Agriculture

Northwest Colorado Ag Tourism – Spring 2015

Image from Palisade Produce

David & Jamie Cox – Image from Palisade Produce

The Northwest part of Colorado, including Mesa, Garfield, Rio Blanco, Moffat, Routt, Jackson, Grand, Summit, Park, Lake, Pitkin, and Eagle Counties – houses a diverse landscape from very rocky mountains, to valleys, mesas, and mountain plains.

“Food-shed” is a term often used to talk about what products are grown and then how those products may get into consumers’ hands.  The Northwest portion of Colorado offers a variety of delicious products that could keep this particular area fed quite well, if the resources were used and ‘diverted’ to do so.

Palisade Peaches – Let’s start with the sweet stuff!  Most likely you have had the chance to bite into a juicy peach from Palisade and enjoy the delicious mess that ensues.  Peaches, available fresh in August and September, can be preserved and enjoyed year-round by being canned, or put into jams/jellies, or being infused into your alcoholic beverage of choice – wine, vodka, and brandy to name the most popular.  Yum!

One of our favorites includes peach-growers David and Jamie Cox over at Palisade Produce.  Palisade Produce is on the forefront of farming with technological advances, particularly to increase efficiency and ecological balance. Many of the technologies they integrate reduce work and are environmentally friendly at the same time.  Between using solar power, recycling as much waste as possible, and pursuing feasible organic methods to deal with tree pests and the elements, these family farmers know how important it is to get high-quality product into the hands of customers!  Find them on Facebook “Palisade Produce”.

Grass-Fed Meats 

The expansive uninhibited high plains around Craig and Steamboat Springs lends itself to raising cows and bison in an extremely cruelty-free and all-natural environment.

Meat that comes from grass-fed animals is naturally higher in “good fats”, and this meat has a much smaller chance of having large amounts of antibiotics, since these cows are not confined to small spaces and get to live happy lives, free, as they should be.

Near Steamboat Springs, and nestled under the shadows of the Flat Tops Mountain Range, a fourth-generation farmer by the name of Wayne Shoemaker continues his practice and expertise of raising cattle.  The very ground that he works is the family ranch originally homesteaded by his great-grandparents, with a tradition and philosophy of integrity in how their animals are treated and raised. Yampa Valley Beef’s all-natural, hormone and antibiotic-free beef can be found to purchase or enjoy prepared at several fine locations as listed on their website, www.yampavalleybeef.com.

Greenhouse Growing – Just because there’s a lot of ground with a shorter sun-exposure time and colder weather doesn’t mean that produce and herbs can’t thrive – hoop houses offer individuals and businesses the opportunity to capitalize on the closeness to the sun to grow products that are tantalizing and fresh.

A That’s Natural! favorite is Osage Gardens, located in New Castle, Colorado and growing certified organic fine culinary herbs for over 22 years.  With a farm store, appearances at farmers’ markets, as well as being in Vitamin Cottage, Whole Foods, and several local co-ops and grocery stores – this is an easy buy-local addition to add into your grocery list!  Arugula, chervil, chives, dill, marjoram, mint, oregano, rosemary, sage, sorrel, tarragon, thyme, flat-leaf parsley, basil, lemon basil, purple basil, Thai basil, and edible flowers will knock your socks off with flavor that can only be achieved when you are sourcing your food so fresh and so close to the food-sheds in the Vail Valley and Roaring Fork Valley!

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