A ‘GROWING’ INDUSTRY
So you want to learn a little bit about what fruits, herbs and animals are raised here? Perhaps you’d like to get in there and sample your way across the Grand Valley, enjoying the produce from the labors of growers, ranchers and animal lovers who call this place home.
Then you’re in luck. There’s an abundance of agritour options that span from self-guided outings to hosted excursions tailored to your tastes.
Your journey could last an hour or so, for instance, popping into a winery and sipping the time away. Or maybe you’d rather wade through rows of lavender plants and go on an olfactory odyssey. Or, you could linger in your adventure, taking a long afternoon or days to bicycle around the orchards and farms that make up this valley.
Whatever your level of engagement, experiencing how products are made and interacting with the experts who work behind the scenes can create memories to last years.
“Coming to Palisade is a hidden gem in itself,” explained Melissa Kay, a spokeswoman for the Palisade Chamber of Commerce. “It’s not just the wineries. There’s so much more to do here.”
And here are some places to visit if an agritour is what you’re looking for. (And for even more extensive list, check palisadecoc.com.)
High Country Orchards, 3548 E 1/2 Road — Enjoy sweeping views of the Colorado River after you tour peach orchards, vineyards and the rose gardens. Visit the packing shed and take home some peaches, cherries or other locally-made products. Open June 15 through Aug. 15 with tours from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Large group tours by appointment only. No charge. (970-464-1150, highcountryorchards.com)
Z’s Orchard, 315 33 3/4 Road — A riot of flowers cheers up this picture-perfect orchard that boasts 17 varieties of peaches, raspberry patches and veggie gardens. Photographers and artists welcome. Shop for preserves, gifts and honey. The farm is open from mid-June to Oct. 1. Z’s Farm Market is open Saturday through Wednesday. Tours on Mondays at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. No charge. (970-261-5809, 970-434-6267, zsorchard.com/zo/)
Carlson Vineyards, 461 35 Road — Taste the winery’s range of wines then order a bottle to share in the shady backyard. Tour the historic fruit-packing shed. Open year-round, 10 a.m. to 5:45 p.m., seven days a week. No charge. (970-464-5554, carlsonvineyards. com)
Meadery of the Rockies, 3701 G Road — If you haven’t tried mead, this is your chance to experiment with flavors that may surprise your palette. Visit the state-of-the-art bottling facility and swing by the specialty gift shop. Open year-round. Tours are by appointment, Friday through Sunday with a minimum of 15 people. Groups of more than 20 people are $3 per person. (970-464-7899, meaderyoftherockies.com)
Sage Creations Organic Farm, 3555 E Road — Peruse a unique selection of organic herbs and come June and July, prepare to revel in the lavender. U-pick options available. Leave with any number of lavender products to refresh the mind and spirit. Open in May 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday. Open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. June through September. (970-623-9556, sagecreationsorganicfarm.com/)
Suncrest Orchard Alpacas and Fiber Works, 3608 E 1/4 Road — Learn about these unique animals and tour the fiber mill, experiencing how fiber is turned into yarn. Year-round tours, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday or by appointment. Tours last 1–2 hours. No charge. Call (970-464-4862, suncrestorchardalpacas. net)
Peach Street Distillers, 144 S. Kluge Ave. Building 2 — See the local fruit in action in as it wends through the distilling process. Distillery creates brandies, vodkas, gin and bourbons. Tours are a half-hour at 3 p.m. on Fridays from Memorial Day to Labor Day. No charge. (970-464-1128, peachstreetdistillers.com)