We are happy to share a final reflection piece written by our 2023 Los Sembradores Farmer Training program graduate, Claudia Vialpando. This was her first year in agriculture, and she was very enthusiastic about how to create a small business after learning about successful farmers and orchardists in the surrounding communities of Northern NM.
“My time during the program was full of learning, laughing, and getting to know the farm crew. I got to learn the whole process of growing your own food and the importance of organic, real food. From taking care and preparing the land, to going through the beautiful collection of seeds that have been saved and will be planted.
Photo 1: Watershed and remedio hike on a foggy morning!
To making plans about what we are going to plant this year, and waiting for the crops to pop through the ground and take care of them until they are ready to harvest. There is so much time spent weeding, aerating, and thinning.
Photo 2: The biggest turnip from the garden and a fun looking carrot!
Harvesting was one of my favorite things to do. My favorite vegetable to harvest was carrots. I’ve never tasted a fresh organic carrot and it was delicious and I can’t wait to grow more. Collecting and seeing all the veggies you grow throughout the season is so rewarding, and also learning all the different techniques to wash all the different vegetables and how to store them so they don’t go bad.
When working in Donne’s garden and on my own, I noticed that you have to be in your garden constantly working or next thing ya know you have a mini jungle where your garden used to be. I got to enjoy and find out a lot of things about different bugs. I got to learn a lot about bees. I saw a bunch of different spiders, and I even got over my fear and held one.
Photo 3: Cutest little jumping spider 🙂
I was very excited to learn the process of making jelly, in fact after I learned how to make jelly, I didn’t want to stop. I made a variety of plum, apricot, ciruela indio, and next year I will try peaches and grapes. My favorite jelly to make was ciruela Indio, it was a nice orange pink and it was the thickest natural jelly. I found out that my great grandma used to LOVE anything apricot and I’m super excited to see what she thinks of my jelly.
For the first time in my life, I was sad the weather was getting cold. However, I can’t wait until next summer so I can do it all again, and I’ll use that knowledge to hopefully make a little jelly business one day. Being out there in the trees and the bushes harvesting the fruit was beautiful and relaxing. Getting to share my jelly with my family and friends was awesome, and hearing their thoughts and feedback about it made me happy.”
Photo 4: Ended the year making tesajos!