Paul E. Anna: High Points
The Aspen Times
Aspen, CO Colorado
Pitkin Fruit and Vegetable may be the closet thing in this valley to the Garden the Eden.
Located next to the fire station on Highway 82, at the Aspen Village stoplight, this oasis is the go-to stop for anyone who is looking to take a bite out of the best that Colorado has to offer. Every day from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. you can stop for the freshest of corn, the sweetest of peaches, the plumpest of plums and the spiciest of peppers.
For five summers now, Roshni and Jay, partners in life and friends in business, have been bringing in fruits and vegetables from the top farms in the state so that we, in a single stop, can load up on the bounty of the earth. It is easily possible to eat exclusively from Pitkin Fruit and Vegetable without stopping at any other food store, and you likely would be better for it.
This summer may be the best ever for the farm stand, and one thing is for sure, it never looked better. Vibrant colors fill each bin with squash, watermelon, corn, yellow and green beans, okra, and of course, the incomparable heirloom tomatoes. Then there are the salad greens and the beets and the cabbages and the jalapenos found in the coolers that beckon from the back. It is all too much. It can make you hungry just turning off the highway.
Jay and Roshni source their products from all over the state. From our own backyard come the basil and greens grown at Ute City Farms. The corn is picked in Olathe. The roasted peppers are the product of Oakagawa Farms in Clifton. You’d have to drive all over the state to get the variety of products that you can find each and every day in one place just off Highway 82.
But besides the quality of the produce, a stop at Pitkin Fruit and Vegetable is simply a nice thing to do. It feels good to get out of your car, duck under the shade and take in the beauty of the products. Everything is pleasingly presented with little signs asking that you be kind and not bruise the peaches, and above the bins are bottled products like syrup, salsa and honey from Westwood Farms in Paonia.
As I said, this may the best season yet at the stand, and Roshni told me that the reason why is because business is good. It seems the more people buy, the more produce they get in, meaning that it stays fresher all the time. In addition, Jay and Roshni donate all of their leftover food to an organization called Friends for Life, which uses it to make meals for cancer patients up and down the valley.
With summer winding down, the best place to keep the sunshine alive is the fruit stand on Highway 82.
Stop by for a peach.
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The COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold amounts of suffering and disruption, and we’ll probably tell those stories for the rest of our lives.