Palisade peach crops are better than ever

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PALISADE, Colo. The Palisade peach is arguably the most famous fruit in Mesa County and some say this summer's crop is better than ever before.

The cooler weather slowed down the ripening process by about two weeks giving the peaches more time to get bigger, sweeter and develop a better color.

Last years early spring freeze wiped out much of the peach crop - and there was some thinning earlier this summer as well - but Farmer Bob at Alida's Fruits says they're in the clear now with a full crop.

That being said, it wasn't always easy to deal with, "It's a beautiful harvest but we like to pull our hair out waiting on it."

Farmer Bob said the secret to the Valley's favorite fruit is in the sugar - there's actually more sugar in Palisade peaches than any other in the world.

The soil, high elevation and climate stresses the peaches, which causes them to create the uniquely sweet flavor.

People from all over the state will get a chance to try them at this years Peach Festival.

The annual event celebrates the year's harvest. Last year 14,000 people went to Riverbend Park to get in on the fun, and officials at the Visitor and Convention Bureau expect to see big numbers with about 75% of lodging around the Valley full for the weekend.

"It's really a worth while place to go especially if you're not familiar with how to work with peaches there's all sorts of vendor booths and things like that it's just a really peachy time," said Barbara J. Bowman of the Visitor and Convention Bureau.

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