MESA COUNTY, Colo. (KJCT) — Colorado is best known for mountains and winter activities. According to the last U-S-D-A AG Census, over 800 Colorado farms offer attractions surrounding their agricultural crops and products.
Agritourism continues to grow in the state, “In an average year, we produce 85% of the state’s crops,” said Dr. Horst Caspari of the Agricultural Experiment Station.
Not only is the Grand Valley producing the most crops in the state, but the Western Slope is the best in Colorado for grape growing.
“The Grand Valley would account for about, the latest number I believe, 42% of total wine sales come from Grand Valley wineries,” said Caspari.
Bringing in thousands and thousands of people to the state, “12, 13, 14, million dollars in sales of wine, just from the Grand Valley,” said Caspari.
Events such as Colorado Mountain Winefest not only bringing in large crowds benefitting those in the wine industry, but helping all local businesses.
The Western Slope may take the lead in agritourism through wine, but that is not all the Valley has to offer. The fall season brings a whole different type of tourism.
“That’s where the entire income for the pumpkin patch comes from. We rely solely on the month of October to run,” said Studt’s Pumpkin Patch and Corn Maze owner, Jennifer Studts.
The fall season allows local farmers to make a profit and share their year’s harvest with residents and visitors, “We get a ton of people from out of state that are here during the month of October,” said Studts.
While wine and fall season may seem brief, the preparation is a constant process.
“It begins all the way in May, when we plant corn, then June we plant the pumpkins. So right now the pumpkins are getting close to just right,” said Studts.
In 2006 agritourism brought in $2.2 billion to the state of Colorado. Over this past weekend the Grand Valley alone brought in around $1,000,000 surrounding agritourism in wine and fall events.