Summer in South Park means cool afternoon rains, hikes, fishing and stopping for Palisade peaches at roadside stands. This summer treat and tradition continues this year despite virus challenges and a big freeze that destroyed a good portion of the Palisade peaches in April.
Owner of Palisade Peaches and Sweets, Brian Wilson, is in his sixth year of business and has one peach stand in Hartsel and two in Fairplay.
Wilson says,“We pride our stands on selling the best product and having great customer service,” and he adds, “We sell organic Palisade peaches and a wonderful wildflower honey.”
Wilson also says they lost approximately 75 percent of the crop of peaches this year and all of the cherries and apricots What disturbs him is that other stands are falsely selling California fruits and claiming they are from Colorado.
“I feel if it isn’t a local Colorado product, you should not be selling roadside,” Wilson said.
Will Bishop, sales associate at the Hartsel stand, said, “Business has been pretty good this year.”
Roadside stand workers enjoy selling a fresh and popular product. However, they also contend with sudden rain and thunderstorms, strong winds, dust, and traffic which very often whips by a little too close for comfort.
“Colorado peaches are especially sweet and juicy. Plus, they are always freestone — meaning the pits separate easily from the fruit,” per the postbulletin.com website.
What is so special about Palisade?
Palisade, a town with a population of 2,793, is located in Mesa County close to Grand Junction and, per the Chamber of Commerce, is known as the wine and peach capital of Colorado.
“Palisade is perfectly nestled along the Colorado River as it emerges from DeBeque Canyon and is wedged between magnificent mountains and vistas offering breathtaking views every direction you turn,” the Chamber’s website states.
Palisade farmers appreciate the temperate climate and growing conditions, which are good for grapes, apricots, cherries, peaches and more.
Fairplay’s own Palisade Brandy
After enjoying roadside fruit in Fairplay, the Snitching Lady Distillery on Front Street offers an adult beverage with Palisade peaches, “Britton’s Peach Brandy.”
The SNL Distillery describes this brandy as follows: “Palisade peaches are world famous for their intense sweetness and rich favor, These peaches ferment each summer in the back of our tasting room before double distillation in our copper pot stills in memorial of our great friend Britton Greene.”