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'Tis the Season for the Farmers Market

Check out 12 we scouted or find one close to you for local, organic food

woman at farmers' market with basket of peaches

Americans are turning to farmers markets for fresher, more nutritious foods. — Blend/Getty Images


Santa Fe Farmers Market

Praised by the foodie website as "ultra-local," this farmers market is proud to enforce some of the toughest vendor restrictions in the nation. It only admits agricultural producers from 15 counties of Northern New Mexico. And the vendors who bring baked goods, processed foods and crafts to market must derive 80 percent of their ingredients from those 15 counties as well. The result: Products that are supremely fresh and richly evocative of the region.

Established in the late 1960s, the market has grown to include more than 100 growers and vendors offering hundreds of different products. Even in the winter months, the offerings are surprisingly bountiful, as more local farmers use extended growing techniques to increase and prolong their output. The market, located in the Santa Fe Railyard, has become so popular that community members donated most of the funds to build it a permanent home, with a 9,000-square-foot pavilion for special events.

Willa Shalit, an artist and entrepreneur who has lived in Sante Fe part time since 1988, calls the market "fabulous!   The cowboys meet the high brows meet the Native Americans … You can find hand-raised yak meat and buffalo along with organic beef and chicken, and New Mexican fare ranging from heirloom vegetables and fruits to ginger raspberry jam and all kinds of honey: high mountain acacia, thistle, sage. Soaps and essential oils are sold year round, as well as hand-raised, hand-spun, hand-dyed wool."

On a typical market day, "the 'farmers' are as colorful as the foods," Shalit says. "There's the 10-year-old violin virtuoso, wearing a vest made of old ties and playing folk music ... and the octogenarian 'Lavender Lady' adorned in purple, selling her lacy aromatic sachets." In the fall, Shalit says, "the aroma of New Mexico's famed green chiles roasting in traditional, turning steel barrels is intoxicating."


At the Santa Fe Railyard, 1607 Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe, NM 87501

Saturdays: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. year-round

Tuesdays: 8 a.m.-1 p.m. May-November

Thursdays: 3-7 p.m., June-October

A satellite market also operates 3-6:30 p.m. on Thursdays June-September at the San Ysidro Plaza, at Zafarano Drive and Cerrillos Road.

Next: New York farmers markets. >>

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