Shop With An Open Mind
At A Farmer's Market

The line of buyers for Tom Delahanty’s organic eggs started forming before 7 a.m., the hour when Albuquerque’s Downtown Growers’ Market opens.

“People stood here until they were all gone,” he said. That was around 7:20 a.m., and after the eggs went, a steady stream of shoppers stopped by for his organic chickens and lamb, which he pulled out of the refrigerated truck he drove up to Albuquerque from Pollo Real (Royal Chicken), his farm near Socorro.

Delahanty’s stand was Susan Spring’s first stop on her Saturday morning visit to the market. She bought a whole chicken and a package of lamb kabobs, both of which she could have found at a natural foods market.

“I just don’t really want to go to the store today,” Spring says. “Here, you see your neighbors. You schmooze a little. You never know what you’re going to get, so it’s fun.”

The Downtown market is in Robinson Park, one of Albuquerque’s oldest parks. Although it is at the busy intersection of Eighth and Central NW, the streets are quiet at this time of day. The park’s towering cottonwood trees shade both the farmers and their customers as they transact business every Saturday morning from early July through mid-October.

From chile to chicken, bread to lamb kabobs, farmers’ markets make meal planning an improvisational adventure. Compose a menu with Susan Spring as she browses the freshest food outside your own garden.

Za’atar appetizer

  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds, toasted
  • 2 teaspoons ground sumac
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • pulled off stems
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Mix all ingredients together in a small bowl. Serve with a small bowl of extra virgin olive oil and loaf of foccacia or pita bread. Guests break off a piece of bread, dip it briefly in olive oil then za’atar.