I recently visited Santa Fe, New Mexico, to celebrate my friend Carol’s birthday. I thought of it as pure vacation and decided—as a departure from my usual routine—that I’d forego going to a market and instead focus on activities that Carol and others had planned. Besides, I could’ve used extra sleep on Saturday morning. But as soon as Carol described the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market as a vibrant gathering spot filled with locally grown produce and crafted products, we talked ourselves into squeezing it into our agenda. It didn’t take much arm-twisting.
The farmers’ market takes place every Saturday morning at the Santa Fe Railyard. Art galleries with large sculptures dot the streets of this cool neighborhood. We were tempted to check them out, but time was short and we continued straight to the market.
Santa Fe is renowned for its markets and festivals, such as Indian Market every August and the International Folk Art Market in July. Santa Fe also hosts significant jewelry and crafts markets throughout the year. Most take place during the spring, summer, or fall. During winter there are relatively few tourists and the local population dips as part-time residents take leave.
And yet, even in mid-winter the Saturday farmers’ market is a lively scene. Farmers sell root vegetables, salad greens and fresh sprouts, eggs, meats, and cheeses. Other stands are filled with chile peppers and powders, spice mixes, beans, honey, eggs, blue corn flour, and baked goods. Intergalactic Bread Company, whose stand is right outside the pavilion, sells savory stuffed breads. There are plenty of other tasty breads throughout the market, often adorned with green chiles.
Ready-to-eat foods include doughnuts (try the chocolate with chile pepper, toffee and bacon), gluten-free muffins, organic raspberry jam on crackers, and breakfast tarts. Crumbpackers has a loyal following for its fruit pies. Friendly vendors are happy to talk about their products and maybe offer a taste.
Toward the rear of the market, one can find colorful clothing, textiles and crafts, and health care products. Local teas, chocolates, and coffees make nice gifts.
The market draws locals and tourists, though the former outnumbers the latter during winter. We recognized Cassidy Freeman, the actress who plays Cady on the television show Longmire, while she was shopping for apples. It so happened that we’d seen her on t.v. the previous night when we watched an episode—which included cameo appearances of Carol as an extra in a funeral scene!
Local products have the starring role at this market. As one might expect, there’s an emphasis on natural ingredients.
The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market is a fun place to shop or simply soak up the friendly atmosphere. Live music adds to the entertainment. Come anytime of year, and you’ll be assured good food and a good time.
The Santa Fe Farmers’ Market is open every Saturday. It’s located at the Santa Fe Railyard at 1607 Paseo de Peralta (by S. Guadalupe St). Winter hours are 8 am-1 pm. Summer hours are 7 am-1 pm, plus in summer there’s a Tuesday market from May to November open 7 am-1 pm. Saturday is the busier market day. Check the website for more information. Shops at the market stay open 1 hour longer than the food stalls.
If you miss Saturday but have Sunday available, you’re still in luck. There’s a Railyard Artisan Market every Sunday (10 am-4 pm) in the Farmers’ Market pavilion, featuring about 40 artists with their jewelry, pottery, painting, and crafts.