If you live in Colorado or if you're thinking about visiting, you might find Colorado Farm Fresh Directory useful. Published annually by the Colorado Department of Agriculture (CDA), the directory includes statewide listings of farmers' markets, food, wine and ag festivals, farm and ranch vacation destinations, a crop calendar, and more. The 2010 Farm Fresh Directory was just published. To entice you with Colorado's offerings, I'm interspersing this post with photos I took at the Boulder County Farmers' Market, Longmont, a couple seasons ago.
Historically to present, agriculture has made significant contributions to the Colorado economy generating $20 billion annually and supporting 100,000 jobs.
- More 80% of Colorado’s farms and ranches are family or individual owned.
- Most of the top 10 ag revenue generators are related to animal products (beef, dairy, grain for feed, eggs and poultry, lamb and pork), with some notable exceptions. Wheat is #3 and produce is #6.
- Many people may not think of Colorado as being suitable for fruit and vegetable production but producers know better. Comparing fruit and vegetable production by state, Colorado ranks 3rd in head lettuce, 4th in summer and fall potatoes, 5th in cantaloupe and onions, 6th in sweet corn, 7th in peaches, 8th in cabbage and pears, and 9th in edible dry beans.
In looking at these numbers, you might have noticed that our state's production and processing is not limited to local distribution. While the CDA encourages buying local, it also touts that "Colorado's produce is shipped throughout the US and to over 115 countries around the world." And CDA also notes Colorado is home to several prominent food and beverage brands with national and international distribution, including Celestial Seasonings, Coors, Engstrom's Toffee, Hot Pockets, Leprino's, New Belgium and Rudi's Organic Bakery.