Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Travel Bite: Santa Fe Farmers' Market

The Santa Fe Farmers' Market is located in the city's historic Railroad District. In the late 19th and early 20th century, this site was a key interchange point between three railroads. Today it's a thriving arts scene with converted warehouses, studios, restaurants and the departure point for scenic rail trips on the Santa Fe Southern Railway.

This sprawling market was jam-packed with locally grown produce, artisanal products, friendly folks and colorful characters. See the tower in the top photo? It's all the way at the end in this shot. There were more vendors in an area to the right of the tower, and there was also a whole building full of eye-endearing, homegrown comestibles.

As I mentioned in Chillin with the Chiles in Santa Fe: Part 1, I stopped here at the Tuesday market for a sneak preview before the big kahuna on Saturday. Who knew that the sight of chiles and their farmers could raise your spirits more than Prosac and big pharma?

There were vendors roasting chiles and selling them hot off the press, but I was leaving to go back to L.A. in a few hours, so I had to pass up a chile opp. Unfortunately on the plane, I suffered from PTCDD (Post Traumatic Chile Deprivation Disorder).

Not only were they roasting chiles behind their booths, vendors were sautéeing Shishito and Padrón peppers in pans with a little olive oil, garlic and sea salt. Free samples: come to momma!

The Shishito is a small, mild Japanese variety that seemed to be the star of the market. In the name of fair food criticism, I sampled every last one to ensure their mild, yet robust flavor. The verdict was in—utter deliciosity, so I brought some raw ones back with me. Next time I'm packing an extra chile suitcase.

But chiles weren't the only show in town.

The trip to bountiful had just begun.

The area is big on calabacitas or squash. You'll find it in enchiladas and as a side dish served with Mexican food.

The sign for these snakes said, Pepino Serpente—"Yard Long Cucumbers." If you bite one, will it hiss at you?

Apparently, stripes were in this season.

And purple was all the rage.

They had precious heirlooms sitting out in broad daylight.

Maybe they figured a kernel would protect them (ok, that was corny).

Too bad I bought my blue posole the day before. Bet this was fresher.

In case you were wondering, buffalo is not the other white meat.

This lamb shop had more than a lambchop.

Told you purple was all the rage.

This stunning bread came in unique flavors like porcini mushroom, green chile, and purple potato (bottom right). They even had green chile and cheese croissants—just to annoy the French.

Charming wreaths and bouquets made out of chiles, corn, sage, and dried flowers abounded.

This market had the hottest mix of everything. It's clearly one of the best in the country and the highlight of my trip to New Mexico.

Maybe that's why I spent my last three hours in Santa Fe there. Note to self: Next time drive and rent a U-Haul back (I don't hear my carbon footprint laughing).

Related Posts:


  1. What a fabulous market, Adair. And your photos are gorgeous. You made me feel I'd actually been there with you. Wish we'd had a chance to chat at camp on Saturday.

  2. this looks amazing! your photos are beautiful! love the corn hat!!!

  3. Wow, that is a really impressive market! Love the purple and the stripes...and eggplant in general, lol! ;)

  4. OMG- it all looks gorgeous! I want to hit the road to there right now. And did ya happen to bring back any of that bread???

  5. Wow, I feel like I've been to the market, too. The guy with the corny hat was fun. And the bread..did you buy any? Yum. Food markets are therapeutic for me also.

  6. I just love visiting farmer's markets. Such vibrant colors and characters.

  7. lol, PTCDD eh? I guess I get that from time to time, too. Can't keep away from my spice!

  8. Giselle and Lynne: I didn't bring any bread back, but I had the most amazing piece of their pizza/focaccia. You could taste how every ingredient was handmade.

  9. This market looks like so much fun! Is the guy with the corn on his head for real. if it works for him then I am down with it. Would love to breath in some of that lavender right about now.

  10. This is fantastic and makes me want to take the 6 hour drive from Denvr to visit to the market. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Adair...this post was exceptionally precious! I thoroughly enjoy experiencing other colorful markets from elsewhere.

    Thanks for these beautiful pics ;o)

    Flavourful wishes,