One of the joys of the harvest season along Colorado's Front Range is cruising the farmstands that sprout up where the plains meet the foothills. You can even make it an excuse for a party. Pack friends or family into the car, and head out with a purpose: to pick up all the ingredients for Sunset's harvest salad.
The recipe blends the best local varieties of produce typically available this month, all topped by a drizzle of dressing and some fresh local cheese. Grab a melon or two for dessert.
The most fertile territory for pursuing the perfect salad is the edge of the plains, east of Boulder. Follow our farmstand route (see map on page 40) and you'll trace long, straight roads laid out in a grid, as if shadowing the fence lines of long-ago farms. Our drive hits the choicest spots; each offers a variety of produce, picked at its peak. And, since the stands are so close to health-conscious Boulder, many veggies are organic.
STOP #1: Red Wagon Organic Farm
'Early Cascade' tomatoes
Under a red-and-white tent, you'll find seven varieties of tomatoes, including 'Early Cascade'; four types of basil, including lemon basil; various lettuces and lots of cukes; and eight kinds of melon, including heirloom varieties. Taste a richly flavored 'Jenny Lind' musk melon, and you may discover a new favorite fruit.
INFO: 10-7 daily through Oct 31. 95th St. at Arapahoe Rd., Lafayette; www.redwagonorganicfarm.com or 303/949-0285.