Belen, Bosque Farms, Los Lunas, Pueblo of Isleta

Farmers markets can be fantastic places — the sights, smells and sounds are truly special.

Seeing all the delicious, local produce and homemade baked goods, the smell of food being prepared, the sound of laughing children and the sight of friendly faces are enough to fill most people with joy.

Thankfully, farmers markets are in season again in Valencia County and people can get their healthy locally-grown produce straight from the farmers.

Farmers markets can also be terrific places for the community to come together to enjoy the company of their neighbors and maybe even meet new friends.

“People make you better and make you feel good. The people are real,” says Marylin Prewitt, a vendor who sells farm-raised chickens at the Los Lunas Farmers Market.

Jesse Jones | News-Bulletin photos
Tim Auge pets his dog while his, wife, Susan helps a customer at the Los Lunas Farmers Market.

In today’s world of instant gratification, it’s difficult to guarantee the freshness and locality of our food. The majority of farmers markets in the state are a part of the New Mexico Farmers Market Association and they make sure all the food is local and fresh.

According to its website, NMFMA is dedicated to strengthening the local food system by supporting New Mexico agriculture producers and cultivating strong networks for a healthier New Mexico.

The association not only provides support to the farmers markets but also to the farmers and the consumers as well.

The NMFMA gives support to individual markets so they can efficiently run each market. The farmers markets are eligible to receive grants and liability insurance.

The organization provides farmers with valuable support, including access to microloans of up to $2,500 and comprehensive on-farm training and education to promote success. The NMFMA works to provide healthy and natural affordable food for New Mexicans through government agencies such as the New Mexico Department of Health.

Hans Barsun and his daughter, Liesl, from the Sunflower Farm, talk to customers at the Bosque Farms Growers Market.

The three programs that help people get affordable healthy food are the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP),  Double up Food Bucks and FreshRx. The SNAP program enables food stamp recipients to buy fresh fruits and vegetables from vendors using wooden SNAP coins.

The Double Up Food Bucks program matches fruit and vegetable purchases when using SNAP-EBT cards. For every $2 spent, participants receive a $2 coin.

Fresh Rx is a program that provides $20 prescription vouchers to individuals with specific health conditions to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables at markets.

These programs are available at the Belen, Bosque Farms and Los Lunas markets.

No matter where you live in the county there is probably a farmers market nearby and they are spread out throughout the week.

The Los Lunas Farmers Market has been around since 2009, and has been managed by George Torres since the beginning. He also manages the Bosque Farms Growers Market.

As market manager, Torres is in charge of checking that all the vendors are all New Mexican-grown and operated, so he goes to each farm to make sure.

Tara Abeita, from Isleta Pueblo, makes handmade jewelry.

Vendors have a variety of reasons they like selling at the farmers markets. Jake Barkeneyer, of the Bar Star Family in Tomé, says his favorite thing about the farmers markets, “is that it gives him a break from pulling weeds.”

Susan Auge, of the Auge Farms, also in Tomé, says she would rather be gardening than selling the products.

The Los Lunas Farmers Market is open from 4 to 7 p.m. every Tuesday, at the Heritage Park annex, where N.M. 47 meets Main Street in Los Lunas.

Contact George Torres at [email protected], for information.

The Belen Farmers Market has been managed by Juanita Silva for the last 13 years. The market is held in Anna Becker Park on Friday evenings.

It is a wonderful place to bring the family to get dinner, some healthy fresh produce, baked goods and crafts. Parker’s Pizza Food Truck has been there and the organizers are trying to get more food trucks to come as well. There is also live music at the park sometimes.

“It’s nice that it’s here at the park because a lot of times people bring their kids to hang out,” says Silva.

Tanya Morris, of Veguita, sits in front of her pallet artwork at the Belen Farmers Market.

Tanisha Wheeler, of Pitch-N-Whoo Empanadas, likes selling at the Belen market because it allows her kids to play in the park while she and her partner, Curtis Wolf,  sell the empanadas. They started selling their homemade empanadas at the markets so they can eventually buy a food truck.

The Belen Farmers Market is open from 4:30 to 7 p.m. every Friday, at Anna Becker Park, 315 N. Fourth St., Belen. Contact Juanita Silva at [email protected], for information.

Fresh produce and baked goods have also been found at the Bosque Farms Growers Market since 2015.

Beverly Meredith, of Beverly’s Beads & More, says she likes “the people; it’s nice to be relaxed.”

She stopped going to the Albuquerque farmers markets because there is too many vendors.

Golden honey jars sit on a table. Sold by David Linares, of Bosque, at the Bosque Farms Growers Market.

The Bosque Farms Growers Market is open from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m. every Saturday, at 1090 N. Bosque Loop, Bosque Farms. Contact George Torres at [email protected], for information.

The Isleta Pueblo Farmers Market is in its second year of operation. The market was started at the request of tribal leadership and in coordination with the Isleta Elder Center and Pueblo Resurgents.

Unlike most markets in the area, Isleta does not charge vendors to sell.

“We want to make it as accessible as possible,” said Daryl Lucero, of the Pueblo Resurgents and market manager. “We want to try to just support people. We provide tents and tables and chairs that people need.”

At the market, people can shop for fresh produce and also get some amazing handmade jewelry while eating freshly-made Indian tacos or fry bread.

Tara Abeita, from Isleta Pueblo, makes handmade jewelry and says she likes to see community members who she doesn’t get to see often at the market. She especially likes seeing the Instagram posts from the local vendors at the market.

The Isleta Farmers’ Market will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays on the following dates: July 22, Aug. 5 and 19, Sept. 2, 16 and 30, Oct. 14 and 28.

The market is at the elder center, 1005 Tribal Road 140, Isleta. Contact Jasmine James at [email protected], for information.

Potential vendors can fill out the 2023 Isleta Farmers Market application.

The Tomé Farmers Market will begin on Thursday, Aug. 3, and run through early October. The market will be from 4-7 p.m., on Thursdays, at the Tomé Dominguez Community Center and Museum, 2933 N.M. 47, Tomé.

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Jesse Jones lives in Albuquerque with his wife and son. Jesse graduated from of the University of New Mexico twice. This spring, he graduated with a degree in multimedia journalism and, in 2006, he received a bachelor’s degree in university studies with an emphasis in photojournalism. He is a current fellow of the New Mexico Local News Fund.