Fort Garland, Colorado – Part 2

Reader Contribution by Bruce Mcelmurray
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One of the premium advantages of small town living is the people you do business with.  One of those businesses in Ft. Garland, which we enjoy shopping at is the Old Fort Market. They are the only grocery store in town or for miles around. It is an independent grocer and  they maintain a very well stocked store for their customers who live in the surrounding community.  When you go to buy groceries you are recognized and greeted by name and it is rare that you don’t find the product you may be in need of. 

We live rural where during the winter we can be stranded for a few days and therefore we shop three times a year in what is known as a big box store about 120 miles one way from where we live.  Our other option would be to shop in the next nearest larger town which is 45 miles one way.  The cost of gasoline has become sufficiently expensive  to make those trips more expensive therefore cutting into any potential savings.  We have made  price comparisons and find the local independent market is not only competitive but in some cases more reasonable than driving for an hour.  We also do not waste hours behind the wheel of a vehicle.

We enjoy our local grocery and often stop in just to talk to Gerald the owner.   He will often  provide a recipe for certain cuts of meat or make suggestions on cooking.  Other times if that cut of meat you are  looking for is not displayed he will cut it for you right then.  The vegetables are a mix between local grown and warehouse vegetables and are always fresh. It is the next best thing to having a farmers market available.

Having a local well stocked grocery is truly a benefit when you live rural like many of the Old Fort Market’s customers do.  We prefer to support local business as much as possible as they in turn strengthen  our immediate community. When our community prospers we all benefit from it.  It is more economical for us to supplement our bulk purchases by buying locally  – especially when we have a well stocked store and are always greeted in a friendly manner.  The coffee pot is always on and you won’t be a stranger very long.  It is a good place to stop by and have a cup of coffee, exchange stories and talk about local events and pick up the grocery items you need. 

Living in the mountains, we grow some of our vegetables but that is a difficult task.  Our ground is full of rocks and we have to have  raised garden boxes to grow anything.  We also need to have them protected on all sides with hardware cloth to keep out the critters.  Add a short growing season and it just makes sense to supplement our garden with fresh vegetables from a local grocery.  Especially when some vegetables can’t be grown in our mountain environment. I have had a dismal history with attempts to grow tomato plants.   These are just some of the distinct advantages of living in a small community like Ft. Garland, CO.  Shopping local saves us time and fuel expense.  Both good reasons to shop locally.     

For more on living in the mountains and Bruce and Carol McElmurray, go to: