A northerly wind spun pinwheels stationed around the former Community Farm in Agua Fría Village, drawing attention to lush greens growing in the field.
Arella Hordyk and Matthew King were busy Monday tending to the lettuce, arugula, kale, beets and other vegetables they began planting in March. Now, they are ready to join others with a Santa Fe-based nonprofit in reopening the small farm to the public.
“This is the first day we’ve felt it’s really a farm,” King said with a smile.
On Tuesday, the newly named Reunity Farm will begin opening twice a week and also offer produce at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. Organizers with Reunity Resources will host an open house with music, refreshments and produce for sale from 6 to 7:30 p.m. on the property, located near the San Isidro Crossing in Agua Fría.
After that, the farm will be open to the public from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturdays and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesdays, hopefully through October, said Juliana Ciano, outreach coordinator for the farm.
“We’d like to keep it going until maybe Halloween and have a pumpkin festival then,” she said, “but it’s a little hard to tell now if that will work because there’s a little bit of a nature card playing there.”
The reopening of the decades-old farm comes after two years of uncertainty regarding the fate of the community resource, which had looked as if it might close for good after the death of its founder, John Stephenson, in the summer of 2017 at the age of 102.
Earlier this year, Reunity Resources, best known for its waste-composting program in local restaurants and schools, announced it would revitalize the 12-acre farm.
“We’re going to focus on staple crops this year, growing foods that are easy to use and common: radishes, carrots, greens, squash, onions, apples and, later in the summer, tomatoes,” Ciano said.
Patrons and neighbors accustomed to buying fresh produce at the farm have reason to rejoice, said Agua Fria Village resident William Mee, a long-time customer.
“We bought a lot of produce at the [farm] stand,” Mee said. “We’re excited that it’s going to remain as a farm and that Reunity Resources with its composting operation will run it. I’m glad it’s in a more stable ownership situation. They are outstanding.”
The farm has long helped supply residents of the village, Santa Fe and tourists. Stephenson, after returning to Santa Fe after serving in the military during World War II, bought the property, where he and his wife created an egg ranch before expanding it in the late 1940s into an organic farm with a charitable bent.
The Community Farm, as it became known in the early 1980s, produced some 10,000 pounds of vegetables annually in recent years. It donated much of the produce to The Food Depot and Feeding Santa Fe, which Stephenson helped found as Food For Santa Fe.
Though Stephenson’s family kept the farm operating through the end of the 2017 season, a year or so after his death it closed.
Ciano said the farm accepts cash, checks, credit and debit cards and will start offering a seasonal prepaid farm card that provides a 10 percent discount. That discount applies to the purchase of the card itself, she said — you pay $90 for the $100 card but still have $100 worth of credit on it, with the 10 percent discount applying to every purchase until the card runs out.
In the meantime, she said, the farm is looking for volunteers. No experience is necessary. In fact, she said, last weekend a number of 3-year-olds joined adults in helping around the farm.
“They were great, really good at watering stuff — mostly themselves,” she said. “But it all helped.”