Frisco Farm
City: Silver City, ,
About Us
The originator and master mind of Frisco Farm is Kyle Skaggs who grew up in Glenwood just three miles farther up the road. After graduating from Evergreen State College in Washington where he studied environmental science and working at several seasonal farming jobs, Kyle found that he loved the work and, five years ago, moved back to start Frisco Farm which, you might have guessed, takes its name from the San Francisco River that runs next to the land that he owns with his family. The river provides an abundant source of water for all agriculturalists in the area, most of whom are growing grass and raising cattle. The farm is made up of about five acres of vegetable fields on which Kyle and partner, Meggie Dexter, grow a wide variety of produce that they sell at the Silver City Farmer’s Market, the Silver City Food Co-op, and other health food stores around New Mexico.
Most of the big field at Frisco is flood irrigated using river water rich in nutrients which feeds into a community operated acequia (irrigation ditch) and then onto the crops. An ample supply of water is a great boon for the farm and, with the exception of the use of a pump to run a few sprinklers, watering is accomplished using gravity, without an outside energy source. Kyle and Meggie have a team of two Belgian draft horses that they use to cultivate the land, which is not necessarily cheaper than a tractor, but animals eliminate the need for petroleum-based fuel for machinery. The horses are fueled by grass, so I guess you could say that they’re solar powered. They use all the manure that their horses can produce, plus more from other horses in the valley. This is the only fertilizer that they add to their already fertile river valley soil. Another method they use, sometimes called “green manure,” is cover cropping, a technique frequently used in sustainable agriculture. The primary use of cover cropping is to increase and manage soil fertility. In the fall, when the food crops are out of the field, Kyle and Meggie plant a cover crop of winter rye and Austrian field peas (a legume that helps to introduce nitrogen into the soil), let it grow as long as they can, and when it’s time to plant the next food crop, the rye and field peas are plowed back into the soil. They try to keep all the fields cover cropped when not in use for field production. Frisco Farm also uses crop rotation, a tried and true practice that benefits the soil and assists resistance to various pests. Historically, crop rotation methods are mentioned in Roman literature and evidence suggests that it was a highly developed system used by Asian civilizations.