Almost every summer when he was growing up, Kierin Guillemin’s parents would take him to their family cabin in Truchas.
“We brought him here since the time he was two years old,” his father, Francois Guillemin, said in a Tuesday telephone interview.
Kierin Guillemin, 27, moved to New Mexico five years ago from New Jersey.
“He did some research online and saw there was an experimental farm up around Questa and he managed to get himself a job there,” he said. “He enjoyed it and that led him to what he was doing with Boxcar (Farms). What he did was to recognize that the garlic crop, of all the cash crops, is one of the more valuable ones. He found a couple of strains that would do well in the area. He put in 1,000 plants and he was intending to sell them and use them as seeds for his first real crop.”
Francois Guillemin said he talked with his son about buying a plot of land for him to farm, or even working on it together.
“We had an open dialogue about using my parent’s ranch,” he said. “He also looked at land in Vadito and Peñasco. He wanted to be on the high road to Taos. He loved it, the mountains, the outdoors.”
Boxcar Farms Owner Kristen Davenport said she first met Guillemin three to four years ago when he was dating one of their farming interns.
“Then the next season, she was gone but he was still around,” she said. “He worked for us the whole summer of 2016 and 2017 and he did some work in the fall of 2015.”
She said Guillemin was the primary employee on her farm.
“He did everything — planting, harvesting, laying drip tape,” she said. “Monday (May 28) he had been at the farm, planting green beans and laying drip tape for our squash field.”
Although he loved to farm, he also had a strong streak of spontaneity.
“I remember one day last fall, he decided, he says at 2 p.m., ‘Is it alright if I knock off early?’” Davenport said. “I said yea, yea, sure. I asked, ‘What are you going to do?’ and he said, ‘I’m going to hike Truchas Peaks.’”
He meant that he was going to leave right then. He had already borrowed a sleeping bag from a friend.
“He hiked until midnight, slept on the mountain and he finished that same morning,” Davenport said. “He was a spontaneous person. He loved growing foods and being in the mountains.”
His mother, Irene Guillemin, said he climbed Truchas Peak at least 10 times.
“He’d be gone through the day and back the next morning,” she said. “He swam in the Rio Grande. That’s what he did every day after farming.”
She said Kierin Guillemin taught himself how to play the guitar in high school and, before moving to New Mexico, he was studying music.
In the back of his truck, she found his harmonica, accordion, guitar and a violin he was trying to learn to play.
“He had some favorite rocks (in the back of the truck) and stones and jewelry he made and potatoes, garlic and carrots,” she said.
He is survived by his mother, father and two brothers, Omar and Sebastian.