Just peachy: Eat a Peach farms educates while selling all-organic produce at the Vail Farmers’ Market and Art Show
Could there be anything more refreshing on a hot late summer day than a fresh farmer’s market peach, perfectly ripe and succulently sweet? Eat a Peach farms’ farmers’ market stand caters to just that with fresh, organic produce grown in Colorado. Based out of Palisade, the business has, of course, fresh Palisade peaches every week. But it also has other colorful farm produce such as heirloom tomatoes, peppers, plums, pears and other kinds of fruits and veggies.
Emma Foster has been working with Eat a Peach since she was fifteen years old, running the stand at various markets all across Colorado, all days of the week, including the one at the Vail Farmers’ Market & Art Show. Though her favorite part is “talking to people,” Foster also studied agricultural science at Colorado State University. This makes her knowledgeable about the quality and science behind farm work and its crops in ways that go beyond common knowledge. That knowledge extends to Palisade peaches.
“Everybody knows what a Georgia peach is,” Foster said. “But Palisade is like its own little climate.”
She said the desert-like area gets very warm during the day which creates the perfect growing conditions for peach trees. However, unlike in the South, the night is quite cold. To preserve the seeds within the fruit, the organism sends sugars to keep the fruit from freezing to death, and thus the trademark sweetness of Palisade peaches.
Apart from the stand’s colorful range of fresh produce, Foster offers a colorful range of knowledge about everything that goes into growing, marketing, and selling produce for hundreds of people every day.
One of the biggest certifications that Eat a Peach boasts its organic product. Organic is a certification, Foster said, and getting that title involves completing an entire process. Some of the qualifications cover pest control, harvest and consumer preparation.
“There’s not a lot of education about it,” she said.
That’s why such a big part of her job is also educating patrons, especially about supply, demand and distribution in the food system.
“There’s such a high consumer rate — there are so many people — and you’ve got to feed those people,” she said.
High demand means commercial farms induce artificial ripening via gaseous chemicals and wax coatings on produce to make it more visually appealing at the grocery store, among other things. That’s why local farm stands and farmers’ markets are so important. Fortunately, in Vail, there’s no shortage of fresh, local produce from conscientious farmers.
“Even if there are people that can’t afford organic food,” said Foster, “We can inform them.”
For more information on organic farming in Colorado, visit coloradoproud.org.