My family celebrated National Farmers’ Market Week (August 6-12) by visiting the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market. The explosion of organic produce and the slow food movement have spurred the growth of farmers’ market everywhere. According the USDA, the number of markets has doubled over the past decade to reach about 7800 markets around the U.S.! Cities like San Francisco, New York, Philadelphia and Chicago have large markets that make the top 10 list. I had no idea that the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market was on that list before our trip that Saturday. Having been to the Dane County Farmers’ Market in Madison, Wisconsin (a top 10), I definitely agree that Santa Fe Farmers’ Market is one of the best.
One of the features of a good market is that it offers a wide variety of fresh and local products and produce. We were able to find all of our dinner ingredients and more that day. Tomato vendors offered San Marzanos, Better Boys, heirloom tomatoes, plum tomatoes, cherry tomatoes- too many different varieties to remember. We also found delicious white and yellow peaches, nectarines, and dark reddish purple elephant heart plums. For the first time in my life, I saw Shushito peppers (from several producers in New Mexico). I read that these small, bright green, Japanese chile peppers make a tasty snack when quickly sautéed with olive oil and salt. I was also able to find a great head of butter lettuce and a nice flower arrangement.
Location is also key to a good market. The market is located in the Railyard among art galleries and small shops away from the Plaza (the plaza is crowded enough with hardly any parking). Because we were early (we arrived at 8am), we were lucky to find curbside parking. According to the website, there are public parking lots available. The grounds were also very clean with vendors arranged in a flowing layout with enough room for strollers and wheelchairs in addition to everyone else. Finally, one can’t beat the weather/climate of Santa Fe- comfortable temperatures, dry and sunny.
One of the best things about my Santa Fe Farmers Market experience was the interaction I had with other visitors and the vendors. As I ate my breakfast pastry and drank my coffee, I had a nice chat with a Santa Fean and her visitor from Lubbock, Texas. Next to them was a German couple munching on cheese curds. They were enjoying their curds so much they strongly recommended that we go get some. My kids and I had an interesting conversation with the elephant heart plum farmer who had lived on the Big Island, Hawaii and hopes someday to return there or go to Sumatra. He is passionate about sustainable agriculture and shared his vision for an improved agricultural cooperative here in New Mexico for seed sharing. To my surprise, I was even able to have a conversation in Chinese with a farmer from Talon de Gato. He told me (in Chinese) that he started speaking about 4 years ago and that he was glad for the opportunity to practice Chinese with me.
Our whole family had a wonderful time that morning. Great food + great people + great location make for a top-rated farmers’ market experience!
- Go early, the market is open on Tuesdays and Saturdays from 7am-12noon
- Curbside meter parking is available, bring quarters, beware of the meter patrol
- Don’t forget to bring your own shopping bags
- The artisan’s market is on Sunday in the same location
Date visited: August 11, 2012