Morton’s Organic Orchards began in 1978 with the purchase of 10 acres which was planted in 2 acres of peaches and 8 acres of alfalfa. Dave and Mary, with the help of their two young daughters, planted and grafted hundreds of new trees. Inspired by their core philosophy of lifelong learning, they learned from their new neighbors and friends and, ultimately, Mother Nature.
Every moment that wasn’t filled with farming was filled with teaching, which funded these early endeavors. Each long school day gave way to farm chores – pruning and watering and nurturing the crops. Summers were spent picking and delivering, personally, every beautiful piece of fruit.
In 1990, Mary and Dave purchased an adjacent 2 acres with an historic barn which they restored. It was repurposed for use as a fruit processing center and cold storage so their packing operations could be moved from “field packing” to a packing shed. This allowed them to rapidly pack and cool their perfectly ripe fruit.
In 1992, Morton’s attended their first Boulder Farmers’ Markets where they met, face to face, their first loyal customers – most of whom still support them today! They quickly found that getting to know their customers was far more rewarding than wholesaling.
As customer demand for organic fruit began to rise, Dave and Mary listened. They consulted friends and neighbors who were veteran orchardists, but all discouraged the change, doubting it would work. Fortunately, Dave & Mary saw a bigger picture – one without the use of toxic chemicals and practices – and they immediately began to Transition to Organic. By 1996, following the State of Colorado guidelines, Morton’s Orchards became Certified Organic and has maintained their organic practices, beyond the USDA certification standards, since that time.
Over the years, Dave and Mary have made significant changes in favor of agricultural sustainability, water and energy efficiency. They installed solar panels on the roof of their old barn. The electricity from these panels is used to run water-sparing, micro-jet sprinkler systems, a walk-in cooler and the entire processing facility.
They switched from oil-burning smudge-pots, that blackened the air during spring frosts, to clean burning propane.
They also planted clover as a ground cover. This tiny, flowering crop eliminated tilling and soil erosion and better supported local native bee populations.
Morton’s Organic Orchards is still a family owned farm that includes Dave and Mary’s children and grandchildren. Three generations of family, living on both sides of the Colorado Rocky Mountains, work together each year to grow the sweetest peaches and stone fruit in Colorado! Providing quality, ripe fruit that tastes sweet and juicy – the way we would want to eat it – is our main goal for our markets. Preserving the integrity of our land, water and air – so we may all be healthier – is a main goal in our lives. Our plans for the future include opportunities to engage with our customers as well as learn from each other as we go.