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Producer feature: Julie and James Thorneycroft

Running a restaurant is hard anywhere. To do it in a sparsely populated and remote Colorado community, all while raising much of the meat and eggs featured in the dishes and sourcing ingredients from local producers? Then it becomes superhuman. 

Julie and James Thorneycroft can’t help themselves. For most of the 21 years the couple has had a presence on Wright’s Mesa, they’ve been feeding the community. The latest iteration is through the farm to table Thorneycroft Bakery. The small bakery churns out organic breads, decadent pastries and addictive granola as well as breakfast staples like burritos and quiches and soups made from scratch. While Julie helms the kitchen, James works the fields, raising heritage pigs, cows and laying chickens that supply much of the meat and eggs for the meals. What ingredients they can’t raise themselves, they seek out nearby, sourcing vegetables from other Wright’s Mesa farms. 

It’s life-consuming work, but it seems almost compulsive for the couple. The Thorneycrofts first came to the area to manage a private fishing lodge in San Miguel Canyon. That’s when Julie, a longtime chef, began making connections to local growers. In 2007, she bought a Norwood coffee shop and turned it into the much-loved Happy Belly Deli. Even after they sold the restaurant and moved away to work on ranches, they stayed involved; Julie rented her building to the Hub, and later cooked grab-and-go food in the back. 

These days, the bakery is a popular downtown hub. And while Julie admits that managing both farm and restaurant is demanding, she says it’s worthwhile work. 

“I like the creativity of just making things,” Julie said. “But I also feel like food can really bring a community together.”

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