I know I have said this before, so at the risk of repeating myself and boring all of you to death – I LOVE my Farmer’s Market!
This morning was particularly wonderful because I was privileged enough to meet one of the vendors. And this wasn’t just any vendor – Rose Trujillo, owner of Trujillo farms in Nambe – has been selling at the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market for forty years. Yes, that’s right. FORTY years. In fact, she was awarded a plaque recently by the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market Institute in recognition of her long standing participation.
She has been growing her own corn, making her own masa (an impressive feat indeed) and selling her tamales this whole time. She walked me through the process of making masa – she harvests her corn, roasts it, drys it, cooks the kernels in lyme in order to remove the skins, skims it, refrigerates it, rinses it, drys it a second time, grinds it, then makes her tamales. Keep in mind this woman is 75 years old and works a 2 acre farm!
Additionally she was full of experiential information about gardening. She suggested growing cosmos around your plots in order to provide shade, since they grow so high. She also explained to me how to distinguish the male flowers from the female flowers on squash so that if I want to pick squash blossoms I don’t work against myself by picking all my fruit. Rose also shared tricks and tips on how to conserve water, companion planting, and most importantly, how to get rid of ants! The trick, she explained, was to sprinkle hot chile powder on the ground. I will definitely be trying this one!
All in all, it was a very wonderful conversation and it really brought home to me, once again, the sense of community that is created by food and by local markets. I hope that I continue to create these kinds of relationships when I go to my local market – the sheer amount of information that can be shared and traded is, in my opinion, worth as much as the goods themselves.