A local farm in Valencia County provides a refreshing and innovative option for consumers — sparkling water. 

Bluefly Farms, nestled in the heart of Peralta, cultivates various herbs and flowers and recently started utilizing them to craft infused sparkling water. 

Bluefly Farms was founded in 2013 by Kemper Barkhurst and Elizabeth Arnold. The couple started the farm to utilize the land where Barkhurst grew up. Their primary objective was to cultivate environmentally sustainable plants that are well-suited for the location and required low water use. They eventually decided to grow perennial herbs.  

Bluefly Farms offers a diverse range of starter plants and dried plants for culinary purposes. Their selection includes flowers, herbs, fruits and vegetables. They also produce bath-and-body products, such as salves, lip balm and sugar scrubs, all made with freshly-grown herbs. 

Arnold said the idea to make sparkling water originated from her love for the beverage.  

“I don’t want to be buying water that’s being shipped across the globe but I love sparkling water, so Kemper figured out how to make it,”

Jesse Jones | News-Bulletin photos 

Elizabeth Arnold and Kemper Barkhurst, owners of Bluefly Farms, pose proudly in their Albuquerque kitchen. 

said Arnold.  

As a way to practice sustainability at every level of the company, Bluefly Farms does not ship its sparkling water beyond state borders.  “People ask us all the time if we’ll ship the water out of state and that’s not what we’re here for,” said Arnold. “Water is a precious desert resource and we don’t have any business shipping our precious New Mexico water to Kansas or Michigan or wherever.” 


Bluefly Farms’ Rosemary Calendula soap scrub is for sale at the farms’ Albuquerque retail shop, located at 2506 Washington St. NE. 

Kemper Barkhurst, left, co-owner of Bluefly Farms, inspects the lavender growing in the greenhouse, while farm worker, Andy Jo, right, adds mulch to the plants in Peralta. 

Rows of plants sit in the Bluefly Farms greenhouse in Peralta, getting ready for the spring growers market season.  

Focusing on local distribution also will reduce the farms’ carbon footprint and environmental impact associated with long-distance transportation while supporting sustainable practices and lowering emissions. 

Their farm is based in Peralta but they produce sparkling water in a small commercial kitchen in Albuquerque. They will soon move to a larger kitchen next door because they have outgrown their current space. 


Kemper Barkhurst, co-owner of Bluefly Farms, fills cans of sparkling water in their Albuquerque kitchen. 

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Bluefly Farms uses authentic herbs grown on their farm instead of “natural flavors” listed by many big brands for their sparkling water. 

“Ours is just plants; we don’t do any special extracting or anything,” said Arnold. “It’s just rosemary flavored because there’s rosemary in it.” 

Bluefly Farms offers four natural herbal flavors of sparkling water — lavender, rosemary, peppermint and tulsi (also known as holy basil).  

Environmental sustainability lies at the core of every decision made by the owners of Bluefly Farms, guiding their practices and product development. 

“We’ve worked really hard to avoid plastic in our packaging as much as possible. So, we choose recyclable glass, recyclable aluminum,” said Arnold.  

They switched from shrink-wrapped aluminum cans, which are better for small-scale operations, to printed cans because they are slightly easier to recycle.  

Julia M. Dendinger | News-Bulletin photo

Bluefly Farms’ sparkling waters are sold locally at Farm To You by Bomvida at 707 S. Main St., Belen.

Even the crops and how they are watered were chosen with sustainability in mind. The farm has undertaken several grant-supported projects aimed at conducting research into optimal practices for cultivation in the high desert environment. 

Bluefly Farms primarily cultivates lavender, which is a low-water crop. They use a drip irrigation system to water the lavender plants. To explore various cover crops suitable for the alleys between the lavender rows, they secured a grant.  

The objective of the grant was to assess the compatibility of water needs among different plant species. The project aimed to maintain a living root system while enhancing soil carbon levels. 

The farm utilizes alpacas to naturally control weeds in the lavender fields, as they prefer consuming Johnson grass and bindweed over lavender, contributing to a holistic weed management system. 

The sparkling water costs $3 a piece or $9 for a four-pack and can be bought at multiple locations around Albuquerque, including their retail space, located at 2506 Washington St. NE.  

Bluefly Farms sparkling water is only sold in Valencia County at the Bomvida Farms retail store in Belen; however, people can order the sparkling water to be delivered to residents in the county through Skarsgard Farms and New Mexico Harvest.  

For a complete list of locations where the water is sold and their other products, visit their website at blueflyfarms.com. 

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Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.