Agritourism growing in Colorado
Colorado is best known for mountains and winter activities, but agritourism continues to grow in the state.
According to the last USDA Census of Agriculture, over 800 Colorado farms offer attractions surrounding their agricultural crops and products, such as wineries, corn mazes, and farm-to-table dinners, among many options.
The Western Slope is known around Colorado and beyond as grape-growing region.
"About 42% of total wine sales come from Grand Valley wineries," said said Dr. Horst Caspari of the Agricultural Experiment Station.
The wineries, vineyards, and other agritourism attractions bring thousands and thousands of people to the state, “$12, $13, $14 million in sales of wine, just from the Grand Valley,” said Caspari.
Over this past weekend alone, the Winefest alone brought in $1 million in economic activity to the Grand Valley.
Events such as Colorado Mountain Winefest not only draw large crowds, which benefit those in the wine industry, but the tourists also help other local businesses, such as restaurants, hotels, and retail stores.
Wine may be the biggest Western Slope attraction, but that is not all the Valley has to offer. The fall season brings a whole different type of tourism.
“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.