Las Golondrinas Goes to the Fair
by Donald Coleman
Pumpkins…and peppers…and squash! Oh, my! (No, this isn’t the Land of Oz, but the familiar terrain of Las Golondrinas). These and other products of the Ranch’s gardens and orchards garnered a host of blue, red, and white ribbons at this year’s New Mexico State Fair in Albuquerque, which ran from September 6 through 16. The wizards who made all this happen were staff, volunteers and workers from the Ranch, supported by members of the Santa Fe Master Gardeners Association (SFMGA).
Las Golondrinas’ participation in the agricultural competition at the Fair began only recently. Steve Dixon, currently Water Resources Manager at Las Golondrinas, visited the annual event in 2015 with his wife, Jen. “We decided to start entering the Ranch produce and see how we stacked up,” Steve recalls. The pair, the driving force in the yearly project, are quick to note that many hands are needed at every stage before the crucial judging begins.
“Sean Paloheimo decides what we plant in the main fields,” Steve explains, and “Jen and I do the Sierra Village’s 3 Sisters Garden.” Las Golondrinas employees Eduardo Armenáriz, Eliseo Armenáriz, Cesar Perez and Davide Talamantes plowed, planted and weeded the fields. As this year’s Fair approached, Steve and Jen, assisted by the SFMGA, looked the crops over and decided on the best options for entries.
Las Golondrinas docent, Lynn Hathaway, far left, Steve Dixon, second left, and SFMGA members
Once it is delivered to the Fair, the produce is sorted into groupings prior to the judging. Awards are given for both size of entry (Steve remarked that our sorghum stalks are always the tallest) and for quality. In addition to the produce types already noted, the Ranch’s watermelons, sunflowers, apples, basil, chives and plums, as well as others, received ribbons. Since Steve and Jen began submitting entries, eighty-one awards have found their way to the Ranch! (Our presentation of sorghum has been voted the best produce display at the Fair for the past 3 years!).
You can view this year’s impressive “harvest” of ribbons at the Volunteer Casita.