Sunday couldn’t have been a much better morning for the opening of the Corrales Growers’ Market. The sun was shining, temperatures were warm and even the wind stayed calm.
That, and the added attraction of a plant sale, as well as a recreation fair nearby, led to a good turn out for opening day.
“We’re on our way,” declared market organizer Bonnie Gonzales soon after the new season kicked off at 9 a.m. “We’ll have over 3,000 customers today.”
The Corrales Growers’ Market is one of the better ones in the Land of Enchantment. It’s open from 9 a.m. to noon each Sunday through Nov. 5, in the lot in front of the recreation complex on Corrales Road.
On July 12, they’ll be open at the same time each Wednesday through Oct. 18.
The market season is limited to once per month – usually the first Sunday – November through April.
The Corrales market not as big as the markets in Santa Fe and Albuquerque, but that’s part of the appeal. It’s not too crowded, and shoppers get personal attention from the 28 vendors on hand, many local but some from as far away as Socorro. Gonzales said the market will get up to 40 sellers when things ramp up this summer.
She said last year the market got nearly 120,000 visitors.
“This is very embedded in the community; it’s very much a community market,” said Gonzales, adding the market has been in existence since the 1980s. “Farmers used to go out to the old airport.”
A cornucopia of sorts
The market has changed considerably since then, but various vegetables, herbs, bread and eggs are still sold at the market. Others, like Heidi’s Raspberry Farm in Corrales was selling a unique selection of jams made from its raspberries that included raspberry red chile jam, raspberry lavender jam, raspberry red chile ginger jam, and strawberry and apricot jams.
“We’re seeing a lot more of that added-value stuff being sold here,” Gonzales said.
Other local growers included Corrales Classic Farms, Hand to Mouth Foods, Monte Vista Farm and Sias Growers, to name a few.
Hand to Mouth, which sells bread and pastries, as well as herbs and vegetables, had a long line much of the morning. So did Bosque Baking Company of Albuquerque until they sold out of bread within 90 minutes.
Other out of town vendors included Lopez Farms in Socorro, selling vegetables and greens; Vallecito Gardens in Cuba with a selection of fruit trees, and Dome Valley Garlic of Placitas, selling garlic and garlic oil.
“We come to this market the first two Sundays of each month,” explained Peaches Malmaud, adding they also sell their garlic oils at Frontier Market in Corrales.
She uses garlic they grow in Placitas, as well as some she gets from Russell Trujillo at Corrales Classic Farms. She was selling 2-ounce jars for $10, 4-ounces for $18 or 8-ounce jars for $26.
The horse people like it because they mix it with soap and spray it around their (horses’) ears to keep the flies away,” Malmaud noted.
Plant sale a success
In conjunction with the market opening, Sandoval County Master Gardeners held a plant sale.
“This is our only fundraiser of the year,” said the master gardener club’s Ginger Golden. “It looks like we’ll be sold out by noon.”
Golden wasn’t sure of the exact count, but they started with more than 500 plants of various types. Some of the plants were grown in Corrales at the Family Practice Garden just down the road, the Storybook Garden at the Corrales library, and other community gardens.
“We have lots of tomatoes and peppers; those are the most popular plants. But we also have cactus, succulents, and other types,” Golden said.
One Rio Rancho woman who purchased a plant and an African basket said she comes to the Corrales market three or four times a year.
“It’s a beautiful day, and I’m glad the market is open again,” she said.
Friends Melissa Castillo of Albuquerque and Mei Feng of Rio Rancho were there with their dogs.
“It’s the start of the spring season, and we wanted to check out the markets. We heard about this one and wanted to see what it was like,” said Castillo.
Keep in touch
For the convenience of local and out-of-town customers alike, Corrales Growers’ Market posts what vendors and what they’ll be selling each week on their website, Gonzales, the market organizer, said.
“We really want to make sure the clientele knows where we are and when we’ll be here,” she said. “That way, customers can go online on Saturday and plan what they want to buy on Sunday.”
Modern times has also introduced another way to get information about local markets, through the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association. Just text DEPOT to 21333 on your cell phone.
“On Saturday you’ll get a reminder about the market and during the week they’ll send cooking tips,” Gonzales said.