Rooted Gypsy: Farm to Front Door
Writer, activist, and farmer Wendell Berry talks about a new generation he calls “homecomers” — those who leave where they grew up, and then find a reason to come back and reconnect with their local community.
Grand Junction natives Mark and Sara Beckner are a prime example. After years away, they returned to the valley with their young sons — and a vision of creating something quintessentially Grand Junction, something “from here, for here” that honored their hometown’s heritage. Today, the Beckners’ Rooted Gypsy Farms brings wholesome, farm-fresh foods right to area doorsteps.
“You go out into the world, but eventually your roots pull you back,” says Mark Beckner. “We wanted to engage the community in something high quality related to the agricultural history of Grand Junction. We feel we are a bridge company — not high tech at all, but appealing to people who want to know where their food comes from, support sustainable farms, and eat healthy.”
Rooted Gypsy provides rustic wooden coolers to customers for the duration of their subscription, and delivers generously packed food boxes to them weekly or bi-weekly. “We’re passionate every day about the food and taking care of people,” says Beckner. “The assortment changes with each delivery, but we always create a mix that is thoughtfully curated, valuable, and has good energy put into it.”
Every box includes a rotating selection of all-natural beef, pork, chicken, lamb, or fish; Rooted Gypsy’s trademark lettuce and leafy greens; additional seasonal produce from nearby farms; a dozen eggs; plus herbs and spices.
“99 percent is locally sourced,” Beckner notes. “We feel good about being able to support local farmers and to share the story behind where the food came from.”
Manager Breanne Anderson creates the boxed assortments, using her culinary background to include a recipe she has researched and tested. Vegetarian boxes are available, as well as custom “tweaks.”
Rooted Gypsy’s produce is available year-round, thanks to its aquaponic greenhouse. In this system, plant roots grow directly into filtered water that receives its nutrients from fish living within it. This eliminates or reduces problems related to soil, chemicals, additives, weeds, inclement weather,
“Aquaponics is a more streamlined way to grow produce,” Beckner explains. “There are fewer unknowns. Plant a seed today and, assuming all goes well, we have harvestable lettuce in four weeks. You can pretty much depend on that.” Greens are harvested the same day as deliveries and stay fresh for easily up to two weeks.
Rooted Gypsy currently delivers about 150 farm boxes and provides greens to commercial customers like Café Sol on Grand Junction’s Main Street and the Wine Country Inn in Palisade. The dedicated staff looks forward to increasing this number as more households see the value and convenience in their farm boxes, which are $60 each.
“We put a lot of thought and intention into what we’re doing,” says Beckner. “The idea is to live well, eat well, and educate people on what the Grand Valley has to offer. We want to be a hub that provides an opportunity for people to get to know their farmers, and to understand the conscientious decisions that are made in the growing process and how that supports a healthy lifestyle.”