Grand’s best farm makes farm-to-table dining a reality |

Grand’s best farm makes farm-to-table dining a reality

Aila and Asa Holley raise farm fresh meat and eggs with their children (from left to right) Almanzo, Eowyn, Roark and Atticus as seen here in 2020. Their operation, Sisu Farms, was named Best of Grand this year.
Amy Golden/Sky-Hi News

Grand County’s favorite farm focuses on selling quality meats and eggs directly to consumers.

Sisu Farms began cultivating beef, pork and chicken along with chicken and duck eggs in March 2019. Aila Holley explained that the family operation focuses on regenerative agriculture, using a rotational system for animal grazing to help regenerate soil and make it more sustainable.

The community has embraced Sisu’s young operation and voted it the best food and meat market/farm in Grand this year. The Holley family often hears from customers thrilled with their experience of serving Sisu Farms at Thanksgiving or as part of a family barbeque.

“Being a centerpiece, food is so important not just to sustain us nutritionally, but it becomes a part of our culture and how we celebrate,” Holley said. “Whether it is a celebration or just day-to-day dinner, being part of how people come together and being part of their meals, that’s hugely rewarding.”

Unlike a lot of small farm operations, Sisu mostly sells meat by the cut, which makes the farm to consumer experience more like buying from a grocery store. Most of their business happens online, with buyers placing orders and Sisu stocking freezers on their porch for anytime pickup.

“We were doing contactless pickup before it was even cool,” Holley said. “We try to make it super convenient for people to purchase locally raised meat.”

Cattle at Sisu Farms spend their entire lives in Grand County, while chickens raised for meat are shipped when they’re a day old and processed on the farm. Holley said they’re in the process of starting to farm their own pigs as well.

The biggest challenge for the small family operation is juggling the supply and demand for their products, which fluctuate a lot and planning months in advance. Holley said that their customers have been incredibly understanding and willing to learn.

“We don’t have a massive supply chain,” she said. “All the stuff, we’re raising on-farm.”

The popularity of the farm continues to grow. Sisu partners with a brewery, the high school and Mountain Market to use leftovers as supplemental food in the diets of their animals.

“We’ve been able to partner with a lot of the community,” she said. “As much as we can, we try to spend our money in the community.”

Holley’s four children are deeply involved with the farm operations, and she said sharing different aspects of farming as part of their education experience has been hugely rewarding.

“(We’re) helping to hopefully raise the next generation of, if not farmers, at least productive, industrious human beings,” she said.

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