Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Summer Harvest

by Maggie Sefton


I don't know about you folks, but I am enjoying one of the greatest treats of
Summer----all the fresh fruit and veggies that are available during these months.  Yes, I know-----thanks to our fantastic food distribution network, we can enjoy practically all of these fruits and veggies during Fall, Winter, and Spring.  But nothing is as good----and I repeat----Nothing is as good as the fresh Summer Harvest of fruits and veggies that are grown in our local areas.

Colorado is lucky in that we have lots of areas where we can grow produce, but our Western Slope is the best.  The Western Slope is located on the western side of the Rocky Mountains.  Many of our Colorado cities are on the Eastern Slope----Denver, Fort Collins, Colorado Springs.  If you've ever driven west on Interstate 70 which crosses Colorado, you'll recall that you're gradually climbing, the road rising, after you've crossed over from Kansas.  And you will continue climbling long after you've passed by Breckenridge and Vail.  Finally you'll cross over the summit of the Rocky Mountains where the interstate is located and then. . . . you'll start going down.  That's why the Western Slope has more temperate climate and temperatures than the cities that are higher in altitude.  Temperatures drop as we go up the mountains.  :)

The temperatures on the Western Slope are perfect for growing produce and fruit.   Temps are milder and more temperate there.  That's why there are so many fruit orchards.  Peaches are delicious, so are the apples, and plums, and berries----and you can find a great variety in the local farmers' markets that are open all over Colorado.  In Fort Collins, we have Farmers Markets  on several days of the week starting in late Spring.

Plus, you can buy different produce and fruit from growers who do not use herbicides and pesticides.   Many of us are trying to make sure our food doesn't have any of those chemical substances on it.  Peaches, for instance, are fuzzy.  There's no way to scrub away chemicals sprayed on peaches.  So, some of us simply prefer to buy produce that is chemical free.  That's another benefit of buying from local Farmers' Markets.  You  can meet the actual growers.  Many growers use family and friends to work the vendors' boothes.

Do you have Farmers Markets in your area?   What are your Summer favorites?