Los Poblanos: field to fork

Farm to table is one of the hot phrases on the food scene today. The concept of sustainable food has fostered a booming industry of farmers’ markets and “natural” grocery stores around the United States and around the world.  Growing consumer interest in where food is grown, who’s growing it and how it’s grown is hugely impacting the contemporary culinary scene.  Dining has gone back to the future.  Los Poblanos Historic Inn and Organic Farm, in Albuquerque, New Mexico’s North Valley, takes it a bit farther.  Much of what is served at the inn is raised on their own farm.

field to fork Entering the Farm Store at Los Poblanos, photo Steve Collins

The Farm Shop at Los Poblanos, photo/Steve Collins

They take what they call “field to fork”  so seriously here they a resident farmer. Sean Ludden works closely with Executive Chef, Jonathan Perno, planning what to grown on their 25 acres and in their greenhouse.  During growing season, you may see chefs and cooks in white coats out in the fields selecting produce for the kitchen.

field to fork The Farm Store Los Poblanos photo Steve Collins

Inside the Farm Shop at Los Poblanos, photo/Steve Collins

The farm’s seasonal bounty is served to inn guests at breakfast each day. Their restaurant, La Merienda, serves dinner Wednesday through Saturday evenings. Seasonal four-course Farm to Fork dinners are offered once a month. Dining reservations are a must.

field to fork an herb garden at Los Poblanos  photo Steve Collins

A raised-bed herb garden at Los Poblanos, photo/Steve Collins

There is a farming tradition on the property.  In 1932, Former Illinois Congressman Ruth Hanna McCormick married New Mexican Congressman, Albert Gallatin Simms and they settled in Albuquerque. That same year, they commissioned Santa Fe architect John Gaw Meem to build Los Poblanos. She was a proponent of farming and started  the Rock River Dairy Farm on her property.

field to fork The Farm Shop, Los Poblanos photo Steve Collins

The Farm Shop manager, Stephen Humphrey, talks about the shop photo/Steve Collins

The Farm Shop, in the old white-washed dairy barn on the property, is run by architect Stephen Humphrey.  Much of his time is devoted to product research and development. He searches for unique items to stock in the shop like the Glasser Hoe from Switzerland. This tool that lasts a lifetime isn’t a big seller but local farmers and others appreciate being able to find it there. They also stock an interesting selection of artisanal foods. Humphrey spends a lot of time tracking down and interviewing the best local growers and producers. His mission is to find the best of the best. ”That’s what this shop is about,” says Humphrey, “trying to find good people.” In addition to garden tools and food, the shop’s carefully selected and unique inventory includes decorative items, kitchenware, cook books and more. Humphrey says that The Farm Shop plans on expanding into an unused portion of the barn in early 2013. His vision is to expand his food and table top offerings.

field to fork tomatoes growing in the greenhouse at Los Poblanos  photo Steve Collins

A giant tomato plant in the greenhouse at Los Poblanos, photo/Steve Collins

The Los Ranchos de Albuquerque farm is also known for the organic lavender it produces each summer.  Inn guests can sample the lavender honey produced from the farm’s own hives with their breakfast. The Farm Shop sells the inn’s line of organic lavender body products (which appear as guest amenities in guest rooms and suites).

field to fork Milking a cow at Los Poblanos  photo Steve Collins

Farmer, Christine Chavez Valley Flowers Farm milking a cow, photo/Steve Collins

In addition to crops, there is some livestock living on the farm. Los Poblanos shares the land with Christine Chavez of Valley Flowers Farm. She keeps her menagerie of farm animals including hens, pigs, ducks, goats and more on the farm. Inn guests can join Chavez, by appointment, for Barnyard Animals 101 and learn about the animals, hunt for eggs, milk a baby goat and more. On the first Saturday of the month, it’s open to the public. Space is limited and the spots fill up so reserve early.

field to fork dried lavendar photo Steve Collins

Bunches of dried lavender at Los Poblanos, photo/Steve Collins

Whether you stay at the inn, come for dinner or stop by The Farm Shop, Las Poblanos is a special place to visit, again and again and again.

Author’s note: Our stay at Los Poblanos was hosted by the inn. Their generosity did not influence this post in any way,

 

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