I just had no idea.
I’ve lived in Colorado all my life and have visited Boulder countless times. But I had no idea that Boulder county had mile after mile of absolutely beautiful, pastoral land. Gently undulating hills, pastures, creeks, groves of trees, farmhouses that are all so beautiful it somehow seems a surprise that it’s all right in the backyards of us front-rangers. I know it’s ungodly hard work but I am in love with the concept of farming – it’s basic, earnest, real and unites humans, animals and nature, nurturing us all. If it wasn’t for farmers, we wouldn’t have food, plain and simple. I was humbled to meet a few of the farmers and to see their operations.
With the bounty of harvest season still underway and autumnal harvest festivals, corn mazes and pumpkin patches beginning, this is an excellent time to hit the road and follow the Boulder County Farm Trail. Maybe this will surprise you as much as it did me but there are more than 850 farms in Boulder County! So committed were the residents to their land that back in 1967, Boulder became the first city in the U.S. to tax itself for funds to be used for the acquisition and management of open space. Almost simultaneously, residents approved using public lands for agriculture. Currently around 25,000 acres of the county’s public lands are leased to farmers.
To encourage people to revel in the beautiful countryside and engage with the farmers, the Boulder Convention and Visitors Bureau has put together a handy guide to the Boulder County Farm Trail, encouraging people to “Explore Boulder County’s farms, from field to fork.” The guide includes “Five things to try… On the Farm, At the Market, On Your Plate and With the Kids.” Listing five things under each category, there are suggestions like picnicking in style “On the Farm,” on the barn balcony at Lone Hawk Farm; redefine “food court” with the variety of dining options “At the Market” (the Boulder Farmers Market); visit three Colorado wineries at the Boulder Wine Studios under the “On Your Plate” category; and visit the pumpkin patch and meander hay bale and corn mazes as Rock Creek Farm for things to do “With the Kids.”
A handy map in the guide not only shows you the Trail but identifies which farms offer a farm stand, animal interactions, skeins of wool, farm dinners, volunteer opportunities and more. The beautiful drive, with the Rockies in the background, will take you just an hour if you don’t stop anywhere. But stop you should, at as many farms as possible, meeting the farmers, buying produce, eggs and other goods from them. In that case, allow 2 -1/2 hours. Make a leisurely afternoon of it, especially now as the colors of the landscape are beginning to change. It should be just beautiful!
Take a look at this wonderful goat-milking demonstration, starring Mountain Flower Goat Dairy Executive Director, Kallie, and the lovely Ruby, the goat.