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Geographer Says the North Fork is an American Provence

July 15th, 2011 by Thomas Wills

Filed under Community, Food and Wine

Professor Thomas Huber, who teaches geography and environmental science at the University of Colorado, says that the North Fork is a lot like the Provence region of southern France.

Yes, we’ve heard people say that before but Huber, who is completing a book on the subject, may be uniquely qualified to make the comparison. He is not only a professional geographer, he has spent quite a bit of time in Provence, and the Coulon River valley in particular, since his wife’s family lives there, and over the past years has been a frequent visitor to the North Fork Valley as well.

His forthcoming book, entitled An American Provence, is scheduled for release in December of this year and is available on Amazon for preordering now. It is being published by the University of Colorado Press.

According to Huber’s book: “I have talked about luscious wines and succulent fruit and exquisite dinners. But there may be no more evocative experience of the two valleys than the smell of new-mown hay in the fields at dusk. If a person were to close their eyes, they could not tell if they were in Provence or the North Fork Valley. That sweet, earthy odor is part of the beauty of these places.”

In Huber’s prologue and first chapter of the book he argues that the North Fork is geographically very similar to the Coulon River Valley of Provence and is rapidly becoming more and more like it agriculturally and culturally.

The main difference to Huber is the relatively short history of small organic farms and wineries in the North Fork compared to one centuries old in Provence. In other words the North Fork is in the process of becoming a place culturally and agriculturally similar to a part of southern France. At one point he refers to local vineyards as “prepubescent.”

Initially in the book, Huber seems focused on the Hotchkiss area and Roger’s Mesa in particular, perhaps because he and his wife have stayed at the Leroux Creek Inn in the past and he favorably mentions the vineyards there.

Huber’s book will undoubtedly be popular for holiday gifting this year and will find a place on the area’s bookshelves alongside Crawford/New York City food writer Eugenia Bone’s – At Mesa’s Edge memoir and cookbook, published a few years ago and based on our area.

Huber is also the co-author of Colorado: An Aerial Geography of the Highest State published by Western Reflections Publishing in 2002.

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