To Market, To Market

Country and city agricultural adventures in and around the Albuquerque area

South Valley

Hubbell Demonstration Farm and Living History Museum On both the Camino Real and the original Route 66, the 150-year-old Hubbell House was once a booming center of commerce, owned by the same family that started the famed Hubbell Trading Post, in Ganado, Arizona. Today the Hubbell House Alliance is restoring the exquisite landmark—the mud-plastered hacienda and the surrounding 10-acre farm and orchard property—as a living-history museum. The revitalization efforts include ongoing free workshops on topics such as raising backyard chickens and beekeeping. The site hosts a Local Food Festival and Field Day on Sunday, October 13, 11 a.m.–4 p.m., with chef demos, a pie contest, a seed exchange, talks about New Mexico’s early Native and Hispanic agricultural heritage, live music, storytelling, a petting zoo, and kids’ activities like sack races and garden art. Check the Mid-Region Council of Governments website, mrcog-nm.gov, for the full schedule.

Rosales Produce Stand Mario and Linda Rosales and family run Lemitar Farm, near Socorro, but bring their produce to market in Albuquerque every harvest season. Their simple plywood stand overflows with sacks of green chile ranging from mild to superhot, and with red-chile ristras grown without pesticides. Other produce includes cantaloupes, watermelons, honeydews, tomatoes, summer squash, garlic, and onions.

Rasband Dairy Store Stop at the drive-up window of this family-owned dairy and get yourself some of the best-tasting and healthiest milk and cream (no growth hormones or antibiotics) in New Mexico. Once upon a time, the Rasbands’ cattle grazed behind the store, but these days the herd’s much farther south, in Los Chavez. The milk’s still bottled out back, though.

Robert Kyzer Livestock Pigs, sheep, cows, and goats—oh my!

The genial Mr. Kyzer exudes cowboy charm, and has become the go-to guy for his local, humanely raised pork in particular. His pork is from the very desirable (for flavor and fat) Berkshire hogs, and Berkshire-Yorkshire crosses. The pigs eat a swell diet of grain leftovers from Marble Brewing Company, vegetables from La Montañita Co-op, and peanuts from Portales. You can buy a whole animal at the farm, but to get butchered meat cuts, head to La Montañita.

Skarsgard Farms Farmer Monte Skarsgard is among Albuquerque’s best-known agrarians, having farmed the famed Los Poblanos property before striking out on his own. He offers a monthly farm tour of one of his certified-organic fields on the third Saturday of each month during the main growing season, at least through October. The property’s not far from the Interstate, but it’s so quiet and pastoral that you might think you’re a hundred miles from a highway. One of Farmer Monte’s most popular crops is green chile. The day I stopped by, in late spring, I watched farm staff and students from UNM’s sustainable agriculture program transplant some of the 20,000 chile seedlings into the field. Monte says, of the wildly popular chile, “I think the reason it is such a huge hit is because of what happens after it leaves the field. The plant type is the standard Big Jim. It is not like we have some special seeds handed down from an old-timer. You can find them anywhere. But what you can’t find anywhere is what happens after it’s picked. After our chile gets harvested, it is brought almost directly to the roaster. No warehousing. No long truck ride. Field to roast in less than 24 hours . . . you are roasting a plump chile, not a slightly dehydrated one, and that really seals in the fresh flavor.” If you’d like to stop by outside farm-tour time, call ahead so someone can be there to greet you. Much of the other vegetable crop, from eggplants to bell peppers, is set aside for regular paid-in-advance Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) members.

Near Old Town

Old Town Farm This city has grown up around this farm, just west of Old Town and east of the Río Grande, on the edge of the Duranes Lateral, reputedly the oldest registered irrigation ditch in North America. The ditch provides the lifeblood for the farm’s dozen acres of pastures and fields. Husband-and-wife team Lanny Tonning and Linda Thorne developed the property as a horse farm, but have cut back on the equestrian side in the recent years to plant more chemical-free produce. On the edge of the popular bike paths, the farm offers bike-in coffee and produce on Fridays and Sundays. The couple prefers that people use their bikes as transportation, but they’ll provide car directions if you don’t have a bike or are going to buy too much produce to bike out. Outgoing hostess Linda calls it “point and pick”: Tell the staff what you want, and they’ll go pick it while you relax under the cottonwoods with a cup of java and a pastry, near a firepit if the morning’s cool. You’ll find flowers, eggs, and honey in addition to raspberries, tomatoes, chiles, shishito peppers, greens, corn, carrots, beets, turnips, cucumbers, and broccoli.

 

Albuquerque Botanic Garden Heritage Farm Northeast of the conservatories on the Botanic Garden grounds you’ll find this re-creation of a working local farmstead, circa 1930. While the heritage farm stays open year-round, harvest season’s the absolute best time to visit. In the adobe farmhouse, visitors can see occasional demonstrations of canning, baking, and home crafts. Outside, wander the kitchen garden, apple orchard, or vineyard, or among the berry bushes. The barnyard includes Navajo churro sheep, alpine goats, a cow, a Percheron draft horse, free-ranging Dominique chickens, and other critters. October 12 and 13, the farm marks the season with a harvest festival. Apples will be pressed into cider, and some made into cider vinegar. Both can be tasted and purchased. The farm’s wine vinegar and Botanic Garden–grown mums also will be available to buy. The festival features live music, crafts, wagon rides, activities for kids, and, for a charge, the option of a barbecued brisket and chicken lunch. Entry to the farm and the festival event is included with admission to the Botanic Garden.

St. Clair Winery & Bistro One of several charming tasting rooms and restaurants of the Deming-based winery, this one’s on the edge of Old Town. The wine offerings represent the entire St. Clair family, which includes the Blue Teal and D.H. Lescombes labels. A pleasant respite from other sightseeing, the spot’s a worthy meal destination for French-country-meets-Southwest cooking at lunch and dinner. The cabernet-kissed French onion soup, peerless for a fall lunch, mates well with a glass of the cabernet sauvignon from D.H. Lescombes or Blue Teal. The delicious Pasta New Mexico, sizzling with sautéed chicken and green-chile cream sauce, makes a fine match with the St. Clair Gewürztraminer or Blue Teal’s Riesling. Don’t miss the praline bread pudding with hints of butterscotch, an inspired pairing with the Blue Teal Muscat Canelli.

Northside

Sichler Farms Albuquerque Run by a branch of a well-known family that has farmed in New Mexico for some 150 years, these Sichlers grow their crops in Albuquerque’s South Valley. However, their covered open-air market sits between Nob Hill and the Fairgrounds on well-traveled San Mateo Boulevard NE. Eleanor Sichler gregariously oversees the market, though she’s petite enough that you might have to peer past pyramids of produce to spot her. The Sichlers provide all of the green and red chile and ristras. Additional farmer colleagues bring in plenty of vegetable diversity, including jalapeños, yellow hots, and bell peppers, loads of cucumbers, zucchini and other squashes, pinto beans, and juicy cantaloupes. Other fruit offerings may be thin this fall because of spring freezes, but there’s always a big selection of New Mexico–made condiments.

Río Grande Community Farm Maize Maze This October fundraising event is near—but not on—the Río Grande Community Farm, a 50-acre mid-city jewel that is among the oldest continually farmed properties in the U.S. The corn maze (dubbed a labyrinth this year because of its small size) and harvest activities throughout the month help maintain the farm property and support its activities, including providing produce to many local schools. October weekends from noon to 5 p.m., come out and enjoy the labyrinth, a pumpkin patch, and farm animals. Each weekend will feature various workshops about bees, birds, backyard foraging, and more. On Saturday, October 19, the evening after the month’s full moon, the site will host extra activities after dark, with food trucks and a 5K run among the plans. Visit the website for details.

Rosales Produce Stand The northside version of this enterprising family’s stand is described under “South Valley.”

Sol Harvest Farm This North Valley farm grows vegetables, herbs, and flowers on two acres and has nine acres of alfalfa and grass open space. It sits behind and serves as the “resident farm” for the Farm & Table restaurant. Farmer Ric Murphy follows organic growing practices and offers a variety of produce at his farmstand.

Farm & Table The name pretty much says it for this impressive little restaurant. Owner Cherie Montoya Austin grew up in the North Valley (her father owns the land that is Sol Farm today) and showcases the best of it. Chef Jaye Wilkinson oversees a culinary team that serves organic and local ingredients whenever possible. Everything I’ve eaten here has been superb, from spring onions with romesco to pristine salads and New Mexico–raised steaks. They make all their own pastries, breads, desserts, and ice cream, including a luscious butter pecan. If you’re not up for a full meal, try one of the flights of wines or beers with cheese. The casually comfortable restaurant is very popular, so reservations are always advised.

Gruet Winery New Mexico’s most recognized and honored winery sits on a stretch of frontage road along I-25. It looks a bit as if a Wizard of Oz–like twister dropped a French chateau between the some RVs and Tuff Sheds. Once you’re inside, though, it’s easy to imagine yourself in Bethon, France, the ancestral home of the founder, Champagne vintner Gilbert Gruet. He traveled to New Mexico the mid-1980s and had an epiphany about making sparkling wines here in true méthode champenoise. The grapes come predominantly from vineyards near Truth or Consequences, where, as Gruet realized, the high, dry conditions allow the fruit to ripen slowly and require no pesticides or herbicides. Initially, the wines were sparklers based on chardonnay or pinot noir, but Gruet now makes a broader array of vintage and non-vintage sparkling and still wines. Arguably, it’s hard to find a better $15 celebration wine than the flagship Brut, but pricier selections, such as the vintage Grand Rosé and the heavenly Syrah, are great treats. Tasting flights here fall into two groupings of five, a $7 basic or $14 reserve. It’s a lovely place to sample wines, with a friendly and knowledgeable staff.

Bosque Brewing Company With an explosion of quality microbreweries, Albuquerque’s become one heady city for hops lovers. I mention this newcomer because the staff tries to use locally grown hops whenever possible. You’ll find a rotating array on tap. The two most popular are Amber IPA and Scotia Scotch Ale.

Los Ranchos de Albuquerque

Casa Rondeña Winery

Stately vineyards frame your approach to a Tuscan-style villa containing the winery’s tasting room and opening onto stretches of shaded lawns and ponds. Architect-owner John Calvin offers impressive blends and varietals in a range of styles. Some of the grapes come from the neighborhood, others from around the state. Cabernet Franc, the original red of the Loire Valley, grows well here, and is bottled on its own and blended as a part of the Bordeaux-style Meritage with merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and Petit Verdot. The Viognier, traditionally a Rhône white varietal, is one I particularly seek out here. The winery’s 1629 Club, in what was once the Calvins’ home, is a more private spot where club members can picnic or enjoy tapas and special tastings and other events. There is no sign-up fee to become a club member.

Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm When, earlier this year, Bon Appétit announced its inaugural list of The 10 Best Food Lover’s Hotels in America, Los Poblanos was right in the middle of the magazine’s elite choices. The editors of Martha Stewart Living agree with them. When you turn into the drive of Los Poblanos and pass under a canopy of cottonwoods, you enter a world of rural serenity. The main estate, designed in 1932 by foremost Southwest architect John Gaw Meem, is on National Register of Historic Places. Three generations of the Rembe family have worked to preserve in perpetuity the property, its gardens, and the open farmland. The certified-organic farm produces the ingredients that inspire chef Jonathan Perno’s impressive cooking, always available at dinner and breakfast for overnight guests of the inn. The rest of us can make advance reservations for dinner and soak up a bit of the allure of the magnificent property. Even if you can’t arrange to stay for dinner or the night, be sure to stop in at The Farm Shop, an absolute charmer in style as well as substance. Look for the farm’s own lavender spa and culinary products, prepared artisan foods like Cocoa Diablo Biscochitos, New Mexico–made gifts such as goat’s milk and honey soap, and kitchen and garden tools. The shop’s just steps from coops of gently bwahk-ing chickens, a few other farm animals, and extensive fields of lavender. Twenty lodgings cluster in and around the main building, from luxurious historic suites with antique furnishings and wood-burning fireplaces, to newish rooms in 1930s-style dairy buildings with simpler, sleeker modern accoutrements. All overnights include a full organic breakfast. If traveling with children, look into the Little Farmers Package, which will net the wee ones special meals, a farm scavenger hunt, and, for the whole family, a VIP tour of the property with Farmer Christine.

Rio Rancho

Matheson Wine Company Mark Matheson must be one talented dude. Not only is he the winery’s owner and an oenologist who trained at the University of California–Davis, he also moonlights as head brewmaster at Rio Rancho’s nearby Turtle Mountain Brewing Company. Here at the winery, he makes sophisticated varietals such as chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and Sangiovese, and a Rio Cuvée blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre, among other pleasures. Even though technically in Rio Rancho, the winery is part of the Corrales Wine Loop (p. 50).

Corrales

Corrales Harvest Festival Corrales sits on the western bank of the Río Grande and has a robust ongoing agricultural tradition, even though it’s now some of the most desirable real estate in the Albuquerque vicinity. On Saturday and Sunday, September 28 and 29, bring the family to this all-out celebration of the village’s agrarian roots. Park at either the north or south end of town, then be transported by Corrales Rapid Transit, a tractor-toted hay wagon, to any of the activities—some free and some at a small charge, including live music and dancing, farmland walking tours, a pet parade, a Tour de Pumpkin family bike ride, the Corrida de Corrales foot race, equestrian demonstrations, a food court, and some six dozen crafts vendors. The Wine Fair, near the Mercado de Maya, is especially popular. For $5, grown-ups get a glass to be used for pours from Corrales area wineries. Light fare such as cheese plates, grapes, and bread are offered for a nominal price.

Heidi’s Raspberry Farm A longtime Corrales farmer, Heidi Eleftheriou has let some of her Corrales fields go fallow this season and instead has been growing her 2013 berries predominantly on her Los Lunas property. She expects to have some U-pick in Corrales in late September or early October. Heidi’s certified-organic fields typically produce up to four types of berries that she mixes together for her jarred jams, available at farmers’ markets throughout the Albuquerque area and in Santa Fe.

Wagner’s Farmland Experience This longtime local farm family sustainably farms apples, peaches, apricots, beans, cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, white and yellow sweet corn, and chile—lots of chile. Do the U-pick or buy it already bagged, and, if you like, have them roast it for you. Through October, their adobe farmstand almost disappears behind the ristras hanging from the eaves. Annually, Jimmy and Roxanne Wagner also create a six-acre corn maze with a family picnic area and kids’ play areas. Children will also get a kick out of the pumpkin patch, corn bin, hayrides, and petting zoo with adorable small farm animals. Their café serves breakfast and lunch, and you must have an ooey-gooey caramel apple.

Casa San Ysidro: The Gutiérrez-Minge House This exhibit of the Albuquerque Museum consists of a homestead from the 1870s named after New Mexico’s patron saint of farming. The home was built in an adobe takeoff of the Greek Revival style popular in the eastern U.S. in that era, which became the foundation of Territorial style here in our state. Today the site is a re-creation of a rancho with central plazuela and enclosed corral. Meet characters from New Mexico’s past, such as a cibolero, or Spanish buffalo hunter, and a 19th-century mountain man, and learn about their historical clothing and equipment.

Santa Ana Pueblo

The Cooking Post The Pueblo of Santa Ana includes a strip of the fertile Río Grande Valley. Agriculture was—and is—an integral part of this people’s lives, with religious ceremonies that reflect the seasons of farming. Blue corn, the most cherished grain of all Puebloans, remains an important crop for the Tamayame, or Santa Ana people. This small shop carries their blue cornmeal, atole (a roasted cornmeal for porridge), parched corn kernels for snacking, and blue-corn pancake and cornbread mixes. The Cooking Post also sells other Native American agricultural products, such as wild rice and maple syrup.


 

The Corrales Wine Loop

For a groovy afternoon wine experience, travel the Corrales Wine Loop. Acequia Vineyards and Winery, Corrales Winery, Matheson Wine Company, and Pasando Tiempo Winery, all within about eight miles and 10 minutes of each other, have banded together for marketing and customer fun. They put together special events, like bike tours, that include special tastings. You can even book a horse and carriage to transport you to the wineries.

Start at any of the participants, but Corrales Winery, right on the village’s main street, makes a good place to kick off a tour. Check out the Wine Loop on its Facebook page or at corraleswineloop.com for details.

Corrales Winery This winery offers free tours and tastings courtesy of your hosts, Keith and Barbara Johnstone. Grapes for their honey-toned Muscat Canelli come from the vineyard next to the winery; their dark, almost port-like Mariachi is made from a combination of grapes from Corrales and Deming.

Acequia Vineyards and Winery U.C. Davis–trained Al Knight makes sweet, semisweet, and dry wines from grapes grown around Corrales. The signature wine—for good reason—is his Cooper’s Hawk dry rosé, crafted in a classic French style. Al and his wife, Mel, have only an acre here by the tasting room, so it’s easy to get a good look around the vineyard, the stunning view of the Sandías, and the Knights’ grazing horses.

Pasando Tiempo Winery A Corrales newcomer, this boutique winery makes chardonnay, Malvasia bianca, muscat, Syrah, and cabernet sauvignon. Owner, winemaker, and chief bottle-washer Chris Carpenter planted his grapes in 2005, and bottled his first wines last year. The view from the winery across to the Sandías is itself worth a stop.

 


 

Get Fresh with Farmers!

 

ABQ Uptown Growers’ Market NE parking lot of ABQ Uptown shopping center, just past Trader Joe’s. Sat. 7 a.m.–noon. through Oct. 26.

Albuquerque Downtown Growers’ Market Robinson Park, Eighth St. and Central. Sat. 8 a.m.–1 p.m. through Nov. 2.

Albuquerque Northeast Farmers’ & Artisans’ Market

W. side of Albuquerque Academy, 6400 Wyoming Blvd. Enter the school’s campus at Burlison Rd., just north of Academy Rd. on Wyoming Blvd. Go right (S.); the market will be on the right-hand side, across from the softball fields. Tues. 3–7 p.m. through Oct. 29.

Armijo Village Growers’ Market SW Corner of Isleta Blvd. and Arenal Rd. Sat. 8 a.m.–noon through Oct. 26.

Bernalillo Farmers’ Market Our Lady of Sorrows Church on Camino del Pueblo, 1 block S. of intersection of N.M. 550 and 313. Fri. 4–7 p.m. through Oct. 25.

Bosque Farms Growers’ Market 1090 N. Bosque Loop. Sat. 8 a.m.–noon through Oct. 26.

Caravan Nouveau Growers’ & Artisans’ Market at Wilson Park San Pedro Dr. SE and Anderson Ave. SE. Tues. 8 a.m.–noon & Sun. 10 a.m.–4 p.m. through mid-Nov.

Cedar Crest Farmers’ Market 12224 N. Route 14. Wed. 3–6:30 p.m. through Oct. 16.

Corrales Growers’ Market Recreation Center, 500 Jones Rd. and Corrales Rd., S. of post office. Sun. 9 a.m.–noon through Oct. 22. Winter Market: First Sun. of each month, 11 a.m.–1 p.m., Dec.–Apr.

Edgewood Farmers’ Market Sat. 8:30 a.m.–noon through Nov. 1. Tractor Supply Company, 5 Marietta Ct.

Los Lunas Farmers’ Market 3447 Lambros Circle. Tues. 4–7 p.m. through Oct. 22.

Los Ranchos Growers’ Market City Hall, 6718 Rio Grande Blvd. NW. Sat. 8 a.m.–noon through Nov. 9. Winter Market: Second Sat. of each month, 10 a.m.–noon, Dec.–Apr.

Nob Hill Growers’ Market Morningside Park, Lead and Morningside SE. Thurs. 3–6:30 p.m. through Nov. 21.

Presbyterian Growers’ Market Presbyterian Hospital parking lot on 1300 block of Central Ave. SE. Tues. 7 a.m.–1 p.m. through Oct. 29.

 

South Valley Growers’ Market Cristo del Valle Presbyterian Church, 3907 Isleta Blvd. SW. Sat. 8 a.m.–noon through Oct. 26.


 

NEED TO KNOW

 

Road Trip #1 Albuquerque and Environs

SOUTH VALLEY

Hubbell House Demonstration Farm and Living History Museum Tours Tues., Thurs., Sat. 10 a.m.–2 p.m. 6029 Isleta Blvd. SW; (505) 244-0507; hubbellhousealliance.com

Rosales Produce Stand Open daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m. through Oct. 2001. Isleta Blvd SW; (505) 873-4080 or 550-6181

Rasband Dairy Store Open Mon.–Sat. 7116 Isleta Blvd SW; (505) 873-2171

Robert Kyzer Livestock Call ahead. 7725 Black Mesa SW; (505) 877-7742; kyzerfarms.com

Skarsgard Farms 7525 Rays Court SW, W. off Isleta Blvd., immediately N. of Jerry’s Market. Turn into the market’s parking lot, then drive on to the gate at the back. (505) 414-0321, 681-4060; skarsgardfarms.com

NEAR OLD TOWN

Old Town Farm Open Fri. and Mon. 8 a.m.–2 p.m. 949 Montoya St. NW. Cyclists can get there via the bike path on the S. side of I-40 between Gabaldon and Rio Grande Blvd., or from the Mountain Road Bike Trail via Montoya Street NW. Driving directions and parking lot available for noncyclists. Call for details. (505) 764-9116; oldtownfarm.com

Albuquerque Botanic Garden Heritage Farm 2601 Central NW; (505) 764-6200; bit.ly/riofarm

St. Clair Winery & Bistro Open daily. 901 Rio Grande NW; (505) 243-9916; stclairwinery.com

NORTHSIDE

Sichler Farms Albuquerque Open daily 9 a.m.–6 p.m. through Oct. 820 San Mateo Blvd. NE at San Juan NE; (505) 255-3338; sichlers.com

Rio Grande Community Farm Maize Maze 1701 Montaño Rd. NW, 1.1 miles W. of Fourth St. Turn N. on Tierra Viva. (505) 345-4580; riograndefarm.org

Rosales Produce Stand Open daily 8 a.m.–5 p.m. through Oct. 7331 Fourth St. NW; (505) 615-2220

Sol Harvest Farm Farmstand Open Sat. 10 a.m.–2 p.m., Wed. 3–7 p.m. 8917 Fourth St. NW (access is actually one driveway N.)

Farm & Table Reservations recommended. 8917 Fourth St. NW; (505) 503-7124; farmandtablenm.com

Gruet Winery Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.– 5 p.m., Sat. noon–5 p.m. 8400 Pan American Fwy. NE; (505) 821-0055; gruetwinery.com

Bosque Brewing Company Open daily. 8900 San Mateo Blvd. NE; (505) 750-7596; bosquebrewingco.com

LOS RANCHOS DE ALBUQUERQUE

 

Casa Rondeña Winery Open daily noon–7 p.m. for tastings and sales. 733 Chavez Rd. NW; (505) 344-5911; casarondena.com

Los Poblanos Historic Inn & Organic Farm Farm shop open daily 9 a.m.–5 p.m. Accommodations and evening dining by reservation. 4803 Rio Grande Blvd. NW; (505) 344-9297; lospoblanos.com

RIO RANCHO

Matheson Wine Company Open Wed.–Sun. 103 Rio Rancho Dr. (N.M. 528); (505) 350-6557; mathesonwines.com

CORRALES

Corrales Harvest Festival September 28–29. All along Corrales Rd.; (505) 349- 3809; corralesharvestfestival.com

Heidi’s Raspberry Farm Call ahead for directions and times. (505) 898-1784 or (505) 400-1193; heidisraspberryjam.com

Corrales Winery Open Wed.–Sun. noon–5 p.m. 6275 Corrales Rd. (N.M. 448) ; (505) 898-5165; corraleswinery. com

Acequia Vineyards and Winery Wed.– Sun. noon–5 p.m. 240 Reclining Acres Rd.; (505) 264-1656; acequiawinery.com

Pasando Tiempo Winery By appointment. 277 Dandelion Ln.; (505) 228- 0154; pasandotiempowinery.com

Wagner’s Farmland Experience Open daily 9 a.m.–6 p.m., Sat. until 10 p.m. through Oct. 6445 Corrales Rd.; (505) 459-0719; wagnersfarmlandexperience.com

Casa San Ysidro House Tours available Wed.–Sun. 973 Old Church Rd.; (505) 898-3915; bit.ly/sanysidronm

SANTA ANA PUEBLO The Cooking Post 2 Dove Rd.; (505) 771-6751; cookingpost.com