Eat like the locals in Santa Fe

Santa Fe Farmers' Market on a spring day, Photo by Steve Collins

I know it’s not spring yet but thinking about fresh locally grown food gets me ready. If you are a locavore, New Mexico has an amazing variety of locally grown and produced foods from vegetables and fruit to cheese, meat and poultry. Santa Fe has a great network of local food producers along with some excellent outreach programs. Buying good locally produced and prepared food is a guarantee that what you’re eating is tasty, because it was harvested at the height of perfection.

The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market is one of the best known and longest running in the nation. If you spend any time here it’s a great place to shop for locally produced foods. Just visiting? Drop in and check it out to get a feel of the bustle and vibrancy of an active market. It’s a year ‘round market with an indoor venue for winter when markets are held only on Saturdays. Once the growing season starts, the market moves outside and adds markets on Tuesday morning and Thursday afternoon. Check the website for the schedule. As you browse, get something to snack on from one of the many booths to enjoy while you visit and you can meet the farmer who grew it.

If you don’t have time to visit the Farmers’ Market, dine in one of the local restaurants that source at least some of their food from either the market, the Santa Fe Alliance Farm to Restaurant program or directly from area farms.This is win/win/win, chefs and diners can can you trust the quality of the food, and it helps local food producers.

Santa Fe also has a few Community Supported Agriculture farms. CSAs offer shares of their produce for sale to the public. Each week during the growing , shareholders get fresh locally grown goodies. What you get is based on what is in season that week. Some CSAs even deliver to your door. The idea of the program is to help the farmers out with their expenses in exchange for a share of the bounty; you pay for the season in advance. The downside is you also share the risk with the farmer. If the crop is ruined by hail, drought or other adverse conditions, your share is smaller.

If you want fresh and local but prefer a store where you can shop every day, La Montanita Co-op, a local supermarket-style store, gets about half of their produce from local sources in the summer. Both members and non-members can shop there. Members get a portion of the Co-op profit at the end of the year, paid as a dividend.

Wherever you live, find ways to connect with local growers near you. Is there a farmers’ market? Are there CSAs? Is there a food co-op you can join? Local farms are a valuable resource and an insurance policy for clean food sources controlled by people like you. It’s healthy; it strengthens the local economy and it’s good for the environment.

Are local food sources in  Santa Fe important to you? Do you have any you want to share?

If you have any sustainable Santa Fe dining resources to share with us, we’d love to hear about them.

Note: Read about locavore efforts in Brooklyn, NY from DowntownTraveler.

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12 Responses to “Eat like the locals in Santa Fe”

  1. Ted Nelson
    January 9, 2011 at 10:43 am #

    It is nice to see that going local, sustainability, and conservation of the environment is so in right now.

    • Steve Collins
      January 9, 2011 at 1:10 pm #

      Hi Ted,
      Thanks for the thoughtful comment. I agree with you. This is a choice that doesn’t have to be polemic yet can have a beneficial result. I can remember when “green” wasn’t a political choice. (That gives my age away) Fortunately choosing to support sustainable options does not mean having to man the barricades.

  2. LeslieTravel
    January 10, 2011 at 8:20 am #

    I didn’t know there were so many local food options in Santa Fe. Looks like an amazing city– I’d love to check it out! I’m not a locavore, but I appreciate fine dining 🙂

    • Steve Collins
      January 12, 2011 at 8:57 am #

      Hi Leslie, I continue to be amazed by the quality and quality of the local food sources especially for the size of our city.

  3. Vera Marie Badertscher
    January 11, 2011 at 9:04 pm #

    Thanks for this great post. I’m looking forward to returning to Santa Fe just to enjoy the city, since all my trips there for several years have been research for our book on Quincy Tahoma. I have not even been to the RailYard! Let alone the Farmer’s Market. And always appreciate a good restaurant list.

    • Steve Collins
      January 12, 2011 at 9:07 am #

      The Railyard project was interminable years in the making but today has lots of vibrant elements. Besides the Farmers Market’s permanent new home, there are galleries, shops and restaurants.

  4. Charles Higgins
    January 12, 2011 at 6:02 pm #

    The farm to restaurant program sounds neat….
    Cheers…

    • Steve Collins
      January 12, 2011 at 9:41 pm #

      Charles, Thanks for the comment. We are lucky to have excellent local food sources as well as restaurants that use them in their menus. Good for everybody!

  5. Joan Aker
    September 5, 2011 at 1:39 pm #

    Steve,
    Thank you for sharing this information about the Santa Fe farmers market with all of us. It sounds absolutely wonderful. What types of produce are sold over the winter? Do you know if most of the produce is grown using heirloom seeds? Just curious
    Thanks
    Joan

    • Steve Collins
      September 5, 2011 at 8:12 pm #

      Joan,
      Connections between food producers and eaters in NM are strong and varied. Winter products at the market include greens, salsas, eggs, cheeses, meats and root veggies, as well as handicrafts. During spring, summer and fall we have a strong farm to restaurant program that allows restaurants to offer dishes made largely from fresh and local resources. I don’t know the percentage or amount of produce that is grown from heirloom seeds but we are fortunate not only to have seed resources that (through Pueblo people) go back hundreds, if not thousands of years.These would include corn, squash and beans. In addition, their are heirloom seeds that trace to the origins of Spanish settlement. Thank you for your interest.
      Steve

  6. Hethyr
    November 13, 2011 at 9:18 pm #

    Thank you for this information! As a personal chef, I am very concerned about where my food comes from. My husband just surprised me with a trip to Santa Fe next week for our anniversary and the restaurant list will be a great resource for us. =)

    • Billie Frank
      November 14, 2011 at 9:21 am #

      Thanks for the comment Heather. We share your concerns. If you are interested in sustainable eating, you may enjoy our blog posts on what’s happening on this front in Ireland. They are available under the “Ireland” heading on the blog.

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