Amy Green, now involved in the local food industry with an eatery on Elk Avenue, was born and raised on an 80-acre farm in the tiny town of Bainbridge, Indiana. Although her dad worked the farm and was a real estate appraiser, they also restored and remodeled historic houses and Amy recalls one particular house in a nearby town called Roachville that belonged to a man who went down with the Titanic. She relays that the town actually held annual roach races after its moniker.
Being in an isolated, rural farming area as a child, Amy mostly hung out with her two brothers since neighbor kids were far between. Amy’s mom worked for an energy company and when her job was transferred to Wylie, North Carolina, Amy was uprooted in her senior year of high school and she recalls, “It was hard, I moved away from my graduating class that had 65 kids to a school where the class was 1,500. It was terrible, honestly, and a lot of my credits didn’t transfer so I was put into some freshman classes.” But she did graduate that year, in 2007. In retrospect, Amy says of that difficult relocation, “It was good because I would have ended up way different if I had stayed in Indiana.”
Undecided as to her career path, Amy enrolled in a college photojournalism curriculum where she also entertained writing, however, she says, “I ended up with a Bachelor of Science in sustainable agriculture development, studying every aspect of that field and I loved it.” She muses that sometimes she wishes she had focused on something else because, “I already knew all about that stuff. I wish that I had gone maybe for business because with that knowledge you can start a business in any of your passions.” She earned her degree in 2011 from Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. “It was a huge hippie town with a bunch of cool stuff to do like mountain biking and hiking. Living there was awesome, it’s a beautiful place. It was a dry county,” she laughs about having to remedy the lack of local alcohol by going for beer runs to Tennessee. Fortunately, buying and selling alcohol was legalized during the time she was there.
Right out of college, Amy found a job online working at Avalanche Goat Farm in Paonia and headed west for a season. “I wanted the experience and they paid me and gave me housing, so it was perfect. I stayed from kidding season in February until August when they stopped milking for the summer.” Returning to North Carolina, she got a veterinarian assistant position and a second job as a chiropractic assistant. When her grandmother became ill, she moved back to Indiana to help care for her for a year.
“I really liked to travel, see new places and meet new people. I’ve always been into new experiences,” she admits. In Indiana, Amy also worked on a cattle ranch, “I ran it sustainably, moving the cows daily and running pigs through the woods so they could forage naturally for anything that had fallen on the ground – acorns, walnuts and hickory nuts. It’s their natural habitat, pigs naturally live in the forest.”
Traveling to Georgia on yet another adventure, Amy found work on a sheep dairy, milking 82 ewes twice a day, additionally caring for 200 other sheep. “I did rotational grazing, took care of the lambs, bottle fed them, gave them meds and maintained their pens, all with the help of four livestock Great Pyrenees.” The dairy also had 700 free range hens, but she doesn’t like eggs, she laughs and explains, “It was part of my job to collect those eggs every day. One rainy, muddy day at 5 a.m. I was coming out with my 5-gallon buckets full of eggs and as I started down the steps I slipped – the bucket went up in the air with all the eggs and they all came down and landed on me. I was covered in so much egg and mud. Chickens will eat eggs, they love eggs, and the 700 chickens descended on me like a flurry,” she describes the melee of layers and layers of chickens smothering and pecking her. “I thought, oh my God, no one is coming for me, I’m going to die by chickens. It was intense. So, I don’t really like eggs anymore after that.”
After briefly returning to North Carolina to manage a wine warehouse, she bolted back to Paonia in 2016, “because during all of these travels, I was going back to Paonia to trim weed every October. I loved living in Paonia, it was a quiet, sleepy town and I really liked that.”
She enjoyed life on the other side of the pass for three years and then took a job with Mountain Roots in Gunnison, helping to run the farm at Cold Harbor Institute for the 2019 season. Through Mountain Roots, Amy found chef Dana Zobs and Crested Butte’s Personal Chefs and worked for her. She also worked at Mikey’s Pizza as the cashier for four years. “I did the whole CB thing where you live in your car on Kebler while trying to find housing,” she tells, and eventually she did find housing. It was just before COVID hit that she met “her man,” John Meckesbat at Kochevar’s and the two decided to move in together. After being displaced from rental to rental after each of their places got sold, they moved into Pitchfork. The couple now have a son, Bond, who came along in August of 2021.
Amy recalls that as a little kid she’d walk around at family gatherings with a notepad, taking drink orders. “I was like the little waitress and I always loved cooking. My parents loved to cook and bake so I was in the kitchen a lot of the time. It all came together one day and I just said, why don’t I just do this for myself?” she realized she’s done everything from cooking and serving to dish diving. Her idea was to bring more locally sourced food to the valley, so she’s opened her own local foodie eatery called Baldy’s, named, of course, after the mountain here.
“There are so many farms in the North Fork Valley and the Salida area, I feel like there’s a lack of restaurants serving that kind of food here. I can’t wait for the summertime when I can get all kinds of local, fresh produce,” she smiles excitedly. “Coming from the sustainable background I come from, it makes sense to me.” She serves up hot and cold sandwiches and soups from her take-out eatery on Elk Avenue (where Niky’s Donuts used to be) and in the near future, she plans to have online ordering and delivery. Amy is supporting local artists by using her wall space as a gallery for them, as well as live plants for sale by a new local business.
“I’d love to stay in CB. I love the community here and I love living here. I feel lucky that I even have the opportunity to live in a place like this. It’s the most beautiful freaking place I’ve ever lived in my life, every direction you look is just absolutely breathtaking.”
Info and menu for Baldy’s at https://baldyscb.squarespace.com