A tour of the High Country Orchards in the small town of Palisade, Colo., has a very rewarding ending. It’s fun to hop in one of the orchard’s tour wagons and take a cruise amongst more than 19,000 peach trees.

When the tram stops at the orchard’s edge you can see why so many locals choose this spot to exchange wedding vows. No doubt even the fruit trees enjoy the sweeping panorama before them as the landscape takes a precipitous dive into the Grand Valley where the mighty Colorado River ties a bow onto the whole gorgeous package.

As breathtaking as the scenery is, the thought of the sensory delight still to come causes the mouth to water! After the tour stops at the orchard’s state of the art processing and packaging center, it’s on to the tasty finale; the gift shop where owner Theresa High awaits with a platter full of just picked, perfectly ripened juicy peaches ready for sampling. This is no time to be concerned with etiquette; having the delicious peach nectar dribble down your chin is part of the experience!

Sitting nearby at the shop’s small desk, Theresa’s husband Scott hangs up the phone with a chuckle. An order to have a crate of peaches shipped has just come in, and it’s reinforced the notion that the Palisade area produces the best you can find anywhere. The order came from a place where they know a little bit about peaches – Georgia!

The peaches of Palisade are not exactly a secret. Located in Mesa County and just a dozen miles from Grand Junction, Palisade has been producing high-quality fruit for over a century.

The Palisade Peach Festival, held every August at Riverbend Park, celebrates the harvest with a long weekend of arts and crafts, music, games, vendor booths and of course, everything peach. Pies, ice cream, drinks and even fudge are just a few of the peachy goodies available to sample (or take home in quantity!).

During the festival many restaurants in Palisade feature a peach specialty, and some go completely peach-crazy like Inari’s Bistro (336 Main St., Palisade). The chefs at Inari’s whip up dishes like ceviche of Palisade peaches and jalapeno peppers and grilled swordfish finished with spicy Palisade peach salsa.

The city of Grand Junction hosts a downtown Farmer’s Market every Thursday night June through September, and it seems the whole town turns out for the event. This is no ordinary farmer’s market though; it’s more like a party as people dance to live music, scour the vendor booths for souvenirs of all kinds, gobble a wide variety of freshly prepared foods and marvel at over a hundred sculptures placed along Main Street. Adjacent businesses are open during the market too; step into Boomer’s nightclub if you want to rock ’n’ roll or maybe have an adult beverage.

One of the things that make the Grand Valley so great for growing produce is the area’s microclimate, wherein portions of the valley enjoy different weather conditions from the surrounding area. Wine grapes love the climate and local wineries are thriving. Two of the best are the Two Rivers Winery & Chateau in Grand Junction and Grande River Vineyards in Palisade.

Both places welcome you into their tasting rooms; at Two Rivers you can sample merlot, chardonnay, syrah, cabernet sauvignon and a delicious port. Two Rivers is also a bed and breakfast if you’d like to enjoy the atmosphere overnight.

The tasting room at Grande River Vineyards is similarly tempting, but the way to really have fun here is to come during one of their evening concerts. People bring their own lawn chairs, buy a couple bottles of wine and settle in for an open-air show featuring talented artists like the Denver-based soul singer Hazel Miller.

In total there are over 20 wineries in the region, and every September Palisade is the lucky host of the four-day Colorado Mountain Winefest.



For more information, visit palisadecoc.com and visitgrandjunction.com.