Fruits of his labor also includes an enduring legacy

Phil Castle

I interviewed Harry Talbott only a few times, but he always made an impression. He was as knowledgeable as he was passionate about the subject matter — in his case, agriculture in the Grand Valley. 

I still recall talking with Harry at a local stop of a statewide tour promoting the Colorado Proud Program, which in turn promotes food and other agricultural products produced in the state. 

He wore a red polo shirt and straw hat and was standing in a Grand Junction Safeway store next to a display of succulent peaches grown on his family farming operation in Palisade. It was a beautiful photo opportunity, which I suppose was the point. But I thought at the time how it was fitting the entrepreneur responsible for bringing his product to market was there in person to pitch not only the fruits of his labor, but also the efforts of others. The Talbott operation participated in Colorado Proud from the inception of the program in 1999.

This is the long way for me to make the point I knew Harry Talbott, although not nearly as well as I would have liked.

That’s true of other entrepreneurs I’ve met over the past 20 years. They care deeply about their ventures, but equally so for their families and communities. And when they’re gone, they leave behind enduring legacies.

For Harry Talbott, the list of his accomplishments was lengthy and included his induction into the American Ag Credit Colorado Agriculture Hall of Fame. The Colorado Fruit & Vegetable Growers, Colorado Farm Bureau and Rocky Mountain Farmers Union all supported his induction.

The story that appeared in the Business Times reporting his induction offered some of the highlights of his remarkable life.

He was a fourth-generation farmer who joined with his family in developing one of the largest fruit growing and packing operations in Colorado.

He was also a driving force behind the establishment of what’s now the Colorado West Land Trust and efforts to preserve agricultural land from development. Over the past 40 years, the land trust has conserved a total of 125,000 acres of agriculture lands, open spaces and wildlife habitat in Mesa County and five other West Slope counties. That includes Talbott lands.

Talbott also was involved in establishing the United Fruit Growers Association and served on the Colorado Lands Project and Mesa County Planning Commission. That’s in addition to working as a high school science teacher and serving as a Boy Scott leader.

Harry Talbott will be missed. By Bonnie, his wife of nearly 63 years. By their children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. By those who worked with him. By those who knew him.

But there’s solace in the love of family and friends and shared memories of a life well-lived. Moreover, the legacy of Harry Talbott lives on.