We turned down the cottonwood-lined ditch and saw a few folks quietly harvesting in the field in the photo above. We stood with Elan on the edge of the field in the shade. At first just we just listened to the sounds of birds and insects while we watched Aaron and three of their employees harvesting summer squash. Elan explained that the plot of land we were looking across had been pasture land for decades and that it was their first season farming it. This was hard for us to believe as we watched the farmers haul wagon load after wagon load of squash to the van through waist-high plants.
We walked across the field to where they had recently planted their mid-fall crops, like broccoli, red & green cabbage, and cauliflower. Elan told us that this field was protected under Corrales' farmland preservation program. This is crucial to preserving the historical integrity of the land in the Rio Grande Valley that has been used as farmland and ranch land from pre-contact pueblos to folks like Aaron & Elan, and many generations in between. With so much land being developed and more houses being built in that area, preserving historic farmland has become even more important in recent years. For more info on the Corrales farmland preservation program, and the role that Elan & Aaron played, search for the Edible NM article, "Open Fields Preserved."
We ended our time with Elan at their hydroponic greenhouse where they grow living lettuce (in last week's Share),mini cukes (also in last week's Share), as well as herbs & watercress. They use hydroponic farming to grow certain crops in efforts to reduce water. They want to have as little environmental impact as possible so they do things like harvesting rainwater to water their fruit trees, and have built solar-powered coolers to store their veggies. The list goes on!
We are still digesting all of the info that Elan shared with us last Wednesday, but we couldn't wait to share what we learned with you! If one thing is clear to us, it's that Elan & Aaron are fully committed to producing organic, local veggies while leaving as little trace as possible, and sharing it with our community. We really enjoyed getting to know two of our farmers that contribute almost weekly to our Shares. We hope you feel a little bit more connected, too!
Click here to download a PDF of last week's Newsletter!