Seasonality in Colorado
The ‘growing season’ is considered to be the period between the last frost of the winter and the first frost of the fall. In Colorado, it varies depending on which region you are in, but generally it runs May to October. During the growing season, we enjoy a wide variety of produce, which grows well in our state because of plentiful sunshine and warm temperatures. In the ‘off-season, ‘ November through April, the variety of crop production in Colorado is much more limited. We may not be able to enjoy quite as many locally-grown crops, but there are still plenty of ways to eat local during the off-season!
Even though Colorado sees snowfall as early as October, and temperatures can be harsh throughout the winter, Colorado farmers manage to produce a surprising amount of food during the off-season. Hardier vegetables like root veggies (carrots, beets, turnips), hardy brassicas (kale, cabbage, brussels sprouts), and some alliums (garlic, onions, leeks), have the ability to stick it out (and thrive!) through the winter. Not only can we take advantage of hardy outdoor crops, but protected agriculture (indoor growing) helps farmers extend the season and grow throughout winter. Here are some ways to source Colorado grown food, and continue to support our local farmers during the off-season:
Directly from Farmers
LocalHarvest.org is a great resource for sourcing locally-grown food. Check out farms in your area!
Colorado Proud, an initiative developed by the Colorado Department of Agriculture, has a comprehensive database of Colorado grown, raised, and made products.
Emerald Gardens Microgreens. Delicious, nutritious microgreens year-round. Free delivery to Denver or Boulder area.
Winter CSAs. A CSA is a great way to support farmers by signing up for a whole season of food. Though most take place during the growing season, some farms offer winter CSA programs.
Altius Farms (Denver) - Hydroponic Greens
Red Wagon Farm (Boulder)
Aspen Moon Farm (Longmont)
Meat, Eggs, and Dairy
Jodar Farms (Fort Collins) produces eggs for the GoFarm egg share and markets! You can shop their pasture-raised eggs and meat on their online store. In addition to eggs, they raise pork, beef, and chicken. Plus, they offer a winter CSA share and Thanksgiving turkey orders.
Haystack Mountain Creamery (Boulder) produces hand-made cheese free of preservatives and artificial flavors. You can find it in many local grocery stores.
Royal Crest Dairy offers a variety of Colorado dairy products and much more. The family owned business has been delivering milk to Colorado families for over 100 years.
Golden Mercantile carries a wide variety of locally-produced items ranging from food to gifts. Support your local farmers, craftspeople, and producers all in one in the heart of Downtown Golden.
Leevers Locavore is a supermarket offering many local products, as well as a bar and restaurants featuring local producers and chefs.
Wheat Ridge Poultry offers many local animal products as well as locally-made pantry items and more, including Thanksgiving turkeys.
It is likely that your grocery store carries locally-grown and produced products. Sprouts, Natural Grocers, Whole Foods, and King Soopers carry Colorado grown produce and more. Look for “Local” signs or the Colorado Proud logo.
Next Year's CSAs
Another thing to note is that spring and summer CSA shares can sell out early (What is a CSA?). There are many local farms that offer CSAs, or you can take a look at GoFarm’s Local Food Share, which is like a CSA, but food is sourced from 30+ local farms, including veggies, mushrooms, microgreens, eggs, fruit, flowers, and more. When you sign up for a GoFarm Local Food Share, you make a commitment to your local farmers by paying upfront for a full season of local food. Join our mailing list to be notified about 2023 Local Food Share signups and more!