This morning I made my first visit to the Santa Fe Farmers' Market. I've been in farmers' markets in a variety of communities, and it's very interesting how different each is. Some are overwhelmingly large--others consist of a handful of trucks with small amounts of produce. Some are very formal--much of them indoors--I'm thinking of the lovely market in Vancouver, BC, which is indoors and outdoors over a variety of buildings, or the market in Guanajuato, Mexico, which is indoors with stalls and traditional merchants (and includes whole hogs for sale), as well as outdoors where the village natives come to sell their wares in the city. Some are very New Age--like the Olympia Farmers' Market in Washington State--which sells herb-based body lotions and gorgeous Washington State fruits. Others are old and in-your-face, like Haymarket in Boston which has been there for centuries, and doesn't make much attempt at beauty.
The Santa Fe market reflects the character of Santa Fe. For starters, there are lots of green chilis--fresh, roasted, or made into chutnies, jams, and relishes. They roast chilis in big rotating drums right on the spot--and up close, roasting green chilis smell a lot like a nice marijuana haze--puts you into alternative lifestyle mode right away! And there are red chilis--fresh, dried to hang, or woven into wreaths. There's a lot of organic meat and chicken, live performances from local singers/guitarists, the lavender lady who has dried lavender sewn into little bags--some of which feature Elvis (!?!) on the front. Still good sweet corn and juicy tomatoes, even this late in the season. Fresh flowers by the bunch--I bought a huge beautiful bouquet, which includes glads, mums, asters, sunflowers, for $8. And there's an Artists' Market right next door (which I didn't discover until I was in my car and on my way home--but it will definitely warrant exploration next time). KSFR, the local public radio station, broadcasts live from the market on Saturday mornings. The market runs three days a week outdoors (in three different locations) until early November, and then indoors over the winter. It was beautiful to look at, with wonderful smells, friendly farmers, joyful buyers--I know, I know.....but it really was! The sun was shining, the sky was an unbroken blue without a single cloud, and I promised myself to bring my own canvas bag and basket next time. What a wonderful way to start the weekend!
To read more about the market, click here to visit their website (and you'll see the photographs I lifted from the site to illustrate this entry!)