Sure, apples are standard u-pick fare, but we’ve also gone a bit off the farm with this list. Why squid? We picked it for the thrill of it, for some varied autumn texture and flavor, because an outstanding chef said he’d offer us an exclusive recipe, and as an ode to our favorite forager and gourmand, Steven Rinella. After all, the draw to local food is not just knowing where it comes from, but actually being where it is so you can search it, pluck it, pull it, and then haul it home for a little culinary experimentation. After you’ve tried the following four ingredients and recipes, find something yourself by browsing J. Blake Plemmer’s list of family farms, ripe for a go at PickYourOwn.org.
Rocky Mountain High Roast
Harvest green chiles, then make a rippin’ salsa, using a recipe from our favorite skier-turned-chef
WHY: Go for the green chile. Stay for the live music. Though green chiles are more closely aligned with New Mexico–where the distinctively autumn smell of roasting wafts from backyard grills and grocery store parking lots–Colorado chiles are just as aromatic, plus at Delicious Orchards you can also pluck pears and apples from the vine (while they last). Now and until the first freeze, you can pick your own Anaheim chiles ($2/pound).Try the farm specialty, green pork chili, at the onsite café and wash it down with the hard cider on tap in the farm’s tasting room. If too much of the hard stuff goes down too easy, stay overnight at the farm’s campground ($10 per night).
HOW: You can have the farm staff roast your chiles, but roasting them on your own backyard grill will make the neighbors green with food envy.
GET THERE: From Denver, it’s a 4-hour drive. Head East on I-70 for 140 miles and then south on Highway 82 toward Carbondale. After 12 miles, hang a right on Highway 133. Continue south for an hour, through Paonia, to the farm.
That’s 39126 Highway 133, Hotchkiss, CO, 81419, if you favor Google Maps instruction.
HOURS: 9am-6pm, every day.
DO IT RIGHT: Down the road at Holy Terror Farm in Paonia, extreme skier turned farmer Alison Gannett makes a mean GREEN CHILE TOMATILLO ROASTED SALSA.
2 green chiles (aneheim or poblano) 1 pound husked tomatillos 3 garlic cloves – skin on 1 onion, husked, cut in quarters (keep ends on to hold them together on grill) 2 teaspoon salt Handful of cilantro (optional)
Roast all ingredients except the cilantro on a BBQ grill over medium heat Turn each ingredient until each is slightly blackened on all sides Remove chile stems and garlic skins (For other dishes in which the chiles are not blended, you’d remove the chile skins as well, because in those cases it proves difficult to eat Blend everything, including the cilantro, in a food processor or blender Pulse until it is as thick or thin as you like
Superior Apple Picking
Eat a few off the tree, and take the Northwoods home with this autumn-themed bread pudding