PALISADE, Colo. – If you’ve spent time in Colorado during the summer, you’ve likely heard of Palisade peaches. Palisade, known as Colorado’s fruit country, is on the Western Slope nestled along the Colorado River. The unique high-desert climate of hot days and cool nights increases the peach’s sugar content, making them big, sweet and juicy.
Clark Family Orchards, a seven-generation peach farm, has been growing peaches since 1897. James A. and Phoebe Clark were the first generation to settle in Palisade and were among some of the first farmers to plant peach trees in the area.
“I’m part of the sixth generation, so grew up here my whole life. Our sons will be the seventh generation if they decide to keep it going,” says Mackenzie (Clark) Schmalz.
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Visitors can stop by their fruit stand, which offers a variety of fruit and veggies as well as their peaches. On the weekends, people can take free horse-drawn wagon tours through the orchards and enjoy a free scoop of Palisade Peach ice cream.
Mackenzie and her husband, Chris Schmalz, met in Denver while Mackenzie was in college. They now live and work on the farm and hope to keep the farm going for generations to come.
“I know I’m not a Clark, but when we were coming back and forth from Denver, I could tell how much this farm meant to Mackenzie. Then the more I was around it, the more I became connected to it,” says Chris.
“We’re just so thankful for the opportunity to raise our children in such a unique setting. It’s hard to find something like this anymore with such a deep family history and tradition.”