First Fruits of the Season

In Colorado, spring is synonymous with wildflowers, but in Grand Junction that’s not the only vegetation that’s in blossom right now. Orchards are blooming with color as an array of fruit is in abundance. Apples, pears, grapes, apricots, berries, cherries, and of course peaches overflow at area fruit stands and farmers markets. Restaurants integrate locally grown produce into their seasonal menus.

Apricots, peaches, and cherries are the first fruits to arrive in the spring. Each budding flower is distinctly different, so it’s easy to tell them apart and know which soon-to-be fruit you’re looking at. While peaches are easy to distinguish from apricots and cherries, even from a distance, it will take a closer inspection to tell the apricot and cherry blossoms apart.

Palisade peaches are known for being sweet and perfectly juicy. During the warm summer months, it’s nearly impossible to visit a farmer’s market anywhere in Colorado without seeing a booth selling Palisade peaches. They start out as bright pink flowers and are easy to identify even from far away. From a distance, peach orchards blend into a vast sea of soft pink waves that look spectacular and become even more magical when you walk among them.

        Photo by @cora_lena_

While Palisade might be more known for wine and peaches, all the other produce that comes from the fertile soil is exceptional too, including apricots. While they might just look like miniature peaches, right down to the fuzzy skin, apricots have more of a tart taste to them. Apricot blossoms develop soft, pure white flowers that glitter in the sun. 

     Photo by @linda.robi2

Palisade’s plump and flavorful cherry blossoms also begin their life cycle with flowers somewhere in between peaches and apricots.  Light pink or white, or some combination of the two blended together, with red around the center.

Here are a few places where you can view the orchards and taste its bounty. Stop in at any of these local orchards to walk among the orchards and see the flowers up close. Remember to look, but don’t touch! What you see will soon develop into a delicious treat, a reward to look forward to.

Valley Fruit:

Located right off Elberta Avenue, the main road coming into Palisade from I-70, this little fruit stand replicates an old west town that’s full of charm. You can head west on G 7/10 road for rolling orchard and vineyard views on both sides.

Herman Produce:

Another shop located right off Elberta Avenue, Herman Produce is a bright pink building with a large FRUIT sign, making it easy to see as you’re coming down the road. While the actual shop doesn’t open until June, the expansive orchards are in bloom well before then and is a great place to pull off and feast your eyes upon the upcoming harvest.

McLean Farms:

Keep on heading down Elberta Avenue until you reach McLean Farms, known not only for their peaches but also for their peach ice cream. In addition to ice cream, their shop has sundaes covered with an assortment of fruit sauces, all made locally.