A customer looks over some fresh vegetables at the Downtown Growers’ Market.
Local Harvest Guide
By Ty Bannerman
Autumn is harvest time, and even though this year hasn’t been the most fertile in recent memory, you’ll still be able to find plenty of delicious fruits and vegetables grown by your neighbors until at least mid-November.
But where to get it? Sure, you could stop off at Sunflower Farmers Market or Whole Foods and look for the local label—heck, even Wal-Mart is getting in on the local produce action—but doesn’t that strike you as the wrong way to go about it? Shouldn’t you shop for local foods at local businesses? We certainly think so. Here are some of our favorite places to pick up a basket of New Mexico-grown.
Stores and Stands
La Montañita Co-op
lamontanita.coop Nob Hill 3500 Central SE • 265-4631 North Valley 2400 Rio Grande NW • 242-8800 A stalwart of the local food movement for three decades now, La Montañita should be an integral part of any localvore’s shopping strategy. It gets plenty of fruits and veggies from all over New Mexico: peaches from Alcalde, apples from Dixon, summer squash from Santa Fe and an ever-changing variety of foods grown right here in Albuquerque.
Keller’s Farm Stores
kellersfarmstores.com Heights 2912 Eubank NE • 294-1427 Westside 6100 H Coors NW • 898-6121 Unfortunately, the produce isn’t local, but Keller’s offers beef, pork, buffalo and other meat raised on its own farm in Moriarty. Not only that, but Keller’s meat is chemical and preservative free, and the animals are grain-fed, raised humanely and not treated with any hormones.
820 San Mateo NE • 255-3338 Sichler Farms, originally based in Los Lunas, has been selling produce in Albuquerque since 1869. These days, John and Eleanor Sichler (descendents of the original German immigrants who started the business) run their farm in Albuquerque’s South Valley. Every fall, starting in late August, they sell bushel upon bushel of their roasted green chile, along with a multitude of other locally produced vegetables, at their stand on San Mateo.
Eggplants at the Downtown Growers’ Market
Local stores are great for convenience, but nothing matches the energy, excitement and variety of foods at Albuquerque’s growers’ markets. Almost every section of town has easy access to a weekly or twice-weekly market, a few of which even offer a winter schedule! The tough times of the Great Recession are no excuse for not shopping locally, either—almost all of the markets accept WIC and EBT cards. The schedules are adapted from farmersmarketsnm.org and, unless otherwise noted, reflect the fall season hours.
ABQ Uptown Growers’ Market Location: NE parking lot of ABQ Uptown Shopping Center (Louisiana NE and Indian School NE) Schedule: Saturdays and Tuesdays, 7 a.m. to noon Market season: June 27 to Oct. 31
Downtown Growers’ Market Location: Robinson Park (Eighth Street and Central NW) Schedule: Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon Market season: June 6 to Oct. 31
Nob Hill Growers’ Market Location: Morningside Park (Lead and Morningside SE) Schedule: Thursdays, 3 to 6:30 p.m. Market season: May 21 to Nov. 5
Bernalillo Farmers’ Market Location: West side of Camino del Pueblo (Hwy. 313) and south of Our Lady of Sorrows Church Schedule: Fridays, 4 to 7 p.m. Market season: July 10 to Oct. 30
Corrales Growers’ Market Location: 500 Jones (at Corrales Road, south of the post office) Schedule: Sundays, 9 a.m. to noon; Wednesdays, 3 to 6 p.m. Regular market season: April 26 to Oct. 25 Winter market: First Sunday of each month, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., November to April
Los Ranchos Growers’ Market Location: 6718 Rio Grande NW Schedule: Saturdays, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. Market season: May 2 to mid-November Winter market: Second Saturday of the month, 10 a.m. to noon, December through April
Rio Rancho Growers’ Market (no WIC or EBT accepted) Location: 24th Avenue and 10th Street, Rio Rancho Schedule: Fridays, 4 to 7 p.m. Market season: July 10 to October
South Valley Growers’ Market Location: Cristo Del Valle Presbyterian Church (3907 Isleta SW) Schedule: Saturdays, 8 a.m. to noon Market season: May 23 to Oct. 31
Peña Blanca, N.M. • (505) 465-2976 • dixonapples.com Dixon apples, grown in a fertile canyon just 50 miles north of Albuquerque, are legendary for a reason, as one bite of the orchard’s signature Champagne apple will quickly convince you. Driving out to the orchard itself is a bit of a trek, and you’ll definitely want to copy down the directions from the website, but it’s well worth the drive for the festive atmosphere and, of course, the fruit itself. The orchard opens to the public on Sept. 18 and remains open until the last apple is sold (which is usually quicker than you’d like, so no foot dragging!).
Craigslist albuquerque.craigslist.org/grd Yep, the same site where you tried to sell your roach-infested couch for 50 bucks and where cops set up prostitution stings that seem to nab a disproportionate number of city employees. Turns out, it’s also a good place to get deals on local food from small growers. Just check out the farm and garden section and chances are you’ll see a number of entries offering small batches of produce. You can also buy locally raised and butchered meat, but don’t even think about it unless your freezer can hold at least a quarter of a cow.
If you’re averse to the hustle and bustle of growers’ markets but still want to support your local farmers without going through the middleman of a grocery store, then Community Supported Agriculture may be the way to go. Each of these farms offers a subscription program where you either pay an upfront fee or commit to making regular payments in exchange for a share of the year’s harvest. After signing up, you’ll be able to pick up a box of farm-fresh, locally grown produce every week or so.
Los Poblanos Organics
681-4060 •lospoblanosorganics.com Most CSA farms shut down for the winter, but Los Poblanos offers produce year-round! Here’s how it works—you go to its website and sign up for the number of weeks you’d like a share of Los Poblanos’ harvest. Then, for $28 per week, you can go and pick up a box of organic vegetables and fruits that’ll keep you happily eating all winter long. You can also get “upgrades” like fresh eggs and bread for a few extra dollars, and for five bucks they’ll deliver the box right to your door.
610-1538 • erdagardens.org Founded by a Franciscan nun in 1996, Erda Gardens is known for its spiritual dimension as well as its justifiably famous produce. Membership includes access to workshops that promote a metaphysical view of the relationship between the farmer and the land.
East Mountain Organic Farms
281-0931 • eastmountainorganicfarms.com Not just for our neighbors on the other side of the mountains, East Mountain Organic offers pick-up locations at the Los Ranchos and Downtown Growers’ Markets in Albuquerque. If you hurry, you still may be able to sign up for the remainder of the 2009 harvest!
Eleanor Sichler shows off the green chile at the Sichler Farms stand on San Mateo.
Harvest festivals have been an integral part of the local food scene since the time when all food was local. They’re still a fun way to celebrate the delicious produce available in your community. Here are a few coming up.
Saturday, Sept. 19
Market Harvest Festival Downtown Growers’ Market (See “Growers’ Markets” listing for location and time.)
Urban Farm and Harvest Festival Open Space Visitor Center 6500 Coors NW • cabq.gov/openspace 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.