Southwest Colorado Ag Tourism – Spring 2015

Photo from Parker Pastures (Gunnison) -

Photo from Parker Pastures (Gunnison) –

The Southwest portion of Colorado includes: Delta, Montrose, Alamosa, Saguache, Chaffee, Archuleta, Fremont, Montezuma, Ouray, La Plata, Rio Grande, Gunnison, Costilla, and Conejos Counties.  This part of the Western Slope has a diverse terrain that creates some of the most delicious products available in the State.

Olathe Sweet Corn – For some reason, Olathe, Colorado (Montrose County) produces the best sweet corn on the planet.  It’s truly the combination of soil and sun, and a science – but when you bite into some of this sweet corn, especially if it has been fire-roasted, coated in local butter from grass-fed cows, and topped with some cracked pepper and Himalayan sea salt, some may think it’s magic.  Corn, which has Native American roots (Anasazi), is actually a grass.  And the delicious, milky, sugary goodness packed into those kernels?  That has come from years, decades really, of breeding varieties of corn.  This is actually done by farmers, taking years to perfect (and is completely and totally different than the type of “breeding” done by Monsanto splicing together vegetable and animals genes).  Sweet corn is the heart and soul of many operations in Montrose County, and there is even the “Olathe Sweet Corn Festival” on August 8th.

Delta County Apples, Pears &

Cherries – At the base of our mountains, and out near the mesas, Colorado has a history of orchards.  Delta County, situated between 5,000 and 7,000 feet, has some of the highest elevations of apple orchards in the world. In addition to apples, there are pears, cherries, grapes, and of course peaches, which we mention in the Northwest Colorado section.   These products are available at many farmers’ road-side stands, and also at farmers’ markets closer to the ‘metro’-centers on both the Western Slope and Front Range.  Paonia Cherry Days is a fun three-day event that celebrates these prized cherries July 4th every year.  On the first weekend of October, Cedaredge hosts the AppleFest, and would be a fabulous weekend trip to visit a small town with a rich history – a great way to support truly local agriculture and ag-tourism.

If you live on the Front Range, or even in the Vail/Roaring Fork Valleys – you may find yourself traversing the mountains, but never making it further west on the Western Slope.  We hope that this encourages you to head west and check out the incredible orchards, roadside-produce stands, bed and breakfast inns, and other exciting activities in this area.  If you are looking for some peace, away from the hustle and bustle, and mind-blowing noise of the city (yes, that includes people who live anywhere near Highway 82) – there are many choices for you, just a hop over the hills.

While You’re There…

In this part of Colorado, there are places to stay and enjoy yourself – either spending a quiet night on the farm at a bed and breakfast, becoming a part of the experience at a dude ranch, doing some fishing, riding beautiful horses, jumping on hay bails for a ride behind a tractor, or getting lost in corn mazes and picking pumpkins in patches.  On our website you will find some of our favorites.

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