While Colorado is not particularly known for its fruit production, Grand Junction is the exception. With hundreds of acres of peach, apricot, apple, cherry and pear orchards, this high-desert destination on the western side of the state is considered the fruit capital of Colorado. The most famous sought after of all the fruits is the Palisade peach. They have a unique blend of tart, sweet, and succulent juices. During peach season, area restaurants create specialty offerings include peach pizza, peach cocktails, peach salad, and of course, peach deserts of all kinds.
If you want to create your own tasty masterpiece, after visiting one of Grand Junction’s local orchards, here are some of the best Palisade peach recipes, as well as a little bit of history on how these fruit trees made their way to Grand Junction.
Palisade Peach Season
Fruit trees were planted in the Grand Junction area in 1881 by a settler named Jon Harlow. By 1890, Harlow’s fruit trees had become a staple, and have blossomed into what is now some of Colorado’s most beautiful orchards.
Peaches in Colorado grow during the summer months and are harvested at the end of June through the beginning of October. Many local grocery and farm stores in Grand Junction sell Palisade peaches directly from the orchards. If you’re visiting other locations in Colorado, most grocery stores will also stock the delicious gems when peach season is in full swing.
Colorado Peach Orchards
Calvert's Colorado Peaches
A family-owned orchard in Grand Junction, Calvert’s Colorado Peaches is one of the best spots to find peaches. The owners start picking in August and sell the golden fruits right from their front yard. Be sure to try the Red Globe and Cresthaven varieties – they’re Calvert delicacies.
Fruit Basket Orchard
As one of the few places in Grand Junction where you can pick your own peaches, Fruit Basket Orchard is a must-visit location. The orchard’s motto is “pick, eat, repeat” and visitors are encouraged to get their hands on peaches, cherries, apricots, and raspberries. The orchard provides containers for you to fill to your heart’s content.
Bolton’s Orchards & Farm Market
Bolton's Orchards grows sun-ripened fruits and vegetables and is one of the only orchards in the Grand Junction area where you’ll find Royal Gala Apples alongside the peach groves. The views from the orchard are breathtaking, so be sure to stop and pose for the perfect selfie.
Once you have your peaches, you’re ready to head to the kitchen. Check out a few favorite recipes centered around this sweet Grand Junction staple.
Colorado Peach Cobbler
If you’re on the hunt for a dessert that’ll have everyone coming back for seconds, look no further than this classic peach cobbler made with juicy Colorado peaches grown in Grand Junction.
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- ¼ teaspoon Zesty Moose ground nutmeg
- 4 cups of fresh peeled peaches
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ⅓ cup cold butter
- 1 egg beaten
In a large bowl, mix the flour, sugar, and nutmeg. Next, stir in freshly picked and peeled peach slices. Grease an 11x7-inch baking pan and pour in the mixture. Set the pan aside and get started on your crumble topping.
For the crumble, mix sugar, flour, baking powder, and salt in a small bowl and start to incorporate small slices of butter until you get a crumb consistency. Stir in the beaten egg and spread the crumble across the peaches. Bake in the oven at 375° Fahrenheit for 35-40 minutes. Finally, serve it up with your favorite ice cream and enjoy!
Peach-Mustard Pork Chops
For all the master grillers out there, this sweet and savory peach-inspired recipe is perfect for a summer barbeque. Use Palisade peach jam to step this recipe up. Your taste buds will thank you!
- 4 (1 1/2-inch thick) pork chops
- Safflower or corn oil, for brushing
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Peach-Mustard BBQ Sauce:
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 2 tablespoons minced onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons cider vinegar
- 1/2 cup whole-grain mustard
- 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- 3/4 cup Palisade peach jam
- 1 tablespoon bourbon
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
In a saucepan, melt butter then add garlic and onion until translucent. Add vinegar and boil until almost completely reduced. Whisk in the Palisade peach jam and both mustards. Simmer and whisk until the jam melts. Remove from heat and pour in bourbon and salt.
Place a drip pan on one-half of the grill under the grates. Heat the side without the drip pan to high heat. Brush pork chops with oil and season with salt and pepper and let rest for 15 minutes. Begin grilling pork chops over the heated side until brown on both sides. Move them to the drip pan side and brush with the Peach-Mustard BBQ sauce. Cook covered while turning and brushing with sauce every 5 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Then let rest for 10 minutes.
Bourbon Peach Smash
After spending a day exploring the outdoors, there’s nothing better than a cool refreshing cocktail. Snag some bourbon from Peach Street Distillers or Clark & Co’s Distilling and get ready to kick back with a Bourbon Peach Smash.
- 1 oz brown sugar simple syrup
- ½ large peach diced
- 3-4 large mint leaves
- 2 oz bourbon
- Splash of ginger beer
Gently muddle mint leaves, simple syrup, and peaches in a cocktail shaker. Don't over-muddle or the mint will become bitter. Next, add your bourbon and fill the shaker with ice. Shake until the ingredients are combined and well-chilled. Strain into an ice-filled rock glass and top with ginger beer. For an added flair, garnish with a peach slice and fresh mint sprigs.
For more ways to experience the farm-fresh flavors of Grand Junction, check out the Official Grand Junction Visitor Guide.