When dining al fresco means rolling rivers, sunny foothills and Poudre Canyon backdrops, packing that perfect picnic is crucial. Here’s where to grab the best blanket-worthy goods.

Fox and the Crow Cheese Shop
Snag approachable foodie fare from this gourmet cheese shop and bistro in Scotch Pines Village. Farmstead and artisan meats and cheeses are cut to order. Go beyond charcuterie and ask about their small plates. Try the caramelized onion and Gruyere quiche for just $6 with a side salad. Come back for four taps of premium wine and a killer happy hour (Tuesday through Friday). 2601 S. Lemay Ave., 970-999-2229, thefoxandthecrow.net

Choice City Butcher & Deli
Savvy locals know this is the go-to spot for to-go’s. Choice City’s menu will have you standing and staring. Pull the trigger with the classic Italian, stacked with capicola, ham, salami, provolone cheese, lettuce, onion, tomato, banana peppers and oregano. Skip the oil and vin to keep it from sogging out. They open at 7 a.m. most days and lunch is served all day, making it easy to swoop in and pick up provisions, get on the trail early and reach your summit by lunchtime. 104 W. Olive St., 970-490-2489, choicecitybutcher.com

Backcountry Delicatessen
Diehard outdoorsy types, Backcountry’s owners are all about wholesome ingredients fueling fresh-air escapades. Rely on the Old Town outpost for a hearty list of specialty sandwiches, like the popular Bushwacker: flavor-punched curry chicken salad with toasted almonds and tart Granny Smith apples, smoked gouda and crisp romaine. Hit up the original in Steamboat Springs if you’re ever up that way. 140 N. College Ave., 970-482-6913, backcountry-deli.com

Fiona’s Delicatessen
This beloved bakery and deli loyally caters to customers’ whims. Dig extra bacon? Yes, ma’am. Prefer a spicier sauce? You got it. Even if you’ve been here 50 times, there’s something new to try. For something delicately different, order the Ed’s Snaggin’ Salmon, built with Fiona’s house-smoked salmon, roast garlic cream cheese, tomato and red onion on pumpernickel. Get the cream cheese on the side and keep it all chilled in your pack next to a frozen water bottle. Which will thaw in time for lunch. Epic picnic timing. 1001 E. Harmony Rd., 970-530-2120, fionasdeli.com

Road 34 Deli & Tavern
Giggle-inducing menu picks keep the scene interesting here. Try the Naked Homeless Man – grilled chicken, provolone and bacon, showered in Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce (on the side, of course) – or the heady Lawn Jockey made with green peppers, onions, banana peppers, black olives, mushrooms, provolone and Swiss. For best results, return to the pub’s spacious beer garden for a post-hike brew from one of their 30+ taps. Happy hour runs 4 to 8 p.m. and all day Sunday. 1213 W. Elizabeth St., 970-221-3434, road34.com

RARE Italian
Like your al fresco meals higher end, complete with silverware and poetry? You may need to snag a bottle of pinot grigio for this picnic. RARE is where you stop before you stroll around the park and plant it with your wicker basket and super soft quilt. Start with crostini and housemade mozzarella, burrata and lemon ricotta. Maybe some Castelvetrano olives and spiced nuts. Dig into the potato and fennel ravioli with brown butter balsamic and toasted hazelnuts. For dessert, a few spiced orange chocolate truffles. 101 S. College Ave., 970-294-4544, rareitalian.com

Green Light Café
On the other end of the spectrum sits this gas station gem that some call Fort Collins’ best-kept secret. The takeout spot tucked inside of the Zoom Mart Shell Station slings tasty to-go breakfast burritos, grilled sandwiches and fresh salads. They even make homemade biscuits and gravy. For real. In a gas station. The from-scratch baked goods aren’t too shabby either. Start rounding up supplies when they open at 7 a.m. 1603 Specht Point Rd., 970-221-5902

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