Buy Local and Support Your Community

October 26, 2009

Local markets give students healthy options

Last updated: 10/26/09 11:03pm

Harvest season is winding down, but students can still buy local food and support the local economy.
Nolina Bryant, owner of Nolina’s Heavenly Organics farm, said purchasing locally grown foods is better for everyone all around.

“Most produce is shipped far to be available in the grocery store,” she said in an e-mail. “When you buy local, you are reducing pollution and fuel consumption. The produce is harvested recently, hence has better flavor and more nutritional content.”

Finding local foods is relatively easy for about half to three quarters of the year, Bryant said. But around late fall and winter, buying locally can be challenging.

“I highly recommend local author Deborah Madison’s cookbook Local Flavors,” Bryant said. “She tells how to shop at farmers markets and create a meal, and the recipes are yummy. In addition, Barbara Kingsolver tells, in her book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, of her family’s experience eating locally for one year, and the challenges of doing so in the winter.”

Michelle Posey is an intern at Los Poblanos Organics, which has farm locations in the South Valley and Los Ranchos. Posey said certain vegetables grow best during fall and winter.

“Right now the vegetables that are in season are winter greens such as chard, kales, Asian greens, bok choys, pak choys (and) tat soys,” she said. “Also there are lettuce mixes (and) spinach, and then you’ve got all your winter squashes and gourds — acorn squash, butternut squash. And we’ll even be pulling out some radishes.”

Posey said buying locally and seasonally is something students can participate in, even in November when most of the farmers markets have ended for the season.

“La Montanita Co-op is fantastic about placing local foods in their store year round,” Posey said. “If you go there, they will generally purchase the food cheaper and sell it cheaper because it supports the farmers. You’re definitely putting money into your local economy if you’re doing that. And in terms of physiology it is much better to eat locally in terms of health and your body is able to adjust to it better.”

Another option for students is the Community Supported Agriculture program, which provides customers with a box of freshly grown fruits and vegetables on a regular basis throughout the year, Posey said.

“People can come and purchase a fresh box of produce,” she said. “Basically you purchase a certain amount of money and every week you get a box of produce that is mostly seasonal. And you can do it every other week. And that’s a really affordable way for students to shop and get local produce. There are at least four of them around the city.”

To find locations to purchase produce boxes, visit

Bryant said she also recommended getting to know the farms and farmers around Albuquerque because they are always looking for people to help in exchange for food.

“There are many farms around here who love volunteers to come help them in exchange for produce,” she said. “Do some weeding and harvest your own salad. Many people visit my farm on a weekly basis, and not only do they enjoy the produce, they comment that it is therapeutic, as well.”

Marie St. Claire, associate director of Student Health and Counseling, said she was at the Lobo Growers Market on Saturday to promote student health and better eating habits in students.

“I think they can start in small steps. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables is a huge step for a college student,” she said. “I think cutting out the junk food and the processed foods — the Cokes — I think there are steps they can take, but maybe not the whole package while they’re in college.”

*Farmers Markets Around Town
Albuquerque VA Growers Market at the Raymond G. Murphy VA Medical Center
Wednesdays, 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Through October
Albuquerque Uptown Growers Market in the northeast parking lot behind Coldwater Creek
Tuesdays and Saturdays, 7 a.m. – noon
Through October
Albuquerque Downtown Market at 8th Street and Central Avenue in Robinson Park
Saturdays, 8 a.m. – noon
Through October
Albuquerque Nob Hill Growers Market on Lead Avenue and Morningside Drive in Morningside Park
Thursdays, 3 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.
Through Nov. 5*

Published October 26, 2009 in Culture