I am embarrassed to write that I have not been on the Mesa since the snow was flying and we were cutting down a Christmas tree, that is, until today. Today, Cale, Lily, Tulip, and I began our usual summer route up Surface Creek Road to enter Trickle Park Reservoir from the back way only to find the road closed. What a different Mesa it is this year from last - large patches of snow still hiding in shady areas, water running through every crevice, gully, and ditch one's eye meets, 50 shades of green from lime-green to olive to spruce to emerald to teal represented in the varying trees, shrubs, and waterways, and wildflowers carpeting the floor in the lower lying elevations. Black eyed Susans, columbines, and my favorite, the firecracker Penstemon were everywhere the eye wanders. Although I have visited the Mesa countless times, it was as though they were virgin eyes that I was laying on this landscape. The lush beauty was striking, and it left me gawking just as it did the first time I laid eyes on it.
As we drove down 65 and headed home, my mind wandered to a work-related subject - there is a group of growers and producers in the Surface Creek Valley that have been meeting monthly now for over six months and were just awarded a grant to begin work on branding the Surface Creek agricultural area. We have been posed with the question of what makes us unique? What are our core values? What is our point of difference? As I continued to absorb the sheer, unadulterated beauty on the Mesa and valley floor below, I thought to myself that this is what sets us apart. We live in a community that truly is the Gateway to the Grand Mesa, where what you see is what you get. It is simple, it is honest, it is raw in its' beauty, much like the Mesa that we had just visited. On the Mesa, there are limited numbers of signs, very few parking spaces at trailheads, plenty of open space and privacy between campsites, enough fishing holes that almost every visitor can have their own, and affordable recreation rentals that abound. It is simple, it is quaint, it is rustic, it is pure, it is stunning, it is a hidden gem - much like our town, Cedaredge. This area gushes with beauty and rural charm, screams of authenticity, and is quintessential, untainted Western Colorado.
Returning home, we vowed to start making our weekly trips onto the Mesa as we've done in summers past. Where I moved from on the Front Range, Longmont, was very near the town of Niwot. Chief Niwot, meaning Chief Left Hand, is known for stating the curse of the Boulder Valley, that anyone who comes will want to stay (or will come back) because of its' sheer beauty. Boulder Valley is unarguably gorgeous, however, the Mesa, known as Thunder Mountain or House of the Departed Spirits by the Ute Indians, has always felt to me to be a spiritual place, or one with a mystical aura. Its' beauty is unparalleled, and it took hold of me immediately. I feel more fortunate than ever to have stumbled into this Valley and to call it home.
In our garden, which greatly benefits from this south-facing slope that we are situated on, things are looking and tasting more and more like summer. Today I ate my first shishito and cherry tomato, discovered our first eggplants just popping into existence, saw flowers about to open on the beans, and the list goes on. We have our challenges (and our defeats), of course, but we feel very grateful to be where we are in the field right now. We've done some re-seeding, but many plants have healed their wounds caused by the hail, and the show is going on. What seemed a bit tragic a couple of weeks ago is now just a blurp in the story of our 2019 summer season.
And with this, we wish each of you a wonderful week ahead! Thank you for your support of our farm and local, organic agriculture! It is our great privilege and honor to be growing food for you.
In gratitude, Melissa & Cale