We had a happy surprise when we relocated to The McElmo. The food scene. The canyon, a bit of a banana belt to what surrounds, has higher temperatures and a longer growing season with myriad micro-climates supporting orchards, vineyards and intensive gardening. Heritage apples trees and stone fruit orchards are all along our country road. We boast an apple orchard as well, planted by George Kelly* and come spring our land here is redolent with fruit blossoms from apples to hard pears to peaches.
Local organizations such as Montezuma Orchard Restoration Project (MORP) are dedicated to preserving both our local history as a fruit growing community as well as some 'lost' heritage tree varieties hidden in plain sight. Hard ciders from local microbreweries are outstanding both in quality and in practice: sustainable and local, turning what could be fruit waste into delightful windfalls. We feature select local hard ciders here at Ancient Echoes.
Outrageous Canyon Wine
A few micro-climates within the canyon supports grape vines and we have the good fortune to have a first class vintner just up the road at Sutcliffe Vineyards. John Sutcliffe dared to plant grape vines in harsh, ancient desert soils some 20 years ago with the help of celebrated Colorado wine making talent. Sutcliffe wines are organically grown, reflecting environs of hard suns, sweeping and trickling rains, wind and breezes, sand, dust and rock, bees and hummingbirds."Isolated, idiosyncratic, passionate and stubborn, we know no other way," says John Sutcliffe.
We feature Sutcliffe wines as our Colorado wine choice. We also encourage you to make a visit to the winery (2 miles away) and taste in a setting intimating Provence, with impressive Battlerock Mountain as a back drop.
Regenerative, local, seasonal
Quality and diversity extends beyond the canyon. Cortez, an agricultural community, takes pride in local pasture raised beef and lamb. A prolific farmer's market supplies seasonal vegetables (as do our direct neighbors), greens, and heirloom varietals. Seed savers such as Vibrant Earth Seeds are doing their part around here as well, preserving heirloom seeds from the growing traditions of native peoples, like The Three Sisters: corn, beans and squash, seeds that are open-pollinated, drought resistant and hardy, evoking connections to ancestors. A bit further North, James Ranch ---
Canyon farmers like the Pueblo Seed Company are growing heritage grains and we are delighted to use their flours in our homemade sourdough and wheat breads, as well as their artisanal cereals in our breakfast bowls. Our fresh eggs are hand delivered from our neighbors on an ATV with a couple of dogs riding in the back. And our coffee is roasted in Telluride. What does this all mean? Our food and drink choices are not arbitrary. Our choices are intrinsic to place and region, and include some of our own cultural and personal favorites. (Moose Drool microbrew beer from Missoula, Montana). Healthy, reasonable and unpretentious.