Today marks the feast day of San Ysidro, the patron saint of farmers, gardeners and laborers. An important figure around the farm, his remarkable story has been told for centuries. Ysidro and his wife, Maria, were poor farm laborers who went to mass every morning before going to work. Yet despite the hours of lost labor, the fields and plants were as well cared for as those of other laborers. When other farm workers became envious and told the landowner, it was discovered that while Ysidro and Maria were praying at mass, an angel was plowing their fields for them.
In New Mexico, people have gathered on San Ysidro Day, May 15, to bless the farm fields and ancient acequia irrigation systems. Here at Los Poblanos, we typically gather our entire staff and family together to break bread and bless the fields. While this tradition has been paused the past two years, we're still taking time today to recognize the dignity of hard work.
Representations of San Ysidro have been part of Los Poblanos Ranch since the Simms family worked with architect John Gaw Meem to commission New Mexico's finest artists and craftspeople for work in the 1930s. The above tile is embedded into the thick adobe walls of La Quinta and was sketched by Meem, showing San Ysidro with his oxen standing in front of La Quinta and the Hacienda. Working closely with Meem, Walter Gilbert intricately crafted the wrought iron door handles at La Quinta that depict San Ysidro and the angel plowing the fields, with door handles shaped to represent the plows. In the 1940s, John Gaw Meem and Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms worked together to commission the important New Mexican painter, Peter Hurd, to complete a massive wall mural of San Ysidro beneath the portal at La Quinta. San Ysidro is also carved into the mantle of La Quinta's ballroom, as part of the incredible woodcut work by beloved artist, Gustave Baumann. Today, San Ysidro greets guests at our Inn's front desk, in a painting by the talented local artist Jackson Ballard.
The story of San Ysidro resonates deeply with the mission-based work done at Los Poblanos today - from employing regenerative farming practices to our culinary model that is dedicated to supporting local farmers. While it's usually not the easiest method, we have chosen to pursue this work because of its profound impact on our community and the land. Today, San Ysidro is an important part of the Los Poblanos branding, from signage and art across the property to our different department logos, serving as a visual reminder of our agricultural history, resilience, overcoming adversity and of the value of hard work.
Our product line serves as an extension of our farming and culinary model, crafted from organic lavender we grow on the farm and culinary ingredients we source from local farms. San Ysidro is proudly displayed on our product labels, a nod to our mission of sustainable agriculture, hospitality, historic preservation and community. Farmers are always challenged with natural conflict caused by nature and elements out of their control including drought, soil issues and, yes, disease. But they always find a way to persevere. As we've all faced extraordinary adversity over the last year, the message of resilience and overcoming challenges is especially meaningful this San Ysidro Day.