I’m basically a city girl and must admit I often don’t know a peach blossom from a pear blossom, but I know a pretty flower when I see one!
Springtime in Palisade is a natural spectacle not to be missed! One of the things that originally drew me to this area, was the prospect of being near the orchards that Palisade is famous for. These orchards start blooming in April and produce their succulent fruit by August: In some cases, even sooner. Cherries, for instance, will be ripe in mid-June, just as the Lavender is also in full bloom, probably right around the summer solstice.
This year I got out early to photograph the blossoms on the fruit trees just as they were emerging but before we had a spring frost. These photos represent that very brief moment in time. We’ve had several nights of freezing weather this month since these photos were taken, and I have no idea at this moment how many of the blooms survived. In fact, as I’m writing this, on April 13th, we have a freeze warning in effect once again with temps predicted to be as low as 23 degrees some time tonight. We have one other night predicted to be below 40 degrees before the end of this month. This is the time of year when everyone around here struggles to keep their blossoms from freezing!
A few years ago, we lost almost the entire crop of peaches to an early spring freeze. The peach tree in my own back yard in Grand Junction produced nothing that year because of the freeze. Most farmers around here, so far anyway, don’t seem to think they’ve lost their whole crop, and I hope it stays that way! Fruit growing is the staple of Palisade, and of The Grand Valley in general. There’s plenty of other agriculture in the area, but peaches, pears, apples, and cherries form the backbone of Palisade’s economy.
People have been growing fruit here since the late 1800’s but they’ve had to learn how to work with the down-slope winds called katabatic winds – which drive colder air from the higher elevations to the lower elevations. Palisade sits right at the foot of The Rockies at about 4,700 feet in elevation, so not quite a mile high like Denver, but certainly a high desert location. In fact, The Grand Mesa is a short drive upslope and winter gets real up there at almost 12,000 feet!
I’ll be getting out to Palisade again soon to check on the status of the blooms, but this was how it looked about a week ago before the freezing and stormy weather started. Over the weekend, Palisade had it’s first festival of the year, The International Honeybee Festival, which I wrote about in another post.
The annual Barrel into Spring events begin next weekend in Palisade. These wine tasting events sell out quickly, but you can sign up to be on the wait list to visit seven different wineries over the two-day weekend. It’s suggested that you arrange for private transportation – much safer! You can join group tours or you can hire a pedicab to take you around town. These events are sold out, but you can sign up to be on the waitlist, or maybe you can just visit the wineries independently, but it’ll probably cost you more than the $75 for the whole weekend and all the tastings you’ll get if you join with the package deal. Here’s the website to put yourself on the waitlist!
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