Continuing on our road trip, we stopped at my aunt’s friend’s flower farm. Suzy lives on a property just shy of 12 acres. On the front of the property is a pond covered with water lilies and frequented by ducks. Across from that is the front house that she rents out and the garage that used to be a pie shop; now it’s just storage. If you keep going down the driveway, there’s an adorable storage shed made of the mill ends of rough sawn spruce. And fresh cut flowers stuck in a rustic vase to the left of the door frame.
As you drive deeper onto the property there’s the treehouse where I slept while we were there. Next is a big green house where Suzy grows produce–chard, kale, lettuce, etc.–and sells them to the restaurants in Hesperus and Durango. You can’t miss the old yellow Chevy truck parked under the aspen trees, the truck she loads with flowers when she goes into town to sell at the farmers market. Lastly, at the base of the property is Suzy’s house. Suzy’s house is built in the timber-frame style, that is, there are pegs holding the beams together not nails. The walls of the kitchen are painted to look like an extension of the blossoming apple trees in the yard. You can regularly find a chubby chipmunk in the bird feeder stealing the seeds. The back doors of the house open to a small lawn that lead down to the La Plata River where nature has created a little swimming hole. Suzy has a picnic table by the river where we sat out one evening drinking strawberry daiquiris from strawberries in the green house and sharing stories. All of the soaps in the house are handmade by Suzy and everything is flowers…tiny vases are scattered around the house, filled with wildflowers, sweet pea flowers, lilacs, poppies. “You know if you burn the end of the poppy the flowers last longer?” She tells us in her church mouse voice.
Basically Suzy, who has lived there for about 35 years, has cultivated paradise on earth in the form of flowers and love.
The first night we were there, Suzy asked me to go to the garden and pick the greens for the dinner salad. She told me she would make the dressing. I was directed to the spinach that was growing in an old sink by the front door and the baby lettuce from the green house. I was handed a basket and sent outside. I filled the basked up with fresh cut greens and then filled the sink with water and washed them. The greens were spun in a salad spinner as I watched Suzy make a dressing. My aunt picked pansies to decorate the salad.
This recipe calls for coconut aminos which I had never heard of before this trip, so naturally I looked them up and discovered that coconut aminos is a sauce made of aged coconut sap and used as an alternative for soy sauce, the flavor is like that of soy sauce but more rich.
dresses a salad for 4
- 1/2 an avocado
- 2 tbsp. olive oil
- 2 tbsp. coco aminos
- 1 tbsp. dijon mustard
- dash of salt
Blend all of the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. The dressing will be a bit thick so be sure to toss the salad very well to evenly coat the greens. Or use as a dip for fresh cut vegetables.