Deer Tree Farm and Agroforest is a new Restoration Agriculture project pursued by two love birds, AJ and Nicole Carrillo, on 18 acres in Hotchkiss, CO. With beautiful gardens, heritage breed animals, alfalfa, and five-and-a-half acres of mature peach trees, Deer Tree has its vision set on a whole systems approach to farming. By implementing cutting edge techniques such as watershed management and agroforestry, Deer Tree will provide an abundance of perennial and annual food from a diverse agricultural ecosystem that will prove to be both ecologically sound and economically profitable. Along with our farm-to-table dinners, workshops, private events, and fully functioning farm, we hope to benefit our local community and economy for many years to come.
“It is absolutely possible for human beings to produce staple foods using perennial, agricultural ecosystems that actually improve the quality of the environment,” Mark Shepard, Restoration Agriculture, pg. xxi
Hello! We are Nicole and AJ Carrillo, and we own and operate Deer Tree Farm and Agroforest. We were best friends before we were married and continue to be, preferring to spend all of our time together. We live here on Deer Tree in a historic 108-year-old farmhouse, which also happens to be the first home we’ve ever bought. We want nothing more than to help our land come to life through good farming practices and biodiversity, and in the process grow an overabundance of food to share with our community. Ultimately our goal is to make what we love – farming and hanging out with each other – our livelihood.
We have always been awestruck by the beauty and intelligence of the natural world and have wanted nothing more than to dedicate our lives to caring for a diversity of living beings and systems.
We are happiest working hard and find the most joy being together outside tending to living things. Farming has come naturally to both of us. We have co-owned and operated a restorative gardening business for five years, transforming old landscaping projects into healthy, lush systems which benefit life in the soil for businesses, restaurant, and residential clients. While managing the gardening business, AJ simultaneously farmed full-time. He was blessed to be able to work with some of the foremast masters in the field, focusing mainly on annual market production and seed saving. Nicole has had a long life full of caring for animals, cooking and processing food. Her passion is for turning every season’s abundant harvest (oftentimes over-the-top abundance grown by AJ and his farming peers) into meals for her loved ones, professional events, and preserves for the winter. During AJ’s seasons working on other farms, Nicole found herself transforming the unsold produce into AJ’s (and whomever he was farming with) favorite lunch delights. Nicole has run a event-chef business using AJ and friends’ locally grown produce and meats, and has been canning and preserving for the last four years. With our two talents and efforts combined, we hope to do something beautiful here at Deer Tree Farm.
We have learned that the world can be helped through agriculture, by repairing the marriage of animal and plant production, as well as the intensive use of perennial food plants, and good water management techniques. We are hoping to create a model that will help more people like us do what they love to do, while helping and benefitting this precious earth we all call home.
We are humbled by and grateful for the work we do everyday, and are hopeful and excited for the future to come.
We are located on an 18 acre historic property on Rogers Mesa, just outside of Hotchkiss, Colorado.
Find us on Instagram @DeerTreeFarm on Twitter @DeerTreeAg or on Facebook.
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