Matanza Party in New Mexico

There are 250 more photos of this trip in this Flickr set.

My long time friend Bill (aka The Great Goober) and his wife Jen threw a Matanza party this year down on their off-the-grid, all organic, completely self-sufficient farm in Anton Chico (outside of Las Vegas, New Mexico).


Matanza (Spanish for “killing” or “slaughter”) is a traditional harvest type festival:

As matanza researcher Cynthia Martin explains “A traditional Matanza is a family and community-gathering event, with friends and neighbors helping in the labor-intensive job of processing a large pig, goat or sheep”.

“Taking at least an entire day, the process goes from the slaughtering the animal and butchering the meat to cooking the various meat products and preparing what is left for distribution and storage. Of course all those helpers also need to be fed, so the women in the family plan and prepare large amounts of food for the event.”


This was a real eye-opener for me. As you’ve no doubt heard getting your meat in shrink wrapped, “couldn’t possibly have been an animal” form really discounts the value of meat and what goes into (raising something for years and killing it). When you watch a slaughter you realize that meat is murder – it’s brutal. I’m guessing the majority of Americans would be vegetarian if they had to butcher their own animals. I’d for sure be a vegan farmer.



Killing, skinning/plucking, and butchering one goat and three chickens took most of the day. We started a large fire in a deep pit and let it burn down to a deep bed of coals. We place the meat, wrapped in tin foil and wet burlap bags into the coals, covered with dirt and eventually crashed. About half the people at the party camped out and the next day people from all over New Mexico showed up for the party.


I was there for around a week and was interesting to see how much work goes into a farm. Bill and Jen work their asses off from sun up to sun down. The reward is that they’re almost 100% self sufficient.


Recently they’ve been getting help from WWOOFers (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms). Winston and Caitlin were staying with them in Bill and Jen’s yurt. If you have romantic dreams of farming I’d HIGHLY recommend doing this for a while – you’ll like decide that your white collar job and grocery shopping are much more attractive afterwords.

Bill and Jen also have two kids Aldo (4) and Cloe (2). It was nice to see kids not raised on TV. They had fun running around outside (Aldo literally ran all day long) and playing with simple toys. They’re a handful though!


Overall it was a great trip. I look forward to spending more time down there in the future.


There are 250 more photos of this trip in this Flickr set.