“Can I have a dozen rabbit eggs? asked the woman ahead of me in the line for eggs at the Santa Fe Farmers’s Market.
“Ma’am rabbits don’t lay eggs,” answered the farmer with a straight face. “The sign ‘we have rabbits’ means we sell rabbit meat in addition to chicken and geese eggs.” The steadiness to his answer indicated that this was not the first time the question had been asked. I confirmed that indeed it was not.
She released an embarrassed laugh after she recognized the absurdity to her question. I did everything to keep my laughter from escaping my mouth but was unsuccessful.
The Santa Fe Farmer’s Market does have a way of loosening a mind into a world of imagination, one where rabbits could lay eggs.
The market is a feast for the senses. Orange dahlias were a bloom, chunks of goat cheese swam in marinades of oil and roasted green New Mexican chiles and heirloom tomatoes burst from their skins. The smell of roasted Chimayo Chile danced arm in arm with the fragrance of barbecued sausage from free range pigs. The market provided an experience of food unmatched by the aisles of a grocery store.
At the mouth of the farmer’s market, Mr G’s vegetable stand caught my attention. It bustled with customers who patiently waited their turn to buy the organic local vegetables harvested.
I asked Mr G. how he irrigates his vegetables. New Mexico is a state that aches for rain.
He was the second farmer that used acequias, a four hundred year old irrigation ditch system built by the Spaniards. His acequia is fed by the Chama River in the Espanola Valley located 20 miles from Santa Fe.
“I never thought to use flood irrigation. It is too inefficient,” he answered. “I use drip lines and misters.”
Vegetables need a steady source of water to grow and thrive. Unless located in a wet climate, most vegetables need to be irrigated. The drip line conserves the most water.
Many vegetable stalls had signs that read ‘organic’ or ‘pesticide-free’, code for ‘this food uses no synthetic fertilizers and chemicals that compromise the water quality of rivers and wells.’
I took back with me two bags of roasted chilies. Now back in California I will chop them up and add to quiche using the recipe in Eggs and Water which calls for chicken not rabbit eggs.
Visit the Santa Fe Certified Farmers’ Market page for more info, recipes and food and farm events.