Young Farmers: Investing in the Peach Industry

James Sanders & Family

James Sanders & Family

In the fall of 2007, James Sanders was stuck at a railroad crossing in Palisade waiting for a train to pass. He caught sight of the Fruit and Wine Realty office and wandered over to take a look. That night he went home to his wife Laura and said, “I have a crazy idea.” “And I’d been with him long enough to know that if he said he had a crazy idea, it was going to be really crazy,” added Laura.

Months later they were owners of a 14-acre peach orchard west of Palisade, just south of I-70. So began their new life as farmers. Neither had farmed before. With a growing business that includes a farm and wholesale peach distribution to markets throughout Colorado, Nebraska, Kansas, the Dakotas, and Wyoming, the Sanders turned to the Mesa Land Trust in 2012 to help meet long term goals of the farm.

The Sanders placed a conservation easement on their farm in 2013 that 1) ensures that their property will remain a farm in perpetuity, and 2) has allowed them to pay down their debt and invest more in land.  This conservation easement was purchased from the Sanders through the Mesa Land Trust with funds from Great Outdoors Colorado and the Farm and Ranch Land Protection Program. With these proceeds, the Sanders were able to buy another property, already conserved, at an ag-market price, avoiding high startup expenses and cost-prohibitive farm land.

The Sanders now farm 42 acres of peaches. You can purchase their peaches locally at the Palisade Peach fruit stand, 3664 G.7 Road in Palisade!