Aztec Farmers’ Market Ends Season Strong – The Durango Herald


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

Sellers and customers share their enthusiasm for the market

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

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

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

“She’s here doing like the cogs, setting up the market, talking to customers, working with the SNAP machine and the Double-Up and leading the volunteers. I do a lot of background stuff like bank account and market paperwork,” Pao said.

“Over time, I was able to build funds for the market,” Pauline said. In late 2020, the Northwest New Mexico Growers Alliance received a three-year grant that allowed managers to receive paid compensation. Through grants, Pao serves as regional coordinator for the alliance, a part-time position.

The seven member markets of the Alliance 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 market accepted, through paid membership in the New Mexico Farmers Marketing Association. Pao explained the Double-Up program, in which a buyer’s EBT card is processed for a designated amount and issued tokens are doubled in value.

Pao handed out a $5 coupon to each person entering the market on Wednesday, a hot and windy day. She said “promotional funds” were made available through the NM Farmers Marketing Association.

The maximum number of vendors during the season was about 20. On Wednesday there were about 10, which included various offers.

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

Shay McCormick of Aztec said business was “good, really great. I make breads, cakes, jams, sweets – all kinds of sweets.

“I do a lot of mixing,” her husband, Devin McCormick, said. “I let her do all the measurements, all the brain stuff. … I am only the force of the operation.

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

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

Co-director Kasey McCune expressed her gratitude for all the “farmers…and customers.” She said they’ve been looking for more fruit vendors since the Kirby farm closed. And she raved about the tamales available at the market.

JR Sykes and his son, Owen Sykes love growing and sharing traditional sweet and tart apples. (David Edward Albright/Durango Herald)

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

Karl Fox and his wife, Tipi, from Thailand, sold his honey and raspberries. Karl said his raspberries weren’t certified organic by the FDA, but they weren’t sprinkled with anything, so in the “true sense of the word, they’re organic.”

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

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

Taqueria Cielito Lindo, at Hutton Plaza in Farmington, sponsored the stand manned by Edward and David Valencia. David said the chicken and pork tamales they sell will raise money 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.

Dane Parks, 23, of Better Harvest Farms, sold tomatoes, potatoes, cucumbers, jalapeños, squash and cayenne pepper. His girlfriend, Raelynn Dusenbery and her sister, Sierra Parks, greeted customers at his booth.

“I love talking to locals and having that connection,” Dane said.

Aylah Albright, 12, said she liked the market being “open…not all stuck together”.

Owen Skyes, 14, praised the prices and variety at the market.

“You can get any type of vegetable, and it’s a lot cheaper than any big store like Safeway or Walmart. …”We have melons here that are of the cantaloupe type – it tastes like a cantaloupe on the inside, honeydew near the rind, and the outside looks like a dark green watermelon.”

Debbie Klein held up some beautiful peppers grown by Blanco grower Roger Prado. “Getting fresh vegetables for less than I pay at the grocery store. Good quality and very fresh,” she said.


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