Aztec Farmers Market winds down strong season – The Journal

Debbie Klein loves fresh peppers from Prado Farms. (David Edward Albright/Durango Herald)

Vendors and customers share enthusiasm for the market

Wednesday may have been the last scheduled Aztec Farmers Market of the season, but co-manager Pauline Pao is hoping to continue the winning streak.

“We’re trying to walk another two weeks,” she said, depending on the weather.

Pao, market manager since 2008, was joined in 2020 by co-manager Kasey McCune.

“She does the hustle and bustle here, building the market, talking to the customers, working the SNAP machine and the double-up, and guiding the volunteers. I do a lot of background stuff like the bank account and paperwork for the market,” Pao said.

“Over time, I’ve been able to build the funds for the market,” Pauline said. In late 2020, the Northwest New Mexico Growers Alliance awarded a three-year grant that allowed managers to receive some compensation. Through grant funding, Pao serves as the regional coordinator for the Alliance, a part-time position.

The Alliance’s seven member markets are Aztec Farmers Market, Bloomfield Growers Market, Kirtland Growers Market, Farmington Growers Market, Shiprock Farmers Market, Downtown Farmington Makers Market and the Food Hub Mobile Market.

EBT, SNAP and WIC are all accepted in the marketplace through a dues membership with the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association. Pao explained the Double Up program, which processes a buyer’s EBT card for a certain amount and doubles the value of the tokens issued.

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Pao presented a $5 coupon to anyone who entered the market on Wednesday, a warm, breezy day. She said the “advertising funds” were made available through the NM Farmers Marketing Association.

The maximum number of providers during the season was around 20. On Wednesday there were around 10, including various offers.

Shay and Devin McCormick work together to make their baked goods. (David Edward Albright/Durango Herald)

Aztec’s Shay McCormick said the deal was “good, really great. I make breads, cakes, jams, sweets – all kinds of goodies.”

“I do a lot of mixing,” her husband Devin McCormick said. “I let them do all the measuring, all the brain stuff. … I’m just the brawn of the operation.”

Pedro Garcia, who works at Sunnyside Farms in Durango, offered chorizo ​​sausage, bacon, maple and green chilli links. After 35 years here from Mexico, Garcia shared that in two weeks he will “go through the ceremony” to gain his US citizenship.

Volunteer Joan Symonds said her favorite aspect of the market is “meeting people, we have a great group of vendors – it’s like a big family.”

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Co-manager Kasey McCune expressed her appreciation for “the farmers… and the customers.” She said they’ve been looking for more fruit vendors since the Kirby farm closed. And she promoted the tamales available in the market.

JR Sykes and son Owen Sykes love to grow and share sweet, tangy apples. (David Edward Albright/Durango Herald)

JR Skyes and his son Owen, 14, offered samples of delicious, juicy apples and edible nasturtium buds from his Aztec backyard. The flowers provided “micronutrients,” he said.

Karl Fox and his wife Tipi from Thailand sold his honey and raspberries. Karl said his raspberries aren’t FDA-certified organic, but they haven’t been sprayed with anything, so they’re organic in the “literal sense of the word.”

Nichole Honaker said she left work early to visit the market for the first time.

Mushroom grower Nathan Brenner showed his specimen of the Black Pear King Oyster. “Meat protein, vitamins like vitamin D…good for cholesterol control,” Nathan said, adding that his Lions Mane strain promotes healthy brain function and rebuilds brain tissue and nerves.”

Taqueria Cielito Lindo on Hutton Plaza in Farmington sponsored the stall staffed by Edward and David Valencia. David said the chicken and pork tamales they were selling would raise funds for their church, The Light of the World, in Bloomfield. Originally from Mexico, the brothers said they “loved the community, the people. … We feel welcome by everyone.”

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Dane Parks, 23, of Better Harvest Farms, had tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, jalapeños, squash and cayenne peppers for sale. His girlfriend, Raelynn Dusenbergy, and his sister, Sierra Parks, greeted guests at his booth.

“I like talking to the local people and having that connection,” said Dane.

Aylah Albright, 12, said she liked that the market was “open…not all crammed together.”

Owen Skyes, 14, promoted the prices and variety of the market.

“You can get any kind of vegetable, and it’s a lot cheaper than in the big stores like Safeway or Walmart. … “We have melons here that are kind of like a melon cantaloupe — they taste like a melon on the inside, honeydew near the rind, and on the outside it looks like a dark green watermelon.”

Debbie Klein held up beautiful peppers grown by Blanco breeder Roger Prado. “I can get fresh vegetables for less than I pay in the supermarket. Good quality and very fresh,” she said.


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