News

Our article in the Questa paper August 2020

This article was published in Questa Del Rio News (Volume III Issue 8) August 2020, pages 24-25.

Welcome to Questa Farmers Market 2020

Contributors: Caroline Yezer, Gaea McGahee, Amalia and Booboo Gonzalez, and Kaylee Piper

Questa Farmers Market interns from left to right: Amalia Gonzalez, Kaylee Piper and (Alianna) Booboo Gonzalez. Photo by E. Wilde.

Questa Farmers Market
Visitor Center parking area
Sunday, 10:00 am to 2:00 pm

Questa Farmers Market is blooming! Located near the busy intersection of Hwy 522 and 38, the QFM greenery and flowers pull you in, just like a butterfly or a bee. And that’s intentional. Creating beauty as well as a marketplace is the goal of the organizers, volunteers, and market interns. Their drive is to support the vendors and to make a welcoming space for the community to come together. Visitors often remark that they hadn’t necessarily planned to stop, but were drawn to the curious plantings, and the quirky 1960s truck that’s a raised bed for corn and flowers.

Questa Farmers Market organizer, Gaea McGahee (left), and market interns from left to right: Amalia Gonzalez, Kaylee Piper and (Alianna) Booboo Gonzalez. Photo by E. Wilde.

Market gardens, planted and cared for by market interns and volunteers, are an oasis of sunflowers, marigolds, corn, squash, cabbage, broccoli, lettuce, kale, chard and herbs (cilantro, dill, and basil), and they are meant to be shared. Stop by and visit the gardens; harvest carefully, use with joy.

When market intern, Booboo Gonzalez, reflected on the market one Sunday in mid July she said, “The farmers market, to me, is a very helpful place for people to meet up and sell vegetables for not even a high price. There’s a lot of fun stuff here; making coffee out of the horno, and lamb. There are a lot of gardens with fun stuff, so yeah.” She and her sister, Amalia Gozalez, plant and water the gardens along with Kaylee Piper. These three young women are the market interns this season (they are also teen members of the Active8, Vida del Norte Coalition). “They are 100% vital to the creation and care of the marketplace, which includes these gardens,” says organizer, Gaea McGahee. “You’ll also see Lorie and Andy Jaramillo watering and tending. We’ve doubled the garden space since last season, and there will be more green when we begin to plant trees. Very soon!” says Gaea. “I like working at the farmers market because it helps me make the community look a bit better than it already is,” says Amalia.

Questa Farmers Market volunteer, Lorie Jaramillo (left) and organizer, Gaea McGahee (right) happy with the corn: seeds came from Jason Gonzalez at the beginning of the season. Photo by E. Wilde.

Market interns contribute to QFM social media content and recently made a TikTok account. You can also follow QFM on Facebook and Instagram, where interns share photos and videos from every market. You can pitch in any amount to support our interns’ paid seasonal positions by donating to QFM on our website, QuestaFarmersMarket.org or by buying a T-shirt at the market.

@questafarmersmarket

Just another day having fun and working on the horno💪🌞🌱🍅 stop by in questa New Mexico check it out ☺️!! #foryoupage #fyp #foryou #goviral #newmexi

♬ Despacito – Luis Fonsi & Daddy Yankee

The Market’s cheeriness is inspiring and needed after months of a difficult pandemic.  So many of us have been socially isolated / physically distancing. We are social beings and need interaction and community to thrive. To slow the spread of Covid-19 the best advice, if we are going to interact in community spaces, is to keep interactions outside, avoid enclosed places, and to wear masks when we are in public, sharing space.

The vendors’ booths are far apart and offer shade in the summer heat; built to make life easier for a vendor. The greenness of the site promises what we need right now: relief, renewal and hope. Most importantly, the people: those you may have known since you were born, your compadres and your primos. If you are new in town it is a social center, a place you can visit to find ways to help your community. Shopping local is a real form of support, not a trend, but how the world must work again.

@questafarmersmarket

Farmers market in questa NM!!!🌱🙏 come by on Sunday’s at 10:00-2:00 o’clock:) #foryoupage #fyp #foryou #goviral #questa #newmexico #xyzbca #corn #far

♬ Chinese New Year – SALES

If you come to Questa Farmers Market this Sunday, the social aspect, the safety of being outdoors with everyone masked, and the therapeutic benefits of growth and renewal are what you might immediately feel and appreciate.  Less obvious but also beneficial are the ways neighbors can support each other at the market, by buying local products from farmers, bakers and craftspeople.  These exchanges and material support systems restore our communal ties.  They are essential to our well-being after so much time apart.

There is more work being done by Market volunteers, interns, vendors and organizers with an ambitious post-pandemic future in mind. In the past the market has been able to incorporate live music and dance. At the moment, neither are allowed due to the problems of social distancing. This has not stopped market organizers preparing for site expansion so that when the pandemic allows, music and dance can resume. The Questa Economic Development Fund is sponsoring a concrete dance pad. The LOR Foundation has committed funding to support site development and beautification work including the creation of a larger horno, more gardens, and planting native fruit and shade trees.

 

Like similarly-minded markets, Questa Farmers Market organizers are focused on bringing healthy food options to low income food-insecure places, to make fresh produce more affordable and to build local food networks. However these goals have become even more urgent during the pandemic. Shortages and delays in our food and supplies remind us how fragile our global supply chains are, and how easily our essential food supply could be put at risk.

A goal of the Market is to support a resurgence of agriculture in Questa that is sensitive to the needs of the local residents, local economies and our quality of life. QFM vendors accept EBT/SNAP, and the Market matches EBT/SNAP dollar for dollar with a federal grant, offering Double Up Food Bucks. At least 50% of goods sold must be from local (80 miles) NM farms and gardens, and the remaining portion can be prepared foods and crafts. QFM is authorized to accept WIC, and Senior Nutrition farm checks; these circulate July to Nov.

On the supply side, the Market applied for a grant through the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association and received funding to purchase food from local farms to contribute this local produce to the North Central Food Pantry for distribution to those in need. This effort is meant to help keep fresh produce a part of food pantry distribution (the second and fourth Friday of every month) and to support farmers who have lost markets (like restaurants and larger farmers markets).

Questa Farmers Market also serves as an incubator for small businesses and keeps vendors and other participants returning. This year Evelyn Treats, Cerro Vista Farms, Mesa Roots Garden, and several others including nine year old farmer, Gabby, are participating. Covid rules may have disrupted the music, but it is still the best place to get a Frito pie on a Sunday, and to laugh with a neighbor and plant seeds for our future together.

Letter from our intern:

The farmers market to me is one of the most important things in my life. It has shown me so much and I don’t know what I would do without it. I think it is one of the things that has helped turn my life around and helped me see the better in the world. And it is one of the things that has made me want to better myself as a person. I love the people and gardening. The farmers market has helped me through a lot of things and brings things into my life that I never want to lose. I am so thankful not only for the farmers market to come into my life, but also Active8 for that has changed my life in so many ways too. The farmers market is a good place, it is filled with good. It really showed me that there is still good in the world and I thank all the people in it. I recommend getting into things like this because it is worth it. Also the coffee here is amazing!!!

Your fellow market intern, Kaylee Piper

Find us on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok.

Questa Farmers Market is a program of the nonprofit, Localogy
For more information: (575) 224-2102 or growersmakers@gmail.com

Questa Farmers Market is a community–led effort to localize our economy by supporting agriculturalists and makers during the growing season in beautiful northern New Mexico.

LOR Foundation Listening first, LOR works with rural communities in the Mountain West to enhance livability and prosperity while preserving the character that makes each community unique.

Vida Del Norte Coalition unites Northern Taos County Communities in preventing and decreasing youth substance abuse. Active8, youth extension of the coalition actively participating to reduce youth substance misuse.

Download a copy of this article here: Questa Del Rio News Aug 2020 pg 24-25.

Questa Farmers Market: Essential in 2020 & the 2019 Recap

Fresh and Local Vegetables at Questa Farmers Market, 2019 Photograph by Emily Wilde

2020 Market Season
Opening May 24 – September

Sundays 10:00am – 2:00pm

The current global pandemic, which has led to issues in the food supply chain, shows us how important our local food systems are and teaches us that focusing on local production and distribution is vital. 

2019 Season Recap 

QFM’s organizers and community partners completed Phase I of a site improvement plan from June to early September 2019. This project involved Vida del Norte Coalition teen members – the Active8, and Singing River Field Center youth who helped build an adobe horno and gardens where vegetables and flowers thrived all season.

Vida del Norte Coalition teen members, the Active8, enjoy the garden they planted, August 2019

QFM’s site improvements included the construction of shade structures, horno (mud-brick oven), and gardens, thanks to funding from the LOR Foundation. Financial support from the Questa Economic Development Fund, Chevron’s Community Grants for Good (more about Chevron and QEDF here), and the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association contributed to QFMs’s operating budget and helped us pay musicians.

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Vendors income in 2019 topped $21,737 even though the season was shorter, just 14 Sundays. In 2018 QFM held 20 market days and vendors’ earnings totaled $19,500, which was more than double the 2017 total of $9,500.

The 2020 Season

Farmers markets are considered essential businesses according to the State (in the March 23 press release, from the Office of the Governor). During this global pandemic, farmers markets can be open in New Mexico, but must sell only food (no crafts, flowers, jewelry, etc.) and all vendors and shoppers must practice safety precautions appropriate to stopping the spread of COVID-19.

Farmers’ markets are essential because they are sources of local, nutritious food and SNAP participants can use their food benefits (these must be used in-person). SNAP participants get double their $$ by shopping at markets that participate in the Double Up Food Bucks Program (DUFB) for locally grown produce. QFM participates in many food benefit programs: SNAP/EBT, Double-Up-Food-Bucks, WIC, and the Senior Nutrition Program (details below).

Why shop at Questa Farmers Market during COVID-19?

  1. Get the freshest and most nutritious food and support your family’s health. Local food is safe sustainable.
  2. Shop at an outdoor market: plenty of room to practice social distancing.
  3. Support and strengthen your community and local economy.
  4. Easily use your SNAP and get double your $$.

To participate in the market this season:

  • Sell ONLY food – no flowers, crafts, jewelry, etc.
  • No product sampling. Market will supply hand-sanitizing for customers.
  • All vendors must have sanitation supplies at their booths and use gloves and masks.
  • Prepared food vendors must have correct permits from the New Mexico Environment Department posted in view every market day.

Need to apply for any of the Food Benefit Programs we accept? Go here.

Looking Forward

As soon at the COVID-19 situation allows, Questa Farmers Market will invite vendors in all other categories (all non-food vendors) as well as support musicians as we do every season. At this time we must follow these guidelines in order to operate.

QFM is striving to support local food, improved community nutrition, and more economic opportunities, by maintaining a truly local market. This means supporting local musicians, makers, and artists, and sponsoring traditional cooking and preservation events, as well as special events like the day we hosted the blacksmith at the market.

Our mission ~
Questa Farmers Market is a community–led effort to localize our economy by supporting agriculturalists and makers during the growing season in beautiful northern New Mexico.

A few more of our 2020 hopes:

  • grow gardens in our current locations and make new beds if possible
  • add a dance floor (concrete pad) and tables
  • develop the land northwest of the current use area by adding more shelters, fruit trees, and parking
  • add a market hub – a structure for SNAP/EBT transactions, storage and more

Shop Local

Keep your dollars in your community. Support QFM and all our vendors by shopping local. Freelance graphic designer Emily Wilde created our logo and we put it on shirts, aprons and stickers!

Support us by buying QFM gear and spread the word. Email growersmakers@gmail.com, call or text 575-224-2102, or write to PO Box 462, Questa NM 87556.


Prices:
Adult Ts – $18
Youth Ts – $12
Aprons – $15

 

Questa Farmers Market is a program of Localogy, a nonprofit 501(c)(3)

 

Post by your market organizer, Gaea McGahee

Need more information?
Look for early sellers and keep up with the latest:
facebook.com/QuestaFarmersMarket
Contact: (575) 224-2102, growersmakers@gmail.com

 

Fruits of our labor – 2019 Season

making mud
Vida del Norte Coalition teen members – the Active8, and Singing River Field Center youth in a collaborative summer camp/market building project start the horno in early June

What a wonderful season we’re enjoying! With only four official markets left, here’s a photo journey through some of the season’s growth, and the music schedule is below.

We’ve been able to build our shade structures, horno, and gardens with funding from the LOR Foundation.

building in action
Miguel Gonzales and Rachel Kuc´ plastering the horno, July

We can care for our gardens and make more plantings (trees!) thanks to the Questa Economic Development Fund and their support (both grant support and the installation of the central water source at the market site).

gardening
Vida del Norte Coalition teen members – the Active8, and Singing River Field Center youth in a collaborative summer camp/market building project start the gardens in early June
kaylee and amalia
Vida del Norte Coalition teen members (from the Active8) enjoy the garden they helped create, August

We have hired musicians each Sunday and thank Chevron’s Community Grants for Good, which has enabled us to pay these folks.

smooth site
Most shade structures complete, early August

We’re really thankful to our community – our dear vendors, patrons, entrepreneurs, builders (all ages) and eaters of what’s growing and what’s cooking. There are so many to thank by name, we’ll save that for another post.

sue_Churro
Local lamb from Costilla from the shepherdess, with Navajo Churro
jamey in stand
Vendors moving into the new shelters

Mostly, you need the music schedule and the link to a very recent article.

Questa Farmers Market Music Line-up:

Aug 25 Nick Hans
Sept 1 Chris and Rodney Arellano
Sept 8 Carlos Rael
Sept 15 Michael Rael and Questa Mariachi

Read this recent article in New Mexico Magazine, A Town Reborn by Elizabeth Miller, to see how we think a local farmers market is part of the solution.

Want your own Questa Farmers Market shirt? They’re for sale at the market or email us, growersmakers@gmail.com, or write to PO Box 462, Questa NM 87556.

shirts just in
T-Shirts
Adults $15
Kids $12
Aprons $12