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SQS009: Denver Start Up Week

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Denver Startup Week 

Is one of my favorite business-focused events in Denver. Why do I love it so much? Let me share the reasons why:

  • It’s free!

 

  • Even though it’s free, the vision of the founders and planning committee is big picture focused.

 

  • The knowledge shared.

 

  • The speakers
    • Mark Cuban
    • Bryan Leach
    • Casey Neistat
    • Just to name a few of the amazing people who are sharing their wisdom during the week.

 

  • Denver Startup Week Highlights Colorado-based businesses

 

  • The networking

 

  • The parties!

In this episode, I share 10 tips on how you can have a phenomenal experience at this year’s Denver Startup Week event. Can’t wait to see you there!

Casey Neistat (my favorite video by him)

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Pearl Street Farmers Market Denver

It’s official, Denver has a new King of the farmers market scene. This past weekend solidified this finding as I found myself wandering up and down the Pearl Street Farmers Market with the masses. Let’s be clear, there are a number of wonderful markets throughout the Metro. In fact, the Union Station Farmer’s Market is a close second but for a consistently enjoyable experience, Pearl Street is hard to beat.

The Logistics

I love that the market is on one main street. It makes it easier for patrons to shop and browse. One of the side streets  is used for food trucks and some seating, but other than that, you just have to walk up and down ONE STREET. South Pearl Street has a great look and “feel” to it with historic buildings housing bricks and mortar businesses.

Parking is a little tight because it’s in the middle of a residential and business district. Happily, the market is pretty easy to get on foot, by bike, or via light rail.

If you ride your bike to the market there is manned bike “parking” with usually 2 attendants watching over the bikes. If you park your bike there you will be handed a ticket, when you’re done with your browsing, show the attendant your ticket and then get your bike. Please remember to tip a dollar or two before you leave.

Most vendors have credit/debit card readers but I would recommend that you bring both cash and card just in case there is a problem with the card reader.

The Vendors

Are pretty affordable, varied, and passionate about the products that they share. Sometimes buying locally can be a little more expensive, but I was finding that some other local markets were significantly more expensive because of the types of vendors and products being sold.

Standout Vendors:

  • The Sophisticate’s Tea-Listen to my podcast episode with Trinity Hindman (one of the founders). What exactly is it? It is a tea concentrate I particularly love the Sophisticate’s Mountain Fog Concentrate.

 

 

  • Tlaquesalsa-I’m convinced that this is the best salsa made in Colorado. I’ve tried all three flavors (Tomatillo, Arbol, and Jalapeno) and I love all three.

Best Deal

The $10 all you can fill bag of veggies at the veggie and fruit vendor whose name I can’t remember. This stand is pretty busy and should be easy to find. Therefore, be aware that not all of the veg/fruits are grown in Colorado-but, if you’re looking to be kind to your grocery budget, this stand is for you!

Pearl Street Farmers Market

Retains an ease and approachability that similar markets seem not to have. There are tons of people walking with their kids, friends, and fur babies. The vendors seem happy to be there and it’s nice to have the option of popping into one of the many stores or restaurants that flank the market. There is a distinct lack of attitude and a very real sense of warmth.

I love this market. It’s open on Sundays from 9-1 pm.

SQS004: Cultura Craft Chocolate

Matt from Cultura Craft Coffee

Matt Armstrong

I am a chocolate addict. When I emotionally eat, good chocolate is what I like to reach for. Also, when I’m happy…you get the idea. I love all things chocolate. So, when I noticed a large number of chocolatiers/chocolate companies in Denver, I thought it would be great to talk to a couple of them to figure out what the deal was…and, hopefully score some free chocolate. I didn’t get any from Matt because I forgot to…ask..beg. But, we had a good time talking about chocolate.  Enjoy the interview.

Colorado Chocolate 

  • What’s the deal with all the chocolate? There is a ton of great chocolate being made in Colorado. I’ve had a great time “sampling” all of them.

 

  • Dead Dog Chocolate has changed to Cultura Craft Chocolate. Why the branding change?

 

  • What Matt’s role is in the company. Matt is originally from Cali (with a couple of stops along the way). I’m curious about how he got connected with Culture Craft Chocolate.

 

  • Chocolate makers vs. chocolatiers. What’s the difference?

 

  • The ongoing process of educating consumers about their chocolate (quality vs. cost). I love supporting local businesses and know that cost and getting consumers to be comfortable with potentially spending more is an ongoing challenge.

 

  • Matt’s business experience in Colorado so far.

 

  • We get sidetracked by his taco love. It’s kind of hilarious how much he loves tacos. He let’s me know if Denver has any good places to check them out.

 

  • We discuss how Matt got into chocolate making. It’s a pretty cool story!

 

  • Drinking chocolate and getting consumers to make the switch to higher quality chocolate. It has less sugar but tastes so good.

 

  • I wonder about his favorite chocolate and the most popular bars that they sell.

 

  • I get nosey.

Where to Find Cultura Craft Chocolate

 

 

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10 Amazing Snacks Made in Colorado to Take on Your Next Hike

One of my favorite activities to take part in here in Colorado is hiking. I can’t get enough of it. A typical hike that my friends and I will take part in usually lasts around 4-5 hours depending on the size of the group, length of the hike, distance from Denver, and the altitude.

There are a number of things to consider when planning your next hike but one that many people don’t spend enough time on is creating the perfect combination of snacks for your next hike. I thought it would be fun to share 10 amazing snacks made in Colorado to take on your next hike when you’re pressed for time or low on groceries!

Related Post: 10 Free or Ridiculously Cheap Ways to Get Fit for Summer in Denver

10 Amazing Snacks

  • Made in Nature Snacks-Headquartered in Boulder and manufactured in California, Made Nature has some amazing tasty and healthy snacks that hikers can carry with them into the backcountry.

 

  • Lara Bars-I absolutely love these and my current favorite is the Cherry Pie. Which is weird because I tend to prefer apples.

 

 

  • Binnie’s Coconut Butter-This is so good you want to slap somebody. I had the pleasure of meeting the founder and she is super focused on creating an amazing and delicious product creating obsessed fans everywhere.

 

 

  • Lithic Nutrition-this is made with cricket protein. Really. It’s a great source of protein that is a lot more earth friendly and produces a heck of a lot less methane because…crickets are easier to raise than cattle.

 

  • Noosa Yogurt-This yogurt is a Colorado obsession. Especially during the fall when the Pumpkin flavor is released. Right now they are releasing way too many flavors (can’t keep up with them all) but my current favorites are: Mexican chocolate, vanilla, and lemon. Of course lemon.

 

  • Power Puck-Share Good Foods makes these delicious treats.

 

 

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Justin's Peanut Butter Cups

Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups-Oh So Delicious

This review should really be called:

Why I Gave Up Eating Reece’s

Peanut Butter Cups

But, it’s not. Instead, I will talk about my defection from my childhood favorite of peanut butter wrapped in a questionable, yet delicious, chocolatey shell.

I have always loved the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. And in my innocence, I believed that nothing could be better than a Reece’s Peanut Butter Cup.

I was wrong.

As a huge supporter of local businesses and local product I am always on the lookout for new products that are made in Colorado. When that new product also happens to include chocolate and peanut butter I am 100% committed to checking it out.

Justin's Peanut Butter Cups

 

 

 

 

 

Image Credit

So, I bought my first Justin’s Peanut Butter cup several years ago and with the exception of another product from also made in Colorado, nothing has stood between me and my Justin’s Chocolate Peanut Butter Love.

My personal favorite is the dark chocolate and peanut butter cup. Because dark chocolate is technically good for your health. I am actually doing something that is medically sound by eating at least one package a week.

I open the package slowly with slightly shaking hands. I want to devour them but instead, I eat them slowly usually with a cup of soy or almond milk. Or, I have a nice cup of coffee and the marriage of hot coffee and melted chocolate and peanut butter aren’t to missed.

Some people will complain that Justin’s are a little more expensive. And they are. But, they are worth every penny.

Hey, vegans-you can eat them too!!

Have You Eaten Justin’s Peanut Butter Cups? Did You Like Them?

*This is not an affiliate post. All opinions are my own*