We have since held festivals that include harvesting carrots, onions, beets, Indian corn, squash, pumpkins and many other kinds of vegetables. Our Annual Fall festival has become our most popular festival to date with over 15,000 visitors last year.
Over the past few years, we have also had great success with our farm tours. These tours consist of hay rides touring crops that are currently growing and opportunities to harvest vegetables. Visitors tour our greenhouses where they can transplant a bedding plant and plant a seed which they take home as part of their experience on the farm. The goal of our tours and festivals is to educate children and adults about agriculture while giving them a fun and memorable experience.
We continue to support local Farmers Markets and learn new ways to engage children and adults in discussions of agriculture. Our four daughters, Melissa, Melaney, Michelle, and Jennifer, and our three sons, Roy, Alex, and Max are a major influence in carrying on the tradition of our family farm. We hope that you can come for a visit and share in our rich history at Miller Farms.
My grandfather, John Miller, moved to this area near the turn of the last century. He and his wife, Mary owned a General Store in Windsor Colorado and worked as farmers through the Great Depression. This was when droughts from 1934 to 1937 helped create the Dust Bowl of the Great Plains. It is also when my father, Roy Miller, was growing up.
My dad began his own farm after WWII. In 1949, Roy and Dorothy Miller purchased the land that we currently farm. In the beginning, they had a small dairy and grew conventional crops like alfalfa, corn, beans, and beets. In the early 1950s, sugar beets were a major industry of Colorado's eastern plains. During harvest, my parents and other local farmers would haul their sugar beets to the local "beet dumps." There, beets would be piled high and waiting for the Great Western Sugar Mill Company to take them away for processing.
In the late 1950's my parents started growing a few acres of vegetables and put a small roadside stand in the front yard. They sold fresh farm produce on the honor system. People would stop by on their Sunday drives, get their vegetables, and leave the money in the tin can.
In 1965, about the time I was born, my parents built our current market, followed by several greenhouses. Most of our market business was still from the traditional Sunday drives where families would drive around the countryside, buy fresh produce, and visit their neighbors. Unfortunately, the gas shortage of the 1970s greatly slowed the business of selling directly from our market.
Then in the mid 1980s, the ability of family farms such as ours to sell fresh farm produce directly to consumers was revived with the creation of local Farmers Markets. These markets were usually started by a group of local growers who got together at a central location to sell their seasonal produce. This made it easier for the consumer to find fresh picked locally grown fruits and vegetables. Now these markets are very popular and sell everything from vegetables to gourmet cheeses and wines and are considered regular social events in the towns and cities that sponsor them.
In the 1980s, Chris and I became official partners with my parents in Miller Farms. This meant three generations of our family worked the land. The lingering recession of the early 1980s along with competition from large agricultural corporations made it difficult to earn a living as a family farm. Still, we continued to work hard to adapt our greenhouses and our roadside market to provide fresh produce directly to consumers while also growing conventional crops that were sold to processing facilities.
In 1992, Chris and I took over the responsibilities of Miller Farms. We continued to sell produce at our roadside market and attend Farmers Markets along the Front Range. After the extremely wet year in 1995 in which we lost a great deal crops to the inclement weather, we decided it was time to adapt our farm to an up and coming area of agriculture called agtourism or agricultural tourism. Simply put, is farm tourism. In 1996, we started our first "Potato Dig." It was a festival with hay rides, a petting zoo, and of course, a potato harvest. The public's response was better than expected.
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