Palisade peaches, Olathe sweet corn, Rocky Ford melons — Colorado grows a bounty of produce recognized nationwide. And, as anyone who has driven on the Eastern Plains can attest, we are a state that owes its heritage, at least in part, to hardworking farmers. While you can shop “Colorado Proud” in most grocery stores, you can also pick your own fruits and veggies.
There are a number of small farms and orchards near the Denver metro area (or at least within an hour’s drive). Here’s a list of those we found. Some offer a wide variety of product, others stick to one or two items such as pumpkins. Be sure to check each farm’s website for current availability, hours and days of operation, as well as special events, facilities and fees.
Berry Patch Farms — The 40-acre farm is Certified Organic. Pick-your-own is limited to strawberries, raspberries, currants, pie cherries, plums, basil, flowers and pickling cucumbers from June through September. All other produce they pick is available in the Barn Store. 13785 Potomac St., Brighton, 303-659-5050.
Nelms Farm — The early frost in 2017 means no apples this year. There is a large crop of Viking Red and Yukon Gold potatoes for digging with corn and pumpkins to pick. Farm is open the weekend before and weekend after Labor Day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Labor Day weekend. 5305 Orchard St., Golden.
Ya Ya Farm & Orchard — Fruit picking season is over for 2017. You can still pick vegetables and flowers from the gardens through November. You’ll find mint, oregano, basil, lemon balm, dill, cucumbers, squash, heirloom tomatoes, peppers, carrots, horseradish, turnips, peas, beans, kale, arugula and more. Open Tuesday to Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday & Sunday, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 6914 Ute Hwy., Longmont, 303-485-5585.
Hill’s Harvest/Jake Hill Farm — U-pick pumpkin patch opens last week in September. Free hay rides on weekends. Open through October 31. Monday to Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. 3225 E. 124th Ave., Thornton, 303-451-5637.
Rock Creek Farm — U-pick pumpkins, squash, gourds. Open September 30 to November 1 from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. 2005 S. 112th St., Broomfield, 303-465-9565.
Miller Farms — MHOTC Readers Favorite. Wide variety of vegetables including potatoes, carrots, onions, beets, Indian corn, squash, peppers, pumpkins and more. Open Labor Day through mid-November from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily. Adults (13+) are $20. Children (4-12) are $15. Cost of general admission allows each person to pick up to four (4) bags of produce each. If you pick over the 4 bag limit, each additional bag is $10 and if you don’t fill your four bags that is your decision – no refunds will be given. Admission includes activities, antique tractors, petting zoo, hay pyramid, plus the hayride that takes you to the fields to harvest. 13912 CR 19, Platteville, 970-785-6133.
Bartels Land and Livestock — The farm grows corn, hay, wheat and barley, but is known for its beautiful pumpkin patch and vegetable garden. Pick sweet corn, bell peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, zucchini, carrots, spinach, beets, eggplant and more. You may pick straight from the garden by making an appointment with Nancy. Open mid-June to November. 4400 Giddings Rd., Fort Collins, 970-493-3853.
Fossil Creek Farms — Picking season is mid-June to mid-October. Available: apples, asparagus, beets, bell peppers, broccoli, cabbage, carrots, eggplant, cucumbers, green beans, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, spinach, tomatoes, turnips, kale and more. You must call for an appointment. 7100 Silver Mist Ln., Fort Collins, 970-980-4096.
Masonville Orchards — More than 200 varieties of apples and pears. U-pick orchard is open weekends from Labor Day through Thanksgiving. Call ahead for dates and hours. 4545 Cobb Lake Dr., Fort Collins, 970-231-6399.