Local farms offer fresh produce during virus outbreak - Albuquerque Journal

Local farms offer fresh produce during virus outbreak

Seth Matlick of Vida Verde Farms oversees a garlic field Monday afternoon. “Everything feels disrupted right now,” he said. “Farmers are adaptable, and we will continue to provide food for our community.” (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Local growers are taking on the added responsibility of continuing to supply fresh produce to New Mexicans amid the COVID-19 outbreak that has limited restaurants to takeout, strained grocery store supplies and postponed farmers’ markets.

“Farms thrive on community, and we’re all really coming together,” said Andrea Romero of Tierra Sagrada Farm in Bernalillo. “Working with the earth and having as few hands as possible touch our produce feels good right now.”

Farms and ranches are among the essential businesses exempt from Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham’s order closing businesses termed nonessential statewide. And Tierra Sagrada is one of many businesses expanding its Community Supported Agriculture services, which allow customers to buy directly from local farms and receive produce by pickup or delivery.

Farmers say it is an ideal way to get fresh fruits and vegetables as public health professionals advise limiting person-to-person interactions and crowds.

Seth Matlick at Vida Verde Farms in Albuquerque said chefs and restaurants are in “survival mode” to comply with a state mandate to close dining rooms. That has caused a major decline in restaurant orders from local farms.

“We’re anticipating a surplus of food that we’ve already invested seeds, time and water to grow,” Matlick said. “There is a general hesitancy to go to the grocery store, so CSAs are a great way to get healthy food and support a local business.”

Members of the Vida Verde Farms crew, from left, Ash Abeyta, Josh Orr and Kaitlin Innis, in one of the farm fields. While COVID-19 concerns have shuttered many businesses, local farms are still producing fresh produce. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

Typical CSA contracts between customers and farmers are annual or seasonal, but Vida Verde is adapting to offer four-week commitments. Several farms and local businesses are starting Better Together, a group CSA that will offer home delivery of fruits, vegetables, eggs, dairy products, bread and some prepared meals, so customers can receive the most products at once.

Farmers also help provide low-income individuals with fresh, inexpensive New Mexico produce.

The state’s Double Up Food Bucks program allows for use of Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, or SNAP, dollars for discounts on New Mexico-grown fresh fruits and vegetables. Double Up Food Bucks can be used at grocery stores, farmers markets and farm stands.

But the virus has jeopardized some local farmers markets.

In Santa Fe, the farmers market opened Saturday because it was deemed an essential business. Vendors spread out, wore gloves and masks and did not allow the public to handle produce.

Los Ranchos Growers’ Market postponed its opening date, and the Albuquerque Downtown Growers’ Market in Robinson Park and the Railyards Market face potential postponements. Albuquerque farmers hope the markets can continue with added safety measures. The Corrales Growers’ Market is still scheduled for April 5.

Local growers are increasing health precautions, including wearing gloves and masks, washing hands before and after tasks and sanitizing delivery vehicles and harvest crates.

Garlic plants sprout from a field at Vida Verde Farms in Albuquerque. (Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal)

“I really love growing food and feeding our community,” Matlick said. “Everything feels disrupted right now, and people are looking for stability. Farmers are adaptable, and we will continue to provide food for our community.”

Other local CSAs offering services now or in the coming weeks include New Mexico Harvest, La Cosecha, Chispas Farms, Loose Leaf Farm, Silver Leaf Farms, Farmshark, Polk’s Folly Farm, Skarsgard Farms, Bluefly Farms, Western Family Farm and Squash Blossom. Contact the farms by email or social media to sign up for their programs.

Updates about markets and CSAs can be found at the New Mexico Farmers’ Markets Facebook page – facebook.com/farmersmarketsnm – or by calling 505-983-4010.

Theresa Davis is a Report for America corps member covering water and the environment for the Albuquerque Journal.


Home » News » Albuquerque News » Local farms offer fresh produce during virus outbreak

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
US downs Chinese balloon, drawing a threat from China
ABQnews Seeker
WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. military ... WASHINGTON (AP) -- The U.S. military on Saturday shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the Carolina coast after it traversed sensitive military ...
Captions contest
ABQnews Seeker
OPINION: Go to abqjournal.com/caption-contest and click ... OPINION: Go to abqjournal.com/caption-contest and click on the photo to send us your suggested caption.
ABQnews Seeker
OPINION: No free lunches for school ... OPINION: No free lunches for school kids.
Doctors flee New Mexico – and more ...
ABQnews Seeker
The state's physician numbers are under ... The state's physician numbers are under national provider-to-population benchmarks
U.S. Fish and Wildlife counts, treats and gathers data ...
ABQnews Seeker
Annual count is part of federal ... Annual count is part of federal Wolf Recovery Plan
Untangling the policies and politics of New Mexico's medical ...
ABQnews Seeker
Legislature looking at changes to 2021 ... Legislature looking at changes to 2021 law designed to help doctors
Gov't transparency organization adds new members
ABQnews Seeker
Two local journalists join the New ... Two local journalists join the New Mexico Foundation for Open Government's board
Albuquerque to consider capping vacation rentals
ABQnews Seeker
Mayor Tim Keller's proposal stems from ... Mayor Tim Keller's proposal stems from the city's 'Housing Forward' initiative
Any given soup day: Slurpers show up for Souper ...
ABQnews Seeker
It was the chefs — not ... It was the chefs — not the Chiefs — who battled in this Souper Bowl.