Celebrating the farmers and ranchers that settled the valley | PostIndependent.com

Celebrating the farmers and ranchers that settled the valley

Downtown MarketSharill HawkinsGlenwood Springs, CO Colorado
Apricots and peaches ... It's time for pie.

This Tuesday, Aug. 24, the Glenwood Downtown Market would like to remember the farmers and ranchers that settled in our valley during the past 125 years. As part of Glenwood Springs 125th anniversary celebration, our market tent will have a display of tools used on the farms and in the kitchens of early agricultural families. In the 1880s prospectors came to the Roaring Fork Valley. They needed food for themselves and for their pack animals. Farmers and ranchers followed to provide that food. The Ute Indians had farmed at lower elevations around Silt and Rifle. In our area, farmers and ranchers grew their fruits and vegetables in the lower more protected areas and grazed their animals in the rougher terrain. Women could apply for land if they were 21 years old and divorced, widowed, single or the head of the household. When mining became less profitable many miners also turned to agriculture.The majority of the acreages were small. Most ranchers sold hay, grain, cattle and potatoes. They also raised hogs and milk cows, selling butter, buttermilk, cream and milk. Sheep adapted well to the mountain landscape. The area was known for its potatoes, sugar beets, apricots and strawberries. In the gardens, root vegetables like kohlrabi, parsnips, beets and carrots thrived. Early tomatoes, cabbage, greens and other cool season crops provided well for the families. After 1950, in our valley, farming slowed down, but now small farms and ranches have become a lifestyle for some industrious families.The orchards and farms on the Western Slope now fill our local farmers market with local fruits and vegetables. Much of their farmland has been in the family for generations. Several of the growers are trying heirloom varieties of tomatoes, red McClure potatoes, and vegetables like kohlrabi, turnips and parsnips. Now is the best time for plums, apricots and peaches. This week we will fill the market bag with many heirloom varieties for our weekly give-away. Be sure to sign up at the market tent for the market bag drawing. Melody Hartman will be performing at the market starting at 5:30 p.m. Melody began performing folk music in Europe at 18. She now lives in the valley, performing and teaching guitar lessons. She is a soulful singer with a rich voice. Melody also writes children’s songs and her CD, “Dinosaurs & Other Critters,” is a hit with children and parents. Melody will be singing till dusk. The music this week is sponsored by Juicy Lucy’s Steakhouse.Many of you know local resident John Lindsey from shopping at Big John’s Building Supply. John is also a chef. He will be presenting the cooking demonstration this Tuesday at 6 p.m. Join us under the cooking tent to enjoy what John will be preparing and be ready for a delicious sample.While shopping at the market this week for gifts, meat or produce you may want to pick up some fresh fruit for the old-fashioned pie baking contest being held this Saturday, Aug. 28. The Frontier Historical Society is hosting a Founder’s Day Celebration from 4-8 p.m. at Glenwood Springs Elementary School. Bring your pie entry to the school by 5:30 p.m. Judging will begin at 6 p.m. After the awards, slices of pie will be available for $2.The Last Minute Spring Band, Jim Hawkins, and Just Between Friends barbershop singers will be performing at the celebration. Kid’s activities will include storytellers and old-fashioned games like marbles, jacks, quoits, graces and nine pins. The children can also decorate their bikes, trikes and wagons for a parade down School Street. To participate in the parade, meet by the main steps of the school at 4 p.m. The Glenwood Springs Noon Rotary will be grilling hamburgers, with chips and a drink for $5.Whether it’s the Tuesday Downtown Market from 4 p.m. until dusk this Tuesday or the Founders Celebration Saturday at 4 p.m., come celebrate Glenwood Springs’ 125th Anniversary with your friends and neighbors. Learn about the history of the community and the surrounding area by talking directly to the farmers, ranchers and old-timers who still live here.

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