Farm Profile: Luna Hill Heritage Farm
Luna Hill Heritage Farm is located in Los Lunas, New Mexico and run by a husband/wife team and their adorable (and helpful!) daughter. Angela and Dominic are an inspiration to anyone who thinks they need more acreage, more money, a bigger tractor, better soil...they epitomize the beauty that happens when you work in harmony with your surroundings and resources. What do you sell?
Summer to Fall 2014: Spinach, gourmet lettuce blends, arugula, bok choy, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, beets, swiss chard, different varieties of tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, cabbages, kale, winter squash, onions, garlic, summer squash and zucchini, eggplant, green beans, peas, snow peas, herbs
Perennials: apples, peaches, plums, apricots, grapes, figs, cardoon, Jerusalem artichoke, pears, mulberry, elderberry, cherries, nectarines, western sand cherry
Fall 2014: Chicken eggs, duck eggs, whole poultry: duck, chicken and turkey as well as produce
How do customers purchase your product?
Our country store The Luna Hill Farmacy grand opening is tentatively set for August 2014. We will also be selling our products at Corrales Farmers Market, Nob Hill Farmers Market, and Los Lunas Farmers Market.
Another way to purchase products from us is by investing in a CSA (Community supported agriculture) share. You can purchase an extra large, large, medium, or small harvest box in which you will receive a weekly box of what's growing at Luna Hill. As an add on, you can also purchase a poultry share, or egg share. All our products and pricing is available on our website at http://www.LunaHill.org
Why did you start farming?
Luna Hill Heritage Farm is a small family owned and operated farm located in Los Lunas, New Mexico. Established in January 2014 to meet the growing demand for healthy humanely raised animals and heirloom fruits and vegetables, Dominic and Angela Knipfing had a desire and vision to fill those demands and needs.
As life changes in the world and our community, we have come to the understanding that we have much to share with our neighbors. There's an outcry for sustainable agriculture, local food, humane treatment of animals, healthy animal husbandry, and to bridge the gap between farmer and consumer. We believe that a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) can help build that bridge.
What’s the most valuable piece of advice you’ve ever received?
"You'll never be able to grow anything out here in the high desert. Everything dies, don't bother."
I won't go into detail about who it was that gave that gem of advice and had such confidence in my ability to grow things in an arid, dry, drought stricken, cuttingly difficult and extreme environment, but they allowed me to understand that while their advice was well intended, they can only view life through the lens of their own human experience.
That advice became the catalyst for change and an opportunity to shine and be remarkable. To watch the high desert bloom, turn green and very productive is an amazing and beautiful thing. Through observing our garden and plants, following the wisdom of my permaculture and agricultural heroes, and the willingness to make mistakes and fail miserably, I've learned to value that great advice I received. But it wasn't the advice, it was the person. I learned that day that everyone is valuable, even if they have advice that doesn't serve you. They are valuable, and to see value in other people is like watching a garden grow in the high desert...it's remarkable.
Here is a group of photos I put together to show what couldn't be done from March 2011 to March 2014.
What would you tell someone who is interested in a farming lifestyle?
I would like to say to those interested in the farming lifestyle to research farming all over the world. One of the agricultural problems we've gotten into as a nation is believing that there is only one way to farm. When you think of a "farm" the first thing that pops into mind is usually a tractor, and a big one at that. Next is a large barn, and endless acres of idyllic green land or pastures. It has long been thought that a farm has 100 acres of corn growing, or other mono crops, and that you must take out huge loans to buy a small 100 acre farm, and go into debt for the rest of your life. That way worked for a while, but for many, that way is broken and obsolete. For others, it is the only way they know to live, and they do it that way because it's a generational vocation. Even the Amish way is looked at as the ideal and something noble to aspire to. But is that really the farming lifestyle? I've seen farms as small as 1/4 acre with a passion for specialized produce, pull in more than $250,000 per year, and farms as large as 500 acres pull in millions yet just barely pay the bills. Bigger isn't always successful.
Find out what your passion is, and pursue it with excellence. We need to stop trying to be like everyone else. Rise up and be the leader that's dying to break out of that comfortable cocoon you've woven for yourself. And most importantly, there is no competition if you are following your own unique calling. Each person can help pull a community together with their unique input. Not everyone will sell cucumbers, and not everyone is interested in eggs. But what everyone is interested in is being an accepted and valuable member of their community. The more we realize that competition is for those who lack vision and true leadership, the more we will break out of our comfortable desire be just like everyone else. It's scary to be who we truly are, but that boldness and courage is needed for the farming lifestyle, even if you have the softest spoken voice and a most gentle nature.
For those who want to farm but are afraid to grow things, be willing to fail miserably. I used to be terrified to grow things. Sometimes things thrive and sometimes they die. I've nurtured, hovered, obsessed, and researched the best way to grow something, only to watch it die anyway. On the flip side I've ignored things that came up voluntarily that should have died, yet thrived and grew wildly in unexpected ways. Fruits and vegetables I ignored growing in the shade where light never reached it, where it never gets water, and where I never planted it, and yet it thrives all summer long, producing food for us. The more I ignored it, the stronger it seemed to grow. How is that possible? I've stuck seeds in our alkaline soil, added a little water and had 12 foot sunflowers and ten pound musk melons. I don't know why, and I don't mind saying that. I just know that if I never tried, I wouldn't have known it was possible, and if I never ignored certain things I would have never observed such tenacity for living.
Be willing to not know all the answers. I love saying, "I don't know." To others, I seem filled with lots of factoids, snippets of helpful tips, and practical knowledge, and I'm often amused when people ask me something and don't believe me when I say, "I don't know." It's a true statement...we don't need to know all the answers, all the time.
I don't have an agricultural degree, I didn't grow up a generational farmer or homesteader, and no one in my family grew fruits and vegetables. I didn't have family role models who had a passion for animal husbandry, and yet here I am with a calling that flings my arms open, inviting others into our farming world. This is the lifestyle I embrace, and one that I would encourage everyone to explore. It's a lifestyle of hope, of deep value, of great honor, and carries with it the sacred scent of love.
Anything else you’d like to add?
Honor your inner voice and allow opportunities to present themselves in the form of reaching out to those in your community. It might be a local farmer, the crazy chicken lady who has the coolest coop you'll ever see, the elderly woman who has wisdom in how to grow the most flavorful tomatoes, the child down the street who wants to learn to grow things, or even the shut in who's only connection to the outside world is that person who comes to visit once a week. When we honor our inner voice, we can appreciate and honor others as well.
How do customers get in contact with you?
By mail: 120 La Ladera Rd, Los Lunas, NM 87031 Phone: 505-916-0357 Email: Info@LunaHill.org
Need more Luna Hill in your life?