Market Report: Academy
A perfect storm of bounty
The Albuquerque Northeast Farmers' & Artisans' Market is nearing the halfway mark on its third season. You'll find it across Wyoming from Whole Foods on the Albuquerque Academy campus on Tuesday afternoons from 3 to 7 p.m. The vendors sell a balance of raw produce, meat and prepared food options, as well as gourmet dog food, pottery, skin care products, baby clothes, and other folksy crafts.
The location, combined with an afternoon setting, seems to make the market susceptible to thunderstorms, which have cut the market short on both of my visits. That threat, plus the fact that J Star Bar Farms stand will probably quickly sell out of artichokes, makes an early visit advisable. Last week, heirloom tomatoes from AJ Farm in Belen were going fast as well, as were tubs of neon rose plums from Granny Grown Garden, where I bought three perfect calabacitas for $2.
One of the vendors, Janna’s Urban Farm, makes but a two-mile journey with her produce. Another, Mago’s Farm, is scattered like seeds on the wind.
Margarito "Mago" Chairez isn’t capable of not farming, market manager Sarah Wentzel-Fisher explained to me. To this end, Mago has several plots around town, but mostly in the North Valley, that are borrowed or rented. Wentzel-Fisher describes his produce as utilitarian and no-nonsense—especially crops with long shelf lives. For example, last year’s dried red chile and pinto beans are for sale. “He doesn’t even grow tomatoes,” marveled Wentzel-Fisher, though cucumbers and calabacitas have been well-represented.
Also represented, I was happy to see, is my home ’hood of Placitas. Finca de los Cerros Rusticos brought plums and apricots from the bumper crop we’re experiencing this year. And Huertas Canyon Farm was set up with an assortment from an acre under cultivation.
By the time the wind and rain had prematurely ended another market, my basket was full of fruits and veggies. Whole Foods didn’t get my business that day.