There’s nothing like knowing where your food comes from. The Santa Fe Farmers Market is a great resource. It’s a place to buy direct from the local growers and producers of food. Their annual Farm Tour is a chance to see where your food is actually grown. Eight farms in Northern New Mexico opened their fields to people on Sunday, August 5th.
The farms were spread out, from Stanley to the south to Tierra Amarilla in the north. It would have been a challenge to visit all of them in a day so we choose three, giving us a Sunday excursion from Santa Fe to Abiquiu to Peñasco.
We started the Purple Adobe Lavender Farm in Abiquiu. Alas, it was an early harvest this year and the fields were bare. Did you know that New Mexico and the South of France have similar growing conditions? Lavender and grapes thrive in our dry, arid climate. While there, we visited the charming store at the farm and went home with a few lavender products.
Next it was on to Dixon, off Rte 68 (the Low Road to Taos). Hungry, we made a stop at Sugar’s BBQ in Embudo for delicious brisket burritos. Just north of Sugar’s, is the Classical Gas Museum. We’ve driven by countless times but were always in too much of a hurry. We stopped Sunday. This is a treasure trove of gas station memorabilia. We’ll write about this quirky and amazing place soon, but for now, here’s a photo. Time was getting short, the tour ended at 3pm, and we had places to go. We’ll be back!
First stop in Dixon was the El Bosque Garlic Farm. We chatted with farmers Stan and Rose Mary Crawford, a very interesting couple. He’s a writer; her background was journalism. They moved to New Mexico in 1969 and have been farming this land since 1971. Stop and chat with them at the Santa Fe Farmers Market some Saturday, they have interesting life stories. You can also visit the farm on Fridays between 4 and 5pm when they load the truck for the market. You can buy fresh-picked produce from them as they load. They grow garlic, shallots, sweet onions, winter squash and greens. The lush, sheltered farm gives no hint that you’re in New Mexico. For a transplanted East Coaster, there was a bit of nostalgia. It was lush with flowers, vegetables and trees. It had a bit of the South of France about it, too. You can read more about the Crawfords and their farm in a 2011 piece from the New York Times Garden Section.
Our third and last farm stop was at For the Love of Bees near the Picuris Pueblo just south of Peñasco. Besides keeping about 150 bee hives, they have a half-acre vegetable patch. They grow produce to bring to the Farmers’ Market along with their honey. They farm using the biodynamic method espoused by Austrian philosopher and social reformer, Rudolph Steiner. Beekeeper Les Crowder has been keeping bees for over 40 years, starting as a teen. He moved to this beautiful piece of land five years ago. Crowder works with his bees in a proactive way. At a time when bee colonies are dying due to pesticide exposure, mites and other factors, Crowder is rigorously committed to using natural methods to support the health and well-being of his hives. To make them more mite resistant, he’s mated his bees with Russian ones. He says that the hive is an organism with every category of bee performing a specific function to keep it alive. He is a fund of bee information. Stop by the Farmers’ Market and chat with him. Want to become a backyard beekeeper or make it a business? For the Love of bees offers beekeeping classes. While Steve learned about the bees, I tasted the honey that was for sale. After tasting Thistle Clover, Honey Locust, Alfalfa, Sweet Clover and Wild Flower varieties, I opted for a jar of the Thistle Clover. There was a subtle fruitiness to it.
Honey and lavender in hand we headed home after after an interesting day on the Santa Fe Farmers Market Farm Tour.
Have you visited any of the farms that sell at the Santa Fe Farmers Market? Share you experience below. The Santa Fe Traveler can create a day trip for you that visits local growers.
Read about the adventure we had in Tierra Amarilla last weekend discovering Tierra Wools.
If you don’t know about the Vanishing of the Bees, take a moment to watch:
You can buy the Vanishing of the Bees here.
Buy Crawford’s A Garlic Testament: Seasons on a small New Mexico Farm