Christopher Bassett and Taylor Dale have been farming since 2008 and have been vending at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market since 2010. Their farm is family-run and certified organic.
Christopher and Taylor met in college in Washington state. From there the pair traveled to California where Christopher took his beginning farming skills to the next level, learning the business of running a farm in Sonoma. For both of them, food was a gateway into farming. The flavor in food comes from the field–the terrior. This simple idea led to a life of farming in Northern NM.
From California, Taylor traveled to South America to study, while Christopher stayed stateside honing his skills. When she returned, a chance meeting at the public education department in Española got Taylor a job teaching and the couple moved to New Mexico. Shortly thereafter, they were fortunate enough to find a two acre certified organic orchard with 150 trees, right on the river.
Growing fruit in Northern New Mexico is a risky business. Unseasonably warm late winters trick trees into blooming and late April frosts often kill those buds. Since 2008, they’ve only had three full harvests. A wind machine and sprinklers, which were already on the property, do help beat the late frost damage some years. In order to diversify their operations, they used NRCS funds to build a greenhouse, giving them some of the earliest vine ripened tomatoes and cucumbers at the Market. In addition, they learned how to grow oyster mushrooms, 60% of which they supply to local restaurants.
In another attempt to innovate and grow their business, in 2015 they purchased an additional 6 acres just down the road from their home. On it they built a 1 acre greenhouse where they planted 1500 fruit trees! This method of growing isn’t new, though it isn’t used widely in New Mexico. The goal is to protect the delicate fruit blossoms from late frost and guarantee an annual harvest of fruit. There are five bays to the greenhouse and each bay has 300 trees of different varieties. The method of growing is also unique, allowing for maximum fruit production while keeping the trees to a manageable size in the greenhouse. On the remaining acres they are planting seedless table grapes, raspberries and blackberries. We hope that by 2017, you’ll see cherries, apricots, plums and nectarines coming from Freshies, in addition to their usual delicious peaches and apples!