Colorado produce is coming into its prime! Nothing makes us happier than taking a trip to our local farmers’ market and seeing summer’s bounty. While almost any local produce is better than conventional produce shipped in from a place far away, there are a few cherished local gems that have a special place in our hearts. Let’s explore these local favorites and just what makes them a Colorado-grown standout star.
Pueblo, Colorado | Mosco Pepper
Sure we all know New Mexico has made the green chile famous, but bowls of green chili (as in the Mexican stew) help put Denver dining on the map. Since 2005, we have been growing chilies that rival the New Mexican Hatch. The Pueblo Moscow Pepper is largely to thank for Colorado’s signature dish. Hot days, cool nights, and a lengthy growing season make this spicy fruit an ideal crop for the relatively high elevation of the area. For this reason, the special Mosco seed has been adapted specifically for the Arkansas River Valley area in Colorado. This pepper is different (and some say better than the New Mexico Hatch) due to its thick walls and higher pungency. They are slightly spicy, and are a favorite pepper to roast because of the fruit’s thickness that won’t break down over high-heat.
Corn is hands-down summer’s favorite vegetable, although the food is technically a grass. Olathe Corn is named after its hometown on Colorado’s fertile western slope. Beginning in July the famously sweet corn hits shelves and just as quickly flies off them. Olathe corn was brought to the area by a farmer named Dave Galinet who was trying to rebuild the area after it fell on difficult times when demand for the sugar beet and barley crops had diminished. Dave decided that the area’s long hot days and cool nights were ideal growing conditions for his corn crop. Soon he was proved right and Olathe began to bounce back with many successful corn crops. Olathe corn is known for its sweetness and unusual creaminess. It is one of America’s favorite varieties to eat straight off the cob!
Rocky Ford Cantaloupe
While most of us picture fruits like melons growing in costal states, the Rocky Ford cantaloupe is a sweet exception. As the state fruit, the Rocky Ford cantaloupe has higher sugar content than most, making it sweeter and juicer. The melons have been popular since the 1800s when ambitious pioneer G.W. Swink saw growing potential in the Rocky Ford land. Soon after, his melons were famously shipped across the country and the rest is history! The Rocky Ford area is known as an ideal growing climate thanks to its hot days, cold nights, volcanic soil, and snow melt run-off.
Palisade’s honey-like peaches put this little town on the map. Palisade peaches are a treat on their own with their luscious flavor and softer than the fruit’s usual flesh. Colorado peaches are so popular that there has been talk of replacing the cantaloupe with the peach as our state fruit. There are a few different varieties of Palisade peaches; most commonly known are the Redhaven and Allstar. Later season peaches, like the Glowhaven are often used for canning. Palisade peaches can also thank hot days and cool nights, fertile, peachy keen volcanic soil for their signature sweetness.
We want to know: What is your favorite locally grown food?