Ten miles north from Bernalillo, right by the exit ramp for the San Felipe truck stop and casino, the San Felipe market convenes on Wednesday evenings. This is the least expensive market of all, says La Bajada farmer Joe Moody [see “Market Report: Bernalillo”], with the poorest clientele. Of all the markets he does, San Felipe yields the highest percentage of food stamp EBT payments in his total sales. San Felipe is one of the few markets that don’t charge a fee for vendors who show up.
In addition to Moody, there’s a lot of overlap among vendors between San Felipe and Bernalillo markets. The melons, Pueblo green chiles and tamales available at Bernalillo are also available here, along with one of the best deals on blue corn I’ve ever seen. A family from San Felipe sells gorgeous kernels, cleaned and dried, in 25-pound sacks for $35.
The vibe is funky, jovial, relaxed and no-nonsense, with a slightly lawless feeling: Some vendors drive into the market while it’s going full-swing to set up their booths. The space itself is a little bleak—a dusty parking lot with no shade and the sight and sound of I -25 close at hand. But the context makes the human and vegetal splashes of color all the more striking. I watched a Vietnamese couple leave with green onions and tomatoes, after chatting pleasantly with descendants of this land’s original inhabitants. It was a reminder of what an amazing melting pot New Mexico is.
This is the 10th year that the San Felipe market has been going, and in honor of this anniversary there will be a celebration on Sept. 21.