Knapp Ranch, Osage Gardens come together over sustainable core values in organic farming

June 16, 2020, 8:01 am
Basil growing at Osage Gardens in New Castle, Colorado.

After nearly 30 years of operation, Tom and Sarah Rumery say they could not be more grateful to have sold Osage Gardens to Bud Knapp and Knapp Ranch, located in the greater upper West Lake Creek valley of Edwards, Colorado.

“The integrity that Bud brings to this relationship is so incredible and comforting,” says Sarah Rumery. “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.”

Edible flowers at Osage Gardens.

The sale of Osage Gardens to Knapp Ranch is characterized best as a new partnership and alignment of core values. Since its inception in 1992, Osage Gardens has used organic practices and has been certified organic since 1999 by the Colorado Department of Agriculture.

Knapp Ranch is a thriving working farm using sustainable practices, and with the purchase of the Rumery family farm, there will be no significant operational shifts of the 20-acre Osage Gardens located in New Castle, Colorado, but rather greater distribution of its culinary herbs and vegetables.

Yes, it’s those year-round herbs and edible flowers that Osage Gardens is most noted for and arguably, basil is the most popular culinary herb and edible flowers the most complex crop to produce at scale. Basil is the most challenging to grow at altitude, but the farm harvested 1,000 pounds in one recent week alone.

“We believe in growing sustainably, and working with our environment and local ecosystem to maintain and encourage natural diversity,” explains Jared McDermott, who has served as general manager of Osage Gardens for the past 10 years and will stay on to oversee operations with his dedicated passion for and expertise of the 20 acres of organically-certified land and just over three acres of organic herb and vegetable production under greenhouse cover.

The Rumery’s started Osage by selling tomatoes to local grocery stores and restaurants. They were growing a few basil plants on the side but quickly realized that there was a high demand for fresh-cut basil. This led the farm to specialize in fresh culinary herbs. After 10 years, the farm expanded onto a new piece of land located on the Colorado River between New Castle and Silt. Osage Gardens now grows more than 22 different varieties of culinary herbs.

The original goal to build the local food economy in the Roaring Fork Valley and Colorado River corridor by providing the community with an accessible, diverse, abundant and sustainable food system, grew to include product distribution to Whole Foods, Natural Grocers and other privately-owned natural foods markets across the state.

Tom Cartwright, who serves as chief operating officer of Knapp Ranch, says he is very excited to develop these specialty market relationships alongside McDermott.

“Operations and research focus on adaptable and regenerative sustainable farming, high altitude eco-systems, water conservation and long-term climate change,” explains Cartwright. “The preservation of the land, natural agricultural production and environmental education help define Knapp Ranch. As Osage Gardens becomes part of the Knapp Ranch family, we look forward to incorporating the standards of excellence and quality that parallel ours and to continue the Osage business model of growing the finest herbs. In turn, we are able to invest the necessary resources to meet market strategies to take our relationships to the next level.”

In 2017, Knapp Ranch formed the Knapp Ranch Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Ranch.  The profits from Knapp Ranch, and now Osage, will flow into the Foundation as it provides grants to organizations and non-profits that parallel the sustainable education and agricultural academic focus.

And coming very soon to Eagle, Colorado, Knapp Ranch will open Knapp Harvest, another opportunity for Osage herbs, as well as produce, microgreens and honey from Knapp Ranch, to be made more readily available to the broader community of those craving locally-sourced food.

Power Basil Pesto – Osage’s Infamous Recipe


1/4 cup pine nuts or walnuts, toasted

4 T virgin olive oil

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

1/8 tsp salt

1 to 2 cloves garlic

1 T hot pasta water*

After lightly de-stemming the basil, blanch the basil for ~1 minute in boiling water. Remove the basil from the water with a slotted spoon and drain in a colander for a short time. This blanching gives the pesto a rich wonderful creamy texture.

In a blender or Cuisinart blend the olive oil, garlic, salt and blanched basil. Blend for a minute and clean down the sides of the bowl. Add toasted nuts and blend. Last add the parmesan cheese.

Blend until creamy. * Hot Pasta water as needed. Best served fresh or room temperature.

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