Ponderosa Partnership, LLC
The Ellithorpe family of Ponderosa Partnership LLC has a long history of farming and ranching in Colorado’s San Luis Valley. Harry Ellithorpe was a potato grower and broker in the area beginning in the mid-1930s and was one of the first USDA potato inspectors in Colorado. Harry’s son Bill later joined him, and when Harry retired, Bill’s son Rick joined the business.
In the 1970s, after trying their hand at mining, Bill and Rick started the business that became Ponderosa Partnership by warehousing potatoes for local growers. They began packing potatoes for the military, and as part of a search for a higher quality potato and a more consistent supply, they acquired land and started growing their own potatoes.
The farm grew, and they began to rotate grain and forage crops in with their potatoes. When their supply began to outpace the local demand, they purchased cattle to consume the extra feed.
Today, Bill has retired and Rick’s son Jed has joined in the ownership of the company. Ponderosa Partnership LLC now farms 3,000 acres that produces, among other crops, 40 million pounds of potatoes a year.
About the San Luis Valley in Colorado
At 7,625 feet above sea level, the San Luis Valley is the largest alpine valley in the world and is blessed with rich, dark soil. The short growing season is just enough to grow potatoes and the cold winters keep insect populations at bay, meaning we don’t need to use pesticides.
Not only is the growing season shorter, but at the high elevation, the plants grow slower. As a result, potatoes have a higher nutrient content and better taste, and the feed values are higher for our forage crops. Learn more about how the San Luis Valley benefits Ponderosa Partners’ potato crops and feed crops.