Dear friends, family, guests, and neighbors,
Over the course of countless generations as a family farm, we have come to learn that times of transition naturally lend themselves to quiet introspection. This season, as we prepare our fields for winter amidst the falling leaves, we find an even greater need to reflect and come together as a strong, united community.
Now is the time to remember our past – failures and triumphs alike – and to take to heart the lessons history has taught us. They are the deep roots that ground us and give the strength to weather any storm. The key to our resilience lies in an unfailing commitment to our core values of authenticity, preservation, and integrity.
As a family and a business, there is nothing more important than leaving a meaningful legacy for future generations so that they may continue to use and enjoy the land. Here on the farm, we have a saying: “rooted in history, planting seeds for the future.” To us, these words embody not only the spirit of Los Poblanos but also of our community as a whole. We believe in being devoted stewards of the land, practicing sustainable farming, and positively impacting the lives of those around us.
Our mission is as relevant today as ever. We are committed to serving, sustaining, and supporting our diverse, beautiful community.
As a company as well as a community we firmly believe that the most important element at Los Poblanos – the thing that makes this business what it is – are the people who work to maintain the history and essence of this historic property. And at the core of that, the heart and soul of this place, is Penny Rembe. Penny is the co-founder and matriarch of Los Poblanos as we know it today. Without her drive, determination, generosity, and expertise in business none of us would be here, able to do what we love every day. In relation to Los Poblanos, Penny’s story is probably one of the most important, so it seems only appropriate that she be the focus of our first spotlight piece.
When the Simms family decided to sell Los Poblanos in the 70s Penny and Armin, together with Armin’s sister Victoria and her husband, jumped at the chance to purchase the beautiful 25-acre property. Penny, Armin, and their four children moved into the “ranch house” – now the Inn – while Victoria, her husband, and their five children made the 15,000 square foot La Quinta building their home.
For Isabel and Simon, it all started with pizza. Now, pizza almost always leads to wonderful things, but for this lovely couple it was the catalyst for an amazing life full of love, partnership, good eating, and endless adventures. The story goes that Isabel found Simon on OkCupid and after much perusal of his profile, she sent a message off into the void, hopeful and intrigued. He didn’t reply. She could only assume that he wasn’t interested, as anyone might in such circumstances, but something – she’s still not quite sure what – made her send another message a few days later. This time, he answered quickly and so they began trading messages in earnest. She was abroad in Brazil at the time, so they were able to get to know each other through stories and photos before meeting in person. She says that early into their correspondence, she sent Simon a photo of her favorite pizza in Sao Paulo and that, as they say, “sealed the deal.” He knew instantly that he had found a woman who loved to think about food as much as he did, a trait that he sees as somewhat of rare treasure. And so the scene was set for their epic love story.
Once Isabel arrived back home in New York City, she and Simon were finally able to go on their first date. They met up at a little restaurant in Greenwich Village where they talked and ate and talked and ate and talked some more until finally it grew late and they parted ways, both overstuffed and with an innate sense that this was the beginning of the rest of their lives together. Which of course, it was. Several months later they traveled back to Brazil to share the experience of eating the pizza (the one that started it all) together. The first of many food-driven travel adventures they would have.
Flash forward to the Forth of July 2015. They planned to have a day exploring the city which included watching the boat show down by the Hudson River. It was there by the water that he got down on one knee and asked Isabel to be his wife to which, of course, she said “yes.” The proposal set the stage for their next adventure together: wedding planning.
Many unique elements come together to make Los Poblanos into the captivating property that it is. The people, the agriculture, the land, and the history all shape the story-book setting of Los Poblanos; but perhaps the most distinctive feature is the architecture. Most notably the Historic Inn and La Quinta buildings designed by the legendary Southwestern architect John Gaw Meem.
Meem revolutionized architecture in the southwest by mixing progressive elements with well-known regional architectural styles. His understanding of natural elements along with stylistic inspiration built an internationally recognized aesthetic and functionality. The full courtyard ranch house, Los Poblanos Inn, and the entertainment building, La Quinta, are now home to our historic inn rooms and event center respectively. The elements in these spaces were designed by Meem to create both an elegant and nostalgic experience.
Los Poblanos has been a part of the New Mexican landscape for as long as almost anybody can remember. From it’s time in the 1930s as an 800-acre ranch owned by the Congressman, Albert Simms, and his wife, Ruth Hanna McCormick Simms to it’s life today as a historic inn and organic farm proudly producing its own artisan lavender products and Rio Grande Valley cuisine. Throughout it’s 80-year history, Los Poblanos has worked its way into the hearts and minds of every person who has ever strolled the grounds, spent the night, or come to celebrate. Su Casa Magazine captured it best when they said, “one could spend a lifetime at Los Poblanos and never fall out of love.” We wholeheartedly agree and it is our greatest pleasure to be able to share this special place with our guests and visitors.
On a Mission
As both a family and a community, we seek to preserve the historic Los Poblanos Ranch by cultivating a dynamic business dedicated to sustainable agriculture, hospitality, historic preservation, and community. Under the stewardship of Executive Director Matt Rembe, the business has grown in fulfillment of that mission. We have built up our historic inn from six guest rooms to twenty-two, which also houses our field-to-fork restaurant that specializes in Rio Grande Valley cuisine; created a line of small-batch, hand-crafted farm foods and spa products using our own farm-grown lavender and herbs; opened the brick-and-mortar Farm Shop store to sell our products along with a thoughtfully curated selection of other local and artisan goods; our events staff have made Los Poblanos into a must-have venue for weddings, meetings, and celebrations of all kinds; and finally, our dedicated team of farmers have thoughtfully transformed the surrounding fields into a fully organic farm that produces our signature lavender as well as fruits, vegetables, spices, and herbs for our restaurant and private event kitchens.
The next phase of growth for us will be the renovation of our historic dairy barns (the original home of the dairy co-op that started New Mexico’s own Creamland Dairies). The barns are set to include a new restaurant, bar, small-batch bakery, Farm Shop, and lavender production space. Additionally, we will add 26 new rooms to our Inn that will look out over our fields and the majestic Sandia Mountains. We are beyond excited to be able to restore part of our historic property and to be able to once again share it with the community.
For those who would like to experience first-hand all that we do here we invite you to take a look at our events calendar, where we have listed all of our upcoming Lavender Labs events (workshops, dining, demos, and more!) as well as other fun goings on around the property. Come for a class or stay for the weekend – either way we’d love to see you all down at the farm!
For a glimpse into the magic of Los Poblanos turn the volume up and take a look at this wonderful short film by Cottage Eight Films:
Credits: Silo photo by Josh Hailey. Video by Cottage Eight Films.