Tour the Tastes of Colorado – Colorado’s Thriving Farm Markets Reveal Culture, History and Community
Farms on the historic St. Charles Mesa for asparagus and Zucchini, Pinto beans and a myriad variety of chilies. In La Junta, the Scaff Brothers’ family legacy and hand-written recipes live on through sauces like their F&J Steak Sauce, which blends spices and fresh ingredients—a sauce popular in the Harvey Houses along the Sante Fe Railroad. Start a new tradition by bringing their cantaloupe salsa home to friends or family as a souvenir.
A resident herd of elk in Rocky Mountain National Park
Famous for farm-to-table dinners and wild food foraging, the southwest has a history of agriculture that dates back to the Ancestral Puebloans who farmed the valleys and mesas of the region, including current-day Mesa Verde National Park. In Mesa Verde Country, modern agriculture is a truly cultural experience, featuring staples grown by the ancients, like Anasazi beans, blue corn meal, and high-altitude winter wheat you can find at the Dolores Food Market. Colorado Life Magazine dubbed Paonia Colorado’s farm-to-table capitol, so take advantage of the region’s rich agricultural assets during a stay at Stone Cottage Cellars. Enjoy the region’s famous peaches during the Palisade Peach Festival, and be sure to take home a hand pie from Palisade Peach. The famous tree-ripe peaches from Kokopelli Farms will leave their mark on your memory. For an innovative use of peaches and other orchard fruits, check out Peach Street Distillery and their pear brandy. Enjoy freshly picked fruit from Paonia’s producers at the Crested Butte Farmer’s Market where, in addition to the world’s best peaches, you can sample local hard ciders. For more Paonia goodies, stop by the Davis Family Farms or the Orchard Valley Farms and Black Bridge Winery, an onsite farm market and winery boasting peaches, cherries, nectarines and four varieties of wine grapes that you can sample at the wine bar, by the river, or at their on-site dog-friendly park. Keeping with the sweet theme, head to the Olathe Sweet Corn Festival for some of the best corn in the state. For a more traditional tour, stop by the Clark Family Orchards—a sixth-generation farm on more than 100 acres—that has a local fruit stand and offers horse-drawn agritours. In Durango, stop at the roadside James Ranch for fresh burgers made entirely from ingredients on-site, and listen to local music in the yard while kids bottle-feed the goats. For more San Juan Mountain magic, visit the Durango Farmer’s Market any (or every) Saturday for a sampling of high-elevation goods. Increase the elevation you eat at with the foraged goods of the Telluride Mushroom Festival, where your mushrooms are made into beer and ice cream during the highly competitive and acclaimed culinary cook off. The festival, which has been around since the 1970’s, has drawn Nobel Prize laureates, professors, chemists, doctors and anthropologists alike.