Plenty of nuts, and just the right amount of pure maple syrup make this granola especially delicious

blacksquirrelstrawberryHave you ever purchased almond granola only to find a couple of nuts in the entire batch? Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola maker Natalie Sangviriyakul believes if the package claims to include nuts it should have more than one or two. Plus, she found store-bought granola to be too sweet. So she started making her own.

Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola is undoubtedly the best granola I have ever tasted. It’s great for breakfast – or any time of day for that matter. Lately my husband and I have been enjoying the crunchy protein-rich granola sprinkled on top of vanilla ice cream. It also makes great trail food.

Natalie turned her homemade granola into a business after making samples for a 2012 holiday fundraiser for her daughter’s preschool. “I got so many orders I was baking the entire month of November and December,” she says.

Because a lot of the granola sold at the school fundraiser was purchased as gifts, Natalie began getting emails from people she didn’t know who wanted to order more granola. Her husband suggested she start a business, and in 2013, Natalie began baking granola at a commercial kitchen in Denver.

“It was very unexpected – you never know where life is going to take you,” says Natalie, 39.

Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola comes in three different flavors: The original Maple Pecan Almond; Cherry Pistachio; and Blueberry Coconut. The name Black Squirrel is a “reference to all the nuts in my granola,” says Natalie. “There are three to four times more nuts than other granolas.”

Except for the Blueberry Coconut granola, which contains no tree nuts; that flavor was created for those who are allergic to nuts, says Natalie. Unlike some dried blueberries I’ve tasted, the berries in this granola are plump and chewy!

The Black Squirrel moniker is also a tie-in to Colorado. The name came to her while noticing black squirrels scampering around Rocky Mountain National Park.

Most commercial granolas are made with sugar – rather than the pure maple syrup that Natalie uses. Many store-bought granolas also include canola oil, which costs less but is inferior to the organic, extra-virgin coconut oil added to Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola. “Quality was more important to me than the cost,” says Natalie. “If you want a quality product, you have to put in quality ingredients. I eat it all the time!”

The fancy Four Seasons Hotel in downtown Denver serves Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola to its guests. “I targeted them because it is high-end,” and the hotel cares about quality, says Natalie. “They definitely believe in giving their clients the best, so they choose to work with a lot of local businesses.”

Black Squirrel Deluxe Granola is also available at Coloradocraftedbox.com, and in Telluride Gift Baskets. For more information or to place an order, visit: www.blacksquirrelgranola.com.

 

 

 

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Handcrafted all-natural skin care products are Smart By Nature

Denise Weaver cuts lavender to use in her natural body care products.

Denise Weaver cuts lavender to use in her natural body care products.

Denise Weaver grew up in a family who paid close attention to what they ate, so it’s not surprising that she would also care about the ingredients she rubs onto her skin, or applies to her lips.

In a studio above her log home on the Uncompahgre Plateau near Telluride, Denise spends time formulating skincare products using only the finest, all-natural ingredients, including plant oils and essences, natural pigments, seeds, sand, and flower petals. Her Smart By Nature body care business includes aromatic lotions, soaps, lip balms, body butter, shower gel, mineral body salts and body polish.

Denise carefully crafts unique blends of essential oils to create unforgettable fragrances. Her newest concoctions include a bar soap and lip balm that incorporates the sensual and soothing scent of chocolate – a well-known antioxidant. Both the Chocolate Handcrafted Body Bar, and Telluride Truffle Belgium Chocolate lip balm contain cocoa powder from Telluride Truffle – Telluride’s premier chocolate shop.

When naming her various soaps and other skincare products, Denise’s intention is to enlighten people to a plant’s particular healing qualities.

For example, lavender is widely known for its calming effects, but did you know verbena is also recognized for helping to reduce stress, and calm the mind? Thus, there’s Verbena Calm Handcrafted Bar Soap. Additional citrus-based soaps include Grapefruit Radiance, Lemon Clarity, Tangerine Bliss and Lemongrass Lift.

Other soaps with telling names include Sea Clay Purification, Eucalyptus Awakening, and Rosemary Revitalization.

Unlike some so-called “natural” products that might list a well-known ingredient and call it natural – Smart by Nature’s skin care items are truly all-natural. There are no dehydrating synthetic fragrances or detergents added. Instead, Denise uses moisturizing butters and plants’ pure essential oils.

When crafting her soaps, balms, and lotions, plant oils are heated minimally, and never above 120 degrees Fahrenheit. That’s to preserve the therapeutic properties of every drop of essential oil, each petal of flower, and every scoop of mango butter. She uses a seven-step cold process to create the bars that are cured for three to six weeks to allow them to naturally harden.

Working in her home studio surrounded by forest in the mountains of southwestern Colorado, Denise says it’s easy to stay connected to the earth. She follows earth-friendly practices by not using any petroleum, parabens or synthetic fragrances. Plants are ecologically harvested.

Additionally, FiberStone is used for packaging – a product made from stones, not trees; Water is heated, and electricity generated, from solar power.

The name Smart By Nature reflects Denise’s philosophy that nature is smart, and so are people who choose pure products that not only work and feel better on the skin, but also smell better than industrial-produced products. Plus, Smart By Nature products are never tested on animals.

Telluride Gift Baskets’ “Luxurious Relaxation and Spa Basket” is a wonderful collection of Smart By Nature products (http://bit.ly/1wjg4y1).

To see Smart By Nature’s full line of products visit: http://www.smartbynature.biz/ – Telluride Gift Baskets can put together a custom basket of whatever flavor of Smart By Nature product you desire.

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Our gift baskets include award-winning artisan cheeses

buzzed-angled-roostersBarely buzzed seems like an unusual name for a cheese until you learn that the rind of this artisanal cheese product has been hand-rubbed with coffee roasted in Grand Junction, Colorado – as well as lavender from the San Francisco Spice Company.

“It’s one of our most popular cheeses,” says Katie Schall, of Beehive Cheese Company, based in Ogden, Utah. “It put us on the map. We won our first national award from the American Cheese Society,” the artisan cheese industry’s leading trade organization.

The espresso rub gives the creamy cheese a toasty, roasted flavor with subtle hints of caramel and butterscotch!

Telluride Gift Baskets features two artisan cheeses from Beehive Cheese Company: the Barely Buzzed cheese, and Promontory, an Irish-style cheese – aged to a simple, straightforward rich-style cheddar. The Promontory won Gold Medal at the 2013 World Cheese Awards and Grand Champion at the 2013 Idaho Milk Processor’s Association competition.

Also from Beehive, and included in Telluride Gift Baskets are RUSK Crackers – twice-baked and loaded with dried cherries, rosemary, whole grains, seeds, nuts and honey. Delicious with Beehive’s artisan cheeses!

Beehive Cheese owners Pat Ford and Tim Welsh are brothers-in-law who sold other businesses in 2004, and jumped into the artisan cheese world in 2005, after taking cheese-making classes at Utah State University in Logan. They traded their “grinding commute and laptops” for quiet pre-dawn mornings carefully mixing and warming farm-fresh milk for hours to develop their unique cheese. The Beehive Cheese Company is located at the mouth of Weber Canyon in a valley between the forested Wasatch Mountains in northern Utah.

Vegetarian-friendly rennet is used in all Beehive Cheese recipes.

The milk used to make their small-batch quality cheeses come from a single source, Wade’s Dairy – a fourth-generation dairy farmer 10 miles away from Beehive. “We’ve worked with them since the beginning,” says Katie. “It’s a great relationship.” The cows are never given artificial growth hormones (rBGH or rBST). In the event that a cow becomes ill, it is separated from the herd and treated. The cow is only reintroduced into the herd once her milk tests clear of antibiotics.

Beehive Cheese Company makes 12 different types of cheeses, including aggiano, apple walnut smoked, habanero promontory, and rosemary promontory. The word “Promontory” is significant to Utahans because of Promontory Point, Utah where the “golden spike was nailed in to join the two railroads,” says Katie. Hence, the name for Beehive’s base cheese.

Beehive cheeses are available nationwide, including most Whole Foods stores, and other natural foods or small cheese shops.

You can also purchase their cheeses at the retail shop connected to their Utah creamery. Fresh curds are available on cheese-making days, Monday through Wednesday, in the afternoon. Free samples are also given out daily.

And, of course, Beehive artisan cheeses can be found in Telluride Gift Baskets – along with other Rocky Mountain region artisanal foods.

To learn more about these delectable handcrafted cheeses, visit their web site: www.beehivecheese.com.

 

 

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Caramel Cookie Waffle named for a Dutch delicacy

 

Judy Boogman discovered the stroopwafel while visiting an open-air market in Holland where they serve the traditional Dutch caramel-filled cookie fresh, hot off the griddle.

In her native Montana, Judy, along with her Dutch-born husband Jan Boogman, built a business around the caramel waffle cookie after experimenting with ingredients to replicate the closely guarded recipe from Holland.

With the help of Jan’s brother Han, the Boogmans, both schoolteachers, began to bake and sell the Dutch delicacies during summers at various festivals and fairs. Han, who apprenticed with a baker in Holland, brought the couple a traditional hand waffle iron for their wedding.

Children would approach their food truck asking for the “caramel cookie waffle” – hence its English name. “We just started calling them that,” says Judy.

“We kept making more and more of them and it evolved into a small café and bakery. The Caramel Cookie Waffle Bakery and Café opened in Billings in September, 1987, four years after they began selling the cookies at summertime events.

Luckily, you don’t have to travel to Holland – or Montana – to try these Dutch treats. The caramel cookie waffle is one of the Rocky Mountain region treats you’ll find in gourmet gift baskets from Telluride Gift Baskets. While Judy noted that a few places in North America have begun making a version of the cookie, the vast majority are imported.

The cinnamon and vanilla cookies are cooked on a waffle iron griddle over a gas-flame. When the waffle is done it is cut in a perfect circle, then sliced thin – about a half-inch thick. The warm, homemade caramel is then placed in the center, sandwiching the wafers together – “They’re good even without the caramel,” says Judy.

During the holiday season the Boogmans are baking every day, sometimes twice a day. “We get a lot of gift orders,” says Judy. The cookies are hand-packaged and only a few are made at a time.

At their Caramel Cookie Waffles Bakery and Café the Boogmans serve an array of soups made from scratch, sandwiches, quiches, their own fresh baked bread and pastries. The caramel cookie waffle is a staple of the menu.

“The cookies are part of the lunch special,” which also includes a cup of soup, customer’s choice of lunch pastry and drink, says Judy.

If you’re thinking of giving a unique gift basket for any occasion, check out Telluride Gift Baskets – and look for one featuring the delicious caramel cookie waffle.

For more information check out www.caramelcookiewaffles.com

Enjoy a caramel waffle cookie with a good cup of coffee - both from Telluride Gift Baskets

Enjoy a caramel waffle cookie with a good cup of coffee – both from Telluride Gift Baskets

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Colorado rancher raises native grass-fed elk

When Jim Carver was a kid growing up in western Colorado, he’d stop at the local market on the way to school, where, during elk season hunters would bring their meat to be processed. Carver remembers seeing the huge antlers in the back of their pickup trucks. “Hunters were looking for their trophy animals,” recalls Carver. “It’s not the same out in the wild as it used to be. You do not see the same quality.”

That’s because hunters would seek to kill the biggest bull in the forest, thus, depleting the genetic pool, says Carver, who, along with his wife Joyce, raise grass-fed elk on their ranch southwest of Montrose, Colorado. The elk graze on 100 acres of open pasture; On another 200 acres Carver grows alfalfa hay to supplement their diet.

Carver sought early on to raise animals humanely, and in such a way that didn’t deplete the stock.

“That’s why I’m in the business – to grow a better animal with better genetics than its mother. When I see a good herd bull, I protect it,” says Carver.

Colorado Elk and Game Meats are sold in mom and pop grocery stores and natural food shops nationwide. His sausages and meat snacks made from elk and buffalo can be found in unique gift baskets – along with other hand-crafted food items.

Carver’s sausages and various dried meat snacks are among the Rocky Mountain region artisan foods you’ll find in Telluride Gift Baskets – gourmet food baskets packed in Colorado and shipped all over the world.

While he raises the elk himself, Carver buys the buffalo from people he knows in Colorado, North and South Dakota, and Kansas. The Carvers produce a full line of steaks, ground elk, ground buffalo, dried elk and buffalo jerky, meat snack sticks, and summer sausage. Their kippered elk steaks are flavored with pepper, teriyaki or a honey-glaze.

When Carver first started selling his elk meat to shops in the mid-1990s, people were afraid it might have a “gamey” taste, says Carver. His meat doesn’t have that strong flavor due to a consistent diet of pasture grass and hay throughout the year, says Carver. He give his animals grain-based, fortified pellets on rare occasions when temperatures drop below 20 degrees Fahrenheit and the elk need the energy.

Carver, 60, says he began raising elk to reduce stress in his life. “Being around animals helped,” he says. He tries his best to eliminate the animals’ stress when they’re being transported for slaughter. Unlike large commercial operations his animals are unhurried, and given plenty of time to walk off the trailer and cool down. Spooked animals release stress hormones and adrenalin – which affects the taste and quality of the meat.

For more than a decade, through Operation Sweet Tooth, Colorado Elk and Game Meats has donated and sold at a discounted price, meat snacks to troops overseas.

You can find Colorado Elk and Game Meats in Telluride Gift Baskets’ “Best of the Southwest Gourmet Basket” and “Colorado Gourmet Basket.”

 

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The Magic of Chocolate

It is my sincere belief that there are few things in life better than chocolate. It is perhaps only rivaled by skiing the trees on a two-foot powder day. Better yet is coming home from that powder day, your legs burning, face and fingers slightly frozen, and thawing out in front of the fire with our ‘Chocolot’ Basket, savoring the exquisite flavors of a Telluride Truffle.

Telluride Truffles

Telluride Truffles

A local favorite for gifts or an indulgent treat, Telluride Truffle has had an interesting road to success. When owner and chocolatier Patty Denny is asked how she got started making chocolates, she merely laughs and replies, “I always say chocolates found me.” Before chocolates found her, she was an actress in New York City, a high school drama teacher, and a ski school manager, among other things. Patty always loved baking, but when her friends told her she should sell the homemade truffles she brought to potlucks, she doubted it would work.

And Patty certainly had reason to doubt selling truffles would work – while living in Telluride, she had seen two chocolate stores go out of business. The small resort town of Telluride presents some unique challenges to entrepreneurial success such as high rents, an economy dependent on snow, and about four months of off-season. According to Patty, to live and work here, “you have to have a passion for this place.”

Telluride Truffles

Telluride Truffles

Patty’s passion for Telluride clearly influences her company. She thinks of the truffles as an expression of living in the mountains, right down to the chocolate’s triangular, or one could say mountain-like, shape. With truffle names like First Tracks (milk chocolate flavored with Chambord) and Snowcapped (dark chocolate outside, white chocolate inside, and flavored with Myer’s Rum), it’s obvious where her inspiration comes from. If you ask her why she puts liquor in her truffles, Patty will jokingly tell you, “I’m Irish, we put liquor in everything!” (Although she does manage to overcome her natural instincts in order to produce several truffles without liquor.)

Once she finally took the plunge and started selling the chocolates, her success took her by surprise. When first starting out, Patty thought her market would be just skiers and mountain locals. Little did she know that her market would soon grow to include foodies and gourmands across the country who love the truffles for their superb flavors (flavors which are allowed to fully shine, undimmed by preservatives or waxes). Telluride Truffle has been featured on Food Network and Patty now sends orders as far away as the New York Met.

Different flavors of Telluride Truffles

Although she’s come a long way from making truffles for potlucks, the job continues to challenge her. She is currently seeking new ways for the company to grow while staying true to the perfect chocolate people have come to expect. Making gourmet chocolate isn’t easy, but Patty believes there’s a magic to getting it right. With a Telluride Truffle melting in your mouth and the mountains rising above you, you might just believe in magic, too.

Look for Telluride Truffles (as well as hot chocolate and chocolate bars) in our Buzz Gift Basket, Colorado Gourmet Basket, and Highlights of Telluride Basket, to name a few.

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It’s All About the Fruit

When picking through the treasures in one of our gift baskets, it’s a real treat to discover fruit snacks from 6350’ Natural Foods. These fruit snacks are more portable than fresh fruit, so they’re great for hiking or eating on the go, they’re made with whole fruit so they retain more vitamins and minerals, and they contain only two to three ingredients – a stark contrast to the commercial fruit snacks seen in grocery stores today which are loaded with added sugar and might not even contain real fruit in the laundry list of ingredients.

Real fruit is what Bill Manning is passionate about. As the founder of 6350’ Fruit Snacks, he should be – but it goes well beyond your average love of the perfect fresh peach or ripe strawberry. As a former organic fruit farmer (his farm Kiva Orchard was located in Canyons of the Ancients National Monument in Southwest Colorado), he made a commitment to growing “fruit with flavor.” He loved the farming lifestyle and the delight one of his flavorful peaches could bring someone.

Packing Line at Kiva Orchard

Packing Line at Kiva Orchard

What Bill didn’t like was seeing his second grade of fruit, or number two fruit, go to waste. Number two fruit is any fruit that is overripe, has a cosmetic blemish, or is too small to sell to grocery stores. It is otherwise still good, tasty fruit, just unfortunately not sellable. Knowing firsthand how hard it is to make a living farming while seeing perfectly good fruit go to waste gave Bill an idea to create a product from that fruit. In his words, “being able to make use of what is largely a waste product seems like the right thing to do.” And so the seed for 6350’ Fruit Snacks was sprouted.

Ryann displays the different flavors of 6350' Fruit Snacks

Ryann displays the different flavors of 6350′ Fruit Snacks

The company stays true to Bill’s principle of sustainability by sourcing fruit from growers on the Colorado Plateau (the mean elevation of which provides 6350’ Fruit Snacks with its name), and by producing the snacks in Grand Junction in order to be close to growers. By providing these growers with an alternate revenue stream, 6350’ Fruit Snacks helps sustain regional farming operations. Bill understands having a passion for growing, “but at the end of the day, you have to make the economics work.” It would seem that Bill has found his calling helping other farmers in his community make it work.

Delicious Orchards, Hotchkiss, Colorado, apricot supplier for 6350' Fruit Snacks

Delicious Orchards in Hotchkiss, Colorado, apricot supplier for 6350′ Fruit Snacks

Community is something Bill Manning is also passionate about. Not only is 6350’ Fruit Snacks bringing together growers from rural areas, creating jobs, and circulating money in small towns, but Bill says growing fruit and making fruit snacks have brought him into circles of community he never anticipated. He delights in telling a story about attending a dinner party at the home of food writer Deborah Madison in Santa Fe. When he was introduced to a fellow guest as Bill-Manning-who-owns-Kiva-Orchard, the guest excitedly replied, “Oh, you’re the peach guy!” Bill recounts that, “suddenly you’re a rock star. But it wasn’t about me, it was about the fruit.

Kiva Orchard Peaches

Kiva Orchard Peaches

6350’ Fruit Snacks also focuses on the fruit. Real, whole fruit grown right here on the Colorado Plateau. But in focusing on the fruit, the company connects to people. One of Bill’s greatest joys in making fruit snacks is that he is linked to people near and far that value what he is doing. To be sure, he is linked to the growers whose waste product he turns into revenue, the employees who work in the production facility, and the countless people who enjoy 6350’ Fruit Snacks. From grower to consumer, it’s all about the fruit. And maybe the connections we make along the way as well.

6350’ Fruit Snacks can be found in our Snackalanche, Festival, and Picnic Baskets, among others.

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The Story Behind the Chips

At Telluride Gift Baskets, we seek out products as unique as the mountains we call home. This means collecting the hard to find, the locally made, the specialty, artisanal, and gourmet to fill our gift baskets. All the suppliers we work with pour their hard work and passion into their product, crafting something deeply personal. Something with more of a soul than a big brand product could ever have. These are the types of companies with a great story behind them.

The Chip Peddler is one of these companies – a company with passion and a great story that we would love to share with you. The Chip Peddler’s potato chips and tortilla chips are made in Durango, Colorado in small batches with ingredients sourced as locally as possible and we are proud to offer them in our gift baskets.

The Chip Peddler

The Chip Peddler

The Chip Peddler’s story started in 2010 with Neil Hannum’s admiration for the brewing industry and other local food producers in Durango. He decided that chips could fill a niche in the market while complementing these other local projects. Thinking local got Neil started, and he has continued to make it a cornerstone of his business. The Chip Peddler uses potatoes sourced from Alamosa, Colorado and corn from the Ute Mountain Ute’s farm in Southwestern Colorado.

The Chip Peddler not only sources locally, but gives back locally as well, donating product to local food banks and kitchens. According to Neil, “buying locally produced food is not only healthier than food shipped for thousands of miles, it also keeps your dollars in your neighborhood to be spent again.” It’s clear that Neil’s passion for supporting his community goes into every bag of chips he makes.

The Chip Peddler at work

The Chip Peddler at work

Take a look at the Chip Peddler’s blog, and it’s also clear that Neil’s commitment to buying local is just one passion that has influenced his business. Biking features prominently on the site – you can find pictures of Neil’s latest bike ride, coverage of biking events the Chip Peddler has sponsored, or pictures of Neil peddling his chips around town on a bike-and-trailer combo he sometimes uses for deliveries, giving the company its name.

But the influence biking has on the Chip Peddler is much more than a name. One of the founding principles of the Chip Peddler is to give back to two wheel sports. In Neil’s words, “fusing the passion of two wheels and business makes it easier to focus on the task at hand while not getting too overwhelmed at the length of the journey. Each take a certain amount of commitment and then you must trust your decision and ride it out.”

The Chip Peddler peddling his wares in Telluride, Colorado

The Chip Peddler peddling his wares in Telluride, Colorado

The Chip Peddler is certainly riding on an interesting journey right now. Plans for the future include working on fine tuning the product and production facility, trying to get the chips into new markets, and dreams of solar panels and a biofuel conversion kit for the delivery truck. With Neil’s commitment to making a quality product and contributing to a strong local community, we are excited to see how the Chip Peddler’s story continues to unfold. Or perhaps we should say, continues to spin…

Look for the Chip Peddler’s chips in our Snackalanche Basket, Powder Day Basket, and Best of the Southwest Gourmet Basket, among others.

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On The Trail of Great Food

Spring. While my mind and body slowly warm up after a long winter, I wonder what artisanal food treasurers I will be fortunate enough to stumble across this season.  Our food system is a complicated thing of, hmmm … beauty?  Yes, that feels like the right word, warts and all. It nourishes us across the spectrum of our social relationships as well as our bodies. Highlights of the last few weeks for me include my son’s college graduation party, a dear friend’s memorial service, a visit to another friend’s farm this past Sunday afternoon where, as it turns out, they were butchering heritage breed turkeys to make way for the looming full tilt scramble to plant their market garden.  All of these events were deeply connected to the shared experience of food in one form or another.

I am a passionate eater, ever in search of interesting and complex flavors. My talent lies less in the kitchen (although I did make a caramel bread pudding with a pecan praline topping for my son’s graduation party that turned out pretty well) and much more in the sometimes feverish realm of “I wonder what this tastes like …. “.  This lead me to try fruit and vegetable farming (rich in so many ways but not economically sustainable in the new world of climate change), value added production using our second quality fruit and vegetables, and most recently, a wide ranging search for The Best Artisanal Foods in the Rocky Mountain Region.

And through it all I have spent a lot of time thinking about some of the strengths and weakness of our food system. As this blog goes forward I want to share some of the things I have learned and some of the ongoing artisanal treasurers I am turning up as I poke around Off The Beaten Path.

 

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From Farm to Jar, Artisanal Food in the Making

Although we have been swimming in an ocean of industrial food for all too many years, I am also aware of the rising tide of the last 15 years that has brought us exponential growth in farmers markets across the country. In the curling crest of the wave is an ever increasing array of artisanal food producers.  Some are farmers who have targeted value added products from the start (think of the explosion across the country of artisanal cheese production in recent years), others are farmers finding their way to value added products to turn a waste product into something saleable and add to their overall revenue stream, and a third major pathway originates from the non farm culinary side of the food equation.

I used to grow fruit and vegetables on 40 acres which was dominated by 9,000 fruit trees, mostly peaches; our farm was off the grid in Canyon of The Ancients National Monument in Southwest Colorado.  Slowly but steadily we built a very loyal following for our “Fruit With Flavor” peaches, in Colorado, New Mexico, and Arizona. Other than being fruit, it shared nothing in common with the industrial “green rocks” from California.  I knew we were on to something when, at a dinner party at the home of the food writer and chef Deborah Madison in Santa Fe I was introduced to another guest, who was very pleasant, but when the introduction added I was the owner of Kiva Orchard, the warmth of the response ratcheted up about 10 fold with “Oh, you’re the Peach Guy!”  It didn’t really matter who I was, only my connection to the orchard.

OK, so far so good, but as a grower you live or die over the six weeks of harvest, and then … what?  Early on as I watched perfectly good second quality fruit that could not go to the fresh market because of a cosmetic blemish or that was tad too ripe being dumped back into the orchard as fertilizer, I thought, “this is crazy, we have to find a use for this fruit”.  This set in motion the search for a product we could develop to make use of the “waste product”.  I wasn’t a chef, and I knew nothing about creating recipes for value added products, but whatever might come of the impulse – and jam seemed like a logical direction to pursue, I wanted it to be the best it could be. I knew our fruit was world class and I wanted any shelf stable product with our name on it to best the best it could be.

Talk about grabbing the tiger by the tail. I never imagined the chain of events this intention would set in motion. But more about that another time.

 

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