Harvest Moon—My dad is a chiropractor by day, but give him enough down-time and he becomes a Zen farmer. A very small-scale one. When the weather's right, my father loses himself in a walking meditation among the vines of his heirloom brandywine tomatoes, his lemon cukes and his purple, honey-sweet figs. On the other side of the yard sits my mother's plot, tumescent with flowers and a hedge of rose bushes that reaches up to the mountains. How fitting that my sister (an apprentice indoor landscaper) will be married in their backyard next spring, between those two patches.
Don't get me wrong. I certainly didn't inherit my mom's green thumb (mine are the only tar-black ones in the bunch), and I'm trying—I really am--to get some of my father's equanimity to rub off on me. However, I suspect they're the reason I hate winter. I feel most awake when the Earth is ripe with color and smells.
Fall positively fries my senses in the best way. There's this stunning, palpable energy in the air, and best of all, it's harvest time. Soon I'll be standing in line with you folks at the Dixon Apple Farm and sucking the honey off a piece of frybread at the State Fair. But first thing's first.
Let's start with the Santa Fe Farmers' Market's Harvest Festival, this Saturday, Sept. 16. It's the region's largest chile roast, which is reason enough to celebrate. They've also got truckloads of local produce fresh from the Autumn harvest, including the year's first crop of apples, late-bloomer tomatoes, fall greens and our “three sisters,” squash, corn and beans. The market is open from 7 a.m.-noon in the Santa Fe Railyard. Get directions at www.santafefarmersmarket.com.
Closer to home, Los Ranchos Growers' Market (6718 Rio Grande NW, at the Los Ranchos de Albuquerque fire station) will have their annual Beans, Chile and Corn Celebration right around the same time—and you've got to try Joe Sausage's handmade chile sausage and ravioli.
Los Poblanos Organics' farm is just down the road. LPO is a nearly four-year-old community-supported agriculture project (or CSA). Members pay for a “share” of the season's crop, which they help harvest from the farm themselves or have packed in boxes and delivered to pickup points. Aside from a robust harvest of melons and eggplants, it's business as usual on the farm. Clear across town, however, there's some new growth in the form of a Los Poblanos Organics “store” at 2000 Carlisle (south of Indian School). LPO's Monte Skarsgard (or Farmer Monte, to his fans) says it's just another pickup point for the members, but he hopes its high visibility will attract more of them. So feel free to stop in and find out about the program, or log on to www.lospoblanosorganics.com. Farmer Monte also gently reminds me that memberships are still open for the late summer-fall boxes.