We've combed the West for the very best flavor experiences, all worthy of a culinary pilgrimage
Photo by Thomas J. Story/Sunset Publishing
Does a peach get any better than this? We think not. The peaches in and around Palisade, Colorado, are smooth, fine-grained, and gushingly juicy, with great acidity and a round, complex sweetness with hints of mango and even strawberry. In her book At Mesa's Edge, local author Eugenia Bone described them this way: "Miles of bright orchards produce peaches so excruciatingly good, so powerfully sweet and fresh, that before you know it, you are on the verge of weeping and singing at once." For more than 40 years, Palisade has held an annual peach festival to celebrate its signature fruit, and it's jam-packed with cooking demonstrations, history exhibits, farm tours, a peach-eating contest, and, of course, peaches and peach products for sale—everything from pies to cocktails. If you miss the festival, pick up your fruit at Stahl Orchards (970/527-3100), in nearby Paonia; the ladies there are as sweet as their peaches.