This amazing kid standing next to Chef Sean is Max Johnson-Jimenez, a student at Cien Aguas International School, and the New Mexico winner of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! Initiative’s healthy lunchtime recipe contest. Max’s recipe, Southwestern Casera, was chosen as the winning recipe out of all of the recipes submitted in the state of New Mexico! Way to go Max!
We are incredibly proud to be working with Max as a part of the Let’s Move! Initiative, which encourages healthy eating for kids at home and in schools. Because Max won the healthy recipe contest, he was not only invited to the White House for the prestigious kids’ State Dinner, he also chose a local restaurant and celebrity chef to partner with here in New Mexico - that’s us!
We’re so honored to be chosen by Max to work with him on this great project. We will be working with Max to bring demos, workshops and discussions to the community about healthy, local eating. Last week, Chef Sean went to Cien Aguas and did a demonstration with Max of his winning recipe for the rest of Max’s class. Cherie also gave an amazing talk about the importance of local food in our community!
Next week, Max’s school will come here to Farm & Table to take a tour of the restaurant, the farm, and learn more about what we do here at Farm & Table and how it relates to our health and the health of our community. And, in December, Chef Sean will be heading out to Sandia High School to do a another demonstration and talk to the students about our mission. We can’t wait!
We love sharing our passion and connecting to the community like this! Thank you, Max Johnson-Jimenez, for involving us in this wonderful project! You rock!
The seasons are changing once again, and as the weather gets colder and colder, Farmer Ric - and Farm & Table - becomes more and more dependent on the Sol Harvest hoop-house. Produce from Ric's hoop-house is what sustains us through the winter; it's what allows Ric to grow year-round. During those cold, dead-of-winter months, Ric packs the hoop-house from top to bottom. You can barely walk in there, he utilizes every single inch of it.
Hoop-house space is so important to the sustainability of our farm that Ric has launched a project to double its size and add wooden doors on both ends. Last year, just as Ric finished adding on to the hoop house, a tremendous wind ripped through the farm and caused damage to the newly completed structure that set the farm back several weeks. Doors on both ends of the hoop house would not only create more warmth inside, but it would protect this vital structure from brutal New Mexico winds.
Increasing Farmer Ric's ability to grow during the winter will help ensure the sustainability not just of Sol Harvest Farm, but also of Farm & Table and New Mexico's local food economy.
You can find more information, and donate to Sol Harvest's hoop-house project on their Kickstarter page: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/905774811/sol-harvest-farm-we-feed-people-and-now-you-can-to. The first 50 people to donate $50 or more will also be invited to a special launch party for the project, with Farm & Table appetizers, a champagne toast and live music on the Farm & Table patio!
Farmer Ric has a new vegetable on the farm this year that is quickly becoming my new favorite: sunchokes. Sunchokes (also known as Jerusalem artichokes) are flavorful little tubers that taste like a combination between water chestnuts, potatoes and something altogether indescribable. They taste too good to be good for you, but they are actually packed with nutrients, and are a great low-glucose substitute for potatoes.
Not only are sunchokes delicious and nutritious, but they’re also a great local crop because they are hearty enough to endure New Mexico’s dense clay-like soil. Farmer Ric says he hardly has to treat the soil at all, and the sunchokes just spring up! They’re also an excellent cold weather crop; we’ll be harvesting sunchokes all the way through December.
But what makes sunchokes my absolute favorite is that they’re not only fun to eat, they’re fun to harvest! Intern Zoe described harvesting sunchokes as, “like going on a treasure hunt,” and she is spot-on! This is what a sunchoke looks like before harvest:
When the leaves and the stalk have turned brown, you know that all the nutrients have been pulled down to the roots, and it’s time to dig the sunchokes up. Then, below the ground, they look like this:
Yum! You can try sunchokes fried like a potato chip on our new fried quail appetizer here at Farm & Table, or buy some of your own to experiment with from Farmer Ric at the market. The Downtown Growers’ Market is only happening one more time, though, so be sure to go this weekend! Enjoy!
Once again, the seasons are shifting, which means big shifts on the farm and at our table, too. We are slowly moving out of our most plentiful season, and in doing so, saying goodbye to our summer and early fall favorites. Yellow squash and zucchini has finally disappeared, and with it our delicious summer "Squash & Blossom" appetizer has gone, too.
It’s hard to believe that just a month ago we were getting peppers, peppers, and more peppers from Sol Harvest and our other local farms. We used the shishitos, padrons, bell peppers, Italian frying peppers and more in Chef’s Chicken Peperonata. What a difference a month makes, though: now the peppers are gone and it’s already time to part with the dish.
But while it’s sad to see the summer harvest go, they are making room for the winter favorites we have been waiting for all year: winter squash like butternut, acorn, spaghetti and delicata are growing in abundance – just in time for treats like our pastry chef Tracy’s acorn squash empanadas, which taste like a sweet little bite of fall.
Ric's sunchokes are FINALLY ready for harvesting, and they look – and taste! – amazing! Chef Sean is using the sunchokes for sunchoke chips on his new fried quail appetizer.
Right now we’re in the thick of green chile season, but before we know it, that will be over too. That’s why we’re bagging and freezing pounds and pounds to get us through the winter and spring.
That's four freezers filled with hundreds of Ziploc bags of roasted New Mexico green chile!
Every change in season is an opportunity for excitement and gratitude. Even though it means leaving behind delicious foods we’ve enjoyed all summer long, a new season also means new foods, new favorites and new experiences. We can’t wait to see what else this fall will bring us!
You know that at Farm & Table, we are passionate about local food, local farmers, and local community. What you might not know is how passionate we also are about wine.
Anyone who has really looked at our wine list can see the thought and care with which it was crafted. Our dedicated wine curator, Amy Haas, works hard every week to make sure our wine selection is adventurous and provocative. You won’t find your old standby on our menu; our wine list encourages our guests to step out of their comfort zone and try new experiences.
This week, we will be holding a dinner that truly highlights the exciting and unusual wines we take such pride in serving at Farm & Table. On Tuesday, October 21st, we will host a dinner featuring wines from six family-owned, small-batch estates in Italy. Each wine has been carefully selected by Amy and will be perfectly paired with Italian-inspired courses from Chef Sean and his team. The dinner has been crafted with the utmost care, and promises to be our most elegant, exquisite affair yet.
These small, family-owned wineries that we have selected are brought together by a cooperative called August Wine Group that believes that small-production, environmentally sustainable wineries produce the best wine. Each winery hand-harvests every grape using traditional, earth-friendly practices. The wines they produce, says August Wine Group, “protect unique grape varietals, local winemaking styles, and preserve a special way of life.”
Take a look at what they have to say about one of the estates we are featuring:
In a little village not far from Verona, tucked into the romantic hills of Valpolicella, you will find the estate of one of the best Amarone producers in Italia–Giuseppe Lonardi. “Bepi,” as his wife likes to call him, is a fourth generation winemaker, and leads a beautiful, simple life. On average, he hand-crafts a scant 100-200 cases per year of each of his finest wines. Meanwhile, daughter Silvia (an aspiring winemaker herself) runs the family inn “Corte Lonardi,” and wife, Marilena, runs a tiny bistro near the cellars, where she has perfected one of the most sumptuous dishes we have ever tasted: a slow-cooked, Amarone-infused risotto. One family friend guarantees that the three most important things in Giuseppe’s life are food, wine and his Wife. “But,” he chuckles, “not necessarily in that order.” Marilena smiles fondly when you ask her about her husband: “He’s a workaholic. He basically sleeps with the wine.
We will be featuring Guiseppe Lonardi’s Valpolicella, an aromatic red wine with lush cranberry and chocolate notes, as well as hints of dried fruit that come from the re-passing of Valpolicella Classico through the pressed, raisined skins.
A wine representative will be on-site at the dinner, to dine with us and share knowledge about the tasting notes of the wine, as well each individual winery’s history, philosophy, and methods. We hope you'll join us for this unique wine experience.
Italian Winemakers Dinner
October 21 | 6:00pm | $150
Please join us for these very special dinners & events.
Marigold and Harvest Festival
Celebrate the changing seasons with fun for the whole family! La Parada Mercantile, Farm &Table and Sol Harvest Farm will be featuring lots of fun activities including live music, produce and food stand, sugar skull-making, games, yoga, food demonstrations, fun shopping, marigold garland-making, and more! Partners include Bernalillo County Extension Services, and Orange Yoga.
Join us for a very special, intimate dinner featuring small production, family-owned wineries from across Italy. Six courses of seasonally focused, Italian-inspired dishes will be prepared by Chef Sean Sinclair and his team and paired with each wine. A representative will dine with our guests and share knowledge about the featured wines.
Gratitude Dinner: Let’s be grateful!
Celebrate the season of gratitude as we gather around the table with family and friends for a delicious five-course feast paired with wine! Chef Sean and his team will be preparing a special farm-focused dinner sharing the seasonal bounty of our local farmers, ranchers, dairies, and food artisans!
Tickets are pre-paid, and reservations are not complete until payment has been taken. Payment is refundable up to 24 hours before the dinner.
When intern Ian gave me his tour of the farm earlier this summer, he told me they have so much sorrel, they “didn’t know what to do with it all.” It’s true – they’ve got a LOT of sorrel. Look at it all growing in the hoophouse!
Sorrel has a bright, lemony, VERY intense flavor. If you’ve never tried it, I recommend you do – it is a truly unique taste experience!
So what DO you do with sorrel, especially when you’ve got so much you don’t know what to do with it? Even Chef Sinclair admits that, because of its intense, unusual flavor, it's a tough vegetable to cook with. But Farmer Ric says he always gets great suggestions about what to do with sorrel from his customers at the Downtown Growers' Market. Some throw it onto a salad, some use it in a soup, some even tear up the leaves and mix them in with pasta - YUM. Me, I thought I might make a salad dressing out of the tangy leaves.
What about you? What would you do with all that sorrel?
Have you looked at the walls at Farm & Table recently? If not, it might be time to look again! We are constantly featuring different local artists here at the restaurant; the art on our walls changes every three months.
Right now, for just one more month, you can see the vivid paintings of artist James Bolton. James is a talented painter from the Espanola Valley, and he studied English, Geology and Art at the University of New Mexico. After a tour in the army, he earned his Masters’ Degree in Art at UNM as well. He then moved to San Francisco where he regularly exhibited at the Hank Baum Gallery and taught Art at Stanislaus State University and San Jose State University. He was also a Guest Artist at Texas Tech University and Kent State University.
Since returning New Mexico, he has shown his work locally at Exhibit 208 and also out-of-state. He has work in various public collections including Yale University Art Gallery, Achenbach Foundation for the Graphic Arts in San Francisco, AT&T in New York, and Presbyterian Hospital in Albuquerque.
Check out more of his art on his webpage. Appropriately, many of the works hanging in the restaurant now are Bolton’s striking paintings of fruit. Or just come into Farm & Table and see them for yourself!
I’ll admit it: I’m a little squeamish when it comes to bugs. Ladybugs are okay, but anything squirmy, slimy, or creepy-crawly I shudder at. So when Farmer Ric asked me to help out with his squash crop by killing squash bugs, I was more than a little scared – and with good reason.
“You’ve got to just take them and squish them like this,” he demonstrated, taking the ugliest-looking beetle I’ve ever seen with his bare fingers, and mashing it into the dirt. A tiny jet of bug juice sprayed out of the beetle’s backside. “Oh, and be careful,” he added. “They can squirt like that. And their juice is kind of stinky.”
Gross! Gross gross gross, I thought with every bug I squashed in my fingers. Their eggs, little brown seed-looking things I sometimes found on the bottom of the squash leaves, were no better: I mashed them with my thumb and forefinger into a yellowish-brown paste.
I gained a lot of respect and admiration for Farmer Ric and everything he does, pulling those bugs off every single plant individually. Ric called pulling the squash bugs “baptism by fire” into working on the farm - I just called it terrifying! But in the end I was proud that my work not only kept our summer squash crop healthy, but also keeps the winter squash safe from what would have been a gradual invasion.
Farmer Ric is primarily growing his squash for the blossoms, and he calls the actual squash an extra bonus. The blossoms we take off his hands in the restaurant in order to make our amazing summer appetizer, Squash & Blossom, a fried blossom and zucchini duo with basil aioli. Now, whenever I look at our Squash & Blossom, I think about all of the hard (and sometimes gross!) work that went into it. Every plate at Farm & Table is truly a work of art, both as it’s made in the kitchen and as it’s grown on the farm.
Back in 2012, our owner Cherie Montoya Austin had the idea to partner with other restaurants in Albuquerque during the harvest season to celebrate the incredible plentitude New Mexico provides us. So, Farm & Table along with Artichoke Cafe, Forque, Jennifer James 101 and Los Poblanos spent a week highlighting our local bounty with special dinners and events during Albuquerque's first Moveable Feast.
Now, two years later, with the help of Edible Santa Fe, the Moveable Feast has grown to last an entire month, and includes not just restaurants all over Albuquerque, but Santa Fe as well! This month is Moveable Feast month here in Albuquerque, and Moveable Feast month in Santa Fe is coming up in October. We are so proud and pleased to be a part of a community of restaurants that values and celebrates local food!
This year for the Moveable Feast, Farm & Table is offering a special, prix-fixe, four-course menu TONIGHT and every Thursday throughout the month of August for $39. We are also offering a three-course brunch special this Saturday and every Saturday in August for $22. We hope you will join us for this special celebration!
Please also check out Edible Santa Fe's webpage webpage for a complete list of participating restaurants and events happening for Moveable Feast. We'll see you there!
Moveable Feast at Farm & Table
Thursday Night Dinner
Wine Pairings Available for $16
Every ingredient listed below is LOCAL
grape leaves | dill | garlic
tomato | cucumbers | feta cheese
blackberry | ancho | pork loin
tarragon | honey
Grilled Pork Loin
red chile | pear | blue corn
apples | honey | red chile | pecans