Questa Farmers Market site improvements receive support from community members and LOR Foundation

Spinach! Courtesy image, Jamey Bryant, Walking Bear Farm

The following article appears in the June Issue of Questa Del Rio News. Three vendors will begin selling early! Get eggs, produce and baked goods on Sunday, June 2nd, 11am to 3pm.

Contributors: Gaea McGahee, Maria Gonzalez and Daniel Hutchison

Questa Farmers Market 2019 goals:

  • Increase attendance, both vendors and patrons
  • Develop community space with site improvement and beautification project
  • Incorporate community members, specifically youth, in leading project
  • Increase support for local producers – vendors income in 2018 totaled $19,500, more than double 2017 total $9,500

Questa Farmers Market will begin Phase I of a site improvement plan, June to early August. This collaborative project involves Vida del Norte Coalition teen members – the Active8, and Singing River Field Center youth, with support from the LOR Foundation.

The vision for these improvements grew from several seasons of experience. Market organizer, Gaea McGahee, says, “everyone at this weekly, seasonal market [vendors and patrons] need a functional and beautiful space. I believe improvements will make it possible to keep putting forth our efforts, and grow a lasting local market.”

The plan is to build an horno and create raised gardens and shade structures for vendors and patrons. An excellent location in the Visitor Center parking area (used by QFM for two seasons) has been provided by the Questa Economic Development Fund. It sits at a major intersection on the “Enchanted Circle,” the scenic byway through mountain communities.

QFM has received a LOR Foundation grant and with it comes a role for the community, including visitors and vendors. During the market season QFM will survey attendees to gather responses to site improvements, as well as hear hopes and concerns for Questa.

Dedicated vendors and community organizers, plus energetic youth, will make site improvements possible, with thanks to LOR’s financial support. The Foundation supports projects in rural communities across the rural Mountain West and recently added Questa to that list. “LOR was founded in 2007 on the simple premise that communities can find economic prosperity without sacrificing what they love about the place they call home,” said Jake Caldwell, a LOR program officer based in Taos, NM.

Courtesy Sketch – Taos Landscaping, Inc.

On June 10th, youth and community members will begin the horno. This traditional mud brick oven will provide a focus during the market, and may help extend the season as corn is roasted into chicos in the fall. QFM aims to support local food, nutrition, and economic opportunities, and establish a truly local market: supporting traditional cooking and preservation methods is vital to this mission.

Sun and rain shade structures for vendors and patrons, and a well organized space for musical performers, will dedicate the site. Raised gardens will add beauty, plus the attention gardens require assure the investment of energy; along with shared responsibilities comes a sense of ownership.

The Market officially begins June 16 but some farmers are ready; look for early sellers and keep up with the latest at

Three vendors will begin selling eggs, produce and baked goods on Sunday, June 2nd, 11am to 3pm.

QFM is an EBT/Double-up authorized market and 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 checks; these circulate July to Nov.

For more information about Singing River Field Center, or to sign up your child, visit, or call Maria Gonzalez: (575) 779-2260. Want to help with site improvements? Contact Gaea McGahee: (575) 224-2102,

QFM is calling vendors and musicians:

Our Missions:

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.

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.

Singing River Field Center connects local youth with nature, community, and personal potential. for more information about LOR.

QFM is booking musicians for 2019

We’re booking musicians for the coming season! The market plans to open June 16, but if we have farmers ready to go sooner, we’ll need music sooner. We wrap up in September, by the 15th.

We feed you, pay you, love you, and you can put out your tip jar and sell merchandise! Markets are on Sundays, 11am to 3pm.

Be in touch.
Phone: 575-224-2102

booking musicians

For more photos and videos of our previous seasons go to:

Questa Farmers Market ~ 2018 Season report



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 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
  • Phone: 575-224-2102
Artwork by Tito Gomez, courtesy image

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.