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Vine: ‘Tis the season to be sustainable

ColoradoBiz Staff //November 1, 2009//

Vine: ‘Tis the season to be sustainable

ColoradoBiz Staff //November 1, 2009//


At the behest of their son-in-law, Phil and Karen Schilling started importing handmade, fair-trade bags from Indonesia nearly a decade ago. The first bags were made of rattan, which the Schillings had replaced with recycled material in 2003. “The fruit and vegetable cartons they ship from island to island in Indonesia use plastic strapping,” Phil explains. “It’s hand-woven into an all-purpose utility tote.” The Schillings now import or distribute handmade bags from Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Mali, Indonesia and Guatemala. $18 to $25 retail.
Imported by A Mark On the World, Littleton, (303) 797-9554, A schedule of upcoming markets is on 
the website.


After what she describes as a “prosperous” career in software, Eileen Thournir wanted to give back to the planet in some way. Her 11-year-old nephew’s angry video game-fueled outburst lit her path and inspired her to create EcoRanch, a board game for kids 12 and up. Players adopt an animal and answer questions en route to completing their ranch chores, learning about sustainability in the process. “We’re teaching concepts at a very high level: trading, bartering, recycling, cooperating and using only what you need.” $34.95 retail.
Made by Enlightened Play LLC, Lakewood, (888) ECO-KIDS,

After planting his first organic fields in 1974, Andy Grant launched his first community supported agriculture (CSA) program in 1978 to market fresh produce directly to the consumer. “It was a total flop,” Grant says. He gave it another shot in 2006, offering home delivery of 22- to 26-week shares of certified organic fruits and vegetables, and found that attitudes had changed. “People are really interested,” he says. “It’s been a godsend for this farm.” The price is “a bargain – it’s a better price than buying conventional produce at Wal-Mart,” Grant says. Vegetables: $390 single to $754 family for 26 weeks.
Grown by Grant Family Farms, Wellington, (970) 568-7654,

Tethered to the slopes at Beaver Creek via the Riverfront Express Gondola, the swank new Westin in Avon became the first hotel in Colorado – and just the ninth in the country – to garner Silver Leadership status from Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certification by the U.S. Green Building Council. Built with environmentally friendly materials and largely powered by electricity generated by wind and other renewable sources, the resort features 210 stylish rooms, a ski valet and an enviable location on the banks of the Eagle River. Nightly rates start at $319 during peak winter season.
126 Riverfront Lane, Avon, (970) 790-6000,

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Working the Redlands Mesa since 2000, Jack Rabbit Hill’s 70-acre farm produces certified organic grapes for a variety of red and white wines, pinot noirs, Rieslings and chardonnays among them. The farm is certified biodynamic, practicing on-farm composting, sourcing manure from resident livestock and providing habitat for native animals. The farm is also home to Peak Spirits (, maker of CapRock-brand organic spirits. $12 to $20 a bottle retail.
Made by Jack Rabbit Hill LLC, Hotchkiss, (970) 835-3677, A vendor locator is on the website.

Wynkoop Brewing’s first foray into packaged beer since the late 1990s, the beer of choice this time is Railyard Ale; the vessel is the humble aluminum can. Not only do they weigh less and require substantially less energy to recycle, cans actually keep the beer fresher than bottles, helping 50 craft brewers around the U.S. go green in not only a sustainable fashion, but fiscally as well. $7.99 retail.
Made by Wynkoop Brewing Co., Denver, (303) 297-2700, Available at Wynkoop Brewing Co., Wines off Wynkoop and Argonaut Wine & Liquor in Denver.


“We started out as a grower, primarily growing peaches,” says High Desert Foods Managing Partner Bill Manning. “We wondered how we could make better use out of our No. 2 fruit,” – i.e. fruit with a blemish or other defect that keeps it out of the retail market. Thus High Desert Foods was born in 2004 with a catalog of 17 jams and sauces. Late frosts have since pushed the company out of the growing business and into expanding its chiefly certified organic offerings to include salsas and fruit and nut mixes. $6.75 to $9 retail. Gift boxes also available.
Made by High Desert Foods LLLP, Dolores (970) 882-0174,

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