In our work at My Foodshed, we have the opportunity to connect with incredible individuals who are committed to offering high-quality, locally-grown food to their communities. This month, we had the opportunity to interview Erik Nelson, from Nelson Farm in Pleasant Hill, NM.
How many years have you been growing?
I have been gardening and orcharding since I was a kid, alongside my father. My wife Anne, and I have always maintained a home garden for our family but around 2005 I was trying to figure out what to do with all those zucchini! That is when we started taking our extra produce to the Clovis Farmers Market in Clovis, NM. We really enjoyed the atmosphere and all our fellow farmers and have been growing our operation ever since.
What gives you hope as a farmer/producer?
All farmers are eternal optimists. I am no exception. My hope is always buoyed by the fact that “Every day, 3 times a day, everyone needs a farmer”. Everyone needs to eat. It is my joy that we can provide good, wholesome food that not only is needed by the consumer but savored and looked forward to with delight.
What all do you grow?
We grow both outside and in a hoop house which allows us to grow a variety of both warm-season and cool-season crops in both summer and winter. Our largest crops are tomatoes, onions, cucumbers, squash, and a wide variety of peppers. We also grow garlic, sweet corn, melons, carrots, and winter greens (lettuce, chard, collards, and kale). We also have a small orchard and vineyard with 63 trees and many vines. We rarely get a crop due to late freezes but it is always a joy when we do. We maintain a small flock of laying chickens for eggs as well.
What do you enjoy most about what you do?
For me, there is no more noble profession than farming. Farming is the art and science of taking water, sunshine, and effort to create something wonderful from nothing. You plant it and it grows. It is always a miracle. Farming is always humbling and full of failures but when it works, grows, and creates something delicious there is nothing more rewarding.