Tenderfoot Farm just outside of Twin Lakes offers fresh eggs from free-range chickens and ducks, along with home goods like salsa, hand soaps and dehydrated meals.
Misti Cureton and JR Fearneyhough own the farm and Balltown Mini Motors, and they also live on the property. The pair tends to the chickens, ducks, fainting goats and pigs that live on the farm. The pigs are used for meat, but the goats are pets available for purchase.
The pigs are part of a pasture-raised farm program. “That means the pigs are not confined,” said Cureton. “They are raised very happy, very free.”
Tenderfoot saw a need for pasture-raised pork during the pandemic, when demand for meat products was high and it was difficult to buy, said Cureton. At the same time, butcher shops were not as active because they couldn’t find employees.
That’s when Cureton and Fearneyhough decided to bring 15 pigs to the farm. They take the pigs to a butcher at Mountain Meats in Fruita and Craig and then package the meat for customers. Cureton and Fearneyhough sell meat directly from the farm by the cut or whole and use USDA-approved equipment to package the meats. Tenderfoot also carries products from Scanga Meat Company in Salida.
The owners bought the property from Cureton’s family after her grandparents died and are the sixth generation to live on the land. The property sits next to Lake Creek just off U.S. 24 and is surrounded by mountain vistas and the Arkansas River nearby.
The farm officially opened in 2018, but production slowed down a bit when Cureton was diagnosed with breast cancer. “So there was a little drive there to really realize somebody’s not going to knock on the door and hand you your dreams,” said Cureton.
Three years later, the pandemic did not affect business for Tenderfoot and a steady flow of customers has persisted. Bacon reigns supreme as the most popular product. Tenderfoot’s line of teas and pasta from Italy also sell well.
Cureton said Tenderfoot is always working to add new items to the farm. The staff is planning on introducing flowers by the stem soon. “We work hard to make a visit to the farm store like a farmers market experience,” said Cureton.
Tenderfoot is also a member of Harvest Hosts, a company campers use to schedule stays at wineries, breweries and farms. Campers are invited to stay on the property for 24 hours and live self-sufficiently, but they also have to buy something from the business or contribute to the farm somehow.
Cureton said Tenderfoot has an amazing experience with the campers. They’ve been nice and respectful of the hospitality the employees provide. Tenderfoot has a maximum of two visitors each night so campers can keep their privacy. Campers are also welcome to stay with the goats and pigs.
During the winter months, Tenderfoot begins breeding its fainting goats starting in October, and introduce new chickens in September for the next season, as it takes six to nine months before a chicken starts laying eggs. Pigs are not kept on the farm during the winter months.
Those interested in Tenderfoot’s offerings can check out tenderfootfarm.com to purchase farm and gift shop products, or visit the farm in person at 160 SH-82. The farm is open everyday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.