Farm to Summit

Nothing says Durango like dehydrated meals.

After all, we use them for everything…camping, backpacking, river trips, backcountry ski trips, and even lunch on busy workdays.

Thanks to Farm to Summit, you can now purchase dehydrated meals made right in the heart of Durango! The company also makes instant lattes for those mornings when you don’t have time to stop by the coffee shop.

“Our focus is on providing better tasting meals for the backcountry market,” says co-owner Jane Barden. “Our meals are also better for you and the environment. We don’t use preservatives or ingredients that you can’t pronounce, and we work with area farmers to source locally as much as possible. Our packaging is Omnidegradable, meaning that it is compostable AND can break down even in a landfill.”

Jane and her business partner, Louise Barton, are passionate about giving back to the local community, so 2% of their proceeds are donated to nonprofits working to decrease food insecurity.

So, how did all this come to be?

Both Jane and Louise are passionate about backcountry adventures, and they have combined backgrounds in farming, fine dining, and ecology. In 2020, they decided it was time to create a dehydrated meal that aligned with their vision for a viable future of food.

When they decided to start their company, Jane and Louise reached out to the SBDC. As a Fort Lewis grad, Jane was familiar with the organization and was thrilled to connect with them. “I really didn’t know how much Durango had to offer in support of small businesses.”

The SBDC helped with their financial projections, which ultimately enabled them to get a loan. The loan was instrumental in transforming their building on North Main into a commercial kitchen. It allowed them to purchase equipment, including a stovetop, prep tables, an ice machine, racks, and a number of other supplies needed for a commercial kitchen.

“Without that loan, we wouldn’t have been able to launch,” says Jane.

The SBDC also directed them toward resources, networking opportunities, and much more. In the spring of 2021, they started selling their meals at the Durango Farmers Market. Now, their meals can be purchased at all the local gear shops, on their website, or at a number of gear stores across the US (including the REI Flagship Store in Denver).

So, what’s next for Farm to Summit?

The owners are looking forward to expanding at a steady rate over the next year. “We are excited to grow and hoping to at least double in size when it comes to production,” says Jane. “We have about 50 wholesale accounts right now, and we want to bump that to 100.”

They also hope to continue bringing on staff. Right now, the company has one part-time employee, and they would like to create at least two more full-time positions. In addition, they want to continue supporting local farmers and giving back to the community.

If their story inspires you, Jane and Louise encourage you to “Get open and put yourself out there! Begin networking and leaning into your resources. Even if you don’t see the monetary value, it’s still valuable because so many people want to share their knowledge with you. Connections mean everything!”

San Juan Trading Post

By Malia Durbano Ryan, Tom and Ellen Beavers are all partners in San Juan Trading Post, a new business that opened in Pagosa Springs in October of 2013. Parents Tom and Ellen live in Pagosa and develop properties there. Son Ryan was managing a pawn shop in Ohio. When Tom and Ellen looked around, they realized there wasn’t a pawn shop in Pagosa and thought it might be a good place to open one. Ryan

Read More »
Cafe Au Play

Kelly Tregillus and her mother-in-law, Liza Tregillus, are the co-founders of Durango Café au Play (DCAP). DCAP is a non-profit organization (NPO) that offers co-working space and childcare for new and expecting parents in a family friendly ‘café’ environment. Parents with young children are provided a space to work, socialize and attend parenting classes. DCAP provides a support system for moms and dads who feel disconnected and isolated at home. Kelly relocated from San Francisco

Read More »
Ignited Imagery

In 2006, La Plata County Sheriff’s Deputy Andy Wingerd received a simple gift. It was a six megapixel camera from his mother. Little did he know that it would change his life. He started taking photographs, and several of them sold in a gallery in Bisbee, Arizona. He became obsessed. For the next ten years, he continued taking photos and videos and practiced editing them. In 2014, Ignited Imagery was born. He worked at the

Read More »
Mountain View TLC

By Malia Durbano Family Physician, Kirsten “Kicki” Searfus originally approached the SBDC to learn how to structure the partnership she was entering with Megan Lewis Grotefund. Instead, Megan moved away and on June 1, 2013, Kicki officially was in private practice. Having always been an employee at clinics or hospitals, she was wondering where to start in figuring out how to be an entrepreneur. Advisor Joe Bishop “was super helpful” in assisting her regarding the

Read More »
Silver Sparrow Designs

By Malia Durbano Kristi Smith took a windy road to owning her own business and creating beautiful jewelry. As a young girl, she enjoyed drawing, painting and all expressive, creative endeavors. Upon discovering beading, she began to make jewelry for everyone she knew. In a high school she took a silver-smithing class at the local community college and knew she had found her true love. Learning that the equipment to get started was very costly,

Read More »
Mancos Early Childhood Learning Center

By Malia Durbano Many people and organizations came together to bring the Mancos Early Childhood Learning Center to fruition. Ken Charles, with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs, read about the proposed center in the Mancos Times. He contacted Brian Hanson, Superintendent of Schools for the Mancos School District and encouraged him to apply for a Community Development Block Grant to build the school. The grant comes from HUD, the Department of Housing and Urban

Read More »
Skip to content