It’s that time of year when the white peaked tents line up in view of passersby along Corrales Road, and music wafts through the uncertain air of Spring on bright Sunday mornings in the Village.
The Corrales Growers’ Market opening marks the growing season of small farmers in the general vicinity of Corrales, though some long-time vendors will drive a few hours to be a part of this community. Vendor fees have been kept low over the years to accommodate the challenge that small, and very small farmers face. We are not just an “animal friendly”village, but we are a “farmer friendly” village as well.
We have had numerous vendors over the years and, at the peak of the season, the lot is always full. You will see those who have famed and sold at the market ever since it was established, and their families pitching in, growing up, and leaving, with new family members arriving to help out. Like the vendors, you will also find regular customers who are the backbone of the market’s success. To these dedicated customers we extend our heartiest, heartfelt thanks.
Another aspect of cooperation which has developed is the partnership of Corrales’ Seed2Need and The Corrales Growers’ Market. Vendors, as well as the customers, donate fresh produce to help supply neighboring food pantries with wholesome fresh food when peak production has arrived. At that time, a representative of Seed2Need will be under the main tent to receive donations every Sunday. These can be purchased from the growers, or grown at home under a “Plant a Row” concept, involving simply growing a row of food to give to the food pantries through Seed2Need.
At the end of each market, the vendors have been most generous in the past, and this has helped in the effort to distribute terrific food to these organizations.
The annual market calendar includes two tractor shows, and the first one is always held on Fathers’ Day. There are plenty of tractors around the village, and some of the spiffiest and most delightful show up for the occasion thanks to The Corrales Tractor Club. Kids climb up on the big machines and dads talk to tractor owners and it might even rival the first crop of tomatoes, corn, and watermelon for the feeling of celebration it brings to the little parking lot next to the Post Office.
Later, in August, is The Historic Tractor Show attended by the proud guardians of vintage tractors with attachments the world may have forgotten, but the village has not.
Another highlight is The Fire Department demonstration and fundraiser, where grown-ups and kids can talk to the fire chief, firemen and EMTs of the Corrales Fire Department. These true heroes keep the village safe all year long, so this is a great time to find out more about their jobs, and also, to say thank you. It’s another kid-friendly treat, and there are plenty of opportunities to snap a photo of a tyke with a fireman’s hat.
Every week marketgoers are able to hear some of the best home-grown music New Mexico has to offer. Some bands are known internationally, and quite a few have received awards here in the state for their artistry. They receive a small fee from the market, and a pass of the hat from vendors, but for the most part, this performance date is charity. By all means, let them know you appreciate the music they are offering. Any contribution or CD purchase keeps them coming back, to make the atmosphere of the market the place we love to be on Sunday morning.
The most important aspect of the Growers’ Market is, of course, the food. From breakfast burritos at the center tent, to baked pies, cakes and cookies stuffed with New Mexico grown ingredients, and healthy, fresh, in-season fruits and vegetables, this is, first and foremost, a place for New Mexico-grown food.
The Master Gardeners are on hand to answer your garden questions, and there are a number of fantastic growers who offer garden starts as well as beautiful drought-tolerant plants and trees to help with all your own gardening endeavors.
You can find a garden hat at the Market Shop, or an apron or T-shirt that says you’re connected, you’re shaded, and you’re ready to cook up wonderful Growers’ Market feasts.
Whatever you most enjoy about The Corrales Growers’ Market, the fact that you show up, visit with friends, and support the growers and musicians makes every season a cause to celebrate! This year’s schedule can be found here.
By Anita Walsh, written for the Corrales Comment. Full article can be accessed on the Corrales Comment Website.