Our monthly sampler platter of news from around the state
Since 1953, diners have enjoyed the mom-and-pop atmosphere and ample portions of the Bobcat Bite, the lauded burger joint on Old Las Vegas Highway outside of Santa Fe. After decades of maintaining a rustic and delicious dining experience under a series of owners, the longtime favorite is closing its doors due to a lease dispute. On June 9, the Bobcat Bite’s last day, current owners Bonnie and John Eckre will donate all profits to Kitchen Angels, a nonprofit organization that prepares and delivers meals to the homebound.
After a late freeze killed the state’s peach crop in 2011, researchers at New Mexico State University turned their attention to finding a crop that could potentially withstand the habitual late frosts of Northern New Mexico. NMSU fruit specialist and researcher Shengrui Yao has been investigating the strawberry. Known for its ability to survive colder temps, strawberries could potentially fare better in the state than fruit trees. Supported in part by a USDA Specialty Crop Block Grant and the New Mexico Department of Agriculture, the ongoing study will help farmers determine the best varieties of strawberry for the high pH soil and low temperatures in the northern region. Out of 16 types, the Mesabi cultivar has proven the best all-around crop strain, displaying high productivity and hardiness.
The drought of 2013 shows no sign of letting up, and everything from endangered fish to farms have been feeling the heat. On May 30, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District, an agency responsible for delivering water to area farms, reported that under current conditions water reserves would be gone in four to six weeks.
Already, the agency has halted water deliveries to those enrolled in their irrigation “water bank” program due to the extreme drought, including Albuquerque’s Los Poblanos fields in the North Valley. Joshua Willis of the Open Space Alliance, the city division that manages the fields, says they will respond to the lack of water by limiting the amount of crops grown for the use of migrating birds and other wildlife. “It doesn’t mean there is going to be no wildlife crop, just that there will be less,” Willis says.