The Darlands, Old Monicello Farm

The Darlands founded and operate a group of tiny organic farms in the southern tip of the Rocky Mountains in the historic New Mexico village of Monticello, where the population is fewer than 25 people. It is stunningly quiet. The air is clean and clear. Cell phones don't work there.

When they began, their land was fallow. They make every effort to respect and nourish the land they cultivate, as do other small surrounding organic farms and grass-fed beef and bison ranches nearby. Their water supply is strictly from their own wells.  They never use herbicides, pesticides or other harmful sprays, amendments or practices. Here, hand tending of plants and gardens nearly always trumps mechanization.

THE GRAPES

Italian grapes, those classically used for making traditional balsamic vinegar, are among their many certified organic crops. When they joined Slow Food in Turin, Italy in 1998 during their second Salone del Gusto, they resolved to practice their thesis:  

"patience in preserving and locally producing classic, healthy, tasty things"           

Traditional balsamic gave them a very old, natural expression of this principle. It gives an opportunity to us to add value to what they grow. They add this value, not by producing high volume (to feature a low price) or by marketing devices, but by patiently joining the natural elements of time, grapes, weather, and wood. Grapes give them balsamic, but many steps and labors, plus skills and patience, separate the beginning from the end of this value-adding process. They believe in this logic about all of our work here—and it represents an operating philosophy they embrace even more firmly as they continue to discover the new world dawning for all of us.

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