‘Veg Out’ on Vacation on a Working Farm or Ranch in Colorado
DENVER (May 2011) - A lifestyle that incorporates locally grown and produced food is sweeping the nation. People today want to know where their food comes from and that it is sustainable. This summer, Colorado combines its fresh agricultural offerings with an experiential vacation to create opportunities for travelers to get their hands dirty and enjoy the fruits of their labor on farm and ranch stays.
Across Colorado, sustainable working farms and ranches have incorporated a tourism element to the overall experience. Travelers can take part in organic cooking and butchery classes; cultivate crops; herd cattle or bison; and actually take part in the development of a farm or ranch.
These authentic experiences speak to today’s travelers and offer a window into the world of Colorado’s ‘agritourism’ or ‘agritainment’ offerings. See below a sampling of the varied ways in which travelers to Colorado can enrich and immerse themselves into an experiential vacation.
Foodies Rejoice in Farm Stays:
■ Fresh and Wyld Farmhouse in Paonia is known for its commitment to locally- grown food. Fresh and Wyld maintains its own vegetable gardens, chickens, goats, berry patch and heirloom apple trees to feed its guests. The Inn serves communal-style home-cooked meals and also offers organic cooking classes, butchery classes, farm school classes and heritage farm art workshops. www.FreshandWyld.com
■ Raindrop Retreat is working farm in the foothills near the Poudre Canyon with an orchard, gardens and a flock of chickens and turkeys. Raindrop welcomes guests to work the land, have a meal with home-grown organic products and spend the night. www.RaindropRetreat.com.
■ Mesa Wind Farm is a 36 acre farm outside of Hotchkiss that produces USDA Certified Organic peaches, apples, grapes, raspberries, asparagus, vegetables and honey. Visitors sleep in rehabbed "picker cabins" and are welcomed to lend a hand with the farm work and dine on organic food fresh from the farm. Orchard camping opportunities are also available. www.MesaWindsFarm.com
■ Canyon of the Ancients Guest Ranch is a working farmstead that offers organic gardens and free range eggs. Select your own veggies for dinner and participate in daily chores of feeding animals, weeding gardens, irrigation and more. U-pick gardens and a produce stand are also open to the public. www.CanyonoftheAncients.com
Ranch Life Firsthand:
■ Smith Fork Ranch is a private luxury ranch nestled in Colorado’s North Fork Valley offering fly fishing, horseback riding, hiking and a unique farm-to-table experience. Smith Fork has a garden farmstead that provides the majority of the vegetables and herbs for the ranch meals. They also raise free-range chickens that provide farm fresh eggs. What is not grown on the ranch is brought in from local farms including meat, cheese and produce. The ranch also offers guided and unguided local farm and winery tours. www.SmithForkRanch.com
■ Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch is a historic working cattle ranch in the Rocky Mountain foothills near Estes Park. Activities include cattle drives, overnight pack trips, western riding instruction, scenic trail rides, fishing, hay rides and more. Many of the entrees served at Sylvan Dale include Heart-J Natural Beef, from their own herd of free-range steers. Visitors can also buy beef to take home. www.SylvanDale.com
■ Zapata Ranch is a 103,000-acre authentic working cattle and bison guest ranch located on the eastern wall of the San Luis Valley bordering the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve. Owned by The Nature Conservancy, vacations at the Zapata Ranch revolve around learning through experience, about real ranch life and the great outdoors. Zapata prepares meals with their grass-fed bison and beef and locally grown produce. www.ZRanch.org
■ Black Mountain Ranch is a full-service working guest ranch, dude ranch and cattle ranch located between Vail and Steamboat Springs. Stays include horseback riding, overnight pack trips, longhorn cattle drives, whitewater rafting, fly and spin fishing, rifle and trap shooting, archery, and a local rodeo. The cattle drives include moving the ranch’s herd of longhorns through the Colorado high country, roping practice and instruction and doctoring and branding the cattle. www.BlackMtnRanch.com
For more information on Colorado ranch stays, contact the Colorado Dude and Guest Ranch Association: www.ColoradoRanch.com
Colorado is a four-season destination offering unparalleled adventure and recreational pursuits, a thriving arts scene, a rich cultural heritage, flavorful cuisine, 26 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, 54 mountain peaks that top 14,000 feet and 12 national parks, monuments and historic sites. For more information or a copy of the 2011 Colorado Official State Vacation Guide, visit www.COLORADO.com or call 1-800-COLORADO. Media are invited to visit the Colorado Media Room at www.COLORADO.com/media-room for story ideas, press releases, press kits, and high-resolution, downloadable photos and video for editorial use. Follow Colorado on Twitter at www.twitter.com/colorado or become a Colorado Facebook fan at www.facebook.com/visitcolorado.