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Santa Fe Farmers' Market Is Truly A Homegrown Affair

By Pamela Sosnowski

Every Saturday morning, hundreds of visitors descend upon the Santa Fe Railyard to purchase the freshest of produce, dairy products, meats, baked goods, and more. What started as a group of close-knit farmers selling vegetables out of the back of their pickup trucks in 1968 has now grown into one of the most popular events in the city.

The Santa Fe Farmers' Market. Serving over 150 local farmers and producers across 15 New Mexico counties, the Market takes pride in ensuring that every food item for sale was locally grown or raised, helping to support the state's agriculture communities.

"As the largest and one of the oldest markets in the state, we are consistently ranked in the top 10 throughout the country, largely due to high standards and product integrity," says Kierstan Pickens, Executive Director of the Farmers' Market Institute, their sister organization.

"Unlike most farmers' markets in the US, the Santa Fe Farmers' Market assures that all products sold by its vendors are always locally grown by the people selling them. 100% of the vegetables, fruits, and nursery plants available at Santa Fe Farmers' Markets are grown right here in northern New Mexico. The same goes for at least 70% of the ingredients and materials used to make all processed and craft items."

Reselling is prohibited at the Market, ensuring that attendees are buying goods from the people that produced them with their own hands. The Market sells more than just produce; at any given time one may also find honey, tea, baked goods, jams, body care products, flowers, houseplants, compost, and original crafts for sale.

As with all products, all have been made using ingredients or materials derived from one of the 15 county regions, truly making the event a homegrown affair.

Pickens cites how buying local is a win-win for farmers and consumers alike. "When you buy produce at a large grocery store, your food travels an average of 1,500 miles. This long-distance travel results in increased pollution, carbon emissions, and waste. When you buy produce at the Santa Fe Farmers' Market, your food travels less than 100 miles!

And for every dollar spent at the Market, three times as much is reinvested into our community than a dollar spent at a chain grocery. By contrast, eighty four cents of every dollar spent at a chain grocery store goes to diesel, storage, processing, and shipping costs."

Additionally, much of the food for sale at the Market is certified organic and grown without chemicals and GMOs. Because the transport time is so short, produce purchased at the Market is often fresher than supermarket selections and much less likely to be thrown away, resulting in decreased food waste.

With live entertainment, breakfast items for sale, and so much fresh food to choose from, it's no wonder the Santa Fe Farmers' Market continues to attract visitors week after week. And as Pickens explains, it's an educational experience for customers as well. "Meeting and talking to farmers and food artisans is a great opportunity to learn more about how and where food is produced," she explains. "The Farmers' Market is a community hub- a place to meet up with friends, bring your children, and learn where your food comes from."

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