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May 2024

Questa  •  Red River  •  Cerro  •  Costilla  •  Amalia  •  Lama  •  San Cristobal

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Photo by Dylan R. Crabb Student, Marlena, enjoying her corn that was cooked in El Horno

QHS Celebrates Cosecha Tradition, Dating Back Centuries

Questa High School saw its first Cosecha event on October 17. Cosecha is a New Mexico tradition stretching back to the old Spanish Empire.

It’s a celebration of food, harvest, and life; “Cosecha” translates to “harvest” in English. This traditional practice saw its first days in northern New Mexico at Costilla schools.

“We placed the 100 ears of corn in the horno at about 8:30 last night,” said Principal Kimber MacDonald. “It’s a New Mexico tradition stretching back to the Pueblos and obviously the Spanish took it on. It’s a celebration of food and community.”

The school cooked corn for the Cosecha because of its historical importance as a traditional crop for this area.

“I think this is an important event to celebrate our history and culture,” said Esteban Gomez, student body president.

Antonia Ortiz from the Fort Garland Museum and Cultural Center was also at the Cosecha celebration, preparing an instructional session for the students on how to make adobe bricks, as adobe is an integral part of architecture in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado.

Brian Salazar brought two therapy goats to the Cosecha, of the seven that he raises on his ranch in Costilla for purposes of animal and nature therapy.

“Everything was cooked in the horno — the corn, the beans, the beef, the chica, everything,” said Barabra Martinez. “We started this tradition in Costilla, at the Rio Costilla school. “It was a special event and we fed the community.”

Barbara Martinez and her sister, Debbie Garcia, joined with the Torres family, who started the Cosecha tradition over 30 years ago at the Rio Costilla school. It began with a simple class on New Mexico history with an intent to “combine curriculum with culture,” according to Barbara. Debbie still teaches first grade at Alta Vista School.

Jason and Leticia Torres constructed the horno with funding from the LOR Foundation and Chevron.