SAGUACHE — Colorado’s San Luis Valley is the highest elevated and largest commercial agricultural valley in the world.
The land is vast and full of unique features, farms and businesses, including: ‘Frontier Trout Ranch’. The ranch is located in the town of Saguache.
"We’re Colorado’s only producer of premium trout for the food market,” said Kermit Krantz, who created ‘Frontier Trout Ranch’.
‘Frontier Trout Ranch’ raises trout from egg to table.
"We are a true farm to fork operation,” Krantz added.
The business started from scratch in December 2013.
"We have expanded to indoor production of hatching our eggs all the way to taking and delivering them to market,” Krantz explained.
In the past, there were plenty of private producers in Colorado that would raise trout for the recreational market. But Krantz said things changed radically over the years.
"Now we’re down to about 7 private trout farms in the whole state,” Krantz said.
The water for ‘Frontier Trout Ranch’ comes from a well that’s about 550 feet deep. The water is kept at 59 degrees year round.
"Which is optimal growing for trout,” he said.
Krantz raises his trout about an inch and a half to and inch and three quarters per month, compared to a typical inch.
"So we have a very good fast growing trout,” Krantz said.
Eventually, the fish at ‘Frontier Trout Ranch' are moved from the indoor hatchery to be staged outside.
"Once they get to a pound and a half we put them into our large earthen ponds,” he said.
Overall, Krantz has about 500,000 fish. He works with his distributor, the ‘Shamrock Food Company’, to send the fish to eateries and businesses across Colorado.
Some popular restaurants are among Krantz’s clients.
"We’re just going into the Broadmoor [in Colorado Springs] this year,” Krantz said. "We’re also at the Brown Palace [in Denver]”.
Krantz raises rainbow trout as well as other types of trout.
"What we’re trying to do for Colorado and for our restaurants is give them a specialty product they can’t get any other place. And it’s from this state!” he said.
Krantz is always looking to educate people about trout in our state.
Across America, Idaho is considered the largest producer of trout in the United States with about 60% of the market.
To learn more about 'Frontier Trout Ranch' and its fish, click here.