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Plenty o’ peaches

Sharon Sullivan
ssullivan@gjfreepress.com
Barbara Bikki offers samples of freshly-harvested peaches at a farmers' market booth outside of Sutherlands on Tuesday.
Sharon Sullivan / ssullivan@gjfreepress.com | Free Press

Peaches picked fresh that morning were for sale at the Tuesday afternoon farmers’ market in front of Sutherlands, 2405 F Road.

Four separate produce stands carried different peach varieties, each one offering samples of the sweet, juicy fruit.

There were even a few cherries, but not many.



An April freeze killed most of Palisade’s crop of cherries and apricots, and some early crop of peaches. But with so many varieties of peaches ripening every few weeks or so, there should be plenty of peaches for sale throughout the season.

“I do have quite a lot of peaches,” said Wendell Walcher of Pear Blossom Farms, even though the farm lost about 40 percent of its crop, said his wife, Addie.



Pear Blossom additionally sells its produce, preserves, fruit syrups and butters, as well as salsas at the Teller Arms Shopping Center and Palisade farmers’ markets.

Barbara Bikki, owner of Bikki’s Ranch of Liberty in Palisade (named for “our freedom because I escaped from the Iron Curtain,” she said) was also selling peaches outside Sutherlands — as well as other healthy-looking produce. Bikki said she lost much of her early crop to the freeze but with 26 different varieties, she will have plenty of peaches to sell until the early part of October.

Supermarkets may carry fewer Palisade peaches, but there will be plenty for the weekly farmers markets, she said.

Jackson Shaw was tending the Red Fox Run Orchard booth where he was selling bags or boxes of PF1 peaches. He said his dad’s orchard was affected by the frost yet they would have peaches through August.

Some of Chris Sowell’s peaches were wiped out completely, while other varieties turned out a full crop — averaging about a 30 percent loss, she said.

“We have a few peaches and plenty of everything else,” Sowell said. “The veggies are growing like crazy.”

Z’s Orchard lost a few of their Garnet Beauty peaches to the spring frost, but still have some for sale at markets in Palisade and Grand Junction. Carol and Richard Zadrozny grow a variety of peaches, allowing for a staggered harvest.

Red Globes and Crest Havens will all be ready by the time the 45th annual Palisade Peach Festival rolls around Aug. 15-18, Zadrozny said.

Elberta peaches will ripen closer to Labor Day.

“Some peach varieties are more frost-hardy than others,” she said. “We’ll have plenty for our local markets.”

Kokopelli Farm Market raises organic fruit and veggies. Owner Brent Harrison said an area of his farm that typically never freezes did in April, while another area more prone to frost, did not. He lost cherries, apricots and nectarines but does have peaches due to the large variety planted.

Harrison sells his produce at his own market at Cameo, exit 46, and to Whole Foods who values his organic certification.

“We’ll be at the Palisade Farmers’ Market for the first time” this year, Harrison said. “We’ll be selling stuff we’ve made in our commercial kitchen — fried peach pies, peach cobbler, peach cream puffs and peach milkshakes.”

Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper stopped by the Kokopelli market, 3677 G 4/10 Road, when he was in town last week and sampled a peach fried pie.

“We had just perfected it,” Harrison said. “It was really good.”


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