Harvesting the Best of Santa Fe

Autumn grants abundance as we gather together to share the harvest and enjoy the glorious weather that fall brings to Santa Fe. Each season has its treasures, and with summer’s merriment of Viva Santa Fe and the Harvest Fest at El Rancho de Las Golondrinas behind us, we locals get ready to partake in new delicious activities. Piquant thoughts of food and folklore sustain us as we look to the coming months with anticipation of pleasures yet to be savored.

Harvest colors take center stage on the old wagon outside the Inn on the Alameda during an autumn visit to Santa Fe.
Harvest colors take center stage on the old wagon outside the Inn on the Alameda during an autumn visit to Santa Fe.

Fall Yields Delight at the Santa Fe Farmers Market

The produce at the Santa Fe Farmers’ Market mirrors the turn of seasons, as pumpkins and squashes of all varieties take pride of place beneath the water tower. Perhaps there will still be a chile roaster turning, but the focus turns from fresh green to the red ristras — those long strings of scarlet chiles drying for winter use — and the spicy flavor, just waiting to be reappear over the upcoming holidays. Our farmers have plenty of tips and recipes to share, and a good Santa Fe cookbook easily fills in any gaps. And there’ll be fall greens to savor, as late crops show up to nestle beside onions and garlic in produce stands at the Market.

Outside or in, the Santa Fe Farmers Market suits foodies to a “tea.”
Outside or in, the Santa Fe Farmers Market suits foodies to a “tea.”

Fall hours have shifted to an 8 am open and noon close. The Market Café always has coffee and pastries awaiting your arrival. Don’t forget to visit the indoor shops and market for Daven Lee’s softly-scented Milk + Honey soaps – I just love to support someone who identifies herself as CEO + Milkmaid. You can treat yourself to artisanal chocolates from the Chocolatesmith or choose a skein or two of Jodi Jurney’s handspun yarns for knitting a special pair of socks. And a one-of-a-kind garden container from Bob Ross comes with gardening tips, since he’s the host of Gardens, Food and Santa Fe, a Saturday morning public radio show broadcast right from the market. And remember that the Railyard Artisans’ Market sets up in the Farmers’ Market Pavilion on Sundays.

The Life of Pie

Making a great pie is an art form of its own within the pantheon of baking. A light but flaky crust, the choice of fruit, nuts, or decadent cream fillings, and for us, the challenge of altitude makes an adept pie baker an admired personage. Last year’s Holiday Pie Mania, with an array of talent and 500-plus pie lovers there to sample was such a success that it’s returning for the second annual Pie-Mania on November 9. A benefit for The Food Depot, the 2012 bake-off raised over $4,500 to help feed Santa Fe’s citizens, and combined with that comforting thought, this promises to be a mouth-watering event.

I spy with my little eye a stack of pie – and that’s what Pie-Mania is all about.
I spy with my little eye a stack of pie – and that’s what Pie-Mania is all about.

Demonstrations and tastings rule the day, and John Vollertsen (aka Johnny Vee), local chef, author, culinary instructor, and connoisseur of Santa Fe flavors, will be on hand to keep things cooking. Pie-auction winners will be dessert-ready for dinner parties, and chefs will take orders for holiday pies to serve or give as gifts. And the owner of the famed Pie-O-Neer, Kathy Knapp, will ply her credentials as The Pie Lady of Pie Town, NM, to serve as an honored guest chef.

Treat Yourself to Dessert on the Daily During This Sweet Month

Not only is the month of October a satisfying time of year for visiting the City Different, it also happens to be National Dessert Month. At last, an excuse to do some research! With all the fabled dining options in Santa Fe, you don’t have to look far to find a sweet treat, since there’s not a single restaurant in town that doesn’t have temptation on the menu. But chocolate is the menu at Kakawa Chocolate House, featured on the Food Network for its enticing list of historic drinking chocolates. Covering a time period from 1000 BC to the mid-1900’s, Kakawa’s passion for authenticity showcases the gamut: Meso-American Mayan Aztec flavors; chocolate specialties from the Baroque era of Europe; and both Colonial Mexican and Colonial American chocolate elixirs.

Whether you’re sipping it or they’re shipping it, an authentic chocolate elixir from Kakawa Chocolate House is a rare thing of beauty.
Whether you’re sipping it or they’re shipping it, an authentic chocolate elixir from Kakawa Chocolate House is a rare thing of beauty.

Gluten-free and feeling left out? Never fear, Revolution Bakery is here! Open daily on a side street across from El Rey Inn , Santa Fe’s 100% gluten-free spot makes sure that no one’s sweet tooth is ignored. Muffins and scones, cookies, brownies, and frosted cupcakes are prepared with the gluten diet-conscious in mind to be enjoyed on the spot or on the go. And if you like what you see, um, I mean, eat, you can get dry mixes to bake up at home or some yummy granola to serve at your breakfast table. Gluten-free baking takes skill, and Revolution Bakery has more than one winning recipe.

How sweet it is to find 100% gluten-free desserts and breads at Revolution Bakery.
How sweet it is to find 100% gluten-free desserts and breads at Revolution Bakery.

Fusing Fun and Food and Folklore Is a Santa Fe Specialty

Great things arise from a mix of minds and talents, and those are never in short supply in Santa Fe. On November 8-10, the unique culinary traditions of New Mexico shine at the Museum of New Mexico Foundation’s Fuze SW 2013 Festival.

The Museum of International Folk Art’s exhibition on New World Cuisine is a feast for the eyes.
The Museum of International Folk Art’s exhibition on New World Cuisine is a feast for the eyes.

December 2012 brought an attendance-breaking exhibition, New World Cuisine: The Histories of Chocolate, Mate y Más, to the Museum of International Folk Art. On view through January 5, 2014, the exhibit’s exploration of world cuisine resonates with locals and visitors alike. With this interweaving of food and folklore in mind, the Museum Foundation forged a bond with food enthusiasts — James Beard Award-winning authors and chefs, historians, archaeologists, cultural commentators, and folklorists — to create a weekend showcasing the diverse traditions and techniques of New World cuisine and cultural heritage.

Chefs Tracy and Noe of the Santa Fe School of Cooking send you home with fond memories and sharp kitchen skills.
Chefs Tracy and Noe of the Santa Fe School of Cooking send you home with fond memories and sharp kitchen skills.

The creative flow begins on Friday with a New Mexico Holiday Traditions Cooking Class at the renowned Santa Fe School of Cooking, with an opening night reception later at the School. Saturday heats up with a Breakfast Burrito Bonanza at the Folk Art Museum and cycles through a series of fascinating talks on food, a New World Cuisine luncheon catered by the Museum Hill Café (it can be followed with a tour of the exhibition), a tapas break with La Boca chef James Campbell Caruso, and a series of book signings and panel discussions. Whew, catch your breath because you shouldn’t miss Chef Rocky Durham’s delectable bites at the Santa Fe Culinary Academy Cocktail Tasting Party, that night, with New Mexico distilled spirits courtesy of Santa Fe Spirits.

Chef Rocky Durham performs perfect plating magic.
Chef Rocky Durham performs perfect plating magic.

When Sunday dawns, eat a good breakfast, because food talk returns, headlined by famed chef, cookbook author and NM resident Deborah Madison. A mid-day Food Truck Brunch takes center stage on Museum Hill, and if you missed the New World exhibit on Saturday, you can tour it while eating. Topical discussions on cookbooks and chocolate will inspire deeper appreciation for the bounty that appears on our tables.

Take the Harvest Home with You in Memories

Pie or produce, dessert or fine dining, education or just eating in the company of good friends, the food traditions of Santa Fe have more than one way to delight the senses. If your last visit here left you hungry for more, October is an ideal month to enrich your mind and body with one of Santa Fe’s signature gifts, our historic culinary traditions. Join us, because there’s always a place at our harvest table for you.

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