Visit a Colorado Farm this Spring

A new area of tourism has been growing across the United States. It’s called agritourism and it’s where agriculture and tourism connect in the form of farm stays, farm visits, farm-to-table restaurants, and more.

Agritourism can be a form of an additional income to a family farm or ranch. It is also an educational opportunity; providing urban families with an authentic rural experience, if only for a weekend.

Here are a few ways to experience agritourism in Colorado this spring and summer.

Twenty miles from Steamboat Springs, the Horse & Hen is situated along the banks of the Yampa River in the ranching town of Hayden, Colorado. Ryan and Rachel Wattles live on and operate the ranch that Ryan’s grandfather bought in 1935.

Guests stay in a well-appointed, modern farmhouse and can choose their level of participation in farm and ranch activities. Some guests enjoy milking Norma the cow, collecting eggs, and even working in the garden, while others prefer to remain more hands off.

The surrounding area offers fishing, birding, and hiking opportunities. Don’t miss Wild Goose Coffee at the Granary while in town. Guests can walk to this historic granary from the Wattles’ farm.

Paonia, Colorado is the farm-to-table capital of Colorado. Delta County has participated in farm-to-table activities since before the phrase was trendy.

The Living Farm has been in the Gillespie family for four generations. Today, this is a must-stop for anyone interested in agritourism in Colorado. The organic farm includes five greenhouses, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and a large flock of sheep.

The Living Farm offers self-guided and guided farm tours. During lambing season, from March through May, the farm offers Lamb Loving sessions on Wednesday evenings; a chance for the public to visit the barn and cuddle with newborn lambs.

Photo by Heidi Kerr-Schlaefer

One mile away, in downtown Paonia, The Living Farm Cafe, run by one of the Gillespie children, serves up three farm-fresh meals a day and offers five guest rooms above the cafe.

The Jumpin’ Goat Dairy in Buena Vista, Colorado offers tours of their dairy facility and cheese making operation. They have two tours; farm tours and milking tours. No matter which tour guests take, they’ll end their visit with a “tummy full of cheese.” Advanced reservations are suggested.

James Ranch in Durango offers guests a look at a real working farm. Their Electric Cart Tour takes approximately two hours and guests visit gardens, hens, turkeys, pigs, and cattle while learning about sustainable farming and ranching.

Don’t have time for a tour? Stop for a meal at The Harvest Grill & Greens on the James Ranch property next to the farm’s market. The Signature Burger features a grass-finished beef patty with James Ranch’s own Belford Cheese. It’s melt-in-your-mouth good.

Categories: The Heidi Guide