Food & Wine
Discovering the different tastes of the valley…At first glimpse, the North Fork Valley still appears to be centered on old-time ranching. You see livestock grazing almost anywhere you look; there are still a number of sheep ranchers with impressive flocks; local orchardists still dote on their crops, just as they have for well over a century. Indeed, agriculture still features prominently in the local economy as it has for many, many years as you can see with the Delta County Livestock Association and the Black Mesa Cattlewomen.
In addition, much of what is grown in the valley is now “organic,” which has increased the diversity of what the Valley has to offer. The Valley includes a special viticulture appellation – The West Elk - and at least nine wineries; the products of which have won several national awards. There is an organic brandy producer and hard cider producer creating its products using organic apple bi-products.
Some of the organic food producers have formed the Valley Organic Growers Association, to help guide local growers toward organic certification, act as a clearinghouse for the sharing of information, and offers numerous educational opportunities to its members and the community.
In addition to fresh fruit and produce, there are a number of small companies making products from the bounty of the Valley including: applesauce, mustard and condiment makers as well as specialty jams, jellies, soaps, and other natural salves and tinctures. The diversity is really astounding for such a small geographical area.
Remember while you are exploring the Valley to employ all of your senses in the adventure – including taste!