It is hard to believe that you are in the Durango City limits when visiting Adobe House Farm, owned by Pete and Linley Dixon. The stunning views and open space make you feel like you are far removed from the Durangatang lifestyle. Located off 32nd Street, Adobe House Farm has been in business for five years and just keeps expanding. Pete and Linley’s daughter, Raina, has grown up around the farm. Adobe House Farm began as a small operation in the summer of 2011 with 13 members in their CSA. In 2015, Adobe House has expanded to five full-time employees, four plots of land, totaling in 3 ½ acres in production and 120 CSA members (with a waiting list!). I had the opportunity to speak with Reid Smith, who is one of the “main men” at Adobe House. He also happens to be Linley’s brother. Since Adobe
House began, Reid came out each season to help his sister for a week or two but last year made the move to Durango to help full-time with his sister’s expanding operation. “I was living in Portland and didn’t know what I wanted to do for work. So I thought to myself, ‘what would I like to be doing with my time?’ It was gardening. I started volunteering on farms in Portland and slowly started getting more interested. Then I thought, ‘If I’m going to break my back farming, it might as well be for my family.’” Reid now manages two employees, Charlie and Tim.
Reid and Linley grew up in Baltimore and although their parents were not gardeners, Linley developed a passion for growing food. Since Reid is seven years younger, he grew up with farm fresh tomatoes and knowing how to compost. He remembers Linley drawing out intricate pictures of what her farm would look like when she grew up. “For Linley, it’s been a lifelong thing. I have so much respect for her. She is smart and dedicated to her dream. I just happened to be her brother.” The feeling seems to be mutual, as Linley described her brother Reid as a “hard worker who really deserves recognition for all he does.”
Adobe House Farm grows a huge variety of products, which may set them apart from other farms in the area. They specialize in salad mix, tomatoes, garlic, basil, strawberries and mini onions. When asked about his favorite crop Adobe House Farm grows, Reid responded, “Strawberries. Everyone loves them. Sometimes we have families come out and work on the farm. The strawberries make it fun for the kids. There is not too much out here that the kids love to do, so it’s great to watch them have fun on the farm.”
Being a small farmer is hard work, and can be extremely challenging. “My greatest challenge is having a lifestyle that works- being a farmer puts a strain on relationships, on your bank account. If farming is not your top priority in your life, it may not work. Maintaining the demand and keeping a sustainable lifestyle is the goal. How can we have a successful farm and also a healthy lifestyle? We are still working on it.”