Business Monday: ‘Regenerative agriculture’ carries on with new Osage Gardens ownership

Kyle Mills
Glenwood Springs Post Independent
Basil grows in a green house at Osage Gardens near New Castle. Basil one of the most popular culinary herb, is one of many products produced at the 20-acres facility.

Knapp Ranch announced last week its purchase of Osage Gardens.

For nearly three decades Tom and Sarah Rumery owned and operated the organic farm located just south of Interstate 70 west of New Castle.

“The integrity that Bud (Knapp, co-founder and owner of Knapp Ranch) brings to this relationship is so incredible and comforting,” Sarah Rumery said in a statement. “The future of Osage Gardens, its brand and products are now in his hands. It comforts us to know that Osage Gardens lives on with someone who truly cares about the future of our brand while making our planet a better place.”

Founded in the 1990 by Bud and Betsy Knapp, the ranch is located on 340 acres in the Lake Creek Valley near Eagle. They produce a variety of lettuces, microgreens and root vegetables.

“Late fall last year, Bud was reintroduced to Jared McDermott from Osage, and Jared had mentioned to him that the Rumerys were at the point where they might be looking to move on and sell their property,” said Knapp Ranch Chief Operating Officer Tom Cartwright. “It fit really well in what Knapp Ranch stands for, which is regenerative agriculture, done in a way that doesn’t destroy the land.”

Cartwright said Bud had the pleasure of meeting the Rumerys early on, and they hit it off with their passion and desire to farm and do good things with the land. After an exploratory period Knapp Ranch decided to purchase the farm in November and bring it into the company’s fold.

The Rumerys started Osage Garden in 1992, selling tomatoes to local grocery stores and restaurants, and growing basil plants on the side. Osage Gardens has used organic practices and has been certified organic since 1999 by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

It has grown to encompass 20 acres of organically certified land and just over 3 acres of organic herb and vegetable production in greenhouses.

“We believe in growing sustainably, and working with our environment and local ecosystem to maintain and encourage natural diversity,” Osage general manger Jared McDermott said in a statement. McDermott has served as the general manager of Osage Gardens for the past 10 years and will stay on to oversee operations.

Osage currently employees approximately 25 people, and grows more than 22 different varieties of culinary herbs which are distributed to Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and other privately owned natural foods markets across the state.

“We really took a soft approach when we purchased it, after meeting with Jared, the team, and the Rumerys. We realized that the best thing that Knapp Ranch could do is to allow that operation to run as it was. They had it dialed in — they are really quite good at what they do.”

There are no plans on upsetting the apple cart, Cartwright said, but they are looking to expand Osage Gardens another 5 to 10 acres, get that land certified organic and growing basil and herbs and edible flowers; with greater distribution.

“We are pretty heavy with that product going into the grocery stores, Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and a number of others. We might like to expand a little bit into the retail world and also find some new grocery stores that marry up with natural and organic foods that Osage really stands for,” Cartwright said.