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Once a year we invite our customers and friends to share the beauty of the farm

– camp out, join the grand tour, and picnic in  our orchard.


We are delighted to announce the return of our ANNUAL FREE CAMPING & FARM TOUR!

Come enjoy the transition from spring to start of summer on the farm! Sunday morning on May 5th from 10-12 please join us. We invite you to come outdoors to see the trees, witness grafting and wind machines, ask about cover crops and pest management, or poke your nose into irrigation techniques. Please bring a picnic lunch to enjoy in small groups among the fruit trees following the Sunday morning tour. W

For anyone interested in making a weekend of it we are also opening the orchard to camping the preceding night. The stars are amazingly profuse out here in our dark sky neighborhood, and a there are all kinds of birds. 

Overall we’re keeping it simple with no organized area tour or dinner, so if you’d like to visit our neighboring wineries, art centers, local bakeries or cheese makers please feel free to reach out in creating your own local tour schedule that suits you best. We’ve listed a few local and locavore attractions below, but there are lots more coffee shops, bakeries, restaurants, and outdoor adventures nearby.

As always, please respect the health of all and stay home if you are sick.

  • Sunday May 5th 10am-12pm – no reservations required.
  • Please leave your furry friends at home. We cannot allow dogs on the tour.
  • Bring a picnic lunch and a blanket and eat out in the orchard – open invitation.
  • You’ll likely see a wind machine in action, different kinds of fruit trees, irrigation for an arid landscape, our packing shed and giant coolers, and of course lots more.
  • Camping will be available in the orchard the night before. – please email for more info.

Our 2024 Free Ela Farm Tour is Sunday, May 5th. Curiosity is the word of the day! Starting the tour at 10 a.m., we walk, talk, and explore all aspects of our farm.  We’ll see newly growing baby fruits, wind machines and sustainable practices, plus demonstrations of grafting and farm operations. The best part of the tour?  It’s free! Come see how we grow and picnic under the trees with us afterward!

What does it take to grow fruit in Colorado? Steve is a soil scientist and forward thinking grower. Committed to growing fruit with outstanding flavor while using sustainable organic growing practices, Steve Ela guides a passionate tour showcasing the accumulated wisdom of 4 generations in the Rocky Mountain West. Experience where your food comes from first-hand!

Directions from Denver to Ela Family Farms


Approximate driving time from Denver to Hotchkis is 4.5 – 5 hours. We recommend planning for time to enjoy the waterfalls, rivers, and mountain passes along the way!

From Denver, take I-70 west to Glenwood Springs. At Glenwood, take Hwy 82 south to Carbondale (about 15 miles). At Carbondale, take Hwy 133 to Paonia. This will take you past Redstone, past Hay’s Creek Falls which is literally next to the highway with a widened shoulder to park on, over McClure Pass, through Somerset (a coal mining town), and down through Paonia. The drive from Carbondale to Paonia is a beautiful part of the West Elk Scenic Byway. Hotchkiss is 10 minutes past Paonia, and Ela Family Farms is another 10 minutes from there. We are surrounded by recreation areas, national forest, BLM, and national parks.

Other nearby locavore / local artistic / local adventure attractions:


Stone Cottage Cellars Winery
A local winery favorite – they host amazing dinners and have a tasting room.

Peak Spirits/Jack Rabbit Hill Distillery & Winery
We often work together, they make gin and other spirits from Ela Family Farms’ fruit! Tastings on site. They are a Demeter Biodynamic vineyard.

Mesa Winds Farm and Winery
Our neighbors just down the country lane provide intimate outdoor dining from their own farm-raised menu along with their own wines.

Alfred Eames
See how and where the wine is made, along with a striking wine cellar.

Qtori Wines
A tasting room where you can sit overlooking the vineyards alongside a cafe. Their winery is onsite.



Western Slop SUP
Short, guided, local on-water adventures and rentals

Eagle Rock Shelter Site
archaeological hike


Mountain Oven Organic Bakery
These folks have been instrumental in creating a local, heritage grain economy. They have two millstones on site.

Farm Runners Station
Local Food from Family Farms (shop & deli)

Paonia Breadworks
Small town bakery using locally sourced ingredients

Western Culture Farmstead Creamery
Local cheesemaker – fabulous quality and get to see the goats!

Desert Weyr Black Welsh Mountain Sheep
Visit sustainably raised sheep, try their wool & mutton



Creamery Art Center
A Gallery of High Quality local fine arts and education too.

Elsewhere studios
An artist-in-residence program, often with works on display.

Blue Sage Center for the Arts
Fine arts gallery (local artists) and performing arts space. Check for events.

Paradise Theater
The Secret Garden will be playing for free at 7pm – come experience an intimate community theater with locally grown popcorn and drinks for all ages.

Steve, Regan, and Patches

photo credit Brigid McAuliffe


Please bear with us if we are a little slow, and feel free to reach out to us with questions using

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  • INDIVIDUALIZED EXPERIENCES (In person or remote live video)

  • Lunch with a Farmer Live question & answer short Tours (online)


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