A roundup of food news from around Albuquerque and the state
Contain your excitement
Once home to onions, machinery and a sundry of other goods, repurposed shipping containers could soon house a coffee shop, wine bar and other retail spots in a proposed Albuquerque development. Roy Solomon, founder of 505 Salsas and Ryde Shack spinning studio in Nob Hill, is turning his entrepreneurial attention to the barren tract of earth at the NE corner of the intersection of I-40 and Carlisle. Solomon hopes to transform the blighted area into an urban utopia complete with a hydroponic farm and lots of seating space. The ABQ Environmental Planning Commission approved the proposal for Solomon’s development, which at present is called Green Jeans Farmery. The EPC noted the “innovative design solution” provided by the use of shipping containers and pointed out the structures-cum-shops would be the first of their kind in Albuquerque. Solomon envisions the development as a place for Burqueños to gather in a relaxed, communal setting.
Green chile reality
We’ve seen their smiling faces in the salsa aisle, and soon we may witness a whole new dimension of El Pinto owners John and Jim Thomas. Smart Skirts Entertainment and Media Meld Studios of Los Angeles are developing a deal to feature the long-loved New Mexican restaurant and the twins who run it in a reality television series. After buying the sprawling North Valley restaurant from their parents in 1994, the Thomases expanded into salsa production and retail. The chiles used in their salsas and sauces are grown and roasted on land owned by the restaurant, a process the twins keep close watch over. All aspects of the business, as well as the brothers’ personal lives, could see airtime if a network picks up the developing show. Those involved hope that El Pinto can maximize on a growing interest in the Land of Enchantment. “This is another opportunity we have to really bring green chile to the national stage,” noted Doug Evilsizor, the restaurant’s marketing director, in a Journal article about the show. We can hope that viewers around the country will someday feel the burn New Mexico has come to love.
Vouching for roadside food stands
The chile and peach stands dotting the edge of rural New Mexico highways could soon accept WIC vouchers in exchange for their produce. With the expansion of WIC to authorized roadside produce and farm stands, customers can choose from nine current participants, with the possibility of more being added in the current fiscal year. One such mobile market sells produce in the Navajo Nation in the eastern corner of the state. The Tri-Community Mobile Market aims to provide produce to residents and opportunities to local farmers. In an area where supermarkets are a drive of at least 100 miles roundtrip, the community market allows easier access to fresh, local and affordable produce. The inclusion of smaller community farm stands in the state nutrition program is a step in a healthy direction.
All aspects of the business, as well as the brothers’ personal lives, could see airtime if a network picks up the developing show.