13 Sep 2016

Notes From the Road: Farms in and around La Cienega

Green tractor on farm land

Community News: Los Pinos Road and the Arroyo Chamiso Crossing
Santa Fe County is finally moving forward on a long delayed project to build a bridge across the Arroyo Chamiso on Los Pinos. There are two major arroyos that flow through and join in La Cienega. The first is the Arroyo Hondo which crosses Los Pinos at the S-curve, below the stable area at The Downs. It should be flowing underneath the road. The second is the Arroyo Chamiso that crosses the same road in a wooded area about a mile north of Sunrise Springs. The two arroyos join before Sunrise and are the two major drainages from the south side of Santa Fe.

The bridge project was delayed by an illegal bridge that was installed a few of hundred yards downstream. The undersized bridge was installed by a company whose owner is now in jail. Silt build-up caused by the illegal bridge contributed to a flood two years ago, but removing the illegal bridge is no simple task. Santa Fe County announced that they have completed the long legal process and will be removing the illegal bridge. The county has not indicated when the bridge construction may begin. The La Cienega Valley Association will be working with the county to minimize traffic issues on Los Pinos during construction.

Local Farms
The La Cienega/La Cieneguilla area contains many farms. The two certified organic farms are Green Tractor Farm on Paseo C’de Baca and the Tres Rios Ranch at the end of the valley on the old Gallegos Ranch homestead (the house at the ranch was damaged by the Pueblo Revolt in 1680). At 24 acres, the Tres Rios Ranch farm is the largest organic farm in Santa Fe County but has not planted for three years because of water issues on the Santa Fe River, their source of water for irrigation.

The Green Tractor Farm is owned and operated by Tom and Mary Dixon. I first met Tom in the mid-80s when he was working for Blue Raven Construction. About a decade ago Tom decided to get out of construction business to focus on farming. The organic certification was an essential goal for the farm and their daughter Rachel helped complete the lengthy and detailed application. It was a struggle at first, but over time small farm has become a model of success. Tom has installed a number of water-saving features and almost all their plantings are drip irrigated. They grow a wide range of produce and have been recognized by the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market for their ongoing contributions to the organization.

Recycling Reminder from the Facilities Director
Sunrise Springs recycles paper, cardboard, metal, plastic. We do not recycle glass. Recycling containers are located at the back entrance to the main kitchen, at the back entrance of the Sages kitchen and outside the entrance to the laundry room. Please remember no trash or food in the recycling and please rinse your containers.

Guest Comments
It was perfect.

Carl Dickens

Carl Dickens, Human Resources Coordinator
Carl Dickens grew up in New Mexico, his parents having met and fallen in love here. After a brief stint in Alaska, the family returned to the warmth and light of the high desert. Carl was raised in the farming community of Los Ranchos, in the North Valley of Albuquerque, among alfalfa fields and arroyos. He began working at Sunrise Springs in 1984, the same year he and his young family moved to the valley. Carl remained at Sunrise Springs for five years, returning again in September of 2012. Carl is active in the local community and is passionate about the history of the area, preserving its agricultural traditions and water conservation.