Explore Colorado’s food paradise before, during and after Newtopia Now

Discover the state’s legendary food scene while you’re in Denver for Newtopia Now this August. See where to imbibe—and find incredible scenery while you’re at it.

Jenna Blumenfeld, Freelancer

June 21, 2024

7 Min Read
Explore Colorado’s food paradise before, during and after Newtopia Now
Canva/New Hope Network

If you’re traveling to Newtopia Now in Denver, you’re in for a treat — and not just because you’ll have the opportunity to connect with the coolest food and beverage brands in Colorado.

Denver is a dynamic city with one of the most vibrant food scenes in the nation. From natural retailers dedicated to creating a community hub around local food and beverage (such as Leevers Locavore) to restaurants elevating plant-based cuisine to fine-dining status (psst … don’t miss Somebody People), Denver is a foodie’s paradise.

But if you have extra days to explore, it’s worth renting a car, turning on the tunes and road-tripping around Colorado to discover the bevy of natural and organic producers, manufacturers, entrepreneurs, and creators who are pushing the boundaries of sustainable, regenerative, collaborative and artisanal food systems.

Let this guide serve as your itinerary to explore some of Colorado’s lesser-known food gems. For reference, the Front Range refers to the population centers along the east side of the Rocky Mountains, including Fort Collins to the north, Boulder, Denver and Colorado Springs to the south. Rocky Mountain National Park is located west/northwest of Estes Park, which can be found northwest of Boulder and Lyons on U.S. Highway 36, or west of Loveland on U.S. Highway 34.

Related:Newtopia Now: ‘The Black Nutritionist’ brings heritage-led eating to the fore

The Western Slope is everything west of the Continental Divide, the range of the Rocky Mountains that determines whether rivers flow east to the Mississippi River or west to the Pacific Ocean. The Roaring Fork Valley encompasses Aspen, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs along the Interstate 70 corridor.

Visit the Boulder Farmers Market from 3:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesdays from May 1 to Oct. 2 and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays from April 6 to Nov. 23. Find more information at bcfm.org.

Region: Front Range
City: Boulder

Explore the Boulder Famers Market. Held on Wednesday evenings and Saturday mornings throughout the summer, the Boulder Farmers Market has long been a launchpad for young natural and organic brands to introduce their product to an engaged group of knowledgeable consumers. There’s typically a live band, local food vendors and more.

Eat at Bramble & Hare. Opened in July 2012, Bramble & Hare is the sister restaurant to Eric and Jill Skokan’s Black Cat Restaurant. Both located on Pearl Street, the restaurant duo is unique because most ingredients are sourced from Skokan’s own 425-acre USDA Organic farm located north of downtown. At Black Cat Farm, the team grows more than 250 heirloom foods, including grains and lentils, and raises heritage-breed pigs, chickens and geese.

On a tight budget? Try visiting Black Cat Farm’s stand at the Boulder Farmers Market to gather essential produce items instead.  

Related:Boost your business and network: Newtopia Now agenda highlights

Visit Nude Foods Market. Nude Foods Market is a highly sustainable natural grocery store aiming to eliminate plastic packaging in the consumer retail environment. Many items are pre-packaged in glass jars for grab-n-go convenience, but feel free to bring your containers to fill in the store’s extensive bulk section, too.  

Take the Boulder Scenic Farm Drive. Boulder’s visitor bureau has designed a scenic driving (or biking!) route that stops by several beautiful farm stands, including the biodynamic Aspen Moon Farm, Cure Organic Farm and more. Follow the Scenic Farm GPS route, roll down the windows, and head north to see beautiful views of the Front Range.

The Moxie Bread Co. Mercantile in Lyons, Colorado, is a beloved independent bakery that sources 100% heirloom grains from local farmers.

Region: Front Range & Rocky Mountain National Park
City: Lyons and Estes Park

Moxie Bread Co. Mercantile. No trip to the Front Range is complete without visiting Rocky Mountain National Park, which features 416 square miles of mountainous beauty. On the way to the park, swing by the Moxie Bread Co. Mercantile in Lyons, Colorado. Moxie is a beloved independent bakery that sources 100% heirloom grains from local farmers and prioritizes time-honored baking techniques.

Moxie is an active founding member of the Colorado Grain Chain, a nonprofit that connects a vibrant community-centered grain economy in Colorado. The organization makes it easier for grain producers to sell their ingredients to local manufacturers, chefs, brewers, bakers and more.
Pro tip: Arrive at Moxie early. Their products typically sell out before the end of the day.

Eat at Bird & Jim. Estes Park is located at the mouth of Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a touristy place where many shops sell taffy and fudge, sub-par burgers and kitschy souvenirs.

But Estes Park is also home to Bird & Jim, a jewel of a restaurant aiming to redefine Colorado mountain cuisine. At Bird & Jim, a revolving seasonal menu prioritizes ingredients from local farms and ranches in Estes Park, Hygiene, Drake and Kersey. The wine and cocktail list is also excellent—it has been featured in Wine Spectator magazine.

Region: Roaring Fork Valley
City: Carbondale

Sustainable Settings. Nestled in the Roaring Fork Valley near Aspen, you’ll find a thriving regenerative food movement spearheaded by Sustainable Settings, a 1997-founded Demeter Certified Biodynamic farm. Owned by Brook and Rose LeVan, Sustainable Settings has revitalized its topsoil through highly regenerative practices. As you can see on their website, Regen AG Lab tests reveal that key soil health markers such as fungi biomass and 24-hour soil burst respiration have improved every year of operation. Call to see when tours and workshops are held throughout the summer.

Shop at Osmia. Explore a pioneer in the natural and organic personal care category by visiting Osmia in Carbondale. After losing her mom to pancreatic cancer, Osmia founder Sarah Villafranco, M.D., created a line of beauty and skincare products that were made with the best, most nourishing ingredients she could find. The result is efficacious skincare products such as creams, soaps, salves, oils, balms and cleansers that smell amazing and make skin feel vibrant and hydrated.

Marble Distillery. Discover Carbondale’s social scene by visiting Marble Vodka Distillery. In addition to great cocktails in a hip setting, you’ll learn about Carey Shanks and Connie Baker’s ambitious plan to attain net zero status in energy and water use as well as upcycling its grains. Notably, the distillery sources 100% Colorado-grown grain, harnesses solar energy and incorporates a WETS water reuse system.


Region: Western Slope
City: Palisade

Fruit and Wine Byway. Coloradans prize Palisade’s peaches as one of summer’s most delicious bounties. But the Western Slope is also home to wineries that pump out some of the state’s most delicious wines. This multi-route scenic Fruit and Wine Byway is ideal for motorists and cyclists alike to explore the farms and vineyards near Palisade, many of which practice agrotourism and have excellent places where you can stay and eat.  

Palisade Peach Shack Market. This local orchard and market celebrates all things peaches! From peach muffin mix to canned hot peaches, the products at Palisade Peach Shack include delicious homemade jams, jellies and beverages made with the city’s flagship stone fruit. You can also book a “U-Pick Tour” at the Palisade Peach Shack to collect your own summer’s bounty.


Newtopia Now, New Hope Network's new trade show, is set for Aug. 25-28 at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. Click here to read more stories about the event. For more information and to register, visit this page of the Newtopia Now website.

About the Author(s)

Jenna Blumenfeld


Jenna Blumenfeld lives in Boulder, Colorado, where she reports on the natural products industry, sustainable agriculture, and all things plant based. 

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