For my wife Susie and I, Park City summertime bikes ride often require a “rest stop” at the Copper Moose Farm on Old Ranch Road. It’s a favorite destination of ours that can be reached on paved and soft-surfaced bike trails, and while the ride isn’t far enough to wear us out, we think of the farm as a sort of oasis and just have to stop.
The 3-acre organic farm, which is owned by Kristi and John Cumming, supplies the Park City area with organically grown, chemical-free vegetables, cut flowers, and much more throughout the spring and summer.
Our midday rides were put on hold last summer, for obvious reasons, and remain on hold until I can finish wrenching together Susie’s birthday present — a fire-engine-red e-bike, presently hidden from her prying eyes in my neighbor’s garage. I’ll have the bike done for her birthday if I can just figure out the directions.
Once we’re back on two wheels, our Copper Moose Farm ritual will be reinstated. On a typical ride, we leave our Pinebrook neighborhood, hop on the paved trail paralleling Kilby Road, and head toward Kimball Junction to connect to McLeod Creek Trail. This delightful, soft-surface trail meanders south, almost all the way into town. We ride with purpose, headed to Willow Creek Park and, just across the street on Old Ranch Road, Copper Moose Farm’s ever-popular farm stand. From late May through fall, the little stand is the go-to spot for fresh vegetables, cut flowers, eggs, meat, cheese, bread, pastries, sandwiches, cold probiotic drinks, and other tasty treats.
Everything in the store is sourced from local businesses. Farm manager Todd Coleman calls them “our community food partners.” From (A)sparagus to (Z)ucchini, the farm produces a vegetable for every letter — no kidding! In their 2,400-square-foot passive solar greenhouse, they grow heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, basil, beans, and some flowers.
Todd often works shifts at the farm stand. A rare, born-and- raised Parkite, the 42-year-old has been with the farm since 2006. “I really enjoy it; I can’t imagine not doing farm work,” he confesses.
On a recent visit, I asked him how the farm got started. “The Cumming family actually started out just wanting to grow healthy food, then expanded pretty quickly into a community farm. They had the vision to create something like this and we really owe it to them. They’re very philanthropic, aware of the bigger picture and their role in the Park City community,” says Todd.
The farm is part of a nationwide program called Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). It’s a unique business model that helps fund farms like Copper Moose. Families pay up-front for a share of the farm’s harvest throughout the summer and the money helps pay for annual start-up and operational costs. This year, about 80 families are signed up to receive fresh vegetables and cut flowers every week throughout the summer. Every year, farm shares sell out and there’s always a waiting list.
Todd says business at the farm stand was brisk last summer in spite of, or perhaps because of, the pandemic. Of course, some folks were staying out of crowded grocery stores, but Todd thinks there was more to it. “More and more, people want to feed their kids really good food. We have really good soil, so our vegetables are fresh, have more flavor, and more nutrition. I think people realize that Copper Moose Farm is a very special place right in the heart of our community,” he explains.
During our mid-ride stop, Susie and I fill our bike panniers with fresh lettuce, spinach, and a loaf of Red Bicycle bread (I swear it’s crack cocaine for bread lovers). From Copper Moose Farm, we have all kinds of options to continue our ride. The 40-plus miles of paved and soft-surfaced bike trails in the Snyderville Basin area are eminently bikeable. We tend to stay on the McLeod Creek Trail for a pleasant mile or so as it parallels the tree-lined creek toward town and stop for a moment to sit on one of the benches along the trail and watch the ducks or maybe catch a glimpse of a beaver. From there we usually turn around for the easy coast back home before our lettuce wilts.