Walking Trout Farm is located on our off-grid, 26-acre homestead, far within a remote area of public land. The farm is situated on a southwestern slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Northern New Mexico along the Rio de Truchas. The river is a high quality, cold water stream with brown trout that runs for less than a kilometer across the farm before disappearing into the sandy river bed.
Legend has it that every year the trout walk up the four-mile dry arroyo from the Rio Grande to spawn in the cold clear waters of the Rio de Truchas.
Loe and I started the farm growing certified organic produce for local markets and restaurants. While fun and rewarding, the high labor demands, low returns led to a desire to become more sustainable and led us to the creation of the Taos Hum. With limited land and water resources in a high desert environment, how could we make the farm more sustainable, better cover our expenses year-round and better allow us to pay a living wage to helpers. Ultimately, how could we create something that we would feel good about from seed to table. Now, Walking Trout Farm produces 100% of the peppers for the Taos Hum Hot Sauce!
Walking Trout Farm is located in a micro climate perfect for peppers not seen elsewhere in this part of the state or much of the country. Well drained alluvial soils combined with the long warm nights result in a steady flow of air all night down towards the Rio Grande, some 900 feet below us, perfect conditions for 130-day peppers! The farm is fed by a high-quality spring adjacent to the river, and the crops are irrigated using a combination of drip and high efficiency overhead systems. We have developed passive and active heating and cooling systems for the farm that along with the geomorphology, allow us to grow the long season peppers in this high desert of New Mexico. All of our peppers are started in February in a small heated greenhouse. Since the farm is off the grid, the greenhouse is heated with a wood-fired, radiant bed system that is temperature controlled with a micro controller, thermocouples and a small solar powered pump. Once the night time temperatures warm up, the peppers such as Jalapeno, Green Chile, Aji Limo and Red Cherry are transplanted in the soil in open fields. The long-season peppers such as the Bhut Jolokia (ghost), Habanero, Chocolate Trinidad Moruga Scorpion and Aji Amarillo are transplanted in the soil within one of five, 100 to 120-foot single layer plastic covered high tunnels. The high tunnels are not actively heated yet provide both the humidity and the season extension necessary to finish the long season peppers.