By Linley Dixon
Farming in Durango has been humbling. Our vegetable farm is only three years old, but already we’ve experienced unpredicted frosts, heavy winds that blow plastic off grow tunnels, herbicide carryover in composted hay and manure, cold summer nights preventing the maturity of warm-season crops, high soil pH, limited water, gophers, flea beetles, aphids, hail, and…need I go on? Every year, the onset of the monsoons begins with “oh yes, it’s raining” and quickly becomes “no, wait, stop raining because it’s beating the crops to death!” No wonder there are so few vegetable farms in the area; surviving the elements goes against the odds.
But this year we learned one thing that we have works in our favor: a willing work force! When hail hit our farm in mid-September, we had decided to throw in the towel for the season. But YOU didn’t let us give up that easily. A social network already in place through the Fort Lewis Environmental Center and the local extension service sent more than 75 people our way to harvest damaged tomatoes, make trips to cold storage at Zia, and process and freeze the “rescued” tomatoes at Linda’s Local Food Cafe. You turned tears into smiles and 5,000 pounds of tomatoes into salsa and chutney rather than compost!
We at Adobe House Farm thank everyone who helped, especially Linda Illsley, who convinced us that all was not lost and is still churning out delicious products from the freezer. We also want to let you know that WE heard you loud and clear: you want the opportunity to help local farms through bad times and good. All we farmers need to do is get over our pride and start asking!