Local food heroes: Thurman and Diane Reitz

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By Rose Chavez | Food System/Food Equity Coalition

Healthy Archuleta, a local nonprofit in Archuleta County also known as the FSFE — Food Coalition, continues to celebrate the local food heroes that make up the food system in Archuleta County and the surrounding southwest region. 

These individuals uniquely contribute to the community’s vision for a sustainable, health-promoting and equitable local food system so that everyone has access to affordable, nutritious foods. 

The effort to capture the profiles of these integral community members was initiated as part of the Archuleta Food System Summit that took place April 9. 

Today we would like to feature Thurman and Diane Reitz, who shared this narrative with us: 

“Chama River Farm is located in Los Ojos, New Mexico, south of Chama on the Chama River. We started Chama River Farm six years ago after Thurman retired, and we began selling our products at the Pagosa Farmer’s Market three years ago. Our flock of over 150 chickens produces the eggs and controls the insects and pests that might damage the vegetables growing in the main greenhouse in the winter or the 4 portable greenhouses in the summer.

“We have always been interested in agriculture. Thurman is a veterinarian and has served on the New Mexico Livestock Board. We enjoy growing vegetables and bringing all the produce to the farmers’ market where we have met a lot of good people. The farm is also home to dwarf Nigerian goats, but we don’t sell any goat related products.

“The biggest challenge for us is usually the weather in this area. The growing season is shorter, so finding the right varieties to grow in this area takes work and time. We started with one main greenhouse, and have added 4 portable greenhouses to extend the growing season which has worked well, because it gives additional space for the chickens.

“We are proud to have gotten the garden established, and to be able to bring healthy products to market. It brings us joy to spend our retirement growing, which is a long held dream of ours.” 

For more information on Health Archuleta, please contact us at fsfearchuleta@gmail.org or (401) 371-3227. To donate to support the work of Healthy Archuleta, please visit: https://www.foodcoalition4archuleta.org/donate.html.