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Savoring the harvest in Colorado

LAKEWOOD, CO - JULY 18: A basket is prepared with freshly harvested vegetables at Everitt Farms on July 18, 2014 in Lakewood, Colorado.
LAKEWOOD, CO - JULY 18: A basket is prepared with freshly harvested vegetables at Everitt Farms on July 18, 2014 in Lakewood, Colorado.
Photo by Jason Bahr

It's all tied together. Great memories often involve great food. Great food can't exist without the best ingredients. The best ingredients usually come fresh from the harvest. In Colorado, there is a plethora of ways to savor the season's harvest, while enjoying the beauty of the Centennial State. Here's a rundown of the season's harvest festivals, farm tours, and farmers markets.

Festivals

Mountain Harvest Festival: September 25 – 28, 2014
The town of Paonia on the Western Slope covers all things of the harvest at their annual celebration with live concerts, farmers markets, beer and wine tasting, a chili cook-off, arts and crafts, and farm tours. The bounty from locally owned orchards, ranches and farms is the main attraction for revelers from all over the area. www.mountainharvestfestival.org

Chile & Frijoles Festival: September 19 21, 2014
The pride of Pueblo is featured at this event - a special, intensely flavorful variety of green chili. Served smoking on a stick, chopped and tucked into a quesadilla or sprinkled in salsa, it attracts foodies from all over. Cooking competitions, live music, dancing, arts and crafts, and a farmers market are also featured in the festivities. www.colorado.com/events

Applefest: October4 5, 2014
As you arrive in the small town of Cedaredge on the Grand Mesa, you'll pass row after gorgeous row of trees bursting with shiny red and green apples beckoning you to gorge on them. At Applefest, more than 150 vendors share the area's agricultural bounty with visitors, who can also check out a classic car and antique tractor show, bands, and more. www.cedaredgechamber.com/applefest/

Farm Tours

Discover the origins of your best dinner recipe ingrediants at these popular farm tours:

Berry Patch Farms, Brighton
Crops including apples, beets, carrots, garlic, onions, squash, and peppers are perfectly ripe. Meet the farm's chickens, ducks, and two pigs named Bacon Bits and Pancetta. www.berrypatchfarms.com

Aloha Organic Fruit, Palisade
Learn about conventional and organic farming as you stroll Aloha's peach orchards, see how the trees are irrigated from the Colorado River and shop the farm store. www.alohaorganicfruit.com

Jumpin' Good Goat Dairy, Buena Vista
Tour the dairy's facilities, spend some time with the goats, taste a wide assortment of cheese, watch the cheese-making staff at work, and even try milking. www.jumpingoodgoats.com

Farmers Markets

Here's a short list of the most popular farmers markets around Colorado:

Montrose Farmers' Market
Colorado Fresh Markets, Denver
Boulder and Longmont Farmers' Markets
Alamosa Farmers' Market
Cortez Farmers Market