The Farmers' Market keeps manager hopping

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By Carol A. Clark

Cindy Talamantes speaks from personal experience to the fact that managing the Los Alamos Farmers' Market is a big job. She’s been in charge of the weekly market since 2005.

“I really like it even though it is a lot of work,” she said during an interview Thursday morning. “I usually get up around 4 a.m. and get moving. I have to stop at the warehouse to pick up several items to take to the market and then set everything up. I don’t usually finish until about 2 p.m.”

Several dozen vendors participate in the local market.

Talamantes is from El Rito and along with managing the market; she also creates baskets and pottery weaving by hand, which she sells on market day. All the paintings on her baskets and pottery are done freehand, she said, adding that all of her baskets can be rinsed with warm water to bring out the pine scent.

”My family helps to gather all the pine needles,” Talamantes said. “We go after the winds blow. We have certain areas and favorite trees we visit. I sell my baskets through arts and craft shows, the Palace of the Governors Gift Shop, the Millicent Rogers Museum gift shop, Fuller Lodge and here at the Los Alamos Farmers’ Market as well as at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market.”

Talamantes explains that when people shop any of New Mexico’s Farmers’ Markets, they support a healthy lifestyle, a strong rural economy, farmers making productive use of land and water, the preservation of agricultural land, the security of the local food source and a knowledge for future generations.

Each of New Mexico’s 50 growers’ markets is unique, reflecting the particular character of local cultures, soils and climate, she said.

“Most of our markets are open seasonally, from early or late summer through late fall,” Talamantes said. “Five markets including Los Alamos, Corrales, Los Ranchos, Santa Fe and Las Cruces are now open year-round.”

Shopping for local produce, meats and hand-crafted foods brings residents directly in touch with the people and land of New Mexico, she said.

“When you purchase food from the people who grow it, it’s easy to ask them questions about their growing methods, food storage or favorite recipes,” she said. “Shopping at your local farmers’ market also gives you an opportunity to feel part of your community as you visit with friends and neighbors. Enjoy the taste and quality of the food you purchase and feel good knowing that you are helping keep area farmers on their land producing food.”

The freshest fruits and vegetables available anywhere are at the farmers' market, she said. “Most produce sold at markets has been picked within 24 hours of market day and has traveled from not more than a few miles away, Talamantes said. “Come meet the people who grow your food and enjoy the vibrant flavors, aromas and colors of the New Mexico harvest.”

The New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association defines a farmers’ market as "A public market place where fresh foods from a defined local area are sold by the people who have grown, gathered, raised or caught them.”

Farmers' markets should comply with the following:

  • They should be operated in accordance with all relevant federal, state and local regulations;
  • the market’s mission, rules and actions should be consistent with the Purposes of the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association, as listed in the By-Laws;
  • farmers’ and growers’ markets in a particular market area should not seek to erode the viability of other markets in the region, but rather to collaborate with these neighboring markets;
  • farmers and ranchers should be involved in the decision-making process of the market; and
  • markets where crafts and other items are sold can be eligible as farmers’ markets, as long as the total number of craft vendors does not exceed the total number of farmers and ranchers. It is the intention of the Association that membership in the Association is an assurance of integrity. The association wants consumers to be sure that when they go to a member farmers’ or growers’ market, they are purchasing foods from the farmers and ranchers who produced them.

The Los Alamos Farmers' Market is sponsored by Los Alamos County “MainStreet," the New Mexico Farmers’ Marketing Association and the New Mexico Department on Economics.

The next farmer's market is set for 7 a.m. to noon, Thursday at the Mesa Public Library parking lot.

 Contact Carol A. Clark at lanews@lamonitor.com or (505) 662-4185 ext. 25. Read her newsblog at www.newsextras.wordpress.com.