Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Will Work For Food

Went to work up north today. Earned mostly credit for fruit. Spent most of my day getting ladders up trees to get the fruits weighing down the branches and in some cases snapping the branch/ trunk. Lots of pruning to be done, and thinning of fruit was never done so these trees are loaded. The benefit to not thinning is the variety of ripeness and sizes. Most commercial orchard operators will thin fruit in the spring so everything is uniform later for harvest. There is some good stuff going on in this great state agriculturally speaking and after being invited up to many many people's farms I have finally made the time to do so. Brought home 8 Lbs plums and 4 lbs white peaches.

I will be working up in Velarde at least once a week now, if not twice. The idea of working for food is great. The work is hard and it is hot and the mosquitoes are blood thirsty but the fruits of my labors are well worth it. I plan to preserve enough apples, plums, peaches, pears, nectarines, cherries etc. to get us to next season. Plus all the sub par fruit is getting fed to our 25 chickens more regularly. Velarde is on the road to Taos and is right off the Rio Grande. There is a beaver tearing up some of the fruit trees but my friend doesn't want to kill it because they are so important to the river's eco-system. The orchards are irrigated by flooding age old acequias (or ditches) part of the reason the Rio Grande runs so dry down south (TX & Mex.)
I have always wanted to own part of a farm, but couldn't afford that, so this is perfect. This will be an interesting learning experience. I have been trying to branch out and get work experience with some of the farmers I have met in the years living here. This summer is going great so far. Just need to get a mountain of firewood bucked, split and stacked and get some homebrew going and some weeding and eventually canning of pickles and salsa and whatnot. A ten day camping trip to Colorado and beyond should prove a nice reward for some hard work, and the chickens will need some structures to make it through winter and for laying eggs. Lots to do and much already done. Photos of EVES Farm to come in the next few weeks. It is really a trip to be walking down along an ancient agricultural river and see these trees loaded with fruit and just dropping it all day long. There is a serious harvest on those trees. And much more work to be done, at his farm and mine.

the orchard, river & highway:

View Larger Map

more on what we do with all our hard-earned fruit to come in future posts. For now those plums will ripen in a few days and the peaches will probably not even make it to the dehydrator.

Until next time....


  1. Sounds like a great arrangement. As we get more settled here, I might try to see what I can come up with. Not sure how many opportunities there will be since there is a very active farmers market in the area and I suspect most are just squeaking by themselves.

    I do already "work for food" though at my CSA. Three hours labor per week gets me my share for no cash down. Sadly, it's not at the farm but at least I help keep the pick-up operation running smoothly.

    Drooling over the thought of your tree-ripened peaches!

  2. most independent farmers are just making ends meet. that's why we are bartering work for fruit. this guy can't find people who want to work for the farm. most farmers are too busy on their own farms, but this might work for a few months.

    santa fe farmer's market is huge and there are lots of employment opportunities there...year round mind you.

    also, running the pick up is the same as this...you traded your personal work time for food...awesome Chile!

  3. Mmmm...I would love to find a deal like that!

  4. know your farmer know your food.

    this was the front page of today's local paper:


    some good information too