2019 Farmer All-Star: Jesus Guzman Produce
Jesus Guzman and his partner, Kate, currently farm about seven acres in Nambe. Jesus primarily grows several different kinds of beans, corn, and chiles, and, he mostly works alone. “My favorite thing is being by myself. Doing my thing. I like quiet a lot. I do more thinking than talking. My whole life, that’s the way that it’s been.” You can always find Jesus and Kate at the Market with warm smiles and kind words. You will notice their booth is perpetually enticing because of the creativity and love that goes into their product. If you need freshly ground smoked onion powder or cilantro, look no further. Jesus has you covered. Chicos (a type of smoked corn) are not easy to find, but Jesus always has them when you need them.
Jesus grew up in Mexico. “I came here in 1980. I worked for a lot of farmers and I worked as a property caretaker for 18 years. I was also farming and I had a landscaping company with a full crew going; I’d do jobs here and there, and take crews here and there. I had a lot of long days. I have accomplished a lot in those years.” Not surprisingly, Jesus is always on the move. His day starts when most of us are still in a deep slumber. “Most of the time, 4:00-4:30 in the morning. Sometimes 5:30, that’s when I’m late. A few times in my life – I think I can count it on one hand – that I slept in until 6:00 in the morning.”
“I think the most fun part is being able to eat what you like, fresh, and providing for other people a little bit of the taste of the good stuff. A lot of us make a living off of it, but [it’s important to keep] the prices down on things. I think that if we don’t farm our own food, everything is going to get a lot higher in price and you’re going to be eating stuff that has been in the warehouse for a year or more.”
As for the future, Jesus sums it up quite nicely, “I just want to be a regular farmer, regular vendor at the Market, and that’s it. That’s all I want. I want to grow for as long as I can move. Not a lot. I want to slow down, of course. I got another six years. Then after that, who knows? I still want to do farming for myself, at least. I hope a little bit for the Market.” And, Jesus’ advice to prospective and young farmers: “Persist. Just insist on it. If you like it, go at it. Don’t let anybody tell you different.”
Photos and video by Gabriella Marks Photography