Teresa Hollar of Dragonfly Farm leads a busy life. She's up early to put bread in the oven, milk goats and tend the garden, and her efforts provide a sustainable living for her family.
Luckily, there is enough left to share with others through her Community Supported Agriculture plan and offerings at several local farmers markets. Hollar grew up in the sunshine of a small southern Californian agricultural town on the Colorado River. As a teen, she worked summers on corporate farms. She spent days harvesting lettuce, tomatoes and melons grown on a large scale, and she remembers seeing the barrels of pesticides and ducking the crop dusters.
"It was a way of farming and a way of life for those farmers. I don't think they really questioned their own practices."
Working with farm workers who spent a lifetime toiling in harm's way planted a seed for her that later grew into her own sustainable farming practice. She went on to a career in hotel management at Marriott, which taught her to prepare food in large batches. She now bakes an average of 50 loaves of bread weekly to sell at the markets and include in her CSA.
When Teresa's husband, Paul, retired from his career in the military, they sold their home in Palm Desert, Calif., and moved to a 4-acre farm in Dolores. Retirement has meant a second career for Hollar as she incorporates her ideal lifestyle into a successful business venture.
Dragonfly Farm produces an array of fruits and vegetables, goat-milk herd shares and baked goods, including whole-wheat bread, pita and popular tortillas made from Teresa's grandmother's recipe. Whole-wheat flour is ground by Hollar from wheat berries purchased from the Cortez Milling Company.
"I appreciate the support I see for local products, and so in turn try to purchase what I can locally as well," she saidThe season is extended in their greenhouse, which includes heating elements to warm the soil and minimal lighting required to encourage crop growth during winter months. The goat-milk herd shares have become a popular addition to Dragonfly Farm. Following the guidelines of the Raw Milk Association of Colorado, they are able to provide milk to customers in a service contract agreement. Milk is tested monthly for bacterial counts, and animals are tested for tuberculosis and brucellosis, similar to requirements of licensed dairies.
"Consumers are concerned about the impact of food on their health, and they also have a desire to reduce their carbon footprint by minimizing the distance food must travel by supporting environmentally friendly farming practices. They are eager to know where their food comes from, and to develop a relationship with the farmer," Hollar said.
Though she sometimes feels she doesn't have enough hours in the day, Hollar is rewarded with foods she has grown and prepared herself, and in knowing she has shared that goodness with others.
Dragonfly Farm products are available at the Durango, Mancos and Dolores farmers markets and directly from the farm. Call Hollar at 565-2644.
Marje Cristol owns Linnaea Farm in Durango and sells cut flowers and goat-milk cheeses.
She also serves on the Durango Farmers Market board.
Reach her at 946-2712 or marje@LinnaeaFarm.com.