The westslope of Colorado is to healthy and natural food what Napa Valley is to good wine.
It’s not just about the food, it’s about the experience. Our thriving local food system brings visitors from across the globe to enjoy our bounty, beautiful scenery, and outdoor activities. Biking, hiking, skiing, climbing, or just being, are there to enjoy in the vast open spaces that surround us. Something indescribable happens when we open ourselves to the beauty of nature. That is especially true here in western Colorado. From Escalante-Dominguez Canyon with its dramatic scenery, to Grand Mesa, the biggest flat top mountain in the world, you can cover over 6,000 feet of elevation in just an hour and a half drive. On a clear day you can see the San Juans of Telluride. On a clear night you can see the Milky Way as a bright splash across the sky. Whether on the mountain, in the canyon, or in downtown Paonia, nature speaks to you. To experience it you don’t even need to look up. You can just feel it. That indescribable feeling penetrates everything and everyone here. And yes, it’s in our food!
You’ll notice the slower pace, the smile and nod on the street, and the mindfulness in what folks do on the westslope. People here have a charm, a calmness, and a connectedness that is contagious. There’s a serenity that comes with spending time in the backcountry. If we’re not in it, it’s not far away. You can see it all around you. That kind of immersion does something to a person. I like to think that it brings out our more natural state – a state that comes from being in a place made for people, plants and animals, and not as much for cars and shopping. Here, wealth is defined more in terms of acres and shares of water than in dollars. Wealth is something you can dig your hands into, and it’s dark, rich, and damp. Your soil is your baby, and the land its cradle.