San Luis Valley

Credit Esther Honig / KUNC

Agriculture is more than what we eat - it has the power to shape culture and socio-economic divides. This has played out in many areas of the state - from dryland farming along the plains to melon crops in Rocky Ford. KUNC’s Esther Honig has the story of how lettuce changed one of the poorest regions in the state, the San Luis Valley...

A warm spring has already melted much of the limited snowpack that sits high in the Sangre de Cristo mountains in southern Colorado. Water is already flowing through the ditches near the rural village of San Pablo.

It’s 9 a.m. on a windy Saturday morning. Every now and then Dan Quintana -- in weathered work gloves and a ball cap -- raises up his shovel and slams it into the mud and matted willows that line the waterway that runs through his hay fields. His slight frame makes it easy for him to jump across the narrow ditch.