paint.

farmer jack-1Jack serves a real need for local farmers who spend almost all of their time in the field and often struggle to get their product in the right hands. He also communicates back to farms what restaurants are in need of and then helps teach how to grow and harvest what’s in demand.

“I’m kind of like a spark between two terminals connecting people who have and people who want,” he says.

Businesses aren’t the only ones who benefit from Jack’s services. Locals, including many staffers at The Little Nell, partake in the farm-to-table movement through his Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. Each week, he brings a loaded crate of vegetables, fruits, herbs, farm-fresh eggs, locally-raised meats and anything else you can imagine as grown or raised in Colorado.

Supporting local, natural farms and, in turn, helping people eat well, is Jack’s passion. He is on a mission to save these Mom and Pop enterprises from succumbing to super-size farms around the country that can drastically undercut prices.

farmer jack-3“You should know the face of the guy that grows your food,” he says, meaning it’s important to know where your food originates. By buying locally, better farming practices and healthier ecosystems are encouraged and a reduction in our contribution to global warming is made available, among many other benefits.

Farming has become an all-consuming lifestyle for Jack. He also owns a completely natural farm named Dogpatch in Paonia, Colo., where he grows produce. He describes farming as one of the most maddening subjects he’s every studied (“I have two pigs right now. It’s like taming lions!”), but also the most meaningful. ”The more I learn, the more meaningful it becomes,” he says.

Jack’s produce can be found throughout all of The Little Nell’s restaurants, room service menu and banquets.