CULINARY COLORADO: TASTE THE TOP LOCAL FOODS FROM ACROSS THE STATE
Colorado’s Top Regions for Eating Local:
Delta County – An area rich in agricultural options, Delta County is home to Delicious Orchards in the North Fork Valley. The high elevation orchards produce fruits with natural sweetness and use sustainable practices. The Living Farm Café, a unique farm-to-table restaurant, features tasty meals with farm-fresh meat, cheese and eggs from its own farm and others in the area. Fresh & Wyld’s Night Dinners from May to Thanksgiving use the ingredients of the season from organic, local suppliers. The Restaurant and Inn also offers Farm Fresh Cooking Classes, including three to four day intensives on cooking, homesteading and gardening. Another Delta County offering is Desert Weyr, a small family farm that raises sheep for mutton and focuses on sustainable and humane practices. Nearby Revolution Brewing services up mutton sausages from Desert Weyr, along with the family-owned brewery’s craft brews.
Eastern Plains – One of the largest regions of Colorado, visitors and locals are invited to Pedal the Plains, an up to three-day, 172-mile bike ride. Riders will travel through small towns on the Eastern Plains where they will taste food grown in the region as well as learn and meet with local experts and farmers. Participants can even practice their farming techniques. La Junta also began hosting the Doc Jones Annual Chuck Wagon Cook-Off this past October, which invited seven authentic chuck wagons to cook meals in Dutch ovens and over open fires. Details are being solidified for the 2014 event.
Northern Colorado – From New Belgium Brewing Company, makers of Fat Tire Amber Ale, and the home-grown Fort Collins Brewery to Coopersmith Pub & Brewing in the heart of Old Town Square and Odell Brewing Company, producing more than 30,000 barrels annually, Fort Collins has a brewery trail that is worth traveling to experience. Fort Collins is also home to an active local food community and has a successful Winter Farmer’s Market. Many of the area’s farmers grow late and early season crops that market goers are taking advantage of as part of their year round grocery shopping. Cozy Cow Dairy in nearby Windsor is a farmstead dairy and creamery that produces milk, ice cream and a range of cheeses. The Dairy is also known for its krautburgers, a bun stuffed with cabbage and ground beef. The nearby town of Severance is home to Bruce’s Bar where patrons can try their “world famous” Rocky Mountain Oysters.
Northwest Colorado – Supporting the agricultural heritage of the area the Community Agriculture Alliance (CAA), a local, nonprofit organization, of Steamboat Springs strives to connect and benefit both producers and consumers of agriculture with farm visits and educational programs so each side can join together and preserve the resources of the Yampa River Valley. Sweet Pea Market and Restaurant in Steamboat Springs offers the chance to taste and purchase some of the best locally sourced products from the area’s farms. Wild Goose Coffee at the Granary in nearby Hayden offers locally handcrafted coffee, tea and fresh baked goods showcasing flour from local wheat that is milled in the valley. Vendors at the Meeker Sheepdog Trials serve up Colorado lamb several ways in the event’s Lamb Cook-Off.
San Luis Valley – Alamosa knows a thing or two about delicious and unique culinary offerings. Founded in 2008, the idea behind the Colorado Malting Company began in the 1930’s when the fertile soil that today makes the quality malt grains used in the company’s products was unearthed. The Colorado Malt Company ships their products all over the country, but also has a malthouse in Alamosa with beer on tap. Owned by a sixth generation beekeeper, Grampa’s Gourmet Honey was started with a few colonies of bees to help with the farm’s pollination. Today, Grampa’s Gourmet Honey tends to around 500 hives and sells a wide variety of honey and honeycomb. Nearby White Mountain Farm is known for its high quality quinoa and potatoes at reasonable prices and was the first large-scale quinoa operation in North America. Chokurei Ranch, home to a herd of over 200 Tibetian yak, focuses its efforts on raising happy and healthy organic food, or as they like to call it, “field to fork.” The Ranch sells numerous yak products and offers yak tours for visitors to get up close with the animals.
Colorado’s Top Towns for Eating Local:
Boulder – Considered one of America’s “foodiest” towns, Boulder offers visitors and locals alike a variety of culinary options with everything from farmers’ markets and food events to wineries and distilleries. The state’s largest farmers’ market, The Boulder Farmers’ Market, serves up not only the area’s freshest produce, but also entertains market-goers with live music, beer, wine and a glimpse into what the local chefs are serving. Boulder also features 18 breweries, five wineries and two distilleries as well as food events throughout the year like Taste of Pearl, showcasing the city’s acclaimed foodie street and First Bite Boulder, the city’s restaurant week highlighting the extensive dining scene and more.
Denver – The mile-high city has become a hub of local food-focused institutions. Local food welcomes travelers the moment they arrive at Denver International Airport (DIA) with the new Root Down featuring an menu items that use locally farmed, sustainable and organic ingredients as much as possible. DIA also offers cuisine and libations from other top Colorado establishments including Boulder Beer Taphouse, Elway’s, New Belgium Spoke, Udi’s Café and Bar and more. Denver conference goers can also taste the local flavors of Colorado. Part of the Colorado Convention Center, Blue Bear Farm is a 5,000 square foot urban garden with farm-fresh fruits, vegetables, herbs and beehives. The Convention Center’s chefs make use of the goods to deliver local flavors. Urban markets are also popping up across the city featuring flavors of the state. The Source, Denver’s new artisan food market features a collection of Colorado culinary offerings from across the state with everything from fresh-baked goods, craft cocktails and street food. Denver’s renovated historic Union Station will debut on and will feature a portfolio of local one-of-a-kind dining and drinking options in addition to a boutique hotel, retail and transportation hub.
Durango – Showcasing local resources with a variety of businesses throughout the area, Durango offers experiences where tourism and agriculture come together. Family owned since 1918, Honeyville's products are made with honey collected from the area’s beekeepers that comes directly from the hive. Honeyville also specializes in Chokecherry Jelly, a local favorite. Linda’s Local Food Cafe, whose mission focuses on “making our community healthier and wealthier,” serves real food from the area’s farmers, including locally sourced meats and seasonally fresh produce. The 400-acre James Ranch makes raw cow’s milk cheeses with high-quality ingredients, along with grass-finished beef and whey-good pork. Visitors can experience the freshness of the ranch’s products at the James Ranch Market. Opened this past summer, El Moro Spirits and Tavern is a restaurant that highlights local history and also uses products from nearby ranches and farms to create a seasonal menu that highlights the quality of the ingredients.
Pueblo – Pueblo is rich in foods that reflect its culture that includes Hispanic, Italian and Slovenian roots. The city is best known for its Mirasol chiles grown in the area, which translates to great Mexican food and also allows visitors to experience a burger in a whole new way with the Pueblo Slopper, a cheese burger smothered in Pueblo green chili. Bingo Burger makes fresh, cooked-to-order food out of grass-fed Colorado beef, San Luis Valley potatoes and Pueblo chiles. Italian food is also prevalent in Pueblo, and locals love the homemade Italian sausage sandwich at Pass Key. Highway 50 through Otero County boasts a stretch of nine farmers’ markets, all of which showcase the goods of the fertile land in the area. Known for corn and melons, the markets offer the best local produce from throughout the Arkansas River Valley. Well established in Pueblo, DiSanti Farms started in 1890 and today produces a wide variety of fruits and vegetables from May to late October.
Salida – Located in the “Heart of the Rockies,” Salida provides a retreat for those looking to experience the best that nature has to offer. On 19 acres of rolling pastures, the Mountain Goat Lodge offers classes on goat care and cheese making so that guests can learn new skills and enjoy the freshness of Colorado’s agriculture. Salida also supports the state’s farmers and producers at its Ploughboy food market. The market features foods that are grown, raised and made in Colorado by forming relationships with the area’s agriculture providers. With fresh meats from the deli, the tasting room with 20 Colorado wines and from-scratch bakery goods from the Salida Bread Company, those who shop in Ploughboy can be sure they are buying quality goods that support their neighbors.
Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, and 25 renowned ski areas and resorts. The state's breathtaking scenic landscape boasts natural hot springs, the headwaters of seven major rivers, many peaceful lakes and reservoirs, 11 national parks and monuments, and 58 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet.
For more information or a copy of the 2014 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit www.COLORADO.com or call 1-800-COLORADO. Follow Colorado on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest,Google+, Foursquare, Flickr,Tumblr and YouTube.
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