Things to do in September in Colorado

Content adapted from Bella Beckler – Uncover Colorado

Kick off the fall season with fun September activities in Colorado.

1. See the fall colors.

Snow-capped mountain peaks are the backdrop for the state’s breathtaking golden aspens. Higher elevations begin to change in late August and the show lasts into early October. Favorite spots for viewing include Kebler Pass, Kenosha Pass, San Juan Skyway, Boreas Pass and Golden Gate Canyon State Park.

2. Go apple picking.

Prime picking season is near the end of September and is a great family activity. Farms and orchards near Denver include Happy Apple FarmBerry Patch FarmsNelms Farm, and Ya Ya Farm and Orchard.

3. Sample chiles and weigh-in on the hot debate.

Settle the long-standing debate between pueblo and hatch green chiles. September is host to the annual the Chile & Frijoles Fest in Pueblo, where you’ll sample mild, medium and hot varieties.

4. Listen to elk bugling.

The town of Estes Park and Rocky Mountain National Park play host to herds of Colorado elk. September is mating season and the male elk vie for female attention. Males shed their velvet to sharpen their antlers for battle and their bugling calls can be heard for miles.

5. Visit a pumpkin patch.

Colorado farms are open to the public for some old-fashioned harvest fun. Bring the family for pumpkin picking, corn mazes and farmer’s markets. Cottonwood Farm in Boulder, Anderson Farms in Erie, Miller Farms in Platteville, and Long Neck Pumpkin Farm in Colorado Springs.

Ten Farmers Market Tips the Vendors Wish You Knew

Photo by Boulder Colorado USA, Content adapted from Jacqueline Weiss – Taste of Home

Looking for fresh produce but unsure about shopping at a farmers market? Here are the inside secrets from the vendors.

1. Take a Lap.

Walk the whole market and check out what’s there before you buy, then double back to make your purchases. You may find a booth hiding in the back that you would have otherwise missed.

2. Leave your pets at home.

The farmers market is a bustling scene where Fido and Spot can easily get stepped on. Many markets don’t allow pets and a hot car is never an option as a last minute kennel.

3. Bring cash.

While many markets utilize smartphone apps to process credit card payments, these apps generally have fees that can put a dent in the farmers’ income. Offering small bills always buys you extra gratitude!

4. Don’t negotiate.

Producing locally grown, sustainable (meaning: fair wages, diverse crops, holistic pest and weed management, organic certification, etc.) costs a little more. How farmer’s make their living should be respected, not negotiated. Instead, find ways to save money in the kitchen by buying in bulk and canning or freezing.

5. Bring a bag (or ten!).

Many vendors will have plastic bags but they certainly appreciate it if you provide your own. It’s better for the environment and easier on the farmers. Plus, we can hook you up with great recycled cotton, reusable bags Mother Nature would approve of.

6. Talk to the farmers.

Vendors always enjoy questions about their processes and products. Don’t be afraid to engage and learn about where your food is coming from. Taking the time to find vendors who closely identify with your values will help you learn who to skip next time.

7. Know what’s in season.

If you pre-plan your shopping list to only suit your menu, you might miss the best buy of the day. Don’t be afraid to go off-script and enjoy produce at it’s peak. HINT: download the ‘Colorado Farm Fresh Directory’ to see the list of seasonal foods on it’s back cover.

8. Buy more than just produce.

Farmers markets also offer fresh cuts of meat, eggs, juices, flowers, honey and so much more! Think about how you can do more of your grocery shopping to support local producers.

9. Try local specialties.

Markets are the perfect place to pick up new ingredients that you wouldn’t find at the local store. You’ll be amazed at the difference in flavor that comes from buying fresh fixings from your own neighborhood compared to what you’d find at the store.

Lastly… Know where and when to go.

The good folks at the Colorado Department of Agriculture have prepared a comprehensive guide for all things farm-fresh. Enjoy!