Farmers market season is upon us. Several have already opened for the year, with the big one, the Albuquerque Downtown Growers Market, kicking off on May 18. This is the time of year when we’re reminded of the magic that can happen when rare drops of water are mixed with our abundant New Mexico sunshine. Enjoy the resulting green while it lasts.
We associate growers’ markets with summer, and for good reason. That’s normally when stuff grows. Thanks to a combination of old-fashioned tactics and newfangled technology, however, farmers have figured out ways of extending the season. And if you’re out to absorb some social cheer as winter sets in, stock up on staples, and wolf down a breakfast burrito and a coffee, there’s no finer place than the Santa Fe Farmers Market—the state’s largest, oldest and arguably best.
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.
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.