An interview with Heidi Eleftheriou, Owner
photos by Stacey M. Adams
Edible recognizes this group of amazing individuals and organizations for their work to create healthy, sustainable food systems in New Mexico. We determine these awards through reader nominations and a reader poll. The local food movement is a grassroots effort that often involves late nights, backbreaking work, dirty fingernails, and being a generally good sport. In an effort to showcase these individuals, organizations, and businesses for their work to build a stronger local economy and a robust local food system, each issue this year spotlights several of the winners with interviews about the work they do.
Born in Lawrence, Kansas, Heidi Eleftheriou came to New Mexico at three years old. She grew up going on field trips with her dad’s graduate students from the Department of Biology at UNM, and learned trapping and taxidermy at a very young age. She got to know the Sonoran Desert of Mexico pretty well, too, through those trips. She lived in Amsterdam for a few years, during which time she also traveled to Afghanistan. Then she came back to Corrales, met her Greek husband Stavros, and together they started his jewelry business in the garage in 1975. Eleftheriou stopped working with him after her second child, Sofia, was born, and at the age of forty-eight, started Heidi’s Raspberry Farm. She says she’s just hitting her stride.
What do you love most about local food?
I love to see and meet those who grow my food. As a farmer myself, I appreciate the hard work that goes into it. I think fresh food tastes better, is more nutritious, and supports our local economy. New Mexico needs that.
How did you get to where you are now? What’s the backstory, and what was the moment that brought you to your current work?
Hard work and dedication. I bought and rescued a beautiful chunk of Corrales bosque where I actually used to ride my horses as a kid. There weren’t many fences back then and we rode where we wanted. Developers were trying to buy it. I didn’t want to see thirteen houses where this beautiful open space with bosque was.
What are some of your favorite places to eat and why?
Tell us about your life outside of the farm and kitchen.
I enjoy doing fantastic family art projects at the Old Church in Corrales and spending time with my kids and grandkids. I don’t have much spare time after the farm and cooking.
Fill in the Blank:
I love cooking my raspberry jam the most when it comes to my work and my passion because it involves working with my team (and they’re awesome) and I’ve always liked being in the kitchen. Since I grew up mostly outside, the farm takes care of that passion.
The question people always ask me is: Which is your favorite jam? But I wish they’d ask me: How are your grandkids?
If I had the chance, I would have lunch with Isabel Allende at Taverna in Mykonos. I’d like to ask her to tell me a funny story about men (or me?). She’s a great storyteller.
If I weren’t doing what I’m doing now, I’d be on the beach in Mykonos.
Most people are surprised to learn that in my twenties, I lived in the Corrales Bosque, trapped muskrats, and sold them to R. L. Cox fur traders downtown.
What makes you laugh? Why?
Making fun of today’s politics, because if I’m not laughing about it, I’d be crying.
What gets you fired up? Why?
Bad drivers and all the young people not engaged because they’re looking at screens. They are now known to be the loneliest generation.
What’s your favorite way to spend a day off?
With my grandkids, Zoe and Daphne.