Cedar Ridge Ranch in Carbondale ready to grow agritourism | AspenTimes.com

Cedar Ridge Ranch in Carbondale ready to grow agritourism

Matthew Bennett
Glenwood Springs Post Independent

For more than 20 years, Pam, Merrill and Randy Johnson have called Cedar Ridge Ranch in Carbondale their home. However, possibly as early as July 18, the family run ranch will welcome creative studios, glamping, social gatherings and numerous other amenities onto the property, all in the spirit of agritourism.

“Agritourism has been around in Europe for many, many years and is actually what helped many cities continue supporting small little farms and countryside. After wars, farmers were struggling, and agritourism allowed for the farmer to subsidize their agriculture revenues by inviting visitors and travelers on to their farm to maybe stay there, enjoy vineyards — all of that is considered agritourism,” Merrill Johnson said. “Agritourism is now just starting to pick up here in the United States with the trends of really knowing your farmer, where is your food coming from, connecting with your environment and your local landscape.”

With a beautiful backdrop of Mount Sopris and acres upon acres of Carbondale countryside serving as home to horses and award-winning alpacas, Cedar Ridge Ranch is a fitting place for agritourism.

Roaring Fork Valley artists can rejoice as the ranch will offer 10 creative studios in the family’s main barn. Between the studios, the barn’s common area offers couches, tables, artwork and other Western décor that will afford artists the opportunity to get know other creative community members, which could lead to collaboration. The main barn offers WiFi and electricity (even while half of it houses horses). But Johnson noted artists can unplug and let the natural surroundings become their inspiration.

“We’ve supported different photographers, filmers, ceramicists, florists, leather makers, screen printers, all of these different creative endeavors,” Johnson said. “It’s a studio that they can then work and also share their work in the gallery space in the farm store that we have here on location, which is also wonderful because when we have visitors that come and stay they get to have a really intimate experience with different creatives who are working here, and then have the ability to purchase and also make custom orders.”

Cedar Ridge Ranch will also invite guests to stay overnight on the property in a camping style known as glamping. Guests can stay in safari tents and yurts. “We allow our guests to really enjoy the stars, cook our beer brats with pork raised here on the ranch and then go to sleep feeling the breeze and being as close to nature as they can, but in the pleasures of a king bed and lights and all the comforts of home,” Johnson said. “Then in the morning they wake up, see the scenery and it’s quite beautiful. They get to enjoy fresh eggs or go see the cows, so it’s a whole different experience.”

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Cedar Ridge Ranch will offer glamping from May to September. Year round, the ranch will provide serene spaces for social gatherings, which will include everything from couples tying the knot to farm-to-table dinners. Events will accommodate 75 people or fewer, and they can dine on food raised on site.

For more information about Cedar Ridge Ranch visit http://www.cedarridgeranch.com.