The Albuquerque Northeast Farmers' & Artisans' Market is nearing the halfway mark on its third season, selling 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. Read all about the Heights bounty in this week’s Food Section.
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.
Georgia has nothing on New Mexico peaches. Even as we near the end of the season, local growers are still offering large and succulent globes of juicy, dripping perfection. Whatever peaches are left after my daily snacks will go into quick desserts such as cobbler or—my favorite—peach upside-down cake. Here’s the recipe.
When I want to store large amounts of basil, I don't make pesto. Instead, I prepare a bare-bones mixture of pureed basil, olive oil and salt, which I freeze in jars. If I want to make pesto at a later date I can always add pine nuts, cheese and garlic. But I can't remove those things from pesto if, in the middle of winter, I decide I want homegrown basil in my Thai coconut green curry.
Growers’ markets have an oasis-like feeling to them. They’re sanctuaries of foliage, magnets for cool people and hives of activity. That effect is heightened in Socorro, where the surrounding landscape is sculpted by hot wind and sunshine. In the town’s charming plaza, cool green grass is shaded by immense cottonwood trees. On Saturdays, when the market is in full swing, it feels like a festival—or a barter fair.
Each time I show up at a growers' market, it’s like coming home. Even if it's one I've never visited. As soon as it comes into view, I feel like I already know the people I'm about to meet, like I've slipped into a recurring dream that’s always different yet familiar. That’s why if, during the next few weeks, you don’t find yourself reading about too many restaurants in this space, I hope you understand. I haven’t been eating at restaurants much. Instead I’ve been haunting the markets, bringing home the goodness and cooking it into 10,000 permutations of green chile, corn, calabacitas, garlic and meat, and washing it down with melon juice.
Ten miles north from Bernalillo, right by theexit ramp for the San Felipe truck stop and casino, the San Felipe market convenes on Wednesday evenings. 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. It’s also a reminder of what an amazing melting pot New Mexico is.
Among the concrete columns at University Hospital’s patient pickup/drop-off point, fresh sprouts are available at Debrilla’s Living Foods. Debrilla Ratchford is of one of the 10-odd vendors that compose UNM Hospitals’ weekly Farm Fresh on the Plaza event—a growers’ market, essentially—which goes down Wednesdays from 2 to 5 p.m. There’s fresh produce, prepared foods hot and cold, and lots of informed conversation going on.
Only about eight booths long, the Cuba Farmers’ Market has a big heart. And since there’s not always enough booty to go around, getting there early is recommended. Cuba is a hub for a large, beautiful and funky area. The market is a distillation of the surrounding mountains, canyons, valley and scrubland, and it foments a sense of community that’s been waiting to happen. Locals are “over the moon about it,” says Shari Smoker of the UNM Prevention Research Center, which helped create the market last year. “They just love it so much. It’s giving people a place to have a sense of community and talk to their neighbors and get to know their growers.”
In the syrupy charm of New Orleans' Garden District or the debauchery of the French Quarter, you might think the city has recovered from the trauma of Katrina. Streetcars are running, music is playing and tourists have stumbled back with beads on. But in the poorest part of the city, which also happens to be the lowest part, it's a different story.
But despite the setbacks, Our School at Blair Gorcery in the Lower Ninth Ward is using composting and farming techniques to bolster their situation in a fragile economy.
Meat, of all the ingredients a restaurant serves, is arguably the most deserving of care in how it is sourced. Unless, perhaps, the name of the restaurant in question is Cafe Green. At the three-year-old Downtown breakfast and lunch joint, the greens of both the salad and the chile persuasions are local. And some of the meat on the menu is too, if you consider Pueblo, Colo, to be local. (We do.)
Congress will soon vote on the most significant piece of food legislation ever passed. Here's some of what's at stake.
By Ari LeVaux
Produce, milk, meat, eggs, nuts and all manner of processed foods have made people sick in recent years, and Congress has been understandably itching to cook up a big pot of food-safety legislation. The result, Senate Bill 510, is likely headed for a vote soon in the lame-duck session.
How one man is reconnecting the inner city to fresh produce
By Ari LeVaux
James Johnson Piett digs retail—specifically, food retail. Focusing on things like "operationalizing how consumers move through a store," as he puts it, might seem prohibitively geeky. But Piett makes it seem very cool.
The next time a friend says thanks, but no thanks, to your latest offering of homegrown zucchini, think about donating it. You could join the network of organizations across the country that directs unused food toward the nation’s hungry. Food Forward, founded by Rick Nahmias and manned by hordes of volunteers, has gleaned tons of fruits from farms in Southern California to be distributed to food pantries. They post regular schedules on Facebook so volunteers can meet to pick fruit.