Alongside American famous agricultural destinations like Georgia and southern California, the tiny western Colorado town of Palisade is internationally known and loved for producing especially tasty peaches. Palisade’s many local farms and orchards deliver all manner of delicious stuff, from cherries to wine to sweetcorn, but peaches are uncontestedly what the area is most famous for.
What makes Palisade Peaches unique?
A palisade peach. Photo by: kara brugman
According to the palates of countless pear-lovers, Palisade peaches boast the ideal combination of sweetness, tartness, and juiciness. Many believe Palisade’s toasty summer days and cool nights create the perfect conditions for bringing out natural sugars in the fruit and for allowing them to reach an impressively large size.
These peaches are especially tasty when consumed in western Colorado or even on the Front Range because they’re picked exactly when they’ve reached peak ripeness. Compare that to fruit that’s harvested early in order to withstand however long it takes to travel from orchards to grocery stores, and Palisade peaches win every time.
Long before peach trees and white settlers called modern-day Palisade home, Ute Native Americans lived in the area for centuries until they were forced from their land in 1881 by the US Government. A year later, a settler named John Harlow planted a garden and fruit trees in the Grand Valley.
Basket of peaches grown in Palisade, Colo. Photo by: Lauren Brown
The garden thrived, but due to a misjudgment about how much rainfall the area received, the fruit trees didn’t make it. However, the next season Harlow didn’t make the same mistake twice, and the fruit trees flourished with adequate watering.
Those initial peach, apple, and pear trees that were established became the foundation for the area’s first orchards. Word began to spread about Harlow’s delicious Palisade peaches in the 1890s, a western Colorado culinary staple was born.
What season can you buy Palisade Peaches
Palisade peaches for sale. Photo by: Paul Swansen
Palisade peaches are grown throughout the summer and are harvested from late June through October 1st. The obvious best place to buy these natural delights is in the town of Palisade itself. However, most people in Colorado living along the Front Range Urban Corridor in cities like Denver and Boulder don’t have time for the 10-plus-hour drive it takes to make the round trip to get their peach fix every summer.
But, lucky for Coloradans, Palisade peaches typically have a robust seasonal availability in most grocery stores across the state. Because the fruit is harvested in the region there’s not much of a sacrifice in flavor. Having said that, buying a big basket of peaches straight from a produce stand in Palisade is a truly special experience that’s worth planning a road trip around.
Palisade storefront selling fruit. Photo by: Colorado Distillers Festival
In addition to peaches, there are loads of other excellent fresh produce available in the area, and it’s a part of Colorado that offers excellent natural beauty with fewer crowds to contend with compared to destinations closer to Denver.
Palisade peaches are addictively good, usually not too expensive, and are typically abundant in Colorado in the summer and early fall. During these complicated and trying times, they’re something all of us can get behind and enjoy.