Palisade peach growers to celebrate the fruits of their labor
for The Fence Post
Peach Festival Activities:
Feast in the Field
Peach Jam Stage
Peach Orchard Tours
Ice Cream Social
Peach Eating Contest
Biggest Peach Contest
Peach Recipe Contest
BBQ Throwdown and Peach Cuisine Tips
Palisade’s Peach Festival is celebrating its 50th year and 125 years of peach growing. On Aug. 17-18 at River Bend park in Palisade Colo., the Palisade Chamber of Commerce will hold its annual Palisade Peach Festival. It is a tradition rich in flavor, that is filled with good food, fun-filled activities and lots of local spirit (some present and some from the past).
“We are enjoying and celebrating the fruits of our labor,” said Juliann Adams, executive director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce.
It’s all about the peach and peach mania will ensue. There will be peach ice cream, peach cobbler, grilled peaches and peach Gazpacho. There will be a peach eating contest, the biggest peach contest, peach cuisine tips and a peach BBQ throw down as well as a peach feast in the field and peach orchard tours. It’s a celebration of the peach and the whole town will participate from the parade to serving peach ice cream at the ice cream social.
From its conception, Palisade’s history has been about the art of growing fruit. In the early 1880s, John Harlow began farming at Rapid Creek and in 1883 had the first successful fruit crop. In 1886, Harlow had the most prosperous fruit farms in the area. Their peaches were a brilliant color, better than those found in California or the southern United States. Then in the prohibition years grapes were prohibited and the peach became the main crop of the fragrant, fertile and panoramic valley. Palisade peaches were shipped to President William Taft and in the 1940s to the World’s Fair in Chicago.
A micro climate makes Palisade unique and perfect for growing peaches. The high desert climate with hot days and cold nights brings out the sugar in the peaches to make them sweeter and juicier than other peaches grown in the U.S. The winds that move through the DeBeque Canyon are compressed and are warmed to aid in preventing frost in the spring. Local farmers call these winds, “the billion-dollar breezes.”
The ice cream social kicks off the festival on Thursday night (Aug. 16) hosted by the Town of Palisade. Employees of the Palisade Police and Fire Department will serve peach ice cream to the crowd. This summer treat is a local favorite and usually gets a good turn out from the people of Palisade.
During the Peach Orchard and Farm Tours you will meander through apple and peach orchards and lavender fields. Some of the orchards you visit have been in the valley for five to six generations. You can taste wines from the vineyards, ride in an old-fashioned horse-drawn wagon and observe how the peaches are packaged with care.
Adams said that the Feast of the Field is her favorite activity at the festival. Long tables are decked out with table cloths in the middle of an orchard. There are twinkly lights in the trees and the table is elegantly set for a gourmet meal with family-style seating.
“It’s just magical.” Adams said. “I just like that whole ambiance.”
Whatever fun-filled activity you decide to participate in or delicious treat to indulge in, a good time will not be hard to find. Enjoy Palisade’s history of peach growing with its unique geography, and an action-packed weekend of peach infused entertainment, but don’t forget to delight in a perfect Palisade peach.
— Hall is a freelance writer from Platteville, Colo., when she’s not writing she is riding her horse in the mountains. She can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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