A visit to The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado

It’s rare to visit a farm and then eat an entire meal grown on the same farm later that day, but that’s just what we did on a May visit to Paonia, Colorado in Delta County.

Strawberries at The Living Farm. HeidiTown.com

“Farm to table” is a trendy phrase, but in reality, there are very few actual farm-to-table restaurants in Colorado, making The Living Farm Café & Inn a true one-of-a-kind. Every day, they serve up food from their farm that’s located just a mile down the road. It doesn’t get fresher than this. Plus, you can stay at the Inn above the restaurant, which is exactly what we did on our visit.

The farm and café are run by the same family, and while the café was open just last year, the farm has been in the family for four generations. Lynn, the matriarch of the family, gave us a tour of the farm late one afternoon. Her love of this place is palpable, especially her love of her sheep.

At The Living Farm we petted pigs and hung out with the turkeys, a strange and sort of comical kind of bird. We walked through the greenhouses past bright green lettuce, adorably tiny strawberries and tomatoes just starting to redden on the vine. Seventy-five baby chicks crowded around a heat lamp in one building. There are 200 free range chickens at The Living Farm and they produce 9 dozen eggs per day.

A pampered pig at The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

baby chickens at The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

The highlight of the visit was witnessing the hand feeding of the lambs. The farm had quadruplets born this year and mama couldn’t milk them, so the farm apprentices feed them four times a day. As they guzzled from the plastic nipples attached to a pail of milk their little tails wagged ceaselessly and they clamored over one another to get more.

A farm apprentice feeds baby sheep at The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Black lamb drinking milk at The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado. HeidiTown.com

Listening to Lynn talk about her farm, it occurred to me that she is a woman on a mission. There’s a Farm School at The Living Farm, a three year apprenticeship that draws people from around the country. She recently started a series of YouTube shows, the Homegrown Abundance Series, to teach other people how to garden effectively for their families. She takes it one step further and also teaches folks how to cook and preserve the food they grow. Lynn really wants to teach the world how to grow stuff and she is inspiring.

Lynn with one of her lambs during Lamb Lovin' at The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado. HeidiTown.com
Lynn Gillespie and one of her much-loved lambs. At The Living Farm in Paonia, Colorado.

I was surprised at how moved I was by this experience. I’ve always appreciated food, but after seeing the hard work put in on The Living Farm, I nearly licked my plate clean that evening at The Living Farm Cafe; I didn’t want to waste a bit of this food that had been so lovingly raised and prepared for me.

You can arrange a farm tour. Just go to TheLivingFarm.org to learn more.

The Living Farm on Facebook

The Living Farm Café on Facebook

Watch for future posts on our visit to Paonia including a post about our amazing meals at The Living Farm Cafe. Never miss a thing by subscribing to HeidiTown.com today.


Thank you to  Visit Delta County  and The Living Farm and The Living Farm Café & Inn  for hosting us on this visit.

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