KJCT8 ABC

Tours Give Greater Appreciation of Local Growers
Tourists Learn Ins and Outs of Farming

PALISADE, Colo -- While most of the focus in Palisade this weekend is on the Peach Festival, local farmers are hoping to educate visitors on just how important agriculture is.  Whether it was a peach orchard or an alpaca farm, those taking a tour on Friday got a new appreciation for how much hard work goes into producing what many of us take for granted.  On Friday, Keenan High led myself and about eight others on a tour of his parents peach orchard, High Country Orchards in Palisade."The thing I love about doing tours is that I get to see the joy in people's faces about where peaches are grown and how they're grown, so that when they go to the stores they have the background experience with buying peaches," High explained.

The seventh grader led us through the orchard, showing us peaches of different age and variety.The agricultural tours not only give you a glimpse of what's going on in the fields, but also a look at some of the final products, like peach salsa, and of course your everyday peaches.For Scott Hightower and his wife Barb of Broomfield, Colorado, it was quite the learning experience."It's one thing to see a peach at the store, but it's another to see what that peach has gone through in order to actually get to the store," Hightower said.

While peaches can get from orchard to market in less than 24 hours... it can take Mike McDermott even longer to turn wool from his alpacas into a yarn used to make clothing."This is what we get off an average alpaca per year. Four and half pounds of yarn. The time frame from start to finish to here, taking out the conditioning time, I have fifteen hours worth of work to get to this point," explained McDermott, who owns Suncrest Orchard Alpacas in Palisade.But for Mike and his wife Cindy, and for young Keenan, seeing the smiles on peoples faces and teaching them about their crafts makes all the hard work worthwhile.

The agricultural tours will continue all day Saturday from 10am to 4pm at various locations around Palisade.If you're looking to continue or start your Palisade Peach Festival 2010 celebration, there's still plenty of time to get involved.

Peachfest continues through 8pm Friday and again Saturday from 10am to 6pm at Riverbend Park.You also won't want to miss the live entertainment in downtown Palisade which runs through 10pm Friday, and again from 10am-9pm Saturday. It all wraps up early Sunday afternoon with the Palisade Sunday farmer's market downtown through 2pm. 

Drew Wilkins dwilkins@kjct8.com POSTED: 6:37 pm MDT August 20, 2010