The popularity of farm-to-table cuisine and knowing where your food comes from has had an amazing effect on farmers' markets in Colorado: They've grown in number rapidly. More than 100 of these locavore hot spots now dot the Colorado's cities, towns and roadways. They're a perfect opportunity to taste what's delicious about Colorado.
Colorado farmers' markets celebrate the state's beautiful growing heritage. From roadside stands to weekend destinations with music performances, food trucks and more, there's a celebration of the taste of Colorado nearly ever week of the year.
It’s Colorado’s cool nights and sunny days that make our crops, such as melons, corn, peaches, grapes, berries, squash and pumpkins, so fresh and full of flavor. At farmers’ markets, you’ll catch Colorado’s homegrown harvest at its best. See heat radiate off the dull black finish of Pueblo chile roasters, hear the pop of their seeds and smell the smoky aroma of charred pods. Palisade peaches sit near Rocky Ford watermelons, farm-fresh tomatoes lend their red hues to the booths and sweet corn is roasted in the husk for you to enjoy right on the spot. Be sure to visit a few markets, and as you do, keep an eye out for these favorites:
Palisade Peaches: There’s no question the words “Palisade” and “peaches” belong together. While the phrase itself sounds sweet, wait until you actually try the peaches from this Western Slope farm town (which also happens to be the heart of Colorado wine country). Sinking your teeth into the soft fruit will send sugary juices dripping down your chin and over your hands — but the small mess is worth the giant reward in flavor.
Rocky Ford Melons: Rocky Ford, in southeast Colorado, is one of America’s premier melon-growing towns. Often, when people think about the best slice of cantaloupe they’ve ever had, it conjures up images and memories of outdoor barbecues and family gatherings. Revisit the nostalgia in the Rocky Ford area or other farmers’ markets across the state, especially at stands along Hwy. 50 between, La Junta and Pueblo, where this fruit is even sweeter than your fondest memory of it. And don’t forget to sample the watermelon while in town. Whether you pick your own from the vine or stop at a roadside farm stand, Colorado melons are decidedly delicious.
Pueblo Green Chiles: In the southeast Colorado town of Pueblo, taste buds stand on end when visitors take a bite of the town’s special variety of green chiles, which can only be grown there. Hot, medium or mild, Pueblo’s chiles lend a little kick and a hearty flavor when eaten plain, mixed into an entrée or atop a tortilla chip. And if you think there’s a limit to what chiles can do, consider Pueblo’s flavorful concoctions, such as green chile jams and jellies, breads, stews — even beer. You’ll soon discover that whether they’re fire roasted, barbecued or baked, Pueblo green chiles kick anything up a notch or two.
Apples and Cider: The Front Range is dotted with orchards sprouting green, yellow and scarlet apples. In late summer, tree branches hang heavy with the shiny fruit. When the season comes to a close in autumn, cider mills churn out delicious apple cider. And nothing goes with a glass of fresh, sweet cider like scenery showcasing the area’s fall colors.
Olathe Sweet Corn: In the town of Olathe, situated near the western boundary of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park, some of the finest sweet corn in the nation is grown. Cobs grow heavy on the stalks in the area, and when tasted, the kernels seem to melt in your mouth. In fact, the corn here is so sweet and tender that using butter is only an afterthought.