Pineapple on the beach and upcoming events

Just want to let you all know that I am taking one for the team this week. I am sacrificing my Tuesday morning to make sure that I give you readers some pertinent gardening information.

In February.

While I’m in Hawaii.

After eating fresh pineapple, candy bananas and avocados for breakfast I have decided to sit on the beach, watch the kiddos swim (out of the corner of my eye), grab the tablet and write about gardening in a place where the temperatures are in the 30s.

Yeah, right. I have 10 more days of 80s and I, and my sun-shocked skin, are going to enjoy every minute of it. Of course, much to the kids’ dismay, I will take in my fair share of botanical gardens, farmers markets and coffee plantations. At least there, I can pretend like I am absorbing some sort of useful horticultural knowledge.

For those of you who are last-minute planners (read: 90 percent of you), The Growing Partners are putting on the Homegrown Retreat at the Fort Lewis College Ballroom this Friday night and Saturday. By bringing together food producers, buyers and consumers, this year’s retreat aims to examine our access to distribution of locally produced food.

At 7 p.m. Friday, Growing Partners welcomes keynote speaker Steve Warshawer, enterprise development manager for La Montańita’s Cooperative Distribution Center. Warshawer will share information about local food distribution models throughout the Four Corners.

From 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Saturday, numerous workshops will focus on producer, consumer and buyer influence on food access and distribution in La Plata County and beyond. Saturday’s program also features two fantastic local meals. Like so many of the events we put on, this one is also free. For those who can, we suggest a minimum donation of $10 at the door on Saturday, to support the program and for the food provided.

On March 3, The Garden Project of Southwest Colorado is excited to be this season’s final recipient of Purgatory at Durango Mountain Resort’s Locals Benefit Day. The Garden Project, which has been involved with schools, government entities and public growing spaces, provides resources and services to those interested in starting or enhancing a garden program. Proceeds from ticket sales will help us improve our two “showcase” gardens at Needham Elementary and Manna Soup Kitchen. Check out the website at for more information and to grab your needed coupon.

Lastly, Colorado State University Extension is hosting its annual Integrated Land Management workshop on March 12 at La Plata County Fairgrounds. The full-day program will feature statewide and local topics on everything from bees, to chickens, to compost (oh, my). It is a great primer for those of you itching to get in the garden as we inch closer to planting season. For more information or to register for the workshop, which costs $20 and includes lunch, call 382-6463 or visit our webpage at

Now I must go. The kids just spotted some sea turtles. The sacrifices I make ... or 382-6464. Darrin Parmenter is director and horticulture agent of the La Plata County Extension Office.