Crop Calendar Helps Buyers Know When & Where to Buy Colorado Produce
Does Colorado grow kiwifruit? Apples? Broccoli? Potatoes? Are you planning to make peach cobbler in May but frustrated that Colorado peaches are nowhere to be found? Have you wondered if the “Colorado Proud” sticker on potatoes, cucumbers and tomatoes in winter is correct?
Sunny days, mountain water and cold winters all contribute to Colorado being able to raise a wide variety of high quality fruits and vegetables, but as the population becomes further removed from the farm, the seasonality of produce baffles many consumers.
“We found that produce buyers-everyone from chefs to food service directors to individual families needed help knowing when Colorado produce is typically available,” said Colorado Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association (CFVGA) President Robert Sakata, Sakata Family Farms, Brighton, Colo. “With funding from the Specialty Crops Block Grant administered by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, CFVGA was able to produce a crop calendar that shows the typical timeframes in which Colorado produce is being harvested.”
The CFVGA crop calendar is being distributed to grocery store produce managers, chefs, county extension offices and food service directors. It also is available online to consumers at http://coloradoproduce.org/produce-directory/ This online tool of the calendar not only shows the timeframe Colorado fruits and vegetables are being harvested and can be purchased fresh, clicking on a produce item takes the user to a list of Colorado growers of that produce that item.
“This is a great way to bring buyers and sellers together,” said CFVGA Executive Director Marilyn Bay Wentz. “In addition to the Colorado produce grower directory, clicking on the resources tab and then choosing Nutrition and Health or http://coloradoproduce.org/health-nutrition/ shows the Crop Calendar again. Clicking on a produce item in this screen takes the viewer to a page with useful selection, storage and nutrition information as well as ways to use that item (recipes).”
CFVGA is encouraging the public to look for Colorado fruits and vegetables, because fresh is best. Also, as consumers will learn when viewing the CFVGA Crop Calendar, Colorado raised products like potatoes, apples, carrots and onions keep very well in cold storage.
Answers to the questions raised in the opening paragraph of this article:
- Colorado growers raise all produce mentioned except kiwifruit.
- Colorado peaches are typically available from mid-July to mid-September.
- Cold storage and greenhouse production enable Colorado to have an extended season for many produce items, including apples, carrots, cucumbers, onions spinach, other greens and tomatoes.
CFVGA is comprised of more than 150 members, including growers of all sizes and types of production throughout the state, as well as representatives of allied industries. The Colorado fruit and vegetable growing sector contributes nearly $300 million to Colorado at the farm gate and is multiplied as it goes through the distribution chain. Over 60,000 Colorado acres are in fruit and vegetable production. For more on the CFVGA, visit http://coloradoproduce.org