Questa Farmers Market had a successful and colorful season! We held 20 Sunday markets during the 2018 season, June 3-Oct 14, hosted 4 to 9 vendors at each market, and sponsored musicians every Sunday. The hope – to empower community members’ active production, support health and local food, and inspire the entrepreneurial spirit – feels met. Vendors came from Questa, Cerro, Sunshine Valley, Arroyo Hondo, Arroyo Seco, Eagle Nest, San Cristobal, El Rito north of Questa, Costilla, and Taos. Musicians hailed from some of these same places, plus Lama, Red River and further away – parts of Texas, Georgia, and New Orleans!
Vendors reported total sales topping $19,000 – about $9,500 more than our 2017 season. We are glad to see sales and attendance up; we believe in growing locally and that a marketplace creates visible vitality and contributes to quality of life in our community.
Sales of unprocessed agricultural products – local vegetables and fruits, honey, eggs, meat, and dairy totaled $11,857. Non-ag product sales of prepared food and art and craft totaled $7,191. That’s a measurable economic impact of $19,048 spent locally, once a week, for just 20 days.
To be a farmers market we must maintain a 50% or higher proportion of essential “food staples” for sale. Vegetables, fruits, meats, or farm products fit into the essential category, as do other basic take-home food items, like bread, tortillas, flour, pies, beans, dried chicos, and herbs. These are SNAP/EBT eligible items, and some are eligible for double-up-food-bucks.
Across the season our attendance ranged from 40 to 150 patrons, an average of 80 per Sunday, about 1,600 for the season. The market grew in vendor and patron participation and supported more musicians – often local performers – than last season, and we were able to pay them a stipend for their time. We are thankful for financial support from the Questa Economic development Fund, Chevron’s Community Grants for Good program, and the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association.
Participating in food benefit programs:
QFM accepts WIC and Senior Nutrition Program checks, is a SNAP authorized market, and participates in the double-up-food-bucks program. Double-up-food-bucks is funded by a federal grant and associated with SNAP/EBT. Double-up makes someone’s dollars worth double when they buy local – NM grown within 80 miles of the market – fruits and vegetables (or fresh cut herbs, dried pintos, dried chile pods, and garden food plant starts). Double-up is funded by grants made possible through the Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) program authorized by the 2014 Farm Bill.
QFM will keep focusing on growing a strong local economy in 2019. Join as a vendor, play music, or patronize the market to help achieve these community goals: to support local food production and particularly small-scale agricultural projects, as well as local entrepreneurs. Make a stronger and more resilient community right here!
Also, several QFM vendors, cooks and bakers prepared the free fall feast for NeoRio held at Wild Rivers in Rio Grande del Norte National Monument, this past September. And we will do this again – mark your calendars, NeoRio is September 22, 2019.
The NeoRio pop-up outdoor kitchen, right on the edge of the gorge, was a spectacular place to make calabacitas and fresh toritillas. Thank you to all those volunteers who chopped, stirred, washed and laughed.
The 2019 season will officially begin June 16 and end Sept 15th. There will likely be a few vendors beginning earlier in June as weather permits. Some vendors will return for the final fall market at Cambalache (date may be October 6th).
Our focus is to grow a locally strong economy which means prepared food vendors are asked to obtain as many local ingredients as possible and to make foods from start to finish. Patrons can count on local produce, products like handmade tortillas and tamales, as well as handmade goods!
When you join as a vendor or patronize the market you are part of the farmers market community!
How to participate as a vendor:
- The market requires a small vendors fee – $5 per Sunday.
- The Village of Questa requires a peddler’s permit ($35, good for three months) if you sell processed foods and crafts, contact (575) 586-0694.
- Prepared food vendors (bakers, jelly makers, sellers of take-away and hot food items) must abide by the food safety laws of NM. You will need a permit to operate ($25 per month obtained in Taos). Call the New Mexico Environment Department in Taos at (575) 758-8808 or visit https://www.env.nm.gov/nav_permits.html for permit information. You will most likely need to use a commercial kitchen to prepare your foods.
- Please note, the “sale of vegetables, fruits, meats, foul or farm products raised and sold in an unprocessed state” can be done without a peddlers fee (Per Village of Questa Ordinance 2005-122).
- for more photos and videos of our previous seasons go to www.facebook.com/QuestaFarmersMarket/
- Phone: 575-224-2102
We are grateful to our community, musicians, farmers, friends, puppeteers, volunteers, funders, growers, makers, bakers, and all!
Questa Farmers Market ~ community-led and supported. A seasonal outdoor market serving residents, visitors, and the surrounding communities of northern New Mexico by localizing economic efforts and supporting agriculturalists and makers.
For further reference:
USDA Definitions of Farmers Markets, Direct Marketing Farmers, and Other Related Terms
Double-up Food Bucks
New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association
NMFMA is a state network of farmers’ markets, farmers and other invested parties working to bring locally produced food directly to communities across the state of New Mexico.