It’s Fair and Rodeo Week!

Put on your cowboy boots. And your starched jeans. Get your hat cleaned up, but make sure you wear your straw one and not your felt beaver.

It’s hot outside, but that won’t stop the show.

It’s fair and rodeo week in San Miguel County, and it all happens in Norwood July 20-27 at the fairgrounds.

Last weekend kicked off the festivities with the 2014 carnival. With rides, slides and other games, kids of all ages came out — despite very warm temperatures — to enjoy the annual fun.

Sunday, July 20, kids and adults alike took part in the greased pig contest and the dessert judging contest.

According to Pastor John Dotson, director of the Fair Board, this year’s fair is bigger and better than it has been for quite some time.

“I am really excited about this year’s fair, and we are bringing in more exhibitors and vendors and local businesses. It’s more than just a stock show,” he said.

Some of the organizations and businesses onsite include Flower Motors, Western Implement, Affordable Trailer, Murdock’s, Lancy’s Leather and U.S. Fish and Game.

The traditional judging of jams, jellies and crafts will take place.

All of the usual livestock events are scheduled for the week, and those 4-H kids are hard at work.

You’ll find them washing their lambs, feeding their rabbits and working their steers.

This week lamb, pig and beef shows will be held, and many a hard-working kid is hoping to earn a prized belt buckle.

The older kids are hoping to earn big in the junior livestock show, where community members come forward to support the kids’ endeavors through the purchase of an animal.

And others can still be involved, even if they don’t have an ag background. A best-dressed pet contest and a pet rock contest are also scheduled. The events are sponsored by 4-H and are open to all.

Locals and visitors alike are looking forward to the annual rodeo.

Held June 25-26, cowboys and cowgirls will demonstrate their roping and riding skills.

Friday kicks off the junior rodeo, and Saturday will host the open rodeo.

Afterward, country singer Jake Gill will perform Saturday night in the arena for an outdoor concert. Gill has opened for Jason Aldean, Wade Bowen, Chris Cagle and other country musicians, and he will play at cowboy church the next morning at 10 a.m. at the fairgrounds after the pancake breakfast.

The Fair Board reinstated the fair and rodeo royalty, and fairgoers will have a chance to meet the 2014 queen and her court.

Senior Queen Kaitlynn Arnold, Junior Queen Cortney Lemon and Princess Grace Harris will be at the fair, in the show rings and welcoming all.

All three girls have backgrounds in horses and represent the county in true ranching style.

The San Miguel County Fair truly represents the farming and ranching roots of the area.

And, the event is absolutely free.

All are invited to come out and celebrate the history and culture that many still live in the basin.


Telluride Yoga Festival Celebrates Six


Telluride wrapped up another incredible festival weekend in a sort of double-whamy- part moving and shaking and part posing and meditating.

Telluride Yoga Festival celebrated six years in the box canyon, and according to many locals, it was the best ever.

Men and women alike shuffled around Telluride, yoga mats in hand, some of them amazed, staring off into the peaks in wide-eyed wonder.

“This festival was done better than any other year. I could just feel new energy,” said visitor Ashley Pendleton.

Telluride Yoga Festival is under new management this year and now directed by Telluride locals Erika Henschel and Albert Roer.

Some of the highlights included the all day intensives, specifically the Strategies for Success: Sequencing class with Noah Maze.

Lara Catone, yoga teacher from Venice Beach in Los Angeles, held women’s classes this year — Yoga for Esctasy and Pleasure and Women’s Moon Wisdom — a treat for females of all ages that including ecstatic dance and self-expression.

Joey Luggasy, on harmonium, facilitated a kirtan Friday night at the Conference Center in Mountain Village, attended by TYF goers. In a unique devotional conference, Luggassy mixed eastern mantra with western beats and modern lyrics, including Van Morrison’s “Into the Mystic.”

Local instructor Venus Castleberg said she was honored to have been asked to teach at the festival.

The Yoga Journal magazine, the leading publication for the national yoga community, was onsite and covering the event.

At the same time, the 2014 Ride Festival was rocking and rolling in Telluride Town Park.

For two days the stage was filled with musical greats.

Some of the highlights were Joan Osborne rocking out Saturday afternoon, as well as JJ Grey and Mofro and Rival Sons. Spoon killed their set Saturday night, followed by the beats of Thievery Corporation.

Sunday morning’s Harlem Gospel Choir lifted the souls of the audience, with Karl Denson’s Tiny Universe killing at night and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes headlining.

Some wondered why the female musician was not present in the Magnetic Zeroes.

Much to the surprise of many, the weather mostly cooperated, with monsoon season letting up a little.

The sun warmed things up both days, so that the Budweiser tent maintained an all-day line.

Food vendors at The Ride really showed up. Telluride local Lara Young and family sold their fruit-inspired popsicle creations enjoyed by many of the local children at the TRF.

Flavor of Telluride served up salmon wraps in delicious style.

And the vodka tent was a huge hit, especially with the reusable “solo”-looking metal cup.

It was a local’s festival — very different than the bluegrass scene that is also exciting in a different way. This past weekend though, there was a lighter energy. There was plenty of room to dance. There was spaciousness to accommodate all tarps and tents.

It seemed easy. It seemed relaxed.

And as the music rocked the park, back in grassy lawn area, in front of the porta-potty area, some people were even mixing festivals and practicing yoga to the roots rock in the Telluride Town Park.

The 33rd Annual Telluride Wine Festival


The 33rd Annual Telluride Wine Festival, June 26-29, was a smashing success throughout Telluride and Mountain Village.

Telluride Wine Festival is a four-day celebration of wine and food located in the lovely San Juan Mountains.

“This year’s festival [had] programs for both the novice and the connoisseur,” Festival Director Laurel Robinson said, “and [we improved] on our classic Tasting Events, adding many fun and fascinating seminars and activities.”

With over twenty-five different events, there was something for everyone. For festival information or to purchase tickets for next year, visit

Now, Telluride Wine Festival is proud to announce a partnership with the 12th annual Telluride Musicfest.

The first of their four concerts began last Wednesday, June 25, and last Sunday, June 29, at the Mai home near the old Sky Line Ranch property.

The Mai’s luxurious barn-like living room, bathed in the dusk light bouncing off Mount Wilson and Sunshine, is the perfect place to experience the glories of the chamber music repertoire.

Audience members were served a lovely glass of complementary wine courtesy of Telluride Wine Festival at intermission of the performance.

During the upcoming music events, guests can also look forward to wines served by Barry Marshall of Marshall Family Wines and by Sandy Taylor of Taylor Family Vineyards.

Known as two of the most scenic and intimate festivals in the country, Telluride Wine Festival and Telluride Musicfest both share the magic of rich life experience and artful engagement, and its promoters believe that it’s more than appropriate that these two sustaining festivals in our glorious Telluride box canyon come together on the same night to combine the best of wine and music.

Telluride Musicfest has for 12 years invited the best of New York chamber music artists for two weeks of music making presented in the way chamber music was written to be heard – in a grand living room.

This year’s festival is called “From Russia with Love, Part II” and features the great masterpieces of that repertoire.

The 2104 guest artists include Toby Appel on violin and viola, Edward Arron on cello, Joana Genova on violin, Hsih-Yun Huang on viola Kathryn Lockwood on viola.

The following concerts are scheduled July 2 and July 7 at the Mai home and promise an equally elegant experience. All concerts begin at 7:30 p.m.

To locate the Mai home, leave Telluride and turn left at Society Turn. Go about four miles and pass Mt. Village, Ski Ranches, Elk Run, Raspberry Patch and The Preserve. Just past the small lake on the left, turn left at the old Sky Line ranch Property. You will soon see 3 roads converging. Park here, and a shuttle will take you up to the Mai house, which is up the middle road through the metal cattle gate.

Telluride Winefest and Musicfest invite you to participate both of their traditions by hearing great music and toasting with great wine.


Small Town Traditions: Independence Day in Telluride

Telluride celebrates the Fourth of July in the true small-town tradition.

Local homes are decorated with flags and banners. Hanging baskets adorn the streets, and the local hardware store and souvenir shops are boasting tiny American flags and red, white and blue pinwheels.

The Fourth in Telluride is, in fact, so special, so quaint, that second home owners and tourists make it a point to be in the box canyon for the holiday.

Many were happy that Independence Day fell on a Friday this year, making for a long three-day weekend.

The festivities will kick off with the annual firing of the cannon, bright and early — a call to alert everyone to rise and get ready to honor America’s birthday. If you’re not used to hearing the loud explosion, it can be quite jarring. For those accustomed, it’s a warm welcome to don your patriotic clothing and fly your flag. It’s a Telluride symbol of American freedom.

Locals and visitors alike will be out early, saving spots on Colorado Avenue, the main street, for the Fourth of July parade. The early bird gets the worm, and finding a place to squeeze in closer to parade time can be difficult. Nobody wants to miss the festive, and often times comic, floats that will make their way through Telluride.

In the same way, bikes, horses, kids, pets, classic cars, big trucks and motorcycles — including Glider Bob with his freshly shaved and painted head — will excite the crowds, throw candy and wave proudly.

Many Telluride businesses and organization will also participate in the annual parade.

Most will dress in patriotic colors, wearing the stars and stripes proudly.

At around 1 p.m. the Telluride Fire Department hosts their annual barbecue in Telluride Town Park. Having sold tee-shirts and collected donations all week, they’ll continue to accept donations in the park.

Corn on the cob, potato salad, burgers and more will be served up in the community meal. The lines are sometimes long, but worth the wait.

Afterward, many will post up on blankets and in chairs to enjoy the sunshine and watch the kids play the games.

A bouncy house for little ones will be on site.

And, potato sack races, three-legged races, water games and more will take place with free popsicles and music.

While monsoon season has begun, Telluriders are hoping for a bluebird day. In other matters, however, the rain has been a blessing.

After several years of severe drought, the Telluride Fire Department is looking forward to presenting the town with the much-missed annual fireworks show. Needless to say, the area children are overjoyed.

The Telluride Fourth of July fireworks show is an excellent display of American pride, lasting close to an hour and featuring large-scale professional fireworks.

They will be set off on Firecracker Hill, with the support of many local firefighters, with many relaxing in Town Park.

For others, many families can see the fireworks show from their own homes.

Young and old, the time is here. All are invited to enjoy Independence Day in Telluride.

Bluegrass Weekend in Telluride!

It’s Bluegrass weekend in Telluride. But it didn’t start Thursday. It actually started before, more like last weekend. For days, visitors, traveling musicians and festivalgoers have been jamming in Telluride Town Park, on street corners on Colorado Avenue and out in front of the coffee shop on the main street. Folks have been seen carrying guitar and mandolin cases around town. Bluegrass music is playing on the sound system of local businesses, and nobody can find a parking spot anywhere. Twelve thousand people have crammed into the box canyon to attend Telluride’s biggest event: the Telluride Bluegrass Festival. It’s a 41 year-old tradition. And, the lineup this year was as good as ever. From his days in the Spencer Davis Group, Traffic and Blind Faith to his solo work, Steve Winwood makes another appearance in the San Juan Mountains for Bluegrass. And locals were excited. They were all ready to be “Back in the Highlife Again.” Chris Thile continues to play Telluride Bluegrass Festival this year, in both solo acts and with his bands, both The Punch Brothers and also Nickel Creek. Many folks are still talking about the performance he gave at the Steaming Bean coffee shop three years ago — a show that was standing room only, jam-packed and very high energy. Thile’s mandolin ability, along with his soul quality, have earned him quite a reputation in Telluride. Keller Williams made a comeback too, again joining The Travelin’ McCourys. Yonder Mountain String Band, beloved in the box canyon, still have their usual 4 p.m. spot on Saturday and played a Night Grass event Wednesday at the Conference Center in the Mountain Village and Friday evening at the Sheridan Opera House. Other Night Grass events sold out months ago, and Telluride Sweet Deals, the local Facebook page for buying and selling locally, showed some people seriously on the lookout for any extra tickets. . Of course, the House Band musicians, the favorites and old timers of Bluegrass have come back too: Sam Bush, Peter Rowan, Bela Fleck, Leftover Salmon, Tim O’Brien and Darrell Scott. And, as a special treat, Allison Krauss is scheduled to appear on stage Sunday night in the finale. These legends are a good part of the reason that this festival sells out. There’s music magic that happens onstage when these pickers get together. The campgrounds are all filled up. Tents have peppered the high school soccer field, and Town Park is bustling with RV and pop-up camper fun. The box office is still teeming with those searching for will call tickets and folks impatiently waiting to strap on their bracelets. The message board is up, and some people are still looking for single-day passes for Saturday and Sunday. Though rain and hail threatened festivarians on Wednesday, things have mostly turned out well weather-wise. Clear skies, sunny afternoons and chilly evenings make for a perfect Bluegrass. Let’s hope that everyone remembers their sunscreen and to drink plenty of water — in addition to all of those New Belgium brews!

Ah Haa School Announces Visiting Artisits

The Ah Haa School for the Arts is proud to announce its roster of visiting artists for the upcoming summer schedule of classes.

There are nine artists accomplished teachers who will share their particular talents with students interested in fabric arts, painting, photography and mixed media work.

Montana painter Shawna Moore returns to Telluride again this summer to teach Encaustics: Wax, Paper, Paint & More, June 14-15.

For painters keen to explore more deeply the art of landscape painting, back-to-back, weeklong Telluride Painting School courses taught by Hank Pitcher and Gregory Botts will offer new insights this July 7-18.

Following Botts and Pitcher, New Orleans painter and former Anderson Ranch instructor Kathleen Loe will teach another Telluride Painting School class, From How to Why: Content and Confidence Development for Painters, July 21-25. Allowing each student to use their preferred media, including collage, this class will stimulate and offer a variety of paths to approaching subject matter.

One of Ah Haa’s biggest names from the workshop circuit this summer is pastel artist Sally Strand, who will teach The Color of Light, Aug. 1-4. This class is open to all levels and all mediums — not just pastel. Strand, from California, is fascinated with how light is works in the context of painting, and her incredible work appears to emanate light from within.

Gasali Adeyemo resides and works in Santa Fe, but hails from Nigeria where his commitment to the art and culture of the Yoruba people was planted. He teaches workshops in fabric dying, batik, embroidery and appliqué techniques. This summer, he will instruct students on the art of Yoruba Indigo Tie-Dye Technique during the Many Hands Fiber Arts Festival, Aug. 8-10.

For painters looking to dig deep into layered possibilities, oil and wax painter Lisa Pressman will lead a class titled Using Layered Media to Expand Your Vision, Aug. 15-18. “Each piece evolves over time: as I play translucent and opaque layers of paint against each other, draw, layer, cover up, sand and scrape, the paintings take on a life of their own, revealing elements that provoke a visceral response,” Pressman said.

And, for photographers, the Ah Haa School has invited Glen Randall to share his talent in the realm of fall colors photography with The Art & Science of Landscape Photography, Sept. 26-28. Randall’s intimate relationship with the natural world is evident, as he has photographed the sunrise, and sometimes sunset, from all 54 of Colorado’s Fourteeners.

The Ah Haa School for the Arts wraps up its visiting artist schedule with a five-day women’s retreat titled Going Out Going In, featuring North Carolina painter Brucie Holler, who is partnering with local writer Rosemerry Wahtola Trommer for a combined writing and painting experience. The retreat, Sept. 22-26, is meant to allow women to explore both inner and outer landscapes and move more wholly into the creative process.

For a complete class schedule, links to the artists’ websites and to register, please visit: For more information, call 970-728-3886.

Mountainfilm Festival 2014


Mountainfilm Festival 2014 has been a huge success. As Buddhist prayer wheels and brightly colored red, blue, yellow and green prayer flags adorned the main street on Colorado Avenue, one could actually feel the consciousness rising.

This year’s Mountainfilm Festival continued to celebrate “the indomitable spirit,” and has since 1979. And, it might have taken courage of spirit for some to even stand in line in the que for movies this year, or the gondola line, as snow, hail, rain, thunder, lightning and freezing temperatures also made their appearance in Telluride for the annual event. Just making the traverse from lodging to “basecamp” was not for the faint of heart this Memorial Day weekend.

In fact so cold were temps this Mountainfilm that the outdoor showing of Adrenaline was relocated to the Palm Theater and given a late-night time slot, though crowds still showed in anticipation and didn’t seem to mind the change.

With the array of films that won hearts this year, as well as changed minds and inspired positive and creative change, there was won important highlight.

Telluride local Ben Knight received a big, warm homecoming, along with his film DamNation.

DamNation, a Patagonia-sponsored film, has been on a multi-stop tour in the U.S. for several weeks and has quickly become one of the most important films in social and environmental consciousness. Awarded the People’s Choice Award at South by Southwest in Austin, TX, the Official Selection at both the Environmental Film Festival at the nation’s capitol and the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival, DamNation has now struck the hearts of those in Telluride, and in the perfect time and place, for Mountainfilm.

Telluriders wished Knight well in his upcoming adventures as he now makes a move to Salida, Colorado, and said they will always consider him a Telluride local.

For more information on DamNation, to watch the trailer or to take action, see

Friday’s showing of the film at the Palm Theater was standing room only, and Elk’s Park was overflowing Sunday night for the outdoor showing.

Other Mountainfilm features included Alive Inside, An Honest Liar, The Last Season, Born to Fly, Queens and Cowboys, Marmato and many incredible others in various venues in town and Mountain Village.

The short films and other traditions continued, and despite the less than ideal conditions, the show went on. And, upon exiting theaters and returning to fresh air, festivalgoers were given glimpses of scenery that were the stuff of photographic or film quality: Ajax Peak spent most of the weekend bathed in an ethereal mist of cloudy snow, offset by the budding green aspens waving from below. Many a passholder stopped in the middle of the main street to capture the classic tourist snapshot of the backdrop.

Current and past films of Mountainfilm are on tour year-round. Single-event and multi-day shows are presented by non-profits and other organizations around the U.S. and other parts of the globe.

For more information on Mountainfim in Telluride and to see the 2014 schedule, visit

Voices of Wartime: Telluride During WWII

After a rejuvenating off-season period, The Telluride Historical Museum is open again as of May 22 and now making exciting announcements.

The museum is proud to present a new exhibit, “Voices of Wartime: Telluride During WWII,” in honor of the 70th anniversary of the Allied invasion of Europe.

Other exciting events in the same wartime theme are upcoming.

A free event for the public at the museum, located at the top of Fir Street,  is scheduled for June 5 from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

The Telluride Historical Museum invites everyone to come and experience World War II through oral history, film, photography and artifacts. The exhibit portrays the lives of those who fought and many of which were lost.

“The Telluride Historical Museum’s newest exhibit, Voices of Wartime: Telluride in WWII, reveals how life in Telluride changed — and did not change — during one of the most devastating global conflicts. Visitors will be immersed in the experience of Telluride’s wartime through stories told by those who lived it. With generous support from the Telluride Rotary Club, The Daily Planet, Telluride Elks and the Telluride Masonic Lodge, this exhibit weaves a story that exposes the truly unique community of this small mining town, even in times of devastation,” said THM Director Cameo Hoyle.

Here, light refreshments will be provided courtesy of the museum.

And, on a lighter note, in keeping with the 1940s-era theme that many people know and cherish, a “Swingin’ at the Sheridan Swing Dance” is scheduled June 6 for 7:30 p.m.

To the beauty of the Sheridan Opera House, all “dolls and dreamboats” are invited to come and dance the night away in what is designed to be an authentic wartime G.I. swing dance.

A live swing band will perform tunes of the times, and a cash bar will serve up the drinks of the day, then and now. The Telluride Historical Museum is encouraging dancers to dress in the style of the 1940s.

Tickets are $10.

And, in preparation for “Swingin’ at the Sheridan,” two free swing dance lessons will be offered prior to the public dance event. On May 27 and June 3, dance instruction will be held at the Sheridan Opera House from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Telluride locals Laura and Lance Colbert will teach free beginner swing dance lessons.

All are welcome. Partners are not required. The instruction will be “laid back,” according to the swing dance teachers.

The Telluride Historical Museum hopes for a great turnout and that locals and visitors, alike, get out and have some old-fashioned fun.

The events surround the celebration of Memorial Day, our national holiday honoring those who have died in service to the U.S.

The Telluride Historical Museum’s summer hours are Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sundays, 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Special appointments and tours are also available. Please call 728-3344 to schedule.

Locals receive free admission every Thursday, and Thursday hours extend to 7 p.m.

On Broadway Dance Recital

On Broadway Dance Recital

The Telluride Palm Arts Dance program is successfully wrapping another spring session of dance instruction. Dancers of all ages have devoted weeks of their time to practicing ballet, tap, jazz, hip hop and contemporary fusion in preparation for the “On Broadway” recital June 1 at 2 p.m.

This session began in mid-March with dancers building off of skills they practiced in the winter session. Winter’s session did not contain a recital, but a forum for demonstrations so that parents could see student progress.

Creative Director Shirley Fortenberry, along with Administrator Kathy Jepson, and instructors Jessica Galbo, Keri Sutton and Amanda Sturdevant have made the production possible.

Tickets are available at the door for “On Broadway,” are $10 for students and children and are $15 for adults. Show begins at 2 p.m. at the Palm Theater.

Dancers, as well as parents and other audience members, alike, are anticipating the awaited performance.

Rehearsals previous to the show have been announced as closed to build suspense for the costuming, music and finale.

A cake and punch reception will follow the event in the lobby of the Palm Theater.

Telluride’s Palm Arts Dance is additionally inviting children to enroll in their summer session of dance camps. Students save 10 percent on tuition by signing up on or before May 15.

Preregistration is required of all students, and Palm Arts Dance does require a minimum of five children for each camp or intensive to make.

Shake it Up is offered June 9 to 13 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. Many new concepts, as well as fundamental dance steps, will be covered by Fortenberry, Galbo and Sutton. The etiquette of dance, choreography, and working with props will also be included. Shake it Up is open to boys and girls ages 6 to 10.

Move It, Move It is scheduled July 21 to 24 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. A full day, high energy camp, both beginners and experienced dancers are welcome. Here, dancers will explore various genres and deepen their love and experience of dance. Move It, Move It welcomes dancers age 8 to 12.

Additionally, Fortenberry will teach a level 3 and level 4 ballet intensive July 7 to 10. Designed to help dancers refine their technique in classical ballet, the intensives will emphasize conditioning, pointe and pre-pointe work, stretching and upper body expression.

Choreography is included, and participants will demonstrate for parents at the end of the intensive session.

As always, adherence to the standard of ballet clothing is upheld. Students must dress in tights, leotard and proper, clean ballet shoes with hair neatly arranged into a bun.

Fortenberry will also lead a level 4 and intermediate intensive August 19 to 22 to prep more advanced students for the upcoming season.

Registration forms are available online and should be submitted to Administrator Kathy Jepson in the Palm Arts office, located on the second floor of the Telluride Intermediate School above the theater.

Telluride Palm Arts Dance welcomes both local participants, and visiting dancers for their summer camps and intensives.

Lucas Price and La Cocina de Luz

lucas price la cocina de luz

Lucas Price, owner and founder of La Cocina de Luz restaurant in Telluride, has a philosophy about food: it should be prepared with quality and awareness.

Committed to serving organic, local and sustainable ingredients, Price cares more about the consciousness of the food made in his restaurant than he does the bottom line.

“We do things pretty differently here,” he said. “I have a good life, I live and work in a beautiful place, but I am not a great business man. This job is more about creating a space and providing a service, creating jobs, promoting sustainable agriculture and having fun … and it’s a good place I like to eat at.”

An Oklahoma native, Price feels a strong connection to the Mexican and Southwestern foods.

“I don’t know if it’s a past life thing or not, but I feel a deep connection with this cuisine,” he said. “And in childhood I watched my family appreciate food so much. They were enchanted with food.”

Price came to the Telluride area for the first time in the 1970s with his family and moved to town in ’77 for mountaineering school.

When a relative bought a mill in Ophir, he decided to stay.

“Coming here I was introduced to foods of the Southwest and the whole food movement. I also learned about the politics of food,” he said.

The mother of his daughter played a leading role in shaping Price’s future, and he credits her for the knowledge he gained on nature-based spirituality and differing views on lifestyle that shaped his view of food.

“I was then able to consolidate my wants and talents and had the understanding that I wanted to be involved in the food service industry,” Price said.

He attended culinary school in Portland in 1990, an experience which he said was full of mixed emotions.

“Some of that served me well; some of it was too much, and I didn’t really relate to it. There are lots of things within the food industry that are contrary to my feelings about fairness and sustainability,” he said.

Price also traveled extensively in Mexico, Central America and New Mexico.

In Santa Fe, he briefly studied with Chef Mark Miller of Coyote Café.

There, Price said, he appreciated Miller’s honesty, Alice-Waters’-style-background and philosophy about food.

“Rather than just Tex-Mex and cheese and fried food, and things that were indistinguishable, I was introduced to a style of food that combined my whole food approach with Miller’s,” he said.

When Price returned to Telluride in the early 80s, he did some catering, and since Sofio’s — the local Mexican restaurant of the time — wasn’t serving lunch, he decided to open a taco stand.

“My emphasis was on fresh. The word ‘natural’ is vague, but my natural foods approached incorporated organic food and brown rice,” he said, “more of what like or ancestors ate.”

With the mobility of his taco stand, Price began vending at many Telluride festivals, and taking his talents on the road, cooking on the Grateful Dead tours.

“I learned the socio-economics of food, and it stuck with me. It was a very colorful scene,” he said.

In 1997, with the desire to create something more permanent, Price started small, in the old cigar shop on the main street of Telluride. There, La Cocina de Luz was born.

“All of this developed slowly,” he said. “And when Back Porch Flowers moved out, we took over that space, almost overnight.”

Now in his current location for several years, the menu has evolved.

“We’ve had introductions of different things since. The breakfast menus came, then on with tostados and the new salad. Our green sauce gets better and better. The pico has evolved. We had bean controversy forever, and now we use local Anasazi beans from Adobe Mills,” he said.

Price enjoys traveling to Cortez and meeting with his bean source personally.

Five years ago, he added the juicing component of La Cocina.

“I think eating raw fruits and vegetables is what we should be eating mainly,” he said, “And we just bought Nutrifaster N450 because I wanted to have fresh juice available and to orient people with what fruits and vegetables do for you.”

If you ask Price about his favorite thing on the menu, he will likely say “the vegan plate.” According to him, it’s affordable, healthy and filling.

But, he knows his customers love the chicken enchiladas and the combination plate, where for $21 diners can enjoy 3 entrees and even share with another person.

Additionally, Price is proud of the Caravan Middle Eastern food cart he opened three years ago next door also.

“I like to that that food because it’s intriguing; it’s ancient cuisine thousands of years old, “ he said.

Price humbly said he feels fairly confident in his quality of Mexican food, but enjoys experimenting with all ethnic foods.

As controversy continues with GMO ingredients, pesticides and the labeling of food, Price remains committed to doing the “right” thing — creating quality food that uses responsible ingredients.

“I just got three emails about Monsanto … and one from the National Restaurant Association, who are fighting for more relaxed laws on food safety and the minimum wage, and I don’t agree with that,” he said.

“If we put our money into food costs in our country, our healthcare costs would come down. The food industry is not about that; it’s short term monetary gain,” he said.

Price’s goal is and will continue to be the quality of food. It’s always first priority … Affordability is a bonus.