Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) applauded the recent announcement that Harry Charles Talbott, Talbott Mountain Gold, Palisade, Colorado, will be inducted into the 2018 American Ag Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame.
“I was totally surprised and very much appreciate being nominated to the Hall of Fame,” said Talbott. “The one thing I want to emphasize is that anything I’ve been able to achieve is because I’ve had my three sons working with me. Now, I have grandchildren entering the business.”
Talbott is a fourth-generation Colorado farmer whose vision and tireless work has created long-term stability for the Palisade fruit industry and a pathway to success for new farmers. In addition to working much of his life as ahigh school science teacher, he, his wife Connie and 11 family members run Talbott Mountain Gold, a successful tree fruit operation which sells Palisade peaches in addition to apples, pears and grapes.
It was Talbott’s commitment to agricultural sustainability, innovation in varieties and techniques of production as well as meaningful inclusion of family members in the organization that has allowed Talbott’s Mountain Gold to expand even further into additional value-added products such as Talbott’s hard apple cider. Harry’s contribution to his community and the fruit industryare exemplary. He was the driving force behind the establishment of the Mesa Land Trust to preserve agricultural land from being developed, enabling young growers to get started in the fruit industry.
“We realized that the land on our end of the Grand Valley is a special microclimate, perfect for fruit production,” said Talbott. “The soil has been designated as ‘prime and unique,’ so my wife and I, despite opposition even from my parents, felt strongly that it needed to be preserved for agricultural use for future generations.”
He also served on the United Fruit Growers board, the Colorado Lands Project, and the Mesa County Planning Commission, in addition to serving as a long-time Boy Scott leader. With Talbott still involved with the day-to-day operations, Talbott Farms Inc. has grown into the largest fruit producer and marketerin the Grand Valley.
In support of Talbott’s nomination to the Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame, Robert Sakata, CFVGA president, and personal family friend of the Talbotts, said: “As I have gotten to know the Talbott family and have learned about their history, I think Harry represents the pioneer spirit which the Hall of Fame so wonderfully exemplifies.”
Both the Colorado Farm Bureau and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union supported Talbott’s nomination.
“An early supporter of conservation easements to protect farmland from development, he (Talbott) donated the development rights to part of his farms to the organization he helped form, now known as the Mesa Land Trust,” said Carlyle Currier, vice president, Colorado Farm Bureau.
“The Talbott family is a pillar in the fruit industry on the Western Slope,” said Ben Rainbolt, executive director, Rocky Mountain Farmers Union. “Harry took his father’s orchard and turned it into a very successful operation. (In addition,) the Talbotts were instrumental in organizing the United Fruit Growers Association, a member-owned cooperative.
The induction of Talbott and three others will be Feb. 21, 2018, at the Renaissance Hotel in Denver at a banquet hosted by the Colorado FFA Foundation. Inductees are selected for their significant contributions to Colorado’s agricultural sector, the second-largest industry in the state.
The CFVGA is comprised of more than 250 members, including growers of all sizes and types of production throughout the state, as well as representatives of allied industries. The CFVGA focuses on issues affecting the entire industry, including labor, water, food safety, nutrition, and business development.