High expectations & delicious results at Red Wagon Farms

Imagine training a whole new workforce every year. Would your business survive? What if you also had to overcome weather conditions, bug sieges and changing consumer tastes

It takes real fortitude for farmers to come back each season. For Wyatt Barnes and Amy Tisdale of Red Wagon Farm all those challenges are coupled with very high standards. 

“Amy & I really really care about quality. We’ve done a lot to try varieties that work really well, that yield well, that taste good, and we try really hard to pick to a certain quality standard. We talk to our workers all the time, the training is insane. There are 300-400 actual crops in the ground that they need to know the standards for.” 

Wyatt Barnes – Co-owner Red Wagon Farm
Wyatt Barnes & Amy Tisdale of Red Wagon Farm

When they started Red Wagon in 2004 it was a major change for both of them. Wyatt worked with the previous farmer for just a year before they got the opportunity to lease the land. 

“I looked around at what was going on on the farm and thought, I can do better than this, I can make this work from what’s already existing.”

Wyatt Barnes

Tisdale and Barnes expanded operations through a long term agricultural lease from Boulder County Parks & Open Space. Red Wagon has been organically certified since the beginning, and now produces hundreds of different vegetable crops throughout the year. Their emphasis on quality and taste means nothing is picked until it’s ripe- unlike many farms where produce is harvested early so it’s easier to transport. They’ve also tested countless varietals over the years in pursuit of the absolute best flavor.

Red Wagon Farm has evolved like any other business, currently they exclusively supply a strong CSA program and local restaurants. Tisdale and Barnes were able to adapt to reduced restaurant orders due to pandemic closures by rapidly expanding their CSA program. 

Though restaurants are struggling with continued restrictions, you can still find Red Wagon’s produce in some of the best restaurants on Colorado’s front range. 

“You can just tell the difference between something that has been grown organically, then stored and refrigerated and shipped. It will never taste as good as something that’s touched by one person. I liked Wyatt’s produce from the beginning- it tastes great, it’s beautiful & uniform. He has really high standards, the produce is game changing.”

Paul Warthen – Executive Chef of Potager restaurant in Denver

Potager is one of the rare restaurants that actually focuses on the freshest products supplied by Colorado farms- and Red Wagon’s produce is featured heavily right now. Their menus change constantly, playfully taking advantage of each microseason’s best flavors.

Co-owner and Executive Chef Paul Warthen has made a career of utilizing the best local farms have to offer. He has some great advice too:

“I tell all my cooks that the best thing you can do this time of year is not touch it, other than simple seasoning. If you’re manipulating it you’re wasting product.”

Paul Warthen

There’s still a chance to take Red Wagon Farm produce home each week- sign up for their late season CSA. Or treat yourself to a meal at Potager, Oak at Fourteenth, Tavenetta, Corrida, Acorn, Acreage, or Arcana restaurants across Colorado’s front range.

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