Welcome back to our ongoing series where we get to know the local farmers that provide for Farm & Table! Today we spoke to Seth from Vida Verde Farms. Here's what he had to say about his farm:
Tell me about your farm.
Vida Verde Farm sits on 5 acres split across 4 different parcels in the North Valley. The closest field to the Farm & Table is less then 1/2 a mile away and our furthers field is in Duranes and only 7 miles from Farm and Table. The farm is run by myself, Sam who is about to start his third season farming with and Mary who was a former cook at Farm and Table. This season we grew over 175 different varieties of vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers.
What are is your favorite thing about working on a farm?
My favorite things about farming are being outdoors everyday and bringing my dog to work.
What is your biggest challenge?
Our biggest challenges have been weeds and pests since we farm without any chemicals - no pesticides or herbicides even organic ones.
What are your plans as wintertime approaches?
We currently grow for three seasons a year from March to November but we are building hoophouses on three of our properties so we can continue growing food year round.
Today we’re talking with David, of Jemez Valley Live. Jemez Valley live utilizes a hydroponic greenhouse system in the Jemez Valley to bring us lettuce and tomatoes year-round! Here’s what he had to say about his farm.
Tell me about your farm.
We have a sixty-foot greenhouse. We also have acreage, but I can grow in one acre with our system over one million pounds of produce a year. And if we were going to use an acre [outside] to grow this same lettuce, you could only grow ten thousand pounds.
What do you grow on your farm?
Everything is heirloom: tomatoes, romaine lettuce, buttercrunch, basil, beets, string beans and green beans.
How did you get started farming?
We actually left for Dubai, and we ended up in New Mexico. I have a business in Dubai and we had gotten rid of our house – everything but five suitcases. But the deal went sideways, so we bought a camper. We were heading to Sedona and ended up in the Jemez Valley and never left. I’ve always grown tomatoes all over the world, and feeding people is important – year-round, because we eat year-round – so I decided to design this greenhouse system that will grow year-round up in the mountains.
What makes you so passionate about food?
I’m tired of all the disease and chemicals and killing mother earth. We use one tenth of the water with our system, and we don’t use any chemicals. I actually just sold one of our systems to Dubai – so now we’re getting in to showing other people how to grow beautiful produce. It’s fun. Our goal is to teach people how to do it. So now we’re working on feeding the whole Isleta Pueblo… and I think New Mexico could be the new food hub of the country. It’s a small goal, but that’s one of our goals.
Our Farmers' Feast is coming soon! We're celebrating the wonderful people who grow our food by featuring some of our local farmers here on this blog! This week, we talked to Rob Juen from Silver Leaf Farms in Corrales.
How did Silver Leaf Farms get started?
Aaron Silverblatt - it's kind of his brainchild. He's been farming for about 7 years, and it's grown from him doing his thing on a half-acre plot, and it's just grown and grown from his passion for farming. I met Aaron and Elan [Aaron's brother] at the Organic Growers' Conference - I was just finishing up an internship at Skarsgard and I met them as they were looking to expand. It was the right place, right time.
What are you growing at Silver Leaf right now?
Right now we have squash, beets, chard, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, tomatoes, okra... we're starting lettuce and watercress, we've got various herbs and fruit trees. We're also starting a greenhouse now - we're growing hydroponic tomatoes, and we're going to do some greens in there too. We should have tomatoes starting in November for the next nine months.
What's the biggest challenge of farming?
As farmers, we have tons of stuff to do, and it's only the four of us. So, sometimes we have to put in some pretty long days. Unlike other jobs, your work's not going to wait for you. I'd say that's the hardest part, but nothing's to hard to keep us out of it.
What's your favorite part of farming?
My favorite thing is meeting the people we sell our produce to. I think it's awesome that everyone we meet is really into it and really appreciates what we're doing.
Next month we’ll be hosting our Farmers’ Feast, an annual celebration honoring all of our local farmers, growers and food artisans. In honor of the Farmers’ Feast, we’d like to introduce some of our awesome farmers to you! Today we're talking to Sofia, from Love of Mushrooms here in Albuquerque.
Tell me about your farm
Our name is Love of Mushrooms. We’re down in the South Valley, and we grow mostly oyster mushrooms on straw columns. But we’re also moving towards wood-based mushrooms like shiitakes.
My mom started the farm about three years ago, and this is the first year that we’ve gotten enough production to sell at the farmers’ markets. We’re at the Downtown Farmers’ Market and the Morningside market on Morningside and Central.
What's in season right now?
The pink oyster mushrooms are a tropical strain from Indonesia, so they do really well in the summer. The temperature does really affect the mushrooms, they’re super-sensitive. No matter how much we set up the grow-room with the right temperature and humidity, it’s still affected by the seasons.
What’s the biggest challenge of farming?
Keeping on top of production – getting things so that they’re efficient and making sure we have enough mushrooms every week.
What’s your favorite part of working on your farm?
Definitely working with my mom. We spend a lot of time together, picking and packaging. Otherwise I wouldn’t see her as much. We have a lot of fun together.
Check out all the exciting events happening at Farm & Table this fall!
September 22 - Latin Street Food with Guest Chef Ernesto Duran
Join us for a festive five-course dinner and live music on the patio! Chef Carrie Eagle and her team will partner with Chef Ernesto Duran to create a fusion of Latin Street food-inspired dishes created with our fantastic late-summer local abundance. Dishes will be paired with beer and wine.
6:00 Mingle | 6:30 Dinner | $70 (plus tax & gratuity)
...Other Upcoming Fall Events...
October 17 - Annual Marigold & Harvest Festival
10-2pm | Free to attend
October 20 – Farmers’ Feast
A five-course wine-paired dinner celebrating farmers and food artisans.
6:00 Mingle & Farm Walk | 6:30 Dinner | $65
November 10 - Bosque Beer Dinner
A four-course dinner featuring the beers of Bosque Brewing Company.
6:00 Mingle | 6:30 Dinner $60
November 24 - Gratitude Dinner
A five-course wine-paired seasonal feast.
6:00 Mingle | 6:30 Dinner | $70
We're making do without Chef Carrie this week - but we couldn't be prouder to see her go!
This September 1-5, Chef Carrie will be in Telluride, Colorado for the Telluride Film Festival; she is working as a guest chef on several events for the festival. While she is there, she will be collaborating with Chef Eliza Gavin. Chef Gavin is an award-winning chef whose name you might recognize from her time as a competitor on Top Chef. Her restaurant, 221 South Oak, is widely regarded as one of the top restaurants in Telluride.
We are so honored and excited that our own Chef Carrie will be representing at this wonderful event alongside such prestigious company! Way to go, Carrie! We wish you well this week!
You won’t believe who our new guests on the farm are!
Thanks to our friends at Chispas Farms, four turkeys now call Sol Harvest Farm home! Eli Burg and the folks at Chispas loaned us these guys as a creative (and efficient!) solution to our grasshopper problem.
As we all know, the rains have been torrential this year, which has given rise to beautiful crops – and a rash of grasshoppers. Sol Harvest Farm is not the only farm to feel the hit – grasshoppers have been voraciously munching on our crops all over the state of New Mexico.
Farmer Ric has been working hard this season to combat the grasshoppers using natural deterrents like cedar oil, hot pepper spray and diatomaceous earth, but we needed a more aggressive tactic to deal with this year’s grasshopper population.
That’s where the turkeys come in – a single turkey can eat up to a thousand grasshoppers in a single day!!!! And these wonderful turkeys are already helping! Cherie says they must have munched two hundred grasshoppers just in their first 20 minutes on the farm!
Thank you Chispas, and thank you turkeys! You’re helping make Sol Harvest Farm amazing!
Summertime produce is starting to come in fast and furious from the farm, and one of our favorite items that we’re getting right now from Sol Harvest Farm is shishito peppers. Farmer Ric has gotten a gorgeous and bountiful crop of shishito peppers this year, and we couldn’t be more excited to have them in the restaurant!
Shishitos are small, mild green peppers that are packed with flavor. They are also so deliciously simple to prepare it almost seems too good to be true! Shishitos are perfect sautéed whole until they blister, and tossed with just a bit of olive oil and salt. If you want to get really fancy, I love them sprinkled with just a little lemon juice and feta cheese.
Chef Carrie has not only been incorporating them into our seasonal flatbreads and our breakfast scramble on weekends, last week she also made fried shishito appetizer with hoisin sauce and sesame oil that was absolutely incredible.
Stop in tonight for a shishito and chicken soup and try these flavorful little peppers for yourself! And, if you don’t have them here at Farm & Table, don’t forget that Farmer Ric and Sol Harvest Farm are at the Downtown Growers’ Market every Saturday selling them (and all kinds of other goodies) as well!
Cheers to the summertime harvest!
Rain is always a blessing here in the desert, and this year we’ve been especially blessed! We had a rainy spring followed by a rainy summer, and nobody knows that better than the farmers here in Albuquerque. I talked to Farmer Ric yesterday to find out what the rains have meant for his crops.
The rains have brought Ric a robust farm with beautiful crops, but I was surprised to learn there is a downside to the rain as well! In addition to helping the Rics crops thrive, the rain has also helped the weeds to thrive. And, with the weeds, comes pests like grasshoppers. Lots and lots of grasshoppers.
Despite the challenges that the rain has brought, there’s nothing better for the farm than bountiful rain! We’re all grateful for the abundance it has brought, and we’re looking forward to seeing beautiful peppers, eggplant, tomatoes, okra, cucumbers, squash, green chiles and more with the summer harvest to come!
Farmer Ric says that rain is especially helpful because, in addition to the watering the fields, it also creates a nitrogen-rich atmosphere that helps the crops to thrive. “I can always water the farm,” says Farmer Ric, “but you can never imitate a rainstorm.”
It's a little-known fact that at Farm & Table, we're as choosy about our wines as we are about our produce. Each wine that we offer is carefully selected by our general manager and wine curator Amy Haas; Amy works hard to make sure our wine selection offers all of our guests the opportunity to grow their knowledge about wine, while discovering new and exciting experiences.
This summer, Farm & Table is putting the focus on rosé wine, by offering a flight of three very distinct expressions of rose. It's an opportunity to learn and experience more about this often under-appreciated style of wine.
I sat down with Amy this week to learn more about the new rosé flight, her philosophy about wine and our summer wine selection. Here's what she had to say!
Q. How do you choose your wines?
A. Well, the first thing I look for is quality. We do tend to focus – and always have – on small, family-owned estate wines. Estate basically means that they grow their own grapes. I also like a story behind the wine: you know, so-and-so’s grandpa started it way back when, and it was passed down through generations, and they care so much about the land. That's important to me.
Q. Tell us about the new rosé flight.
A. I think rose is misunderstood - a lot of people see rosé wine and think, "sweet, white zinfandel," and that's not the case. The best thing about rosé is that it's so versatile, it connects red and white wines, and so it's very versatile when it comes to food pairings. This rosé flight should change people's perception of what a grape is: when you think about Cabernet, you think about a big, bold, full red wine but when you take a Cabernet and make a rosé out of it it could just be the most delightful, most light-bodied wine you've ever tasted. It just goes to show that what you think you know you don't.
On the flight right now the Liquid Geography is a Spanish grape, Mencia. It's the most fruit-foward but it's still dry, it has those nice berry, strawberry, raspberry notes that people like. I think it's the most approachable. If you follow that up with the La Galope, which is the way the flight is designed, you get a lot of mineral, a lot of citrus out of the Galope that you wouldn't otherwise get. And then we have the Archery Summit, which is almost a red Pinot Noir, it's so dark. But it's served cold and it has that nice acid, so it's just a lighter version of Pinot Noir, maybe even leaning towards a very light-style, easy-drinking Beajoulais.
Q. What other wines are you excited about right now?
A. I think the Jaffur’s Viognier [available by the half bottle] is a wonderful white wine. It’s got enough fruit-forwardness for those that prefer something a little less dry, and it also has a lot of floral components that round it out. I’ve tasted a lot of Viogniers over the years, and this is just a perfect expression of the grape. I think that it is just stunning.
Q. How do you share your knowledge with our guests?
A. The wine list itself gets you out of your comfort zone. It’s diverse, so it offers something for everybody. The first thing we ask our guests is, “What do you drink? What do you like?” And that’s a great way to lead them to something similar, but something different.
We also do a lot of tastings among the staff. Every time something new comes on, there’s a dialogue about it. We have a wine training every couple of months, where we’ll taste through the majority of the list. That’s one of the reasons I keep the list small and focused, so our staff knows about and can talk about every single wine on the list.