Orchard Mesa Reserve, a unique and acclaimed conservation development, offers rolling, pastoral, orchard/vineyard and river bluff land on East Orchard Mesa, overlooking the picturesque town of Palisade in western Colorado. With the Colorado River meandering along side and below the reserve and scenic 360-degree views that include the Grand Mesa and Bookcliffs, grasp this unique opportunity to partake in a Tuscany-like, agrarian lifestyle at one of the most prolifically-productive and idyllic orchard/vineyard tracts in western Colorado’s foremost fruit & wine country. The Colorado property for sale comes with water rights, a new irrigation system, private country lanes and underground utilities. Of this 150 acre development, Mirr Ranch Group sold the last 3 parcels consisting of 96 acres.
All orchards sold!
The property is situated in western Colorado, just south of the scenic town of Palisade on Orchard Mesa, a fertile mesa overlooking the Colorado River and the Book Cliffs. Palisade is in the heart of Colorado’s western slope and has numerous vineyards and orchards as well as restaurants, shopping, microbreweries and a farmers market. The Colorado property for sale is considered one of the finest large orchard and vineyard tracts in Colorado and has been designated as one of the highest conservation priorities by the Mesa Land Trust. The Colorado property is approximately:
- Two miles from Palisade and Interstate 70 and 20 minutes from Grand Junction, Colorado, a regional center with commercial airport, quality recreational amenities like the Colorado National Monument and high-quality health care at St. Mary’s Hospital
- Two hours from Aspen and Telluride
- Four hours from Denver and Salt Lake City
- 30 minutes from Grand Mesa National Forest
Orchard Seven of Orchard Mesa Reserve consists of vacant agricultural land with some historic structures and an existing peach orchard. The Colorado property for sale is served by recently constructed private country lanes that are maintained by all of the property owners in OMR. Utilities, including water, electric, phone and natural gas, are buried and are near the property. The water canal passes through the parcel and a headgate allows direct diversion of water to the orchard.
The surrounding area, often called the “Heart of Colorado’s Fruit and Wine Country,” is world famous for its peaches. It also hosts 75% of the state’s premium wine grape vineyards. In fact, nearly a dozen area vineyards are producing wines that are gaining international attention and winning awards around the globe. Situated at the base of the Grand Mesa on the Colorado River, Palisade is in the center of outdoor activities in Western Colorado. Aside from peaches and wine, this area of Colorado also produces an excellent selection of apples, apricots, cherries, pears, and plums. Fresh fruit and produce, as well as packaged fruit products, are abundant at quaint roadside stands and orchards throughout the area.
Since the late 19th century, settlers first recognized the area of Colorado for its rich fertile lands. The first inhabitants of the Grand Valley were Ute Indians, followed by settlers who began arriving in 1881. By 1894, the first peach, pear, apple and grape orchards appeared in the area. The soil was rich but rainfall was scarce, so barrels of water were hauled by wagons from the river to water young trees. In 1913, the US Reclamation began construction of a system of irrigation canals to support agricultural efforts. Water from a 480 ft. wide roller dam across the Colorado River diverts water into the 80 miles of irrigation canals which comprise the Highline Canal and Price and Stub Ditches. Palisade has become famous for its fruit orchards and especially its peaches which are sent to grocery stores and customers throughout the US. Today it is also famous for its award winning wine.
The area’s high desert climate with cool and dry summer nights is ideal for growing wine grapes, peaches and other premium fruits. Palisade, Colorado is renowned as a “Banana Belt” for weather, and enjoys a 182-day growing season with an average 78% of sunshine a year. Winds are naturally compressed and warmed when moving through Colorado’s Debeque Canyon and help to prevent crop killing frosts in the spring. As the winds move down valley and further west, it spreads out and its warming effect is diminished. The elevation in town is 4,727 ft. with an annual rainfall of about 9.2 inches and total snowfall of 14 inches. As many vineyardists and peach-growers have found, Palisade has a very special microclimate and this is the largest contributing factor for the world-class fruit grown in the area.
The town of Palisade and the nearby area are rich with scenic beauty and endless recreational opportunities.
- Opportunities for great trout fly-fishing abound in this area, especially on the Colorado River and the numerous lakes and streams of the Grand Mesa Natl Forest, both within 30 min.
- World-class rivers like the Gunnison and Roaring Fork are just 75 min. away.
- Orchard Mesa Reserve is about 30 minutes from National Forest, offering year-round backcountry recreation for the horseback riding enthusiast, making it a great horseback riding property
- Nearly endless riding on BLM lands is just a couple miles south of the property.
- Grand Junction and Fruita also have world-class mountain-biking and hiking, as well as geological treasures at the Colorado National Monument.
- The Grand Mesa National Forest is 30 min. away, where forests and lakes provide great fishing, hunting, camping and hiking.
- Powderhorn Ski Area, a wonderful family-oriented downhill ski resort falling off the Grand Mesa’s north rim, is only a 30 min. drive.
- Highline Lake State Park is a 1/2 hr. away and perfect for boating, fishing, and water skiing.
- The world-famous four season resorts of Aspen, Telluride and Vail are all approx. 2 hours from the orchard.
- Many Grand Valley residents also visit Lake Powell, a three hour drive to the west.
Orchard Mesa Reserve comprises 150 acres of magnificent orchard, vineyard, and river bluff land on East Orchard Mesa. The property is considered one of the finest and largest orchard and vineyard tracts in Colorado, and is of such high quality that a conservation easement has been placed on the property to ensure that it will remain in agricultural production for years to come. The plan developed will preserve 100% of the irrigated agricultural lands and will create a unique residential and agricultural community. Although a number of the sites have been sold, there are three remaining larger irrigated tracts remaining including two on the bluff above the Colorado River and the third within the pastoral setting of the existing orchard. Fifty acres in the middle of the Reserve, including productive peach orchards, premium vineyards and historic buildings, will be operated by a fourth generation local family and will be accessible to all parcel owners.
The growing conditions at OMR are ideal for fruit and wine. The early-morning winds funnel through the area and significantly reduce frost conditions and provide a temperate climate. Over millions of years, the Colorado River has continually changed its course through the Palisade area, leaving rich sediments behind. The property is comprised of “Prime Unique Soils” as designated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service. An extensive system of irrigation canals provides the final touch for ideal growing conditions.
- Cold winters, which gives the peach trees sufficient cold dormancy and allows the rejuvenation needed to develop healthy flower and leaf buds for the following year.
- A long frost-free growing season (with high elevation intense sunlight), which creates fruit sugars during the hot summer days.
- Cool mountain breezes moving down the Colorado River at night and dropping the temperature, which slows the ripening and intensifies the crisp fruit acids. In the end, this results in a better balanced flavor profile.
- Rich, fertile volcanic based soils with complex clay and loam components, again adding to the flavor profile.
- Cool, clean mountain water (snowfall runoff) from the Colorado River provides irrigation. (The river also helps to moderate the temperature extremes in the valley).
For every acre of irrigable land, owners will receive one share of water from the Orchard Mesa Irrigation District. The Orchard Mesa Irrigation District (OMID) was organized in 1904, and became part of the Federal Grand Valley Project in 1922. Approximately 9,800 landowners and approximately 4,300 acres are served by the district. OMID’s water is diverted from the Colorado River at the Cameo Diversion Dam in DeBeque Canyon. Water rights are owned by the OMID and are allocated to the land. Water rights cannot be sold separately. When land ownership changes, the water stays with the land. Records showing the amount of water allocated to each parcel of land can be viewed at the Mesa County Assessor’s Office and the OMID. Domestic water is provided by underground city utilities and not wells.
The property is considered one of the finest large orchard and vineyard tracts in Colorado and has been designated by the Mesa Land Trust as one of its highest conservation priorities. The current owners, who have extensive experience in private land conservation, acquired the property with the land trust’s encouragement. Since acquisition, the owners have developed a strategy and obtained approvals for a plan to conserve the extraordinary landscape while providing for a small-scale compatible development and agricultural enterprise. A copy of the conservation easement will be provided to qualified individuals.
All of the irrigated acreage is capable of producing the strong cash flows to make this the most valuable agricultural land in the Rocky Mountain West. Orchard Mesa Reserve owners may choose to manage their own agricultural land or have it managed by Talbott Farms at attractive terms.