Milberger Farms is a family farm located on the Mesa in Pueblo, CO.
Shane Milberger, a Pueblo County native, began his life in commodity agriculture in 1986 at the age of 17. As a sophomore in high school and with the encouragement from his father, he leased a small plot of fertile ground from a neighbor, bought a tractor and began what would later become a successful family-centric agribusiness – tethered to the ground they work and care for by honoring farming traditions of the past and maintaining a visionary outlook toward the future.
Over the years Shane has directed the growth of the farm, not only in number of acres in cultivation, but in the diversity of commodities grown. In 2005 he began the transition process that would lead to the Colorado Department of Agriculture certifying the farm as “Organic Certified.” The organic process continues today through crop and field rotation. Each year Shane commits more resources to grow an ever-increasing number of organic commodities.
Milberger Farms, LLC now farms 280 total acres on the historic St. Charles Mesa. The diversity of crops grown annually range from Asparagus through Zucchini. Shane’s specialty crops are Pinto Beans and myriad varieties of chiles. He uses alfalfa as his main multi-year rotation crop for field rotation (particularly on the organic certified ground). Along with alfalfa, field corn is grown and used by livestock producers and feed mills throughout Southern Colorado.
Through the years and growth of the farm, Shane’s customer base has also expanded. In the beginning, his produce was mostly sold at local farmers markets and through direct sales to local residents of Pueblo. Today, while staying loyal to his local customers, Shane customers cover all aspects of produce sales; cottage industry producers, small to large produce markets, restaurants, grocery retail stores throughout Colorado, wholesale produce distributors, and now commercial food manufacturers.
In 2009 Shane and his son Dalton opened a small produce stand on Business U.S. 50 6 miles East of Pueblo. They used their drive toward accomplishment to develop the store into a full deli style restaurant with salad bar, in-house bakery, coffee and ice cream bar. Like the farm, the store continues to grow and offer an ever-increasing variety of products and services.
The latest development on the farm is the creation of a frozen line of fire roasted chile, custom vacuumed packed and flash frozen on the farm in a commercial processing plant built specifically to process chile through the length of the harvest season. Shane’s chile roasters are specifically built to impart that “old world” fire roasted flavor captured by flash freezing within minutes after the roast. This product line has proved to be in high demand throughout Colorado by the cottage salsa industry, commercial food manufacturers as well as restaurants.
With expansion comes oversight. Milberger Farms, LLC is registered with the Food and Drug Administration as a food producer. They are a volunteer farm with the USDA to undergo external audits on Good Agricultural Practices, and Good Handling Practices. The health department has an open invitation to visit and monitor their practices and review food safety procedures. Their industry partners often send inspectors to the farm to conduct food safety audits pertaining to the products of interest to them. Shane never shy’s away from audits or inspections – “it makes us a better farm” he always says.
Shane is community driven. He is a founding member of the Mira Sol Chile Corporation and is involved with the establishment of the Colorado Produce Growers Association. He hosts many types of organizations on the farm; Leadership Pueblo, Whole Foods Market employees, restaurant staffs, food industry executives, and school kids from as far away as Denver.
Shane never fears a challenge, is always forward-looking, and always seeks accomplishment. He and his family are proud to be a Pueblo Colorado farm family and feel blessed to have the opportunity to provide high-quality fresh produce throughout the state while being good stewards of the land in their charge.