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Opening Market Day, Sunday, June 3

Our little market is sprouting this Sunday, 10am! Mario Trujillo will bring the music from 11-2, and Cerro Vista Farm and local gardens will have plants starts to sell (especially tomatoes). Come for these, plus lots of fresh eggs, tortillas, jellies and treats. Stay for lunch – frito pie, watermelon water, coffee, and sweets. We look forward to seeing you all!

Here’s our start-of-season article sent to the Tempo / Taos News:

Questa Farmers Market (QFM) opens this Sunday, June 3rd, with live music and local foods. Come for lunch, connect with community, and get your veggies for the week. Mario Trujillo, the lead vocalist of rocking country band, Reckless Taos, will perform from 11am to 2pm. The QFM is held in the visitor center parking lot near the corner of Hwys 522 and 38.

The QFM is a small market with the aspiration to grow and better serve northern Taos County and southern Colorado. This market accepts EBT/SNAP, participates in the double-up-food-bucks program, and accepts WIC and the Senior Nutrition Program checks.

A farmers market can be a major driver in regenerating the local food system: it creates an agricultural outlet and employment, builds community resilience, supports multigenerational engagement, makes opportunities for entrepreneurs, youth, and others’ economic activities, and brings residents and visitors an enjoyable and regular event all summer long.

“Our market’s most important goals are: to empower members, provide healthy and local food, and support the innovative spirits of Questa and nearby communities” states Market Manager, Gaea McGahee.

The QFM extends an open invitation for your participation and input. This season, they hope to host music and special events each Sunday. There are 20 market days, June 3 to Oct 14; they are putting the call-out to vendors, patrons and participants to help build a vibrant community space.

“We’re working to strengthen the well-being of our community. Our calendar is evolving, so please watch our website and Facebook page for specific dates and times. Contact us with your ideas for special events, musical endeavors, and ways you would like to be involved in the Questa Farmers Market!” invites McGahee.

Things to look for this season: Cerro Vista Farms and a growing number of local gardens and small farms, special cooking events prepared on-site like chicharrones and handmade tortillas, music and a puppet show, frito pies and watermelon water, direct-trade coffee made pour-over style, and more.

Join the QFM vendors in the Questa Village center on Sundays, 10am – 2pm until Oct 14. Keep dollars local and enjoy the fruits of summer, together.

Questa Farmers Market is a program of Localogy, a 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in Questa, NM.

Getting ready for first market day, June 3

jamey_tools Tools out. Hats on. Get ready!

Walking Bear Farm in El Rito (north of Questa) sent us photos of preparation and planting in progress.  This farm relies on solar power and a well. Careful growing and watering practices make sure these resources go as far as possible.

Below: A drip irrigation system carries water down the rows.

jameyPlants starts begin life in a green house, and come out each day to grow hearty in the sun; sheltered from the wind.

jamey_starts.jpeg

Speaking of sun ~ the setting sun is quite lovely these days. Is it all the dust in the sky that gives us these shades?

jamey_sunsetPhotos above, thanks to Jamey Bryant, Walking Bear Farm.

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Farmers and gardeners! Our market can accept WIC checks and Senior Nutrition Program checks. But each grower needs to file with New Mexico Department of Health (NMDOH). It’s easy to do.

If you would like to accept these checks you will fill out a farmer/grower agreement to send into NMDOH. It’s a 6 page document, and only 2 pages go to NMDOH. Your market manager, Gaea, can provide you with a copy and help you file. Call 575-224-2102 or email growersmakers@gmail.com.

The document helps explain that eligible foods are fruits and vegetables, NM grown and within 80 miles of the market. You’ll receive a four digit number that remains with your farm or garden – no need to renew each season. WIC and Senior nutrition checks are used at markets throughout New Mexico from July 1 to November.

Go here for more information about Senior Nutrition Program, how to qualify and apply.  Go here for more information about WIC, how to qualify and apply.

Get ready, 10am – 2pm Sunday, June 3rd. See you soon!

 

Article in Questa’s Del Rio Colorado News

Below are highlights from our article in the April 2018 edition of Questa’s Del Rio Colorado News – a monthly paper. Let’s get ready for the 2018 market season!

Double-up-food-bucks at the Questa Farmers Market
& Call to Vendors and Musicians

QUESTA FARMERS MARKET
Near Intersection of Hwy 38 and Hwy 522
Questa Visitor Center / QEDF Parking Area
Sundays, 10 am to 2 pm, June 3 – October 14, 2018

Our focus is to grow a locally strong economy, so we ask vendors to obtain as many local ingredients as possible and to make prepared foods from start to finish. This means a customer will find handmade tortillas and tamales at our market, as well as other handmade goods.

In the spring of 2017 we registered with the USDA and obtained an EBT machine and registered with the State to accept WIC and Senior Nutrition Program checks. This season we will be participating in the double-up-food-bucks program, too!

Your market manager and collaborators attended a mandatory training in Santa Fe at the NM Farmers Marketing Association’s 20th Annual Conference and now, after one season under our belts and this training, our market will participate in the double-up-food-bucks program (funded by a federal grant and associated with SNAP/EBT).

The double-up-food-bucks program makes someone’s dollars worth double if they buy local; New Mexico grown, within 80 miles of market. Eligible foods are fruits and vegetables, or fresh herbs that are cut, dried pintos, dried chile pods (not in ristra form) and garden food plant starts. We were not able to participate in this excellent program last year, as it was our first as a regulated/authorized market. But we’ve passed the grade and this year we will make more fresh food available.

This program is important – it encourages farmers to sell at the QFM and be paid better, and provides incentives for eating more healthful foods. It also helps other vendors because the same shoppers may have more cash to purchase a slice of pie or frito pie, since they have used double-up-food-bucks on veggies and fruit!

What does it take to participate in the Questa Farmers Market? 
First, energy and ingenuity! When you join as a vendor you’re joining the farmers market community and adding your effort to our central goals: to support local food production and particularly small-scale agricultural projects, and local entrepreneurs.

•    The market requires a small vendors fee – only $5 per Sunday.
•    The Village of Questa requires a peddlers permit if you sell processed foods and crafts. It is $35 and is good for three months, 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. It is $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 likely need to use a commercial kitchen to prepare your foods.
•    Farmers & Growers: to accept WIC checks and Senior Nutrition Program checks you will need to complete an agreement with the New Mexico Department of Health. See your market manager for the form, contact info below.
•    Younger farmers, makers, and growers, if you’re under 18 the QFM will wave the $5 vendors fee. Please join us, and here’s an idea – food plant starts, like tomatoes and basil, are good sellers and they are double-up $ eligible.

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 permit (Per Village of Questa Ordinance 2005-122).

For more information about how to participate as a vendor – go to our website https://questafarmersmarket.org/for-vendors/


Flea Market? We’ve been asked many Sundays, why don’t you have a flea market too? First, we need to maintain a 50% or higher proportion of “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, chicos, and herbs.

BUT a flea market could co-exist as long as it was sufficiently marketed as a separate entity, maybe at a little distance from the QFM. However, this sort of market also needs organization. So, if you love the idea of a flea market and have the drive to organize the effort, please do and contact the QFM manager, Gaea, with ideas about how to share space and advertising dollars. We have some relevant experience.

A letter from ~
your market manager, Gaea, & entrepreneurs/collaborators, Wendy & Alex

http://www.facebook.com/QuestaFarmersMarket/
Phone: 575-224-2102