It’s been a tough year for northern New Mexico farmers, but you wouldn’t know it from the bounty available at the Los Alamos Farmers Market, or the warm welcome vendors extend to shoppers every Thursday. The library parking lot at 2400 Central Ave., is a hive of activity from 7:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Thursdays, May through October.
“This was a trying year because there was so little water,” Market Manager Cindy Talamantes said. “Acequias were extremely low and the majordomos had to ration water.” (Acequias are irrigation ditches and the person who manages them for the community is the person elected majordomo or ditch boss.)
“March got hot then April got even hotter,”
Talamantes said. “Those who planted early had a good harvest, but those who planted later were most affected by the drought and some of them had to replant once the rain came. We’re really seeing the effects of global warming locally.”
All wasn’t lost, luckily. It’s a bumper year for fruit, Talamantes said.
Plenty of vegetables also were on display during a recent visit to the Market. And plenty of readymade food treats as well as vendor-made soap, candles, baskets and much more.
Talamantes first got involved with the Market as a vendor, selling apricots and her handcrafted pine needle baskets. She has seen a lot of changes since then. She’s been manager 15 years or so. The Market was founded in 1970 and has been located at a number of sites before finding a permanent home in the Mesa Public Library parking lot. New vendors join all the time. One of the newest is Pig & Fig Restaurant, which now sells their popular treats at the market.
One change Talamantes has noticed is an increase in meat vendors of all kinds at the Market.
“We’ve got chickens and eggs, turkey, lamb, pork, beef, bison, and even yak,” Talamantes said. “All of our farmers are USDA inspected and licensed.”
Talamantes is on a first name basis with all the vendors and has known many of them for decades.
“The most important thing for us is supporting the farmers who are at the market,” she said. “But we’re here to serve everyone.”
To help make sure that everyone can use the market, when you spend your SNAP EBT Card dollars at the Farmers Market, the Double Up Food Bucks program doubles the buying power of every dollar.
Shoppers don’t need to fret when the outdoor market shuts down. Winter Markets are happening 7 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 10, Feb. 14, March 14 and April 11 at Fuller Lodge. In addition, there will be two Holiday Markets 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dec. 13 and 20.
With two chile roasters in operation at the Market, right now, live music and fall produce, fall might be the very finest time to visit the Farmers Market. Hey, it’s Thursday. How about right now?