Amundson: Sadly, peach season has come to a close again

At our house, we’ve been stretching our supply as long as we can, but sadly the few Colorado peaches left in the box will soon be gone for the year.

I have to say, the peach season in this state is one of my favorite times. From July through early September, we buy many, many boxes of peaches. Some years, we’ll freeze a bunch so that we can enjoy peach smoothies in the depths of winter. Other years, like this one, we’ve just made peaches the centerpiece of our dessert diet and consumed dozens and dozens while they were fresh. We keep napkins handy, because, like this year, the juice from peaches always trickles down our chins.

I was eating one as a snack while working today and it occurred to me that I knew nothing about how it came to Loveland and who Debbie of Debbie’s Peaches might be. 

Sources for peaches in Northern Colorado and the Boulder Valley are many, but few match what Debbie Bridge brings back on her weekly and twice-weekly trips to Palisade. Debbie has two peach stands, one in Fort Collins and another in north Loveland.

She’s been making these trips for 19 years. Peaches are her staple during that season, followed by trips to bring back Western Slope apples and cider. She was on an apple run when I talked to her this week. Apples will run into October.

“When I started out, it helped me raise my kids after my husband died,” Debbie said. Those kids, other family members, friends of family members and people who just call to help are the folks who operate the retail stands that she operates.

Every peach that she sells gives the impression that it was hand-selected, and perhaps it was, but not by Debbie herself.

“Growers pick ’em like I like ’em,” she said.

Her customers, like us, come back year after year because they know the quality. Some of those customers include people from Nebraska, Wyoming, Montana, Texas and elsewhere. “They plan their vacations around peach season,” she said.

Debbie drives a pickup truck with a topper and pulls a trailer. Load after load, she brings back boxes of delight to customers she’s come to know so well over the years.

While a couple of peach stands may be taken for granted, what she operates represents a business that has all the attributes of success:

  1. A desirable product, curated in a manner that customers expect.
  2. A customer base that comes back year after year and waits for those moments when the supply is on hand. Those customers line up, buy, then quickly tell others where to go.
  3. A staff that knows what it is talking about due to years of experience.
  4. Relatively low overhead.

Debbie will be working her apple business for a few more weeks, then she’ll be taking a breather until July, when the growers call to say, “we’re picking …”

Ken Amundson is managing editor of BizWest. Reach him at kamundson@bizwest.com.