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What makes it a new year?

a single luminaria, one of 127 this year, casting a gentle light onto the snow around it When we think of a new year we think of new beginnings, of light or maybe hope refreshed, of energy reinvigorated. What is the most powerful marker of those things, and when is…
Regan Choi
January 4, 2024
Nascent peaches still surrounded by the remnants of their flowers.

Glorious spring

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Spring on the farm is a glorious time, especially this year after a winter with such an astounding snowpack. Inevitably the new life brings contemplations of life and years which have come before. Some aspects feel like kindness. Some are bittersweet. In all aspects, spring is a conduit of connection.…

Adopt a tree (or Three!)

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Every single fruit tree in the orchard gets cared for by hand every single year. Your support helps us care for our young trees every step of the way! As climate change makes harsh weather events even more impactful, we know no single family can go it alone. Be part…
Shirley Ela in front of the Ela Family Farms office in winter

It was a beautiful, beautiful life.

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Shirley's hands are at the root of everything we are as a family and as a farm. We are sad to share the news that she passed away this winter. Her consistent message of, "Be who you are"...

Update on progress of replanting the peach orchards

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Though it will be a few years before we can fully fill in the gaps left by the more than 20 acres of trees which died from the October 2020 radical freeze, we are building back bit by bit. In 2021 we were able to replace almost 7 acres of…

Pear Pressure

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Full Pear Bin in the Orchard As you all know, peak fruit season is already very busy on the farm, but last week was a notable scramble. Everyone on the farm went out to pick regardless of their usual job description, and put in extra hours to pick fruit before…

Death of Trees

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It is with a heavy heart that we are sharing this news. Do you remember as kids we used to hide and then jump out at someone just to scare the tar out of them? Sometimes they laughed and sometimes they weren’t so happy…  Well, Mother Nature likes to do…

So this is a thing.

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We love apples. Our kids eat scads of them - Gala, Golden Supreme, Jonagold, Esopus Spitzenburg, Goldrush, Pitmaston's Pineapple - and even more. We play in the orchards and even among the bins of fresh-picked apples, sample variety tastes at farmers' markets for everyone who's even mildly adventuresome, and think…

Such a beautiful farm tour!

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What a fabulous farm tour weekend! The weather couldn't have been more beautiful, the food was exquisite, and the company was thoroughly enjoyable. Such a group of interesting people!  Thank you to everyone
Ela Family Farms Orchards in spring

Farm Tour 2019 & CSA Fruit Shares

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Taste our fruit with all your senses - see it, touch it, know it, eat it! FARM TOUR 2019 We're inviting you - come start your summer with us in the orchards! What an amazingly benign, verdant, and fruitful spring it's been. The weekend of June 8-9 we'll show you…

Ela Farm Tour

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Once a year we roll out the red carpet and give our customers and friends the grand tour of our orchard. Hi! We are delighted to announce the return of our ANNUAL FREE FARM TOUR! Come enjoy the spring or start of summer on the farm. We're going to keep…

Hurray for the Sentinels!

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Did you know? Fruit trees go dormant - kind of like hibernating - in the cold of winter. Just like people, some trees are more tolerant of cold and some less so. That tolerance manifests as resistance to freeze injury. Uncertainty begins when warmer weather starts to set in with…

CSAs are open for you to buy in!

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CSA shares are available from Ela Family Farms in Hotchkiss, our nine Front Range Farmer’s Market locations and a Tuesday pick up at Potager Restaurant in Denver.  We also partner with like-minded vegetable farms who offer an optional Ela CSA fruit share alongside their veggie shares.

Annual Ela Family Farms Tour & Orchard Feast June 8th & 9th

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Join us for a Western Slope weekend of winery tours! Saturday night dinner in the orchard, Sunday morning Ela orchard tour and lunch on the lawn. Mark your calendars for June 8th & 9th!

Winter Update 2019

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Winter time is here ~ snow is on the peaks, we are able to cross country ski around the orchards, and temps have dipped into the negative numbers at night! What else are we doing, you might wonder? We’re making dried fruit, cider, applesauce, and fruit butters. We keep the ingredients…

Gold Award from CO State Environmental Leadership Program

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Ela Family Farms has been awarded Gold Status by the Colorado State Environmental Leadership Program for our efforts in community, land, air, and water stewardship. As part of those actions, we make every effort to reuse materials, and we invite your participation! We hope that you, like we, can continue by…

The Color Purple

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Sometimes it is really hard to wait, but the wait has been worth it.  After starting, then stopping, then hemming and hawing, sweet cherry harvest began in earnest ten days ago.  It is tricky to decide when cherries are ripe.  As they ripen, cherries first turn a straw color, then a pink,…

Bee Cause

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We are going to raise our hands in the air and say it loud and clear - We support the Bee Cause!  Why?  Because!   Because bees are the quiet workers on the farm.  Without their work to pollinate apple, cherry, pear and plum flowers we would not get to enjoy…

Waking up to spring

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The end of March and the start of April always marks the start of new life on the farm.  And, the start of the worry of frost season. The feel of the farm air has changed from the continual chill of winter to the moist scents of spring.  Alfalfa and…

“A” is for …

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On a Friday afternoon when we should have coolers overflowing with apples and I should be trying to organize boxes and boxes of fruit to send to our various markets and wholesale accounts, it turns out that the farm is strangely quiet.  This year "A" is for absent, not apple.…

Dog pile!

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Mother Nature has a serious case of the grumpies this year.  She has been kind to us for so many years, that I guess it is to be expected that she might get out of the wrong side of the bed at some point.  But it is starting to feel…

When the fruit grower goes silent…

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On the day that we are starting to pick our peaches, I am finally sitting down to write the story of this spring.  This year, 2015, has everyone around here shaking their heads and muttering that we have never seen a year like it.  Yet, as they tasted the first…

Backing up in the cloud

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With all the technology that surrounds us these days, it has become common to back things up in the cloud.  We do that here on the farm to protect our important data. But some nights we prefer to rely on good old fashioned Mother Nature to back us up as…

Spring Whether

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It is the start of the spring whether season – the time of year where for two months we wonder whether we will make it through spring frosts with a good crop or whether we will have to tighten our belts and make it through a frost year, the time…

Waiting for the Storm~Feb 21, 2015

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  It feels like we've been waiting all winter for winter to arrive.  We're still waiting, by the way. Its been close to 4 weeks since we've had any snow on the ground around the farm and very little if any snow has graced the sky in any measurable amount…

Pruning 1, 2, 3, …35,000 ~ January 31, 2015

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Our crew of 4 guys has been busily pruning since November.  Every tree gets pruned every year, a process that takes five to six months, depending on how many staff we have during the winter. While it doesn't take that long to prune an individual tree, pruning 35,000 individual trees…

Christmas Eve on the Farm~December 27, 2014

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As the land on the farm was cleared in the teens and twenties, loads of basalt rock was removed and constructed into a stone wall that lines the perimeter of our farm. About six or seven years ago, Steve thought it would be a nice tradition to line the rock…

Up on the Roof Top~ Dec 14, 2014

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Every morning and every evening we see the sunrise and the sunset. We change clocks to try to best use the daylight. We comment on cloudy versus sunny days. And especially in Colorado we feel warm (even on relatively cold temperature days) when the sun is out, and chilly when…

The Art of Gift Packs~ November 28, 2014

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Here is Ela Family Farms World HQ for assembling gift packs. This is the basement of our old packing shed, which looks and feels a little like a stone bomb shelter.  It's about forty degrees down here—nice in July, a little nippy on the toes in November. We assemble our…

Ode to Hands~October 28, 2014

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Here are the hands whom pick for us all season. Here are the hands that prune during the cold winter months and thin every single tree all spring and summer long. Here are the hands that in July, started picking Bing, Skeena and Sweetheart cherries. Then picked Earlistar, Rising Star,…

Apples on the rocks? October 21, 2014

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At this time of year where the nights are crisp and the days warm, many people will ask us about the danger of apples freezing on the trees.  We have had a mild fall this year and have not yet had a hard freeze--below 28 degrees or so.  We have…

A Taste of Fall~October 10, 2014

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Low floating clouds, rain and the changing of leaves have my taste buds yearning for tastes of fall; squash, pumpkin, and plums. Though we begin harvesting plums while it's still high summer, I really start to eat them now. Our Italian plums are sweet and an enticing blue while our…

The Little Things~September 25, 2014

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We have the best intentions of writing a weekly blog about life on the farm.  Sometimes though, the needs of the farm interfere with those intentions.  Or...sometimes we're just unmotivated.  Or tired.  Or can't see the trees through the forest. That's when it's really nice--no, not nice--awesome, to awaken to…

Plums~August 21, 2014

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  Of all the fruit we grow here on the farm, my favorite to look at on the trees are plums. The tree branches get so loaded that they literally bend to the ground. A beautiful cascade of fruit. When our kids were smaller, they would have limbo contests under…

Cherries~July 19, 2014

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  As our crew is wrapping up picking our cherry crop, I am reminded at the amazing flavor and taste of this tiny fruit. We have 3 varieties of cherries: Bings, Skeena and Sweethearts.  They ripen and are picked in that order.  This is the first year we've had a…

Fire Blight Fright~June 14, 2014

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This leaf is not what we want to see on our apple trees.  Or our pear trees or crabapples, for that matter. As the seasons of the farm roll through, we find ourselves in the season of fire blight, which begins during bloom time and goes through June. Fire blight…

Ditch Weed~May 21, 2014

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  Today is the last day of school here in Delta County, and close to the end of harvesting wild asparagus--or "ditch weed" as it was called in our families growing up. Picking wild asparagus around the farm is a sure sign of spring. As the days warm up however, the…

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